Time out - day trip to the big smoke

8 November 2016

It's been full on in the studio and in the day job and there are family stresses to keep my grey matter churning and provide a lure to the dreaded Insomnia - and on top of that Gaz, my old dog is, I fear, sliding slightly disgracefully ( well it is Gaz, otherwise known as "Asbo Dog" and for good reason) into the twilight of his days. 

So, no excuse needed to grab a bit of time and head down to the big smoke to catch up with Son No 1 and partner. 

A beautiful Autumn sunny morning - very chillsome but bright. The train was packed! Why are so many people heading into London on a Sunday morning? The Arsenal shirts were a bit of a give away - a home game I am guessing, and like most Premier League teams, I'm also guessing that most of their supporters don't live within walking distance of the ground. 

It's amazing, but as I gazed out of the train Windows I realised that most of the fields, far from being brown after harvest and shutting down for winter, were already shimmering with new green shoots - Autumn planting. Anyone know anything about farming? What is planted in Autumn? 

By Hemel Hempstead the train was jammed - sardines springs to mind - and the sky was beginning to fill with ominous thundery grey clouds. (In fact, by the end if the day it was raining, but there's lot to tell you in the meantime.) 

First up, brunch in Soho. 

Princi in Wardour Street. Chaotic service but delicious scrambled eggs and coffee. It was packed and as we left the clientele was beginning to change over to lunchtime pizzas. 

It was good - not a destination, bucket list, "somewhere I should go before I die" sort of place, but good if you're in Soho and in need of breakfast. (For a bucket list breakfast you can't beat The Wolsey on Piccadilly, if you're wondering). 

Next up Christie's in St James. 

Now a high end art auction house is not my usual hang out, it should be said. But the reason for popping in was the BFC/Fashion Arts Foundation and Royal Academy of Arts fashion arts commissions pairing four fashion designers and visual artists to collaborate across art forms. 

The resulting works are on display at Christie's galleries in St James until 11th November after which they will be auctioned off. 

And one installation is a collaboration between Kit Neale and the sculptor Jonathan Trayte - a fully functioning cafe with free coffee and cake. The installation is called Milk. 

It was not busy. Sunday and St James is not really a throbbing London hub. It comes to life during the week and I saw pics from earlier in the week when it was really busy. 

I just loved the quirky furniture. 

And the stone and marble table tops. 

Some of the furniture has light fittings incorporated into it. 

 This tree (below) was by Alex Mullins and Amy Petra Woodward.

This rather industrial installation was by Agi and Sam and Joe Fraser. In truth I could not really relate to this, or indeed the tree. 

And then on the way out I spotted this little pair of figures "Maquette VIII The Watchers V" by Lynne Chadwicke. 

And then we meandered up to Mayfair. 

We cut up through Burlington Arcade - the Lalique shop caught my eye. Look at that vase! 

And the Jimmy Choo shop window - a vertical table top. (Difficult to see, but that's supposed to be a pile of little macaroons in the bottom).

And then into Sotheby's to see the collection of art belonging to David Bowie that is being auctioned.

Sotheby's was heaving. I'm not sure they quite realised what a visitor attraction they had unleashed. It was so busy it was difficult to see much of the work. 

A few highlights. 

This Cornish harbour by Bryan Wynter. 

A stoneware vase by Bernard a Leach. 

"Fatherland" by Ken Currie - a mixed media painting on a map of Bosnia.  The estimate on this was almost affordable. Ken Currie is still alive. 

Below, I loved this print by Wyndham Lewis. 

And finally there were a couple of huge paintings by John Bellamy. I could not photograph the whole thing so the images below are details from either end of a rather powerful triptych.

There was lots more - it was just too crowded to appreciate properly and certainly too crowded to photograph. 

One thing that did occur - My Bowie must have had a lot of wall space to enjoy his art collection. He really did have a lot of art work. 



  1. What an interesting & varied day out you had! Now I need to catch up with your other posts ;)

    1. Don't worry about catching up! Yours truly has not been so great at the writing! Ahem!!

  2. A busy day! Not sure about installation art personally, but the Bowie collection looked interesting. I'm guessing winter wheat in the fields? Or some sort of ley. There you go, I went to agricultural college!

    1. Know what you mean about the installation art, though actually the cafe (when you were in the space) really worked. The other pieces less so. The Bowie was fascinating - but so busy we gave up in the end having only really had a glimpse.

      And thanks for the into on the fields. You went to Agricultural College?? You cannot leave us dangling there. We demand more information!

  3. Sounds like a fun "artist date" out - kinda envious that you ended up at these auction houses! I usually find artist collaborations like the Christies one really interesting. This one is quite different!


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