260715 – Alexander McQueen v3 – V&A London
This is our third and final visit to the Alexander McQueen exhibition at the V&A. This is not really a research day but more of a homage to one of the greatest creative talents in the industry. Lee’s death on 11.02.2010 has left a huge void that will be difficult to fill. I was never fortunate enough to have met him and I will regret this for the rest of my life.
230715 - The Shard, London
Today I am having a meeting at Aqua Shard to discuss a collaboration project between Vivienne Westwood & Cool Earth. The heady view from Aqua Shard sadly all too soon I am back at ground level, weaving in an out of the City workers on my walk across London Bridge, a complete contrast to the floating feeling from a moment ago.
210715 – Moncler - Knightsbridge
A window display, no doubt inspired by the ‘near future’ focus, the blend between touchable (and now wearable) future tech and our imagined futures. A subject always on the tip of the tongue and one endlessly represented through film, in recent times; Ex-Machina.
190715 – RA Summer Show - Piccadilly
Sculptor Conrad Shawcross's canopy of welded-steel clouds artwork entitled ‘The Dappled Light of the Sun’, in the Annenberg Courtyard outside the Royal Academy and Jim Lambie’s staircase installation.
180715 – Westminster Walk – London
Early Saturday morning and I am playing Tourist in my home-town and walking the Tourist route (before they arrive). London like and major cosmopolitan city with a lengthy history is constantly full of endless surprises. Here are two gems the disciplined gothic structures of Westminster and a full façade supported by scaffolding as it accommodates its new function on Pall Mall St James.
170715 – Age and Beauty - Conduit Street
As soon as you pick me, I die. Transcending beauty.
150715 – Unseen Waterloo - Somerset House, London
Sam Faulkner portraits of The Battle of Waterloo re-enactments in Belgium (The Unseen/The Conflict Revisited) allow the possibility to view military fashions on the early nineteenth century.
120715 – Fuseli - Tate Britain, London.
We are at Tate Britain this morning to view a favourite painting Titania and Bottom c.1790 by Henry Fuseli. Fuseli was introduced to Shakespeare's plays during his student days in Zürich with the Swiss scholar Jacob Bodmer. A Midsummer Night's Dream held a special appeal for him, in that it explores the realms of the supernatural. Presented here are interesting visionary and disturbing depictions of spiritual fantasy and evil.
120715 – Hepworth - Tate Britain, London
Today we have the chance to view the sensual works of Barbara Hepworth at the Tate Britain.
110715 – Foster Walk - City of London
110715 – Foster Walk - City of London.
This morning we are up super early to tour the recently completed buildings by Norman Foster. In The City there are several within a short walk from each other and the City is empty this early on a Saturday. The buildings on our list are not the iconic Foster buildings but low key office developments. Foster fully understands that buildings have hierarchy and that each has a place within the city context, some go almost unnoticed, some simply line the street, others open up hidden gardens or create public piazzas. I have a lot of time for the work produced by Foster’s office. Here the spaces and context need to be experienced so I took no photos.
Along the walk we discover other hidden surprises, a tiny grade 2 listed pub, The Ship 1802, a tile from the likes of Banksy, to the ‘Parents and Children’ vents on London Wall by Richard Rogers.
Further a statue by artist Damien Hirst, which aims to challenge our prejudices around disability next to London's Gherkin tower. The seven-metre high sculpture, called Charity, is based on a 1960s charity collection box depicting a disabled young girl clutching a teddy bear and a collection tin. The charity Scope withdrew the collection boxes in the 1980s in favour of promoting positive images of disabled people. Hirst's version depicts the charity box as worn and vandalised, with a crowbar lay next to the girl and her empty collection tin. This was a very interesting day out taking photos all the way.
100715 - Silicon Roundabout Festival - Old Street London
Breakfast with Norman Jay and the Burger Bear. 7am and its sunshine, dancing, music and people watching, all before I start work. Events like this demonstrate the power of social media on the dynamic world of marketing.
070715 - Harewood House - Leeds
Harewood House by John Carr and Roberts Adams is a twin winged single axis classical stately home. The house has all the hallmarks of Adams, with neo-classical decoration, exquisite proportions and beautiful ceilings and plasterwork. Heavy outbursts of rain are not going to dampen our spirits, as we manage to avoid getting too wet. Harewood is one of the Treasure Houses of England set in the heart of Yorkshire. With rolling ‘Capability’ Brown landscapes, an impressive art collection including works by JMW Turner & El Greco, renaissance masterpieces, the largest collection of Thomas Chippendale furniture, fabulous Robert Adam interiors, combined with 100 acres of award-winning Gardens and a renowned lakeside Bird Garden.
060715 - Middlethorpe Hall - York
Today, nearing the end of our vacation, we are at Middlethorpe Hall, York, a William III country house close to the city of York and set in 20 acres of its own gardens and parkland. Built in 1699, it was once the home of the famous diarist, Lady Mary Wortley Montagu. It was bought in the 1980’s and reopened as a luxury Hotel, restaurant and Spa. In 2008 it was donated to The National Trust with all profits benefiting the house and the charity. A quite lovingly restored house that had fallen into quite alarming decay and it was a pleasure to study, camera in hand.
030715 – Silence – The Lochs of Scotland
A few days vacation relaxing in the stunning landscapes with fairy tale castles of Scotland Lochs.
020715 – Infrastructure and Folly, Falkirk Scotland
A day of two halves that covers 100 years and spanning the rise of the Industrial Revolution. First the Dunmore Pineapple of 1761 a walled garden with a folly for entertaining, the play things of the landed gentry.
Then on to see the Forth Bridge, the Victorian engineering masterpiece of Fowler and Baker. The Forth Bridge has to be seen up close to be fully appreciated. The shear scale, bravado and confidence of the Victorians is so impressive.
010715 - The Hill House - Helensburgh, Scotland
I have not been to The Hill House since I was an architectural student. The work of Charles Rennie Mackintosh has always been a little OCD for me but in the work of Mary Macdonald I see a softer more intuitive feel. At Hill House we get to see lots of work from both designers.
300615 – Stonefield Castle – Helensburgh, Scotland
Stonefield castle was an unexpected gem. Now a boutique hotel submerged in deep green woodlands with views over the lochs of The Firth Of Clyde to rolling hills and low lying clouds. The perfect place for a quiet afternoon lunch.
290615 – The Moor - Culloden, Scotland
With the Alexander McQueen exhibition continuing to show in London it would be impossible to not visit Culloden when in Scotland. I was fully aware of the historical significance of Culloden but here I was interested in the tactile and the sensorial. The colours of the moor translate through the natural dyes that were the basis of the original early field tartans. In the composition above I wanted show how intuitive McQueen’s designs were to the place and location whilst simultaneously referencing historical narrative. The loan stag followed across the moor by a travelling herd of widowed doe. A female takes on the role of the stag as all males have been slaughtered. The beautiful poetic of this collection leaves the surviving herd ill clad for the harsh Scottish winter and to survive their battle has just begun.
290615 – Bowes Museum – Durham
Barnard Castle, a French Chateau in Durham, now the Bowes museum. Sadly we were a few days too early to see the Yves Saint Laurent Exhibition: Style is Eternal but we did get to see The Silver Swan, a musical automaton and icon of the Museum along with the permanent collection of Canaletto’s, Turner’s, Courbet’s and El Greco’s. An interesting collection of early nineteenth century dresses meant that I never really was on holiday. There is too much here for the short visit our schedule allows and a focussed day would have been very useful.
280615 – Oddness - Sheffield & Chesterfield
Wortley Hall. It is hard to imagine that this stately home hotel is now part of the co-operative union. The underlining grandeur of days past is still visible. Once the home of the Earls of Wharncliffe dating from 1165 the Hall has been left derelict on numerous occasions prior to its conversion into a Hotel and company in it’s own right. Very odd indeed.