London is well-known for its various connections with Harry Potter.
Tourists and Londoners alike rush to Kings Cross’s makeshift 9 and ¾ platform every September 1st, Leadenhall Market was the set for Diagon Alley, and just outside of London there is the Studio Tours at Leavesden. But there is a little-known place where fans can go to see some of the film’s properties up close, which doesn’t involve an expensive ticket and advanced booking.
Artists Miraphora Mina and Eduardo Lima met in the early 200s when they were working on graphic designs for the Harry Potter films. Fast forward a decade later, and they’ve opened a studio in central London, allowing Harry Potter fans and art enthusiasts alike, to see their iconic designs up close.
Situated in Greek Street, just a stone’s throw away from Shaftesbury Avenue where the new production of Harry Potter and the Cursed Child is playing, the House of MinaLima sits. A pop of colour in the otherwise muted street full of pubs and restaurants, you can tell that what is inside will be magical.
The gallery is small and the stairs are very narrow, enforcing a one-at-a-time rule, but this adds to the charm of the experience – I feel as if I am in Grimmauld Place itself!
Passing the shop on the ground floor, full of artistic delights, the first floor showcases MinaLima’s non-Potter related works. They are talented artists and have developed a distinctive style- I can immediately tell that this is their work.
The second and final floors are the reason most visitors are here: Harry Potter. The staircase has painted letters on the floor, as if owls have just flown in with myriads of Hogwarts letters. Photos of the set and film adorn the walls, and as I step into the room, I find my feet are placed on the Marauders Map. I make my way around these two floors, and my Potterhead-self internally squeals with delight. I see Weasleys’ Wizard Wheezes product packaging and posters – more were created than we are able to see in the films so as to fill the entire set. A fireplace with letters pouring out of it reminds us of where it all started, and there are plenty of Daily Prophet front pages, covers of textbooks, and sweet packaging to look at and witness the sheer detail in.
This studio is a must for the Potter enthusiast and art admirer alike, and the staff are incredibly friendly and knowledgeable about all of the works. However the gallery is only open until early February 2017, and it is free, so hop on your broomsticks or take the Floo Network there before it apparates without a trace…