There's always something fascinating about a bird's eye view of a city. I think it's the potential to lose yourself in the detail as you identify and remember places you've previously visited or wonder about new destinations that have yet to be explored and what they might reveal.
Maps and aerial photographs deliver representations of past, present and future adventures, and their ability to transport us to another world offers a delightful form of escapism. While Google Earth allows us to research destinations before we've even arrived at them there's something reassuring about having a tactile representation of a place literally in your hands, rather than just a transient illuminated image on a screen. New from Chisel & Mouse, who you may already know from their architectural models, is a series of finely cast plaster cityscapes, including New York, London, Rome and Amsterdam, amongst others.
So which city to escape to?
After much deliberation I chose Paris with its classic Axe historique featuring the Arc de Triomphe at the centre and those elegant Parisian boulevards radiating out from it. It evokes fond memories of the most recent trip Graham and I took to Paris a few years ago, and reminds me that we really should go back again soon. We stayed at a beautiful hotel in the 8th Arondissement which is actually represented on the model, so every time I look at it I'm reminded of the lovely time we had there.
Protected in a perspex case and suitable for either wall mounting or displaying on a desk or coffee table, the cityscapes are exquisitely made and faithfully capture the intricate details of the cities they represent. You almost feel that you are holding a classical museum antiquity in your hands. Like an item that could have come from the Sir John Soane's Museum, these fine plaster cityscapes are tactile treasures - fragments of our contemporary world to admire and cherish.
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The Paris Cityscape was very kindly gifted to me by Chisel and Mouse, but I've written about it here because I absolutely love it.