From its illustrious history and rich heritage to its unique and quirky traditions, London is a city like no other. This beautifully illustrated A to Z travelogue of England’s capital city by graphic artist Paul Thurlby brings the Big Smoke brilliantly to life in all its glory.
From the splendour of Somerset House to the gory past of the Tower of London, from the olfactory charms of Borough Market to the twisting helter-skelter structure of Anish Kapoor’s The Orbit in Olympic Park, London is an exciting melting pot of the old and the new – but never the boring!
With such rich pickings, how do you condense the highlights? Artist Paul Thurlsby opts for an artistic A to Z starting with the iconic image of the Beatles on the zebra crossing at Abbey Road (Thurlby is a self-confessed fan of the Fab Four) and ending up at London Zoo, with pitstops at Downing Street, Kew Gardens, St Pancras and more en route.
Thurlby is the master of capturing teensy details that add so much. Each vibrant vignette is picture postcard perfect with witty touches that give a unique taste of the quirkiness of this buzzing city and its inhabitants with their oh-so-British love of forming
a nice orderly queue
Thurlby is adept at capturing the minutiae of the city’s every day life, from a nose-picking punk to the nonchalant commuters travelling on the tube and workers enjoying a lunchtime break in the Royal Parks. There’s also interesting and quirky facts to bring the history of London to life. Who knew that Britons spend six months of their lives queuing?
There’s also a chance to name-check the fine architecture of some of London’s most famous landmarks, ancient and modern, as well as spotting familiar sights like the classic red Routemaster bus that has become as much an emblem of London as the Eiffel Tower to Paris or the Statue of Liberty to New York.
With a nod to the brilliant city guides by M Sasak, whose own homage to the British capital This Is London was published in 1959 when the London Eye wasn’t even a twinkle, The book is satisfying big (measuring 32 x 25 cm) which makes it perfect for poring over with your child – especially with the added fun of spotting a cheeky city fox who appears in each spread.
Whether you’re a local or visiting, this delightful book showcases the very best that London has to offer from the comfort of the sofa without ever having to navigate its busy streets and transport systems.
A worthy tribute to everything that makes 21st Century London such a unique and wonderful city.
** SEE MORE LONDON HIGHLIGHTS ** Take a magical moonlit tour in an unconventional form of transport in Katie’s London Christmas by James Maynew.
Fun fact The London Eye is often mistakenly called a Ferris wheel. This is not the case. The capsules are completely enclosed and climate controlled; they are positioned on the outside of the wheel structure and are fully motorised; and the entire structure is supported by an A-frame on one side only – which makes it the world’s tallest cantilevered observation wheel.
Did you know? Big Ben is the bell, not the clock, housed in the Clock Tower at Westminster. The Houses of Parliament are part of the greater Palace of Westminster, built by Barry and Pugin in the mid-19th century.
Author notes Originally from Nottingham, Paul Thurlby has been a full-time illustrator since September 2006 after graduating from University in Buckinghamshire, building up an impressive list of commissions working in editorial, advertising, publishing and T-shirt design for clients including The New Yorker, The Guardian, Tate Enterprises, It’s Nice That, The French Tourist Board, Templar Publishing, Orange UK and Warner/Chappell.