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23 July 2012
Commuters at Blackfriars experienced a dash of culture this morning, as the station's new entrance on the south bank of the Thames was filled with works of art.
The watercolours form part of the Bankside Gallery's 'Picturing Britain' exhibition, which opens to the public on Friday.
Although most of the artworks will be returned to Bankside Gallery for display, one will remain at the station. 'Calling at…' by Portsmouth-based artist Jessica Taylor will be displayed permanently in Blackfriars' new south entrance. The new entrance is the first to be built on the south bank for 120 years and offers passengers at Blackfriars a direct connection to London's cultural heart.
Jessica Taylor, winner of the London Lives competition backed by Network Rail, First Capital Connect and Bankside Gallery, was on hand to unveil her winning artwork. She commented: "Ever since I was little London has played a huge part in my love for art. It's an amazing honour and privilege to be given the opportunity to contribute towards the great relationship between art and the capital, especially in such an important year for London"
Paul Byrne, senior programme manager for Network Rail's Blackfriars rebuild, added:“Blackfriars used to be a station for the north bank, ferrying commuters to and from work in the City. Its new entrance serving the south bank and Bankside connects Blackfriars to the Capital's cultural heart, making it just as much a destination for gallery day trippers as well heeled city folk. Jessica's superb work of art, displayed in the south station in perpetuity, is symbolic of these new cultural links.”
Angela Parker, director of Bankside Gallery said:“'It is so exciting to see Jessica Taylor's striking work displayed in this impressive new station entrance, which is making Bankside Gallery so much more accessible to our visitors.'
First Capital Connect customer service director Keith Jipps said: "The design of our fabulous new station at Blackfriars is a work of art, so what better way to celebrate this than using it to showcase Ms Taylor's prize-winning composition."
Jessica Taylor won the London Lives art competition in 2011. 'Calling at…' was created from a stack of train tickets she had stored away, combined with silhouettes of people waiting for trains.
'Picturing Britain' runs at the Bankside Gallery from 27 July – 12 August. All framed and unframed works are for sale and can be taken away immediately at point of purchase. The gallery's art bookshop will also be selling a range of London-themed gifts and cards during the Olympic period.
Blackfriars station has been rebuilt over a Victorian rail bridge spanning the River Thames. Its new south entrance, the first to be built on the south bank for 120 years, offers passengers direct access to London's cultural heart, including attractions such as Bankside Gallery, Shakespeare's Globe and Tate Modern.
The Blackfriars project forms part of a wider upgrade of the Thameslink route, running from Bedford to Brighton through central London. First Capital Connect customers on this route will benefit from longer trains and more frequent services, with a metro-style train every 2.5 minutes through central London during peak times.