Wednesday, 4 July 2012

Happy Birthday Alice

Exactly 150 years ago one sunny afternoon on 4th July 1862  Charles Dodgson took Alice Liddell and her sisters on a boating picnic up the River Thames from Folly Bridge in Oxford. To amuse the children he told them a story about a little girl, sitting bored by a riverbank, who finds herself tumbling down a rabbit hole into a topsy-turvy world called Wonderland.

The story so delighted the 10-year-old Alice that she begged him to write it down. The result was Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland which was published in 1865 under the pen name Lewis Carroll and became one of the best-loved children’s books ever written.

Synonymous with the story are Sir John Tenniel's characterful illustrations which capture so successfully the delightful absurdities in Carroll's text. Birthday or Unbirthday, these original wood engravings make the perfect gift

Click on our turning page catalogue to view the prints. Or visit our Tenniel site:

Wednesday, 30 May 2012

Hearing Double

On Thursday 14 June the small acoustic version of the acclaimed Gavin Bryars Ensemble (electric guitar, viola, cello, bass) will perform with Ex-Hilliard Ensemble tenor John Potter in the intimate setting of our Goldmark Frontroom. Together they have toured all over the world gaining an international reputation. 
Gavin Bryars (pictured playing the double bass) is recognised as one of Britain’s most important composers, mixing classical jazz and modern influences in an intellectual yet accessible way. His first major work as a composer was The Sinking of the Titanic (1969) originally released on Brian Eno's Obscure label in 1975 and recently performed at the Barbican Hall in London to mark the centenary of the maritime disaster. 

Novelist Michael Ondaatje (The English Patient) has said of Bryars "[His] music falls under no category. It is mongrel, full of sensuality and wit and is deeply moving. He is one of the few composers who can put slapstick and primal emotion alongside each other. He allows you to witness new wonders in the sounds around you by approaching them from a completely new angle. With a third ear maybe. . ."

To reserve your place and see the programme visit our music website.

Then if you're still in the musical mood, swing by our Raoul Dufy page to see this lithograph from his Concert des Anges series.

Friday, 25 May 2012

Coastal Devotion

Calling himself a cross between a scrap man and a dating agency, Sid Burnard scours the beaches of the Welsh coast in search of forgotten treasure. Finding beauty in discarded materials, he marries disparate items to create extraordinary sculptural pieces that are lovingly brought to life.

In the documentary below Sid welcomes us in to his weird and wonderful world of beachcombing. Through his eyes we see how an old fragment of driftwood transforms into an elegant neck of a bird, or how a washed up lavatory seat takes on a new life as a boat:  ‘The Loo-seat-ania’.

It is a warm and humorous insight into a creative mind with an astonishing gift of seeing what others do not. Witty, playful and often surprising, Sid's birds, boats and mythical beasts will make you smile while you admire their serious artistic merit.

Exhibition opens Saturday 26th May. 

Friday, 4 May 2012

A Star is Born

Not only is Rembrandt recognised as one of the greatest painters of all time, his skills as an etcher are arguably unmatched.

The Angel Appearing to the Shepherds
The example here is a scene in the New Testament: The Angel Appearing to the Shepherds. It is Rembrandt’s first etched nocturne and displays his astonishing ability to depict contrasts of light and dark.

Christopher White discusses this early etching in his book ‘Rembrandt as an Etcher’*

"He achieved the richness of tone for which he sought, and gave the plate a quality which is essentially that of etching and not a mere approximation of a painting. In doing so Rembrandt had abandoned traditional methods, and the procedure he evolved in this print was to colour his work for some years hence."

To see more of that work, including other bible scenes and his famous self-portraits, click here.

*Rembrandt as an Etcher, Christoper White, Yale University Press, 1999, p37

Friday, 27 April 2012


Diana and Angel

Blek le Rat was the first street artist to use the life-sized stencil and is considered the Godfather of Graffiti. 

In his unauthorised biography Banksy said: "Every time I think I've painted something slightly original, I find out that Blek le Rat has done it as well, only 20 years earlier."

Today a new exhibition of the French artist's work opens in London. 

You can read about Blek le Rat and his rivalry with Banksy in this article from the Independent here.

Or check out his other work in our collection. 

Friday, 13 April 2012

A Touch of Frost

Colour on the Side

“Just to think in terms of colour is enough to set the soul alight. Shapes are known to people by words, but colour can make its own shape and exists in its own right.”

Sir Terry Frost (1915-2003) was one of Britain’s most respected and passionate abstract artists, championing the autonomy of colour and its highly emotive power.

Colour is central to his is evident in Colour on the Side. Those signature rounded forms reoccur in many of his prints but somehow manage to explore a new dynamic each time, delighting and surprising us in ways that are not always easy to describe.  

Black and Mauve on Grey

Red, Blue, Orange on Yellow

Frost himself stated: 

"I am convinced that people who look for words to describe art completely miss what is in a good work, for words describe the known image, good art is indescribable and that is why it is usually an irritant."

So, no more words. Let these prints from our collection here do the talking.

Wednesday, 4 April 2012

Stock Character

The character of Robert Macaire is renowned in French culture as that of the archetypal villain. Originally the protagonist in a book and on stage, Monsieur Macaire later featured in a series of Daumier caricatures that appeared in the daily satirical newspaper, Le Charivari and which portrayed him as a morally bankrupt businessman. It was the first newspaper to be illustrated with lithographs such as those in our Daumier collection (dated 1840). They show the unscrupulous Macaire in a number of different guises: a bible salesman, an artist…a qualified eye specialist. But ultimately, always as a swindling crook. 

Sir the Shareholders

The caption underneath this picture translates as follows:

My Dear Stockholders,
The founder of the firm, Mr. Macaire, has resigned from his post of director. The position in which he has left the business is as follows: Share capital, 800'000 Fr. Expenditure on posters, classified advertisements, handbills and newspaper articles, 400'000 Fr. Purchases of economy furnaces, matches, saucepans and top quality carrots, 400'000 Fr. Remaining in hand, 400'000 zeros. In other words, our funds have been cooked, we've consumed them all. Rather than putting Paris in the stew, we have eaten our own soup and if we don't put some spice in the eating, the pot will boil over. (a new investment of ... is then voted with unanimity...)

More captions are available on the Daumier Register site.

Bible Salesman

A Qualified Eye Specialist


The subtitle for the British satirical magazine, Punch, was actually The London Charivari – a clear hommage to the French version. As for Robert Macaire, his persona is such that you could easily imagine his counterpart across the channel and, from where we stand today, across the centuries too.

Take a look (but don’t be taken in) here.

Thursday, 29 March 2012

Great Dane

We’re delighted to be exhibiting Anne Mette Hjortshøj's first solo ceramics show at the gallery, opening this Saturday 31 March.

Anne Mette lives and works on the small Danish island of Bornholm located in the Baltic Sea. We travelled to the island back in snowy February to make this short documentary about Anne Mette, looking at her influences both within and outside of the great Danish potting tradition and the beautiful nature of the island which permeates her pieces. 

click here to view more pots

Monday, 26 March 2012

Spring Forward

As the clocks have now gone forward it's time to greet the extra daylight with a spring in your step.

David Kirk's Spring does just that; its two country walkers striding in opposite directions, but with equal purpose, while the horizon curves into a gentle smile. 

This visual playfulness features in much of David Kirk's work...cast your eyes on these.