“Books About Town” Places Literary-Inspired Benches Throughout London

Sherlock Holmes Stories Bench by Books About Town

Books About Town is a public art project being held this summer in London. 50 benches, each shaped like an open book and decorated to represent a popular book or author, are on display throughout the city now through September 15. In October, the benches will be sold at auction, with proceeds benefiting the National Literacy Trust.

Some of the benches use parts of the original illustrations for the books, while others come more from the artists’ imaginations. I think Books About Town has done a great job at choosing a variety of genres and choosing appropriate styles of illustration for each piece.

Great Expectations by Charles Dickens (by Ivan Liotchev) is represented by a dark, impressionist night scene with gaslight street lamps. The bench for Virgina Woolf’s Mrs. Dalloway (by Fiona and Neil Osborne of One Red Shoe) shows an art nouveau influence, which I find particularly beautiful. The artists who made benches for these classic works take into account the historical art movements from the time the books were written, but do so with their own personality.

A cheerful, minimal style is used for the Mary Poppins bench (by Darel Seow), while the Dr. Seuss bench (designed by Jane Headford) closely recreates the iconic Theodor Geisel illustrations and features many of his most popular characters.

I wish I was in London so I could visit each piece of Books About Town in person, but even then I suspect I’d have trouble deciding which are my favourites. I am a passionate advocate for reading and literacy, so I’m glad to see any project that supports the cause in such a stunning and creative way.

You can read more about all the books, authors, and artists featured in the project on the Books About Town website, as well as see maps so you can tour all the benches in person.

Bridget Jones's Diary Bench by Books About Town

Bridget Jones’s Diary – Books by Helen Fielding, Bench by Paula Bressel

Dr. Seuss Bench by Books About Town

Dr. Seuss – Books and Illustrations by Theodor Seuss Geisel, Bench Created by Jane Headford

How to Train Your Dragon Bench by Books About Town

How to Train Your Dragon – Books and Bench Design by Cressida Cowell, Painted by Gerard Strong

Great Expectations Bench by Books About Town

Great Expectations – Serial Novel by Charles Dickens, Bench by Ivan Liotchev

James Bond 007 Bench by Books About Town

James Bond – Stories by Ian Fleming, Bench by Freyja Dean

Mary Poppins Bench by Books About Town

Mary Poppins – Books by P. L. Travers, Bench by Darel Seow

Mrs. Dalloway Bench by Books About Town

Mrs. Dalloway – Novel by Virginia Woolf, Bench by Fiona and Neil Osborne

Peter Pan Bench by Books About Town

Peter Pan – Play by J. M. Barrie, Bench by Laura Elizabeth Bolton

Pride and Prejudice Bench by Books About Town

Pride and Prejudice – Novel by Jane Austen, Bench by Charlotte Brown

Sherlock Holmes Stories Bench by Books About Town

Sherlock Holmes – Stories by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, Bench by Valerie Osment

Tom is a writer, artist, and multi-media guru from Pennsylvania, U.S. He holds a Master's in Journalism and Mass Communication, but he has also taken several university-level courses in fine arts, art appreciation, graphic design, printmaking, and Asian art. He has been blogging for Monde Mosaic since February 2014.

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