BOOK REVIEW: Longford Castle

Longford Castle: The Treasures & The Collectors

Amelia Smith

 ISBN: 9781910787687

Publisher: Unicorn


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I first learnt about Longford Castle and some of its treasures in an article in the 1968 Country Life Annual and have wanted to know more about it ever since. Well now both you and I can find out more in this fascinating book which is both well-written and well-illustrated.


Dating from Elizabethan times the house was acquired by the Bouverie family in 1717 and the story of how they built up the outstanding art collection which consists of Old Masters and family portraits – think Holbein, Claude, Reynolds and Gainsborough – is skilfully interwoven with the tale of the furnishings and decorations of the castle’s rooms which form the backdrop to the paintings.  It really is a celebration and a history of this great collection and house and is such a delight. It is a book I will return to time and time again!

Labour to scrap Westminster Council’s tall building plans if elected in May


Westminster Labour Group are committing to scrapping the Conservative Council’s proposed approach to tall buildings if Labour are elected to run Westminster at the May 3rd Council Elections.

In March 2017 Westminster Council launched a consultation on its plans entitled Building height: Getting the right kind of growth for Westminster where it extolled the potential benefits of increasing the number of tall buildings across Westminster. After initial resident anger the Council has delayed coming forward with its final plans as part of the delayed Westminster City Plan process- the results of which risk not being announced before the election.

Westminster Labour is open to exploring increased density or the addition of one or two floors to existing buildings in appropriate locations if such development delivers clear benefits for local residents. However it is strongly opposed to the elements of the Council’s current approach that could see the spread of…

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Interesting reading!

Labour believes that under Conservative control Westminster Council has put the needs of property developers first for far too long. For decades they have let developers get away with building far fewer ‘affordable’ homes than required under Westminster’s planning policy, they have pushed through controversial schemes and promoted an approach to architecture based on the […]

via Westminster Labour pledge to clean up the planning system by ending hospitality from developers — labourwestminster

William Campbell revisited


William Campbell at work in his new space at Alfies

It is more than a couple of years now (September 2015) since I wrote about William and the fine work he does in his framing studio at Alfies Antiques Market.  I am writing about him once again to tell you about his move from the ground floor to a more spacious area on the first floor as these images show. It is clearly visible from the street too. I have to personally add that I am very pleased with the frames he has recently made for me so check him out for yourselves.


Door display at William Campbell Frames

William Campbell Fine Frames and Framing

First Floor

Alfies Antiques Market

13-25 Church Street,

London NW8 8DT


Eddie Poodle WIlliam Campbell Frames Gold 1 small

Eddie the poodle at William Campbell Frames

‘The sounds of Music’

Brian Graham – Towards Music, The Salisbury Museum, The King’s House, 65 The Close, Salisbury SP1 2EN, until 12th May 2018


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Brian Graham Fanfare for the Common Man for Aaron Copland, 2014 Mixed media on board 26cm x 34cm

In this show of some forty works the Dorset-born artist takes us on a journey into history with his ideas of how music-making and dance may have started. These painted reliefs reflect his long-held interest in the worlds of archaeology, anthropology and science and this juxtaposition with their titles which are either taken from notable works or figures in music and dance fire the viewer’s imagination to picture the past. It’s a show where – as the song says – “the melody lingers on”!

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Brian Graham La Mer for Claude Debussy, 2014 Mixed media on board 34cm x 26cm

BOOK REVIEW: Versailles – The Great and Hidden Splendours of the Sun King’s Palace


The Great and Hidden Splendours of the Sun King’s Palace

 Catherine Pégard, Christophe Fouin

 Thames & Hudson
ISBN: 9780500519868


Take one look at this book and you will clearly see why Versailles endures and attracts new admirers and visitors every year.  From the days of Louis XIV onwards the palace has acted like a magnet to all.

In this sumptuous volume the palace’s official photographers (Christophe Fouin, Thomas Garnier, Christian Milet and Didier Saulnier) take us on a journey, using images from their personal albums, that memorably reveals the place whether it be the Grand Apartments, Chapel, Orangerie or the private rooms of the King and his mistresses. The erudite captions tell of the history and treasures in these rooms and evoke a sense of what Versailles must have been like in the 17th and 18th centuries when the King was in residence.

It is and was a very different world and it is amazing to think that these rooms with their elaborate decoration and furnishings were part of everyday life for their royal inhabitants. Some spaces such as Madame de Pompadour’s “niche” in the Chapel or her maid’s bedroom are small and intimate while others such as the Hercules Salon or the Hall of Mirrors remind you that you are in the palace of a king.

There have been numerous books on Versailles over the years and to my mind this is the best! I shall revisit it frequently and no doubt linger a little over the picture of Madame Victoire’s library – a room I could very happily live in.

Thought I should share yet more news on housing in Westminster

Labour Councillors have called for an inquiry in to how the freehold of the entire Abercorn Place estate in St John’s Wood has been transferred from Westminster City Council to a private company, Kunta Kinte Ltd which has two shareholders, both of which are registered at 7 Bradman House on the estate. The Abercorn Place […]

via Labour call for inquiry into sale of the freehold of St John’s Wood housing estate   — labourwestminster