From the Bowes to the Wallace

El Greco to Goya – Spanish Masterpieces from The Bowes Museum, The Wallace Collection, Hertford House, Manchester Square, London, W1, until 7th January 2018

Jose Antolinez
The Immaculate Conception, 1650-75
Credit @ The Bowes Museum

While we usually think of the Wallace Collection as a haven of French 18th century art and taste it is of course much more than that as its works by Murillo and Velazquez testify. It is therefore appropriate that this group of Spanish paintings, spanning three centuries, should come on loan from the Bowes Museum in County Durham and mark the start of a partnership between these two remarkable places. The museums have similar origins as they are both the gifts of illegitimate sons of aristocratic fathers to the British nation.

Francisco Jose Goya
Interior of a Prison, 1793-94
Credit @ The Bowes Museum

Xavier Bray, Director of the host museum says: “El Greco to Goya is not only an unprecedented opportunity to see Spanish art of extraordinary power and significance in London, but also the beginning of an exciting relationship between the Wallace Collection and The Bowes Museum. Both institutions share a commitment to making great art accessible to wider audiences and we are looking forward to working closely together to develop a long term connection between London and the North East.”

Domenikos Theotokopoulos ‘El Greco’
The Tears of St Peter, 1580-89
Credit @ The Bowes Museum

His counterpart at the Bowes Museum, Adrian Jenkins, says: “In 1892, when The Bowes Museum first opened its doors to the public, it had the largest public collection of Spanish paintings in the UK. As we mark 125 years since the creation of the museum, it is highly appropriate that the key works from this collection should be shared with London audiences, in keeping with John and Joséphine Bowes’ belief that great art should be made accessible to all. Neither John nor Joséphine Bowes survived to realise their vision, and they would be delighted to think that the best of their acquisitions would be shown at the Wallace Collection during this anniversary year, recognising that their gift to the people of County Durham is also a gift to the nation.”

Well worth a peek!

Antonio Pereda y Salgado
Tobias Restoring his Father’s Sight, 1652
Credit @ The Bowes Museum / @WallaceMuseum / #ElGrecotoGoya

This post highlights worrying proposed moves by Westminster Council Conservatives.

For years one of the major sources of local resident complaint to local councillors has been when a controversial development has been given planning permission and they had not been informed it was happening. Too often the reason was because they fell outside the narrowly defined area to which the council sent a notification letter. […]

via Westminster Tories sound the last post for resident consultation on planning permissions — labourwestminster

Recalling the 18th Century!

© Alix de Montaigu-Sèvres-Cité de la Céramique

J. Paul Getty’s statement “For technical skill & perfection and for delicacy & taste Sèvres is unsurpassed” is in my view definitely true whether talking about 18th and 19th century pieces or something contemporary such as the items shown by the Sèvres Factory at the recent PAD show in Berkeley Square.

© Alix de Montaigu-Sèvres-Cité de la Céramique

I think that Getty would have been intrigued by the fact that as well as making striking modern designs they were also able, using the traditional methods, to recreate major pieces from the 18th century such as the boat-shaped Vaisseau à Mât.  Only twelve of these were created in the 18th century, of which ten are known to survive today, including one in the Royal Collection. It is therefore a remarkable achievement that the factory has produced this soft paste ‘copy’ of the Buckingham Palace example which was originally owned by the great supporter and patron of the Sèvres Factory Madame de Pompadour.

© Alix de Montaigu-Sèvres-Cité de la Céramique


© Alix de Montaigu-Sèvres-Cité de la Céramique

The images reflect both the production and resultant vase – a veritable tour de force!

© Alix de Montaigu-Sèvres-Cité de la Céramique

It can be seen at Thomas Goode in South Audley Street check for details 020 7499 2823; INFO@THOMASGOODE.COM)

The RIBA President’s response to the PM’s Conservative Party Conference Speech

RIBA responds to Prime Minister Theresa May’s speech to Conservative Party Conference

RIBA President Ben Derbyshire said “Earlier this week the RIBA awarded Neave Brown the Royal Gold Medal, architecture’s highest accolade, for his outstanding work in building high quality affordable housing, cherished by local communities. Social housing like this plays a vital role in ensuring that we have a society that works for everyone. While it’s good news that the Prime Minister has made fixing the housing crisis a central priority for the government, the extra £2 billion promised today just won’t meet the scale of investment needed to address decades of under-supply.

“The government spends billions of pounds a year subsidising private landlords because of a shortage of social housing. They need to dial up the approach and investment, moving beyond describing the problems and big rhetoric to delivering solutions and the investment that will make the difference. Warm words won’t put roofs over people’s heads; we need a concerted programme of public investment in new social housing across the country and that means spending a lot more than was announced today.”

 ‘Art for Grenfell’ Auction, Sotheby’s London

 ‘Art for Grenfell’ Auction, Sotheby’s, 34-35 New Bond Street, London W1, 16th October 2017


I am going to let those involved with this auction tell you more about this generous act.

Tracey Emin
Loving You More, 2015
Estimate: £25,000-35,000

First the words of film producer Hamish McAlpine and Katie Heller who have spear-headed this auction: “The edifice of Grenfell Tower stands as a reminder of the terrible failure of society to look after its poorest people.  No one should have had to suffer the trauma that these people have endured. It is only right that we should do all we can to help in any way that we can and the artists have responded with immense generosity and goodwill.”

Rachel Whiteread
Open Door, 2007
Estimate: £8,000-12,000

The local North Kensington-based charity the Rugby Portobello Trust will divide the proceeds equally among the 158 surviving families. The Trust’s CEO Mark Simms said: “Thank you on behalf of The Rugby Portobello Trust and on behalf of the families and wider community affected by the Grenfell Tower fire. The Rugby Portobello Trust has pledged to support everyone who survived this disaster and to ensure all Grenfell residents receive the support they need. The monies raised by this auction will be delivered, in their entirety, directly to the former residents by The Rugby Portobello Trust.”


Sotheby’s UK Chairman and auctioneer for this sale Lord Dalmeny commented: “The Grenfell disaster has had a profound effect on all of us. We are very glad to be able to do something to help provide support to the victims.”


Wolfgang Tillmans
Freischwimmer 193, 2009
Estimate: £120,000-180,000

Thanks are most certainly also due to the artists involved, including Tacita Dean, Tracey Emin, Rachel Howard, Sarah Lucas, Harland Miller, Wolfgang Tillmans, Yinka Shonibare, Bob & Roberta Smith, Mark Wallinger and Rachel Whiteread. Gallerist and former Notting Hill resident Sadie Coles has also donated a piece from her own collection.


The works will be exhibited at Sotheby’s London from 12-16 October. A small selection of sale highlights will also be exhibited from 6-8 October

Worth reading!

Westminster Labour have reacted with anger at the news that Westminster Council’s request for Government support over fire safety measures has been rejected by the Conservative-DUP Government’s Housing Minister Alok Sharma. The full cost of implementing fire safety measures such as installing sprinklers in taller council blocks across the city and removing dangerous cladding from […]

via Shameful Sharma blocks Government support for Westminster fire safety — labourwestminster