Image above: Chiswick House; photograph Anna Kunst
‘Visiting London? Don’t Skip Chiswick, a Lush Paradise that Inspired Van Gogh, W.B. Yeats and More’ The Wall Street Journal tells its readers
A couple of months ago an American journalist got in touch with me to talk about Chiswick. She is a novelist who lives in the South of France, but had ‘discovered’ Chiswick and thought she could get the Wall Street Journal to take a piece for their travel section.
The feature, by Mary Lou Longworth, has just been published and if their readers take any notice we can expect an influx of American visitors. Chiswick is a ‘lush paradise’ with ‘trendy gastropubs, cheese toasties and the haunting traces of centuries of artists and writers.’
All this we know. This is why we live here. But now – they know.
Image above: Outside the City Barge at Strand on the Green; photograph Anna Kunst
She was introduced to Chiswick by a friend:
‘A friend from Notting Hill joked that suburban Chiswick is where young, well-off Londoners go to have babies but the area also boasts a grand, Palladian-style mansion with 65-acres of free gardens and quaint riverside pubs to dally in.
‘Long before Vincent van Gogh painted Wheatfield with Crows, he visited much greener pastures’ Mary Lou writes.
‘For three years of his short life, the artist taught at a London boys’ school and assisted at the Chiswick Congregational Church. Van Gogh, then in his 20s, wrote to his brother Theo in 1876 praising verdant Chiswick.’
Image above: House in Bedford park where W.B Yeats lived
She goes on to describe the history of Chiswick since the Iron Age, focusing on our illustrious artists and writers:
‘From the 1700s on, Chiswick has been home to a Who’s Who of British literary and artistic fame.’
She talks about Yeats and Bedford Park, E.M. Forster, Harold Pinter and Patrick Hamilton and says:
‘I paused before Dame Iris Murdoch’s beloved childhood home (no blue plaque yet, but the writer’s address can be found at ChiswickCalendar.co.uk).
Thanks Mary Lou, you have introduced The Chiswick Calendar to an American audience. We are now a global publication! Welcome to our American readers.
Image above: Chiswick House Gardens; photograph Anna Kunst
She talks about the Tabard theatre, the poet Alexander Pope and Chiswick House and gives a little guided tour suggesting a route for tourists to follow, but here she veers a little off piste, suggesting The Carpenter’s Arms as her favourite place to dine – which is, I believe, technically in Hammersmith.
My American neighbours, who have lived here for several years, will be congratulating themselves on being way ahead of the game, but they are but the vanguard. Welcome to New York’s most intrepid and cultured travellers, we wait to greet you.
You can read the whole article on the Wall Street Journal’s website here, if you are happy to pay to read it: wsj.com
Read more stories on The Chiswick Calendar