Museum Of London

Hand-Drawn London, Museum of London

Maps lie. Or at least, the people who make maps lie. They use maps to show what they want to show, to say what they want to say. They make the Tube network less accurate but more navigable. They squeeze Africa and expand Europe. Even the London A-Z fibs, exaggerating the thickness of streets and shrinking parks to a green speck. Maps lie, but usually for a reason and often rather beautifully.

Hand-drawn London - picture preview

Cartography, in general, requires a degree of artistic licence. Drawing the shape and features of the Earth’s surface on a map is arguably less about creating an exact replica of it than about creating a useful tool by which to navigate it.

London Street Photography, Museum of London

There is a photograph by Horace Nicholls at the Museum of London's excellent London Street Photography that neatly encapsulates the elusive magic of street photography. It was taken at the Epsom Derby in 1910 and features a well-dressed lady in her thirties, who sits slumped at a table resting her head in her hands with a cigarette in mouth, lost in thought. But what thought? Street photography can capture a fleeting moment in a stranger's life for eternity, but it will never tell you what they were thinking. That's for the viewer to ponder.