London Design Festival at the Sir John Soane’s Museum

London Design Festival at the Sir John Soane’s Museum – ‘Below Stairs’

This is the thirteenth edition of the London Design Festival and it runs until the 25th September. Once again the V&A is the Festival’s hub but there is much going on around London (400 events) and further details can be found on the website: londondesignfestival.com.

However I thought I would share this rather special treat at Sir John Soane’s Museum which is part of the Festival with you.  The last seven-year restoration project has just been completed and it means that after a thirty year total the house is fully restored.  New spaces have been opened to the public, including the Regency kitchens in the basement.

Georgian kitchen range in the Soane's Museum back kitchen. Photo: Gareth Gardner

Georgian kitchen range in the Soane’s Museum back kitchen.
Photo: Gareth Gardner

Four designers (Barber Osgerby, Jasper Morrison, Martino Gamper and Paul Cocksedge) visited the kitchens, which retain their original fittings, and were each inspired in turn. Barber Osgerby has installed a table (in Soane Green colour) which reflects how important a focal point it would be in a working kitchen while Paul Cocksedge was interested to see what the effect of just natural light would be. Jasper Morrison was inspired by the Museum’s object in daily use and Martino Gamper’s vases are made from materials found in the Museum.

Below Stairs exhibition in Soane's Museum front kitchen Photo: Gareth Gardner

Below Stairs exhibition in Soane’s Museum front kitchen
Photo: Gareth Gardner

A kitchen, of course, would not be complete without gastronomic smells and so food historian and artist Tasha Marks, founder of AVM Curiosities, has created a series of sensory scent chambers.

Edward Barber, Jay Osgerby's black Port vase in the Soane's Museum front kitchen. Photo: Gareth Gardner

Edward Barber, Jay Osgerby’s black Port vase in the Soane’s Museum front kitchen.
Photo: Gareth Gardner

The Museum’s Operations and Commercial Director, Xanthe Arvanitakis commented: “It is an honour for us to partner with London Design Festival again, especially now in our fourth year running. It’s not only a wonderful community to be a part of, but allows the Museum to continue to share Sir John Soane’s passion for design with the public and design community.”

Martino Gamper's vases on the Soane's Museum kitchen dresser. Photo: Gareth Gardner

Martino Gamper’s vases on the Soane’s Museum kitchen dresser.
Photo: Gareth Gardner

The completed restoration project is a testimonial to Sir John Soane’s protection of the house and collection through an Act of Parliament in 1833 and I feel sure he would enjoy this new display.

Paul Cocksedge Studio Soane's Light Sir John Soane's Museum Photo: Mark Cocksedge

Paul Cocksedge Studio
Soane’s Light
Sir John Soane’s Museum
Photo: Mark Cocksedge

The works will be on show as part of the exhibition ‘Below Stairs’ which runs until 28th January 2017.

 

 

www.soane.org

Sculpted Hands

Nicole Farhi – ‘The Human Hand’, Bowman Sculpture, 6 Duke Street St James’s, London SW1, until 30th September 2016

Nicole Farhi ‘Philanthropist’ bronze, edition of 9, height: 20cm

Nicole Farhi
‘Philanthropist’
bronze, edition of 9,
height: 20cm

 

This is the second solo show at the gallery for this celebrated designer and sculptor.  The hands depicted range from those of a baby to the artist’s mother’s hundred year’s old hands.  Hands from musicians, writers and artists are there along with those of a baker, a glazier and a noted philanthropist.

Farhi says of the exhibition: “I was drawn to the idea of sculpting the hand because it represented such a huge challenge. From the beginning of mankind, the first marks left on the walls of caves were by the human hand.  Because the hand is the instrument of creativity, it reveals different aspects of the subjects.

“There is something liberating in zooming in very close on a fragment of the body. Ignoring the whole and concentrating intimately on just one part of the body focuses not only the sculptor, but also the person who looks at the work.

“I feel that hands are somehow bigger than life. I am giving them the importance and power I feel they have.”

'Philanthropist' - Lord Rothschild credit: Walter van Dyk

‘Philanthropist’ – Lord Rothschild
credit: Walter van Dyk

The sculptures are accompanied by photographs of the sitters taken by Walter Van Dyk.

 

www.bowmansculpture.com

Woolley & Wallis in London

Woolley & Wallis, Mayfair Office, Second Floor, 17 Clifford Street, London, W1S 3RQ

Woolley & Wallis - In Mayfair

Woolley & Wallis – In Mayfair

The noted Salisbury firm of auctioneers are opening an office in Mayfair to deal with enquiries from international and London-based clients. They will have special viewings and exhibitions, including one for this year’s Asian Art in London.

Please note it is open by appointment only for which you need to contact the relevant department.

http://www.woolleyandwallis.co.uk

MEET THE CRAFTSMEN

I thought I would share this press release with you:

c3b836f6-4f4f-4aa6-8be4-06ca58fb5778

 

MEET THE CRAFTSMEN WHO RESTORED SPENCER HOUSE

27 St James’s Place, London SW1

Sunday 16th October 2016, 10.30am-5.30pm

 

This special Craftsmen Day gives visitors an opportunity to meet conservators, decorators and designers employed during one of the most remarkable restoration projects of the last century.

 On site to explain and demonstrate the techniques and materials will be:

  • Ben Bacon who carved copies of the original suites of furniture designed by Vardy and Stuart.
  • Alan Dodd the artist who recreated the trompe l’oeil effect on the staircase balustrade.
  • Peter Hare & Paul Humphreys of Hare & Humphreys responsible for architectural gilding of the fine rooms and restoration of the decorative plasterwork.
  • David Mlinaric who oversaw for the interior decoration of the State Rooms.
  • Dick Reid who carried out architectural carving, including the doorcases, and the elaborate marble copies of original chimney pieces.
  • Peter Schade who, with Ben Bacon, carved the large frames for the Cipriani and Hamilton paintings in the Great Room, copied from original Stuart frames at Althorp.
  • Peter Thuring, who gilded the copies of the original furniture, and conserved and reupholstered Stuart’s original suite of furniture in the Painted Room, on loan from the V&A.
  • David Wilkinson of Wilkinson plc who produced five Adam-style glass chandeliers.

 

Sunday 16th Oct, 10.30am-5.30pm (last entry 4.30pm)
Advance booking recommended, online at www.spencerhouse.co.uk or  020 7067 1958
Adults £14, concessions £12

Milkmaids in St James’s Park

Benjamin West: Milkmaids in St James’s Park, Spencer House, 27 St James’s Place, London SW1, until 29th January 2017

Benjamin West  Milkmaids in St. James's Park, Westminster Abbey Beyond (ca. 1801, oil on panel, Paul Mellon Fund) Courtesy of the Yale Center for British Art

Benjamin West
Milkmaids in St. James’s Park, Westminster Abbey Beyond (ca. 1801, oil on panel, Paul Mellon Fund)
Courtesy of the Yale Center for British Art

I have had the great delight of writing about the fabulous London home of the Spencer family with its remarkable early neo-classical interiors by James ‘Athenian’ Stuart over many years now.

It is hard to believe that it is now twenty-five years since the house was re-opened to the public following the restoration of the fine interiors carried out for RIT Capital Partners PLC, under Lord Rothschild’s chairmanship. The house’s collection is managed by the Rothschild Foundation.

Among the paintings on display in the house are a group of paintings by the American-born artist Benjamin West from the Royal Collection. In the Dining Room are the Death of Wolfe (1771), The Death of Chevalier Bayard (1772) and The Death of Epaminondas (1773) which were commissioned by George III, while upstairs in Lady Spencer’s Room visitors will discover The Family of the King of Armenia before Cyrus (1773) and The Wife of Arminius brought captive to Germanicus (1773).

The Dining Room, Spencer House Courtesy of The Rothschild Foundation

The Dining Room, Spencer House
Courtesy of The Rothschild Foundation

These have been joined by a special loan (to mark the 25th anniversary) from the Yale Center for British Art of West’s Milkmaids in St. James’s Park, Westminster Abbey Beyond (ca. 1801, oil on panel, Paul Mellon Fund). And a very interesting loan it is for this is an unusual subject in West’s oeuvre with its combination of pastoral and urban life.  It depicts the eastern end of nearby St James’s Park where milkmaids had kept cows from the late 17th century onwards and by the time of the painting it had become somewhat fashionable to visit that part of the park to imbibe either milk or a mixture of milk and wine known as syllabub (one of my favourite deserts). Appropriately enough the painting hangs in the Dining Room.

 

Spencer House: Open every Sunday 10am-5pm, £12 (£10 concessions) also for pre-booked and private tours

 

http://www.spencerhouse.co.uk

A Paris debut

Tomasso Brothers Fine Art at La Biennale des Antiquaires, Grand Palais, Paris, until 18th September 2016

 

François Girardon (1628-1715), Bust of Modios Asiatikos, bronze, 43.8cm high, 34.4cm wide.

François Girardon (1628-1715),
Bust of Modios Asiatikos, bronze,
43.8cm high, 34.4cm wide.

This is the first time that the notable gallery Tomasso Brothers Fine Art have exhibited at the celebrated La Biennale des Antiquaires in Paris. Among the pieces they are showing is this bronze portrait bust of the famed ancient Greek physician Modios Asiatikos by François Girardon, who worked for Louis XIV.  It is recorded as being in the sculptor’s own collection and is illustrated in the series of engravings entitled La Galerie de Girardon (c. 1709) and more recently is included in the new monograph on Girardon.  If such clear provenance was not enough on its own then prospective purchasers may be interested to know that it also bears an inventory mark for the Tuilleries Palace.

 

tomassobrothers.co.uk

FAIR ALERT: A Double First

START Art Fair 2016, Saatchi Gallery, Duke of York’s HQ, King’s Road, London SW3, 15th – 18th September 2016

Andres Barrioquinto More Easily Than Most, 2016 122 x 122 cm Oil on Canvas One East Asia (Booth 2.5, Gallery Two)

Andres Barrioquinto
More Easily Than Most, 2016
122 x 122 cm
Oil on Canvas
One East Asia (Booth 2.5, Gallery Two)

The Philippines artist Andres Barrioquinto is having a first solo UK showing on the booth of Singapore’s One East Asia gallery who are first-time exhibitors to the Fair.

www.oneeastasia.org

startartfair.com

London Design Biennale

London Design Biennale, Somerset House, Strand, London WC2, until 27th September 2016

Albania Credit - Ed Reeve Images

Albania
Credit – Ed Reeve Images

This is London’s first Design Biennale and is in partnership with Jaguar and Somerset House. Its theme is ‘Utopia by Design’ and there is such a wide-range of works and ideas from writers, artists, designer, architects and scientists drawn from the thirty-seven participating countries that I will in fact leave it to you to go along and discover them for yourselves.  I really urge you to do so because it is worth it as these images suggest.

Lebanon Credit - Ed Reeve Images

Lebanon
Credit – Ed Reeve Images

The Biennale’s president Sir John Sorrell sums it up saying: “The London Design Biennale celebrates design as an international language, which everyone can understand. It does not recognise boundaries or borders. It is always seeking to make the world a better place. All over the world, nations and cities are increasingly recognising the power of design to bring social change and economic growth. They are realising that creativity, with design at its heart, can play a vital role in providing solutions to problems which affect the way people live.”

India Credit - Bradley Lloyd Barnes

India
Credit – Bradley Lloyd Barnes

 

Australia Credit - Ed Reeve Images

Australia
Credit – Ed Reeve Images

 

South Africa Credit - Bradley Lloyd Barnes

South Africa
Credit – Bradley Lloyd Barnes

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Shenzhen, China Credit - Ed Reeve Images

Shenzhen, China
Credit – Ed Reeve Images

 

Turkey Credit - Bradley Lloyd Barnes

Turkey
Credit – Bradley Lloyd Barnes

 

The Netherlands Credit - Ed Reeve Images

The Netherlands
Credit – Ed Reeve Images

 

http://www.londondesignbiennale.com

A Celebration of Tea Drinking

LAPADA Art & Antiques Fair 2016, Berkeley Square, Mayfair, London W1, 13th – 18th September 2016

Famille Verte Teapot China, Kangxi period, ca.1690

Famille Verte Teapot
China, Kangxi period, ca.1690

Now in its eighth year this popular fair is the place to find fine pieces from across all disciplines. It is therefore appropriate that this year there is a select group of highlights from the Chitra Collection which celebrates tea over the centuries through the vessels and other paraphernalia involved in its drinking and preparation.

Tea Caddy, boîte à thé Sèvres, Louis-Jean Thévenet (painter) France, c. 1765

Tea Caddy, boîte à thé
Sèvres, Louis-Jean Thévenet (painter)
France, c. 1765

This is the first time pieces from the collection have been shown in the UK and its curator Olivia Fryman has selected items that reflect the long history of this beverage. Starting with the beginnings of the tea story in China and Japan, we then pass on to the growing interest and consumption of it in Europe (Catherine of Braganza, Charles II’s wife, introduced tea to this country) in the 17th and 18th centuries and then go on to see how it played an important role in the story of the British Empire. The last piece of this story looks at the global interest, especially in Russia and America, and how tea became a part of everyday life for many.

Copper Gilt Mounted Chinese Porcelain Teapot China and Germany, Kangxi period (1654 - 1722), mounts ca.1680

Copper Gilt Mounted Chinese Porcelain Teapot
China and Germany, Kangxi period (1654 – 1722), mounts ca.1680

The collection has been put together by the London-based businessman Nirmal Kumar Sethia, who says “The Chitra Collection will continue to inspire generations of tea lovers long after I’m gone. It is my wish that, for centuries to come, the world will be able to appreciate and experience the beauty and significance of tea, art and culture”. His interest has continued since he first started working as an apprentice tea buyer in London, aged 14. He started the luxury tea company Newby Teas in 2000.

Cup and saucer Meissen, J. G. Höroldt (painter) Germany, c. 1722-3

Cup and saucer
Meissen, J. G. Höroldt (painter)
Germany, c. 1722-3

There are in excess of 1700 tea-related objects in the collection which was named in memory of his late wife and I think you may agree from the selection illustrated here that it is a fascinating subject.

Teapot Royal Worcester, George Owen and Samuel Ranford England, 1878

Teapot
Royal Worcester, George Owen and Samuel Ranford
England, 1878

lapadalondon.com

Silver kettle and stand Paul de Lamerie England, 1751

Silver kettle and stand
Paul de Lamerie
England, 1751

BOOK REVIEW: In the Light of Naples – The Art of Francesco de Mura

In the Light of Naples – The Art of Francesco de Mura

Edited by Arthur R. Blumenthal. Foreword by Gloria Marina Belleni. Contributions by Nicola Spinosa, David Nolta, Loredana Gazzara, Maria Grazia Leonetti Rodinò

Published by GILES in association with The Cornell Fine Arts Museum, Rollins College, Winter Park
UK£32.50 / US$49.95
ISBN — 978-1-907804-85-4

9781907804854

This book celebrates the work of Francesco de Mura (1696–1782), who is considered one of the leading painters of the Golden Age of Naples.  Stylistically he transcends Late Baroque, Rococo and early-Neoclassicism and it is no wonder that he was a favourite painter of the Bourbon king Charles VII (1735-59).

The authors consider all aspects of his work from the large paintings and frescoes he did for various churches such as his The Adoration of the Magi (ca.1728) for the church of Santa Maria Donnaromita to his paintings on canvas or copper. His interest in and bequest to the charitable institution Pio Monte della Misericordia is also discussed and they still have some thirty nine of the works he bequeathed.

As one looks at these elegant, colourful paintings one cannot but feel a sadness that a third of his work was lost during the British and American bombing of Naples and Monte Cassino in 1944 but as this book succinctly proves there still remains much to enjoy.

 

The book marks an eponymous exhibition which opens at The Cornell Fine Arts Museum, FL, September 17–December 18, 2016, before travelling on to the Chazen Museum, University, of Wisconsin-Madison, the Loeb Art Center at Vassar College, and the Snite Museum at the University of Notre Dame through the course of 2017.

gilesltd.com