The year 1999 marked a big round 100th anniversary of Alfred Hitchcock's birth. Waltham Forest Council has a history of paying homage to the area's most successful export, so it was obvious they are not going to take a pass on such an opportunity.
Leytonstone tube station became the project's destination and mosaics were chosen as art form. Greenwich Mural Workshop, a small London-based company that also does murals, banners and more, was offered the job. They made 17 pieces, each put together with vitreous glass. The work was far from lightweight, as its completion consumed 7 months out of the lives of employed Greenwich artists and 80,000 tiles were used in total. That's almost 5000 pieces of glass per mosaic.
Fourteen are tributes to the great director's movies. For each, a memorable scene that embodies Hitchcock's characteristic style was chosen. Interestingly, they start with the letter 'm', but that probably wasn't anyone's intention. Despite few classics occupying earlier letters of the alphabet (and among them my personal favorite - Dial M for Murder), it so happened that the Leytonstone born and bred's majority of quality work was gifted with the titles starting with the letters of the second half of the alphabet.
The subjects of another three mosaics were more loosely related. One was a conversion of everyone's favorite photograph from Alfred Hitchcock's childhood in which the young boy sits on a horse accompanied by his father standing by and with the Leytonstone house in the background. The second mosaic shows the director at work, giving instructions to his actors who consume them with full attention. The last one shows a more relaxed side of Hitchcock - there he sits on the couch holding a cigar and clearly having a great time, while Marlene Dietrich, spread on the opposite side of that piece of furniture, is fully engaged in telling some story.
To make things easier for the less familiar with the director, captions carved in metal plates are directly above, or below the mosaics with information about each piece of art.
One common reaction of people who visit the tube station to get a peek at them is that of astonishment by the fact that neither of those who pass by notice them and instead are often curious as to why exactly is this or that madman taking pictures of a wall in a metro tunnel?
The final installation was made in April 2001. Below, you can look at every piece from the set.