My solo exhibition at The Harley Gallery opened this weekend with a ‘Walk & Talk’ which was very well attended. I am very pleased with the exhibition and the many lovely comments I have received so far. I hope you get a chance to see it but here are some images, a magazine article and a short film to give you a taster.
Let me introduce you to my new collection of work: The Portland Series. These paintings were inspired by the Portland Collection.
The Lace Trail is a series of paintings created after winning the BP Travel Award in 2013. The painting were exhibited at the National Portrait Gallery and will now be on show at The Harley Gallery this autumn.
I have been working on a portrait inspired of Bess of Hardwick, the grand old lady who had Hardwick Hall built in the late 16th century. The painting will feature in my upcoming exhibition at Harley Gallery in November. This is the story of why and how I painted her. I hope you will enjoy reading the story of Bess’s portrait.
Soft and lush, rich and deep colours; velvet is and always has been one of the most gorgeous and tactile fabrics around. It has been used for drapery, table covers and clothing for centuries and hence we can find it in portraits and paintings throughout art history. As I am currently painting (or trying to at least!) velvet I thought I give myself some inspiration and seek out the best velvet in my image collection of 16th and 17th century art. Here’s my top twelve!
The history of Welbeck Abbey goes back to the 12th century when a monastery was built on the site where there is now a vast country house. After the dissolution of the monasteries by Henry VIII, the estate was sold to one of his courtiers, who then sold it to Sir Charles Cavendish, son of the great Bess of Hardwick. He hired the architect Robert Smythson, who had worked for his mother at Hardwick Hall, to come up with a new design for Welbeck Abbey. This was the beginning of the story of Welbeck Abbey as a home, a story that would last 4 centuries.
Hardwick Hall, the home of the fabulous Bess of Hardwick, is a Tudor gem of a house. It was built between 1590 and 1597 to create a house fit for a lady of her wealth and status. Bess started building the house right next to the Old Hall, where she was born and raised. Parts of the Old Hall still stand today and Bess used both houses at the same time for many years. When her fourth and final husband died in 1590 she was one of the richest widows in the country and in charge of a young girl with a genuine claim to the throne. Her house would reflect her status and power.
I visited Hardwick Hall today, a spectacular Tudor mansion, commissioned and lived in by one of the most illustrious ladies of Tudor England: Bess of Hardwick. The House sits on top of a hill and oversees the land like it is supposed to, leading by example. The turrets and roof decoration can be recognized from afar, the huge windows reflecting its surroundings on a sunny day. What a treat. The drive towards it was long - raising my expectations very highly indeed.
How can textiles from the past have meaning today? How does authenticity play a role in my work (or not)? A few months ago I was asked to join in a corporate event. Together with curators from various big London museums, we shared our ideas on this topic and answered questions from the audience.
Jacobean embroidered jackets are a very common sight within the portraiture of the early 17th century. The scrolling patterns with flowers and fruit, birds and bees have become very famous. Many painted portraits of women wearing jackets with the pattern are known, as well as many actual jackets, gloves and night caps (worn during the day). They are fascinating and beautiful things. One of the most famous jackets is the Layton jacket at the V&A Museum in London, as it has always been kept with a portrait of Lady Margaret Layton actually wearing it. Although many museums have examples of this type of embroidery they are all of a different design. (All, except a piece in the Burrell Collection in Glasgow and one in the Fashion Museum in Bath; they are identical in design.)
Bolsover Castle; pleasure castle, occasional home and product of sheer wealth and indulgence. Built by William Cavendish (1592 – 1676), an aristocrat, cavalier and equestrian (he was the most accomplished horseman of his day and wrote and published a groundbreaking treatise on dressage) from 1612 onwards. The building was reworked and added to throughout the 17th century. This little castle was built to impress the king and his fellow aristocrats and used regularly to entertain. William’s main home was Welbeck Abbey, just 5 miles north-east. There is much to say about William’s fascinating life and the homes he lived in and decorated with paintings and tapestries, but for now, this blog post shows some of the photographs I took while visiting.
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Hi, welcome to my blog!
On this blog I write about my inspiration, exhibitions, painting techniques and much more.
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How to Care for your Oil Painting 8 Tips to keep your art work in good shape
In Defence of Working from Photos Read my hugely popular and slightly controversial blog post
The Top 10 Best Lace Paintings Who could paint lace to perfection?
Busting the Myths of Oil Painting: Supports From Canvas to linen to aluminium
Busting the Myths of Oil Painting: Toxicity in Oil Painting is oil painting really toxic?
A Treasure Trove in Nottinghamshire Welbeck Abbey and its secrets
The World of Easels My hunt for the perfect easel
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