Royal Gifts

Royal Gifts – the Summer Opening of the State Rooms, Buckingham Palace, until 1st October 2017

Australian State Coach
Royal Collection Trust/© Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II 2017. Photographer: David Cripps

From the moment you arrive at the Grand Entrance and espy the Australian State Coach, a gift to Her Majesty in 1988 from the people of Australia to mark the Australian Bicentenary, you know you are in for something rather exciting. Indeed many of the State Rooms are transformed by special displays of over two hundred gifts that have been presented to The Queen in the sixty-five years of her reign.

‘Royal Gifts’, the special exhibition at the Summer Opening of Buckingham Palace.
Credit: Royal Collection Trust / (c) Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II 2017.

You will discover a remarkable cross section of items and every gift reflects the donor whether a town, organisation or country.  Each in its own way is uniquely special. I am not going to mention examples because it is something to be experienced in person. I found it all fascinating and engrossing in a way that I had not expected but will remember for a long time.

A Royal Collection Trust member of staff adjusts the Vessel of Friendship, a model of the ‘treasure ship’ sailed by the 15th-century Chinese navigator and diplomat Zeng He. The model was presented to Her Majesty by President Xi Jinping of the People’s Republic of China during the State Visit to Buckingham Palace in October 2015.
Royal Collection Trust / © Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II 2017.

 

Members of Royal Collection Trust staff put the finishing touches to a display of gifts from around the United Kingdom as part of ‘Royal Gifts’, the special exhibition at the Summer Opening of Buckingham Palace.
Credit: Royal Collection Trust / (c) Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II 2017.

In the Music Room is a charming display to mark the twentieth anniversary of the death of Diana, Princess of Wales. Many of the objects and mementos on and around her desk from her Sitting Room in Kensington Palace were chosen by the The Duke of Cambridge and Prince Harry.

A tribute to Diana, Princess of Wales in the Music Room, one of the State Rooms open to the public as part of the Summer Opening of Buckingham Palace. The centrepiece of the display is the desk at which The Princess worked in her sitting room at Kensington Palace, writing letters and reading official briefings and correspondence.
Credit: Royal Collection Trust / (c) Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II 2017

www.royalcollection.org.uk

Bouke de Vries

Bouke de Vries -“Fractured Images”, Kristin Hjellegjerde Gallery Ltd., 533 Old York Road, London SW18, 8th June – 15th July 2017 

 

Grown from Chinese clay, 2017
18th century Chinese porcelain fragments and mixed media
150x120x580

I believe that we owe a great debt of gratitude to Bouke de Vries for his belief, which reflects that held in China and Japan, that broken important ceramic pieces are worthy of repair. He has said “I wanted to give these objects, which are regarded as valueless, a new story and move their history forwards. A broken object can still be as beautiful as a perfect object.” It is a great philosophy and thanks to his artistic imagination and great skill – he is a ceramics conservator – he has created some wonderful pieces.

Map of china of China, 2017
18th and 19th century Chinese porcelain fragments and mixed media
11220×960 mm

This show of works reflect the enduring role of China in the production of ceramics worldwide over the centuries. His works are thought-provoking, sometimes humorous, but always engrossing. He has specially created a new non-ceramic work for the exhibition – a plaster doll of a Chinese dancer which combines the old with the new through his use of computer circuit boards.

Jar carrier, 2017
Han dynasty figure and 15th century Chinese porcelain marine archaeology jars and marble
250x250x109 mm

 

www.kristinhjellegjerde.com

 

 

PS: You can also see:
Bouke De Vries: War and pieces, Berrington Hall, Herefordshire
Until 05 November 2017

 

Sir Edward Heath – at home

Sir Edward Heath – at home in Salisbury

Arundells - Entrance Front

Arundells – Entrance Front

Standing in the wonderful environs of Salisbury’s Cathedral Close is Arundells a beautiful house of Georgian appearance which in part dates back to the mid-thirteenth century.  It was from 1985 to 2005 the home of the former politician and Prime Minister Sir Edward Heath and although he had a long political career the house is very much a personal home which reflects all facets of his life. It is important to remember as you go round it that it remains very much as it was when he lived there.

The Entrance Hall

The Entrance Hall

Immediately on arrival at the entrance hall you get the welcoming flavour of the house and an idea of how the strands of his interests are skilfully woven together. This he achieved with the help of the designer Derek Frost. Many of the paintings in the hall reflect his love of sailing through depictions and models of the five Morning Cloud yachts he sailed and interspersed among them are Napoleonic prisoner-of-war ship models made from bone and rigged with fine strands of hair.  The maritime-inspired combined clock and barometer was a gift from President Nixon.  There are also drawings by Sickert and Augustus and Gwen John.

Sir Edward seated at the piano in the Drawing Room

Sir Edward seated at the piano in the Drawing Room

A photograph of a young Sir Edward with Augustus John and Dorelia can be seen in the adjoining drawing room which is dominated by a Steinway grand piano which Sir Edward played and upon which are photographs of politicians and world leaders.  Among the many artworks in the room are paintings by L S Lowry, Ken Howard RA, Derek Hill and a painting of Heath’s home town ‘Broadstairs’ by Sir Robert Ponsonby-Staples which was a gift from Sir John Betjeman, given as Sir Edward had so often admired it when visiting Betjeman. Two pieces of sculpture one of Sir Winston and Lady Churchill by Oscar Nemon and a bust of Sir Edward by Martin Jennings are worthy of inspection as are the carved Chinese pieces on the mantelpiece and to its right the display of blue and white porcelain including a large pair of bottle vases which were a gift from Chairman Mao.

Portocarrero ‘Girl in a Fantastic Costume Cuba’

Portocarrero
‘Girl in a Fantastic Costume Cuba’

Pictures in the corridor towards the dining room and library include two paintings by Sir Winston Churchill which he gave to Heath.  There is also a fine group of etchings by William Wyllie, two Singer Sargent’s and a painting by the Cuban artist Portocarrero which was a gift from Fidel Castro.

The Dining Room

The Dining Room

The dining room is hung with pictures by John Piper, including two Sir Edward commissioned himself.  The table is set for lunch which was one of his favourite ways of entertaining – roast lamb followed by Stilton cheese, halibut and lemon pudding were among his favourites as were Brussels sprouts – and from the place cards on view when I was there one gets an idea of the wide range of people he invited which included Princess Margaret, Sting and Sir Harold Wilson.  Dame Maggie Smith, Terry Wogan and Yehudi Menuhin are among other well-known guests. There is also a large group of ceramic pieces on display including Tang pottery, Sevres, Chelsea and Worcester porcelain as well as some Copenhagen Flora Danica.

A view of some of the ceramics in the Dining Room

A view of some of the ceramics in the Dining Room

The Library overlooking the garden contains the high wing-back chair Sir Edward favoured and it was where he would entertain and chat to colleagues and friends from all political parties and walks of life. The walls are adorned with 18th and 19th century Japanese prints which perfectly suit the room. One of the major achievements of his political life was a growing rapport between the UK and China which is also reflected throughout the house but he also obviously had an interest in their arts and culture which is particularly apparent in the panels of specially commissioned wallpaper on the staircase which relates the popular Chinese legend of the Monkey King. They were a house-warming present from two of his former Private Secretaries.

The Library

The Library

Upstairs is Sir Edward’s study which was his private sanctum and where he worked at a Georgian writing desk which had previously belonged to David Lloyd-George. Heath’s army career is also recalled in another room with uniforms and other memorabilia on show from when he was with the Royal Artillery during the War and later on with the Honourable Artillery Company. His Garter Banner hangs on an upstairs corridor wall.

The Study

The Study

Downstairs just beyond the stair hall is a short corridor which is hung with political cartoons by leading cartoonists such as Giles, Jak, Low and Trog, many of which feature Sir Edward.  He enjoyed sharing them with his visitors although sometimes I imagine it may have been a wry chuckle.

Emmwood ©The Daily Mail

Emmwood
©The Daily Mail

Outside the beautiful garden, an intriguing combination of open spaces and secluded areas, is very much as created for Sir Edward.  It stretches down to the confluence of the Rivers Nadder and Avon and reveals a wonderful view across to the meadows. In one corner is the restored bow of Morning Cloud III which was sunk by a freak wave in September 1974, and whose two crew members Nigel Cummings and Christopher Chadd (Sir Edward’s godson) tragically lost their lives.

The view from the end of the garden

The view from the end of the garden

At the front of the house with its view into the Close and of the Cathedral is an exhibition space in a building which used to house Sir Edward’s archive.  At present (until mid-August) there is a display focusing on ‘World Leaders of the 1970s: A Decade of Turmoil’ which features President Nixon, Leonard Brezhnev, Chairman Mao Zedong, Willy Brandt, Indira Gandhi, President Pompidou, Kakuei Tanaka, Pierre Trudeau and Henry Kissinger.  Interestingly enough the latter will be giving a lecture in London in October as part of a series of celebrations organised by the Sir Edward Heath Charitable Foundation to celebrate the centenary of Sir Edward’s birth (9th July, 2016). The following exhibition which runs until May 2017 is ‘Heath at 100: A Political Life in Cartoons’ which promises to be a fascinating way of remembering the major events of his time in politics.

Tang Dynasty Horse

Tang Dynasty Horse

My visit made a lasting impression and I would readily accept an offer to live there just as it is, because it’s a happy house of taste, comfort and history.  I can quite understand why Sir Edward fell in love with it at first sight and for us visitors today it is extremely fortunate that he was able to acquire the lease in 1992 and that he formed a charitable trust which allows us to share in the delights of Arundells and to remember Sir Edward, the man.

Sir Edward in the garden. The spire of Salisbury Cathedral can be seen in the background.

Sir Edward in the garden. The spire of Salisbury Cathedral can be seen in the background.

http://www.arundells.org

Hiroshi Yoshida The Inland Sea Series

Hiroshi Yoshida
The Inland Sea Series

Hong Kong Revealed

Michael Wolf – Informal Arrangements, Flowers, 82 Kingsland Road London E2, until 9th January 2016

Michael Wolf, Industrial #24 (c) Michael Wolf, Courtesy of Flowers Gallery

Michael Wolf, Industrial #24
(c) Michael Wolf, Courtesy of Flowers Gallery

Wolf arrived in Hong Kong in 1994 and has always been fascinated by the hyper density of the architecture and indeed many of you may know his large-scale photographs from previous exhibitions.

Michael Wolf, From the series My Favourite Thing, 2003-15, Archival Inkjet Print, 25.4 x 20.3 cm, 10 x 8 in, Edition of 9 (c) Michael Wolf, Courtesy of Flowers

Michael Wolf, From the series My Favourite Thing, 2003-15,
Archival Inkjet Print, 25.4 x 20.3 cm, 10 x 8 in, Edition of 9
(c) Michael Wolf, Courtesy of Flowers

In this show he reveals, alongside the endless building facades, the more intimate world of Hong Kong’s back alleys.  Here you find a different world – to some a passageway through from the street, to others a quiet place but also storage areas where residents can safely leave mops, rubber gloves, even pieces of ribbon and string stored to be used another day.

Michael Wolf, Industrial #26, (c) Michael Wolf, Courtesy of Flowers Gallery

Michael Wolf, Industrial #26,
(c) Michael Wolf, Courtesy of Flowers Gallery

He also has amassed from Hong Kong and mainland China a collection of broken chairs which had been made useful in the alleys though repairs with fabric and string. He calls them ‘Bastard Chairs’ and they eloquently add their presence to this colourful celebration of life.

Michael Wolf, Informal Arrangements, installation view, (c) Michael Wolf, Courtesy of Flowers Gallery

Michael Wolf, Informal Arrangements, installation view,
(c) Michael Wolf, Courtesy of Flowers Gallery

The artist sums it up saying: “Hong Kong’s back alleys are often unnoticed against their more glamorous counterparts of dazzling architecture. However, they present an authentic slice of Hong Kong’s grass roots culture. In my opinion they should be nominated as a heritage site.”

I rather think that is a valid point.

Michael Wolf, From the series My Favourite Thing, 2003-15, Archival Inkjet Print, 25.4 x 20.3 cm, 10 x 8 in, Edition of 9 (c) Michael Wolf, Courtesy of Flowers

Michael Wolf, From the series My Favourite Thing, 2003-15,
Archival Inkjet Print, 25.4 x 20.3 cm, 10 x 8 in, Edition of 9
(c) Michael Wolf, Courtesy of Flowers

In January 2016 the book Informal Solutions – Observations in Hong Kong Back Alleys by Michael Wolf, with a text by Marc Feustel, will be published by WE publishers, Hong Kong.

Michael Wolf, From the series My Favourite Thing, 2003-15, Archival Inkjet Print, 25.4 x 20.3 cm, 10 x 8 in, Edition of 9 (c) Michael Wolf, Courtesy of Flowers

Michael Wolf, From the series My Favourite Thing, 2003-15,
Archival Inkjet Print, 25.4 x 20.3 cm, 10 x 8 in, Edition of 9
(c) Michael Wolf, Courtesy of Flowers

http://www.flowersgallery.com

MASTERPIECE LONDON 2015: Pictures

William Blake 'The Virgin hushing the young John the Baptist',1799.  Lowell Libson

William Blake
‘The Virgin hushing the young John the Baptist’,1799.
Lowell Libson

 

The Hall Place Quartet by William James (Fl 1754 -1771)  Four views of the Thames, Old London Bridge, Somerset House and one the River Thames at York Steps Oil on canvas. James Harvey British and Sporting Art

The Hall Place Quartet by William James (Fl 1754 -1771)
Four views of the Thames, Old London Bridge, Somerset House and one the River Thames at York Steps
Oil on canvas.
James Harvey British and Sporting Art

 

The Hongs of Canton, c1772. An exceptionally large panoramic scroll, gouache on silk laid on paper, 91.5x276cm.  Martyn Gregory

The Hongs of Canton, c1772. An exceptionally large panoramic scroll, gouache on silk laid on paper, 91.5x276cm.
Martyn Gregory

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

R.B. Kitaj, Sighs from Hell, 1979. Pastel and charcoal on joined sheets of paper.  Thomas Gibson Fine Art

R.B. Kitaj, Sighs from Hell, 1979. Pastel and charcoal on joined sheets of paper.
Thomas Gibson Fine Art

 

http://www.masterpiecefair.com

http://www.lowell-libson.com

http://www.jamesharveybritishart.com

http://www.martyngregory.com

http://www.thomasgibsonfineart.com

MASTERPIECE LONDON 2015: Porcelain Garnitures from East and West

Blue and White European Subject Five-Piece Garniture,  China - Qing dynasty, Kangxi period, circa 1700-1710.  Jorge Welsh

Blue and White European Subject Five-Piece Garniture,
China – Qing dynasty, Kangxi period, circa 1700-1710.
Jorge Welsh

 

Sevres Garniture of Three Vases Hollandois Nouveaux Ovales, pink ground.  Michele Beiny

Sevres Garniture of Three Vases Hollandois Nouveaux Ovales, pink ground.
Michele Beiny

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 http://www.masterpiecefair.com

http://www.jorgewelsh.com

http://www.michelebeiny.com

 

 

 

 

 

 

Song Ceramics

Chinese Ceramics of the Song Dynasty (960 to 1279 AD), Eskenazi Ltd, 10 Clifford Street, London W1, 8th – 29th May 2015,

Blue-glazed Splashed Stoneware Dish Jin period, 12th - 13th century Jun kilns, Henan province Diameter: 18.5cm

Blue-glazed Splashed Stoneware Dish
Jin period, 12th – 13th century
Jun kilns, Henan province
Diameter: 18.5cm

These thirty very special ceramics which make up this selling exhibition come from an important private collection.

Glazed Porcellaneous Stoneware Moulded ‘Dragon’ Dish Northern Song - Jin period, 12th - 13th century Ding kilns, Hebei province Diameter: 23.1cm

Glazed Porcellaneous Stoneware Moulded ‘Dragon’ Dish
Northern Song – Jin period, 12th – 13th century
Ding kilns, Hebei province
Diameter: 23.1cm

Considered a golden age, China under the Song dynasty was prosperous and a place of change and invention whether social, economic or “scientific”. For the latter think printed bank notes, the use of gunpowder and, as this exhibition so ably proves, ceramic design and techniques.

Green-grey-glazed Stoneware Dish Southern Song period, 12th - 13th century Guan ware, Hangzhou kilns, Zhejiang province Diameter: 13.0cm

Green-grey-glazed Stoneware Dish
Southern Song period, 12th – 13th century
Guan ware, Hangzhou kilns, Zhejiang province
Diameter: 13.0cm

Song ceramics have had a lasting impact on the world of ceramics and been held in high esteem ever since they were first produced. By the 15th century they were being copied in China and their influence can be traced in Art and Studio pottery movements of the West until this day.

Black-glazed Stoneware ‘Leaf’ Bowl - side view Southern Song period, 12th - 13th century Jizhou ware, Jiangxi province Diameter: 15.2cm

Black-glazed Stoneware ‘Leaf’ Bowl – side view
Southern Song period, 12th – 13th century
Jizhou ware, Jiangxi province
Diameter: 15.2cm

Works from both the Northern Song (960-1127 AD) and Southern Song (1127-1279 AD) periods are included. As one might expect these serene objects have been garnered from the collections of some of the great Western Twentieth century collections, including Mr & Mrs Alfred Clark, Alfred Schoenlicht, Johannes Hellner and Lord Cunliffe.

Black-glazed Stoneware ‘Leaf’ Bowl Southern Song period, 12th - 13th century Jizhou ware, Jiangxi province Diameter: 15.2cm

Black-glazed Stoneware ‘Leaf’ Bowl
Southern Song period, 12th – 13th century
Jizhou ware, Jiangxi province
Diameter: 15.2cm

http://www.eskenazi.co.uk