BOOK REVIEW: Longford Castle

Longford Castle: The Treasures & The Collectors

Amelia Smith

 ISBN: 9781910787687

Publisher: Unicorn


Longford full jkt draft latest.indd

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!

‘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


30 Fanfare SMALL 72dpi

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”!

1 La Mer small 72dpi

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

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)

Nature Morte

NATURE MORTE, Guildhall Art Gallery, Guildhall Yard, London EC2, until 2nd April 2018

Jim Skull,
Untitled, 2009, papier maché, perles de verre 1930, 90 cm,
Photo C.Lebedinsky

Not, of course the most pleasant of subjects but one which certainly deserves our attention in an exhibition which attempts to show how 21st century artists have brought back to life, if that’s not too unfortunate a term, a genre previously synonymous with the 16th and 17th centuries.

Victoria Reynolds,
Globular Cluster, 2015, Oil on canvas(framed) 42.1 x 52.2 cm overall (16.5 x 20.5 in.)
Photographer Brian Forrest

This is one of the largest exhibitions presented at the Guildhall Art Gallery and features works by Mat Collishaw, Michael Craig-Martin, Gabriel Orozco and Marc Quinn amongst others.  This is its last stop on an acclaimed European tour and will be augmented in London with new works from London-based artists including Clare Twomey and Michael Raedecker.

Mathew Weir,
There and Not There, 2017, Oil on Canvas, mounted on board, 60 x 45 cm (unframed)
© Mathew Weir

One standout photograph by Mat Collishaw is Last Meal On Death Row, Texas (Juan Soria) which depicts the last meals ordered by prisoners on death row and each image is named after the prisoner who ordered the meal. It’s that sort of exhibition, folks!

Saara Ekström,
Clouded Yellow Bud, 2007, stop frame animation transferred on DVD, loop

Nature Morte is based on Michael Petry’s recent Thames and Hudson book of the same name and brings together historic still life paintings and modern works reflecting the language of these earlier pieces.

Alexander James,
‘The Great Leveller’, 2010, from ‘Vanitas’,Chromogenic print, mounted to polished aluminium plate, Face mounted with museum grade ar acrylic, 19 x 25 cm (2)

James White,
Raid, 2013, Oil and varnish on acrylic sheet in, Perspex box frame,
88.5 x 88.5 x 5.5 cm,
Courtesy the artist and Blain Southern


I am grateful to John Kirkwood for visiting and writing about this exhibition

Feline remembrances!

The Art of Steven Campbell, Marlborough Fine Art, Albemarle Street, London W1, until 21st October 2017

Steven Campbell,
Alice in Ruins, 1992-93,
oil on canvas, 269.9 x 263.7 cm,
Copyright the Estate of Steven Campbell, Courtesy Marlborough Fine Art

The retrospective on this highly acclaimed Scottish artist who sadly died in 2007 amply proves why he is so highly regarded by his peers and critics alike.  I was particularly drawn to this picture.

The look on the cat’s face so reminded me of a cat I used to have.  It is the look I would get just before he would attempt to climb the bedroom curtains if he thought he was not getting the attention he deserved at 6.30am. Both curtains and cat survived for many years!


Next Sunday in Church Street NW8 – 24th September 2017

Antiques Anonymous – An Art, Antiques & Design Flea Market, Church Street, London NW8, 24th  September 2017, 11am – 5pm

In times of change in the world of Art & Antiques around the capital – Portobello Road, Spitalfields, Burlington Arcade and Grays – it is a positive delight to be able to tell you about this new venture in the Antique quarter of Church Street, NW8.

Pair of Stone Carved Lamps by Albert Tormos. Stephen Sprake.

Coinciding with the last day of the London Design Festival this inaugural Flea Market will feature more than fifty dealers from NW8 and around and should prove to be a fruitful place to shop wherever your interests lie.

1950s wheat sheaf gilt table. Samaya Ling Vintage.

It highlights the long role of Alfies Antique Market in forming a hub which has attracted many other dealers to open up in what is a ‘must’ destination of those attracted by things vintage and contemporary. One can quite understand why eighty dealers in the area have come together to form Antiques Anonymous.


As well as being sponsored by Alfies, Westminster City Council are also supporting it. Their spokesperson said: : “We are pleased to be working with Antiques Anonymous, to bring this Antiques, Art and Design Flea market to Church Street NW8. There has already been a great deal of interest in this first event, and I’d encourage people to visit this diverse and vibrant part of London to give it their support so that it can become a regular event on the London event calendar.”

Fornasetti 1950s brass and red lacquered ice bucket – Cupio Gallery at Alfies

PS: Street Food will be available too – so no excuse not to take your time and spend lots on things for your home!

#AntiquesAnonymousLondon #JoinAA #ChurchStreetFlea

Alfies Antique Market

Audrey Hepburn – Christie’s

Personal Collection of Audrey Hepburn, Christie’s King Street, London SW1, 27th September 2017

 Part II – Online Auction, 19th September – 3rd October 2017

Lot 127
Audrey Hepburn as Holly Golightly on the set of the 1961 Paramount production Breakfast At Tiffany’s three gelatin silver production stills
largest sheet: 14 x 11 in. (35.6 x 27.9 cm.)
Estimate: £1,000-1,500 / $1,300-1,900 / €1,100-1,600

September is proving quite a month for sales by legendary actresses as following on the heels of the  Vivien Leigh sale at Sotheby’s we also have a sale of the possessions of Audrey Hepburn at Christie’s in London.  How does the song go ‘anything you can do I can do better’?

Lot 144
The two piece ensemble comprising a ftted bodice and skirt, each with a hem of semi-tubular black paillettes,
set on edge, with multiple canvas tags to the interior, as well as black woven label with canvas tag inscribed 23174,
designed for Audrey Hepburn as Regina “Reggie” Lampert in the 1963 Universal production Charade
Estimate: £50,000-80,000 / $64,000-100,000 / €55,000-86,000

Audrey was more than just a beautiful film star and wonderful actress.  Due to her association with Givenchy she became almost accidentally a fashion icon and is indeed regarded as one of the most iconic figures of the last century and in her last years became a goodwill ambassador for UNICEF.  One of the fund raising events she was involved in for UNICEF was a concert at the Barbican by Michael Tilson Thomas entitled From The Diary Of Anne Frank and Audrey was the narrator reading excerpts from the diary.  It was extremely moving as Audrey had experienced similar wartime distress and hardship living in Holland like Anne Frank and one could feel that she found the reliving of this time somewhat painful and that the words could indeed have been her own.  Afterwards in the green room she confessed that she had been shaking before she went onstage.

Lot 178
Rectangular box, the cover and sides set with panels of sablé engine-turning with flared thumbpiece, the base of polished gold and engraved with the inscription To / Eliza Doolittle / from / Henry Higgins
2 3/8 in. (60 mm.) wide
2 oz. (60 gr.)
Estimate £5,000-8,000 / $6,400-10,000 / €5,500-8,600

How well I remember sitting in the Regal Cinema in Sauchiehall Street in Glasgow in 1961 watching and loving Breakfast At Tiffany’s and now 56 years later it is regarded as one of the most-loved films of all time, even having been shown at the Royal Albert Hall with live orchestral accompaniment.

Lot 119
Audrey Hepburn’s working script for the 1961 Paramount production Breakfast at Tiffany’s, dated 3 August, 1960, the script bound with two brass brads and comprising 140 pages of mimeographed typescript including deleted scenes, with 53 pages printed on yellow and 28 on blue paper representing changes to the script with varying dates through to 21 September 1960, the majority of pages with upper right corner either snipped, torn or folded down when completed, the parts for the character of Holly Golightly marked in Hepburn’s signature turquoise ink, with words underlined in blue ballpoint pen and pencil for emphasis, passages or directions crossed out, and approximately 20 pages annotated in Hepburn’s hand with copied out lines, minor amendments and notes including:
– p.15-16: where Holly asks Paul to help find her shoes for her visit to Sing Sing, Hepburn has amended Brown alligator [shoes] to Black, and deleted the lines And if you come across a black brassiere I can use that too… and garter-belt, garter-belt, garter-belt, garter-belt… I think maybe it’s hanging in the bathroom…would you mind…
– p.114: where the directions require Holly to rattle of sentences in Portugese, Hepburn has twice added the line Eu acho che voce esta gostando do acouqueiro
– p.119: next to …but I do love Jose Hepburn has suggested the revision I am mad about Jose – blank end page: Hepburn has jotted a brief scene list… intro, H-P-Sing Sing, P’s apt. bathrobe, cocktail, Sing Sing, Doc., drunk, scene in room, day on the town, library, chicken saffron, pickup… and scrawled the details of a fight f. 274 U. airl, 11.35 A.M.
11 x 8¾ in. (27.9 x 22.2 cm.)
Estimate: £60,000-90,000 / $77,000-110,000 / €65,000-97,000

The sale is in two parts with Part 1 being offered at Christie’s London and Part ll in an online-only sale. The auctions  feature annotated film scripts, including Breakfast At Tiffany’s, original portraits from   photographers such as Cecil Beaton and Philippe Halsman, her personal wardrobe and many costumes  from her films including a black Givenchy cocktail dress from Charade although not the Breakfast At Tiffany’s dress which  was sold previously.


Lot 109
composed of a continuous series of graduated navette and circular shaped paste, to close-back settings on a sprung frame; worn by Audrey Hepburn to the London premiere of The Nun’s Story, July 1959 and as Joanna Wallace in the 1967 20th Century Fox production Two For The Road 11¼ in. (29 cm.) inner circumference
Estimate: £7,000-10,000 / $9,000-13,000 / €7,600-11,000

This is the first time these items, which until now have remained with her family, have been offered for sale and they give us a rare glimpse into the very private world of a remarkable woman.


Lot 132
The blue satin shade applied with pink and blue lace-trimmed fowers, marked SLEEP SHADE CO., 282 MISSION ST, SAN FRANCISCO, CAL 8 in. (20 cm.) long
Estimate: £100-150 / $130-190 / €110-160

Lot 219
Of red silk gazar; together with a pair of Andrea Carrano scarlet pumps
Estimate: £1,000-1,500 / $1,300-1,900 / €1,100-1,600

I am grateful to John Kirkwood for writing about this sale