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Seventies childhood

16 Jul

20130716-131654.jpgThanks to my mum, who saved seemingly everything, my kids are having a very seventies childhood. They know who the Flumps and Bagpuss are, and can sing the ‘Two little girls’ and ‘Three of these things belong together’ songs from early Sesame Street … Not only that… they wear all the clothes we did as kids (tartan skirts, Brierleys of Blackburn dresses, French jersey pedal pushers) and those that I have made are quite often upcycled from vintage pillowcases etc. Of course they have all the toys and books too. Tidying up just now we fell in love all over again with this illustrated fairy story book by Hutchings Studio (Gordon Hutchings?) for St Michael (as all M&S goods were then labelled). I love David Weidman and Hanna Barbera too and these are in the same general drift don’t you think?






Why not? You can always paint over it…

5 Jul

Found this whilst trying to chase down an elusive strip cartoon (Falco Falconetti) and the Leake Street Classicist… Instead I arrive at this, new to me, though I was already an admirer of Mssrs Pentreath, Terry and Saumarez-Smith.

Apologies it took me so long… It’s from 2010.

Life is short nature is long

4 Jul

For a quick hit of natura morta there’s the Fragile show at Chris Beetles
Photography on Swallow St off Picadilly. Paulette Tavormina’s
still lifes would not look out of place in the Prado or Riijksmuseum. (Re her image above: I have a twisted fascination with this being as how I have a fear of fish.) Lottie Davies delivers eerie willo’thewisp landscapes and Paul Kenny is for crystallography nuts or
those, like me, who only ever look down at the beach.

Cover up at the Royal Academy

4 Jul


Wondrous installation across the front of the Royal Academy. El Anatsui’s work, painstakingly constructed from bottle caps and recycled materials.

Hidden in plain sight

25 Oct


My hidden London find for this week… The mosaics in the atrium at the National Gallery. The subject choices are bizzarely eclectic… cricket, dance, profane love (!), christmas pudding, sea horse, mud pie, contemplation, conversation, football, hunting, rest, speed… All lie within a few square metres underfoot. These and more are the work of Boris Anrep, a Russian born artist whom the NG commissioned, wonderfully, in the early 20th century to embellish the grand main entrance stairwell. He completed The Labours of Life in 1928, The Pleasures of Life in ’33, and returned for The Modern Virtues, including a battling Churchill embodying Defiance in 1952. They are remarkable and eccentric and a robust everyday-use treasure.








La dama que descubre el seno

14 Oct


Virtually all our pictures, hung floor to ceiling on every available space, are just posters or old photos or pages ripped from magazines or old theatre programmes… If there is a theme it would be a certain dedication to the naked body. I love this Tintoretto lady, maybe Veronica Franco, a memento from our honeymoon in Madrid which was spent largely in the Prado. A while ago we gave her earrings – very suitably, an old Murano glass chandelier drop from a Venice junk shop hung on fishing wire. I wear them too on occasion, as pendants. Holding onto one stands me in Castello on a freezing cold day.

Lost in books

7 Aug


Bookish week. I saw the artist group aMAZEme constructing this maze of books in the back of the Royal Festival Hall two weekends ago. When you pop in to see it make sure you also check out the Poetry Library on the 5th floor. It is free, has every British poetry book from the last hundred years and more and you can borrow. If you live a way off you can post the books back to return them. It is the perfect risk free way to discover new poets. Then there is Foyles in the basement of the RFH and the main shop across the river on Charing Cross Rd and the Tate bookshop for art books and the second hand stalls under the bridge in front of the NFT. Lots happening on the South Bank these Olympic weeks. The food markets are also on every day.
Grain Edit for the photos of the finished work:

Fig leaves at Glyndebourne

6 Aug

Smashing Fairy Queen at Glyndebourne. Like a 17th century sketch show. Basically a much more watchable version of A Midsummer Night’s Dream. Very rude in those woods, pretty coarse at times. It must be the mood of the times… Benny Hill in the time outs at the beach volley ball and 7ft bunnies frolicking every which way to the strains of Purcell at Glyndebourne. Jonathan Kent’s staging was a feast. A near naked Adam and Eve vignette something of a highlight. I plucked a fig leaf from the gardens afterwards as a memento.
Love the Glyndebourne wind turbine but had to turn around to eat my picnic… It made me feel I was on the clock rather than entirely at my leisure in a rural idyll.


Garden filled with sculpture. I loved this Diana:


Yoo hoo! JooHee Yoon!

3 Aug

Thanks Grain Edit for another fine introduction. Check out illustrator JooHee Yoon‘s whimsical worldview. I love the way she uses the teeth in the expressions for an extra twist of pathos, wicked glee, or grim concentration.


The eye in the bacon

13 Dec

St Martin in the Fields East window

Passing St Martin in the Fields Church next to Trafalgar Square the other day. I love the window that was installed as part of the restoration work not too long since. It makes me think of the eye in the bacon. (Remember how bacon rashers always used to have a hard spot of white gristle in them – what has happened to that? I kind of miss it. It used to be one feature of tea at Grandma’s house, along with the fabulous chips and iced sponge cakes. We ate healthily at home.)

As public art goes it beats the Oscar Wilde tomb-like sculpture behind the church into a big hole.  Iranian-born artist Shirazeh Houshiary created this new East window. It’s very clever – disrupts the extreme classical rigidity of that facade and demands I think hard on the obstacle in the flow.

Find the StM-i-the-F website with its cafe, concert programme, and details of its help to London’s homeless here: