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Posts Tagged ‘Former Residents’

We have quite a bit of modern furniture and in a conversation with a recent visitor she expresses a strong preference for a more traditional flair.  A former neighbour, Alan Day would have full-heartedly concurred and I thought I show how he designed his Studio in what I believe took more than 10 years.

The Hallway in Alan's former Studio

The Hallway in Alan's former Studio

Alan stayed as close as he could to the original idea of the house, thus he made the front room (in our house now a library) a presentation room – here the Bachelor Artist according to the original plan would have entertained clients.  This room could have been decorated by William Morris himself.

... let's talk further about this commission ...

... let's talk further about this commission ...

The studio was there for work and would probably not have been shown, although I am sure Alan did make exceptions to this rule…

Alan was an architect and worked in the studio

Alan was an architect and worked in the studio

After Alan’s demise the house was sold and the furnishings sold at an amazing auction at Bonham’s (I got none of the lots I bid for).

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I have had all kinds of interesting conversations per email or phone due to this blog, one of the best started with a comment from New Zealand.  Nick Meek got in touch “I was bought up in that house (1964-1976). It was a cool place to live and I think back to it often. Next time I am in London (live in N.Z. currently) I intend to drop around; I expect to be let in. ;-)”.  I checked and indeed Alan Meek moved in in the early 60s (see my earlier article on former residents here).  So I replied casually “sure, why not” – thinking I would be long out of here before Nick makes it over!

But the Meeks upped the ante, the next to get in touch was his brother Alex, stating that he was effectively born in the house and that his father would like to have a look.  We thought this would be quite fun and arranged to meet.

A few days later Alan and Alex Meek came for coffee and – for a change – gave us a tour of the house!  My now office housed 5 children in a bunk and double bunk bed, our bathroom was their kitchen, they had birthday parties in our library, the studio was a proper photography studio and there was a huge field on the other side of the road.  It was lovely to meet our predecessors and to hear their stories!

Days later Alan popped by and brought us some photos of the good ol’ times:

Yes, this is our library

Yes, this is our library

The grass was greener on the other side back then!

The grass was greener on the other side back then!

Keen to hear what Nick might have to say when he comes…

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Dame Margot Fonteyn de Arias, DBE, (18 May 1919 – 21 February 1991), the British prima ballerina assoluta, was considered by many to be the greatest English ballerina, and one of the greatest dancers of the 20th Century (apparentely there were only 5 prima ballerina abssoluta tin total – ever!).

Margot Fonteyn and Rudolf Nureyev in the Grand Adage of The Kingdom of the Shades in 1963

Margot Fonteyn and Rudolf Nureyev in the Grand Adage of The Kingdom of the Shades in 1963

She was born Margaret Hookham 1919 in Surrey , to an English father and an Irish mother of Brazilian ancestry, who was the daughter of Brazilian industrialist Antonio Fontes. Early in her career, Margaret transformed Hookham into Fontes into Fonteyn and Margaret into Margot; for a much better ring to her name. Her mother signed her up for ballet classes with her brother when they were young.  She joined the Royal Ballet while sin her teens and had been trained by some of the greatest teachers of the period, Olga Preobrajenskaya and Mathilde Kschessinskaya . Already in 1939, she was the company’s prima ballerina assoluta and the inspiration for many ballets of the day, such as Ondine, Daphnis and Chloe, and Sylvia.  Fonteyn was awarded a DBE  in 1956 at the young age of 37. In 1949, the Royal Ballet toured the United States and Fonteyn became an instant celebrity.  She lived for a number of years in Studio No. 8 and her ballet mirrors are still there (she used the sutdio for training).

I like some of her bonmots, like this one “Life offstage has sometimes been a wilderness of unpredictables in an unchoreographed world.”  As to that constantly asked question if she had an affair with Rudolf Nureyev I leave that up to others to decide (the residents of the studios hold together).  Here at article in the Sunday Tims on the subject.

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The following is my first guest column, written by our friend Peter Risdon, an expert and an ardent fan of Alfred Wolmark.

Alfred Wolmark Self-Portrait

Alfred Wolmark Self-Portrait

Alfred Wolmark came to England as a child in the 1880s, when his parents fled Poland. He early developed skill at drawing and after studying at the Royal Academy School he became a full-time painter. His early works reflected his parents’ Jewish circle, but after 1910 he took inspiration from the French avant-garde Fauves and painted many works in strong, imaginative colours, with less concern for exact drawing.

Wolmark was one of the pioneers of Modernist art in Britain, and before the First World War he was a close friend of the French sculptor Gaudier-Brzeska (of whom he painted remarkable portraits), and of Jacob Epstein, mixed with the members of Sickert’s London Group. Between 1910 and 1935 he achieved his full potential as a creative artist, and he was active in many fields other than painting, such as stage design, ceramics, posters and sculpture. He designed a huge stained glass window for St Mary’s church at Slough, which can still be seen.

He took his subjects from the whole range of portraits, landscapes, still-lifes, and nudes both mythological and profane. Portrait sketches were a feature of his work and many important cultural figures sat for him, such as Thomas Hardy, Somerset Maugham, and Aldous Huxley.

Wolmark travelled widely within Britain, to Ireland, Wales, Cornwall and Devon, and in Europe to Paris and Switzerland, where he painted numerous mountain scenes. Further afield, in 1919 he went to New York where he painted several skyscraper views, and in 1927 to Tunis where he painted the local people.

He lived in London, except for a few years during the Second World War when he and his family sought safety in Oxfordshire. He moved to St Paul’s Studios at the end of the war and settled into his last home there.

Never a member of a prominent artistic group, he preferred to mix socially with other artists with progressive views and to plough his own furrow throughout a long and productive life of over 80 years until his death in 1961. His works can be seen in public collections such as the National Portrait Gallery, Tate Britain and Birmingham City Art Gallery. In his lifetime he exhibited widely in Britain and Europe, and a large exhibition was shown at the Ben Uri Gallery, London, and the Ferens Art Gallery, Hull in 2004 (here a link to the Exhibition Announcement).

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Young Lady in a Blue Bonnett, oil painting on canvas

Young Lady in a Blue Bonnett, oil painting on canvas

Here is another artist working from St Paul’s Studios (I do not know which one yet). Apprenticed to a lithographic draughtsman he studied in the evenings, later for a year at the Acadamie Julien in Paris (his allowance was one Pound a week).  He worked also briefly in Belfast.

Barribal created such memorable images as posters for the Schweppes advertising campaign and the Waddingtons playing cards series, which are avidly collected today. He is also well-known for the bold Art Deco posters designed in 1920s and 1930s for the London North Eastern Railway.

Barribal also worked for various magazines, including the fashion champion Vogue, and between 1919 and 1938 regularly exhibited his work.

Interestingly, after he married his wife became his only model and inspiration, appearing on picture postcards, almanacs, calendars and pages of leading weeklies.

I'm thinking of you Postcard

I'm thinking of you Postcard

His images of exquisite and fashionable Edwardian women have become classics and the work of many a modern fashion artist shows traces of the unmistakable “Barribal style”.

I assume that both painting and postcard show the mysterious Ms Barribal, another form resident.

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