If culture were the soul of a city, it would be conceivable to think that the landscape and architecture would be the face of that city that gives expression to the soul. On the 2nd of December an exhibition was launched in Sacarello’s Cafe that displayed the works of a man that gave Gibraltar one of its expressions: Nathaniel Arthur Langdon.
N. A. Langdon’s works can be found all over Gibraltar, but drawings of his most iconic works are the focus of the exhibition; the redevelopment of Assembly Rooms to become the Queen’s Cinema and the Queen’s hotel. The launch of the exhibitions comes sixty-three years after the inauguration of the Queen’s Cinema and the evening of the launch was a warm gathering to celebrate the life and work of an individual that modern Gibraltar is indebted to.
The exhibit was organised by his family and in particular his son and daughter, John and Michele. His nephew opened the evening with an insight into the life of the man and the art that he mastered, explaining that architecture is a privileged profession in that it requires the utilisation of all the technical aspects of building. N.A. Langdon was originally trained as an engineer but brought to the structure, the artistic and social considerations that make architecture an art. The striking thing about every technical drawing, painted rendition of the completed buildings, and even of the caricatures that Langdon painted of himself and others, is that they portray the detail and precision in art and design that comes from a life in pursuit of excellence.
The exhibition, which ended in December, saw works displayed in the tea rooms of Sacarello’s coffee shop on the ground floor. Visitors of the exhibit were treated to the history of Gibraltar’s most iconic buildings that hosted generations of moviegoers and other events until its closure in 2014. With the recent demolishing of the cinema, the exhibit brings back to life a part of our recent history we should endeavour to hold on to, and gives praise to the life of a man that cultivated an idea, an art, and a gift that he brought into reality.