Last chance to catch Vinny Reunov at the Saatchi Gallery

This weekend marks the end of a month long show of Ukranian artists at the Saatchi Gallery.  Until Monday 3 November.

Kiev/London based artist Vinny Reunov is one of 38 Ukranian artists in a show entitled ‘Premonition: Ukranian Art Now’ which aims to provide ‘a broad introduction to the diverse and energetic nature of Ukraine’s art-scene’. Reunov has been painting ‘in situ’ for much of the show.

Vinny Reunov in exhibition t-shirt.

Vinny Reunov in exhibition t-shirt.


Vinny Reunov 'Premonition: Ukranian Art Now'...

Vinny Reunov in front of his work.

Work in the show by other Ukranian artists.

Sandra Higgins, South American Art specialist with her Colombian friends.

Sandra Higgins, South American art specialist with her Colombian friends.

High heels at the opening night

High heels at the opening night

Premonition: Ukrainian Art Now – until the 3rd of November.

Saatchi Gallery.  Opening hours:  10am-6pm, last entry 5:30pm

Address: Duke of York’s HQ, King’s Road, London, SW3 4RY 


Easter Sunday at the Tower of London


Yeoman Warders in State dress.

On Easter Sunday I had the honour of being present at the Tower of London for one of three annual State Parades (the other being at Whitsun and the Sunday before Christmas) when the Yeoman Warders escort the Governor from Queen’s House in scarlet and gold State dress to the Chapel Royal of St Peter ad Vincula.  An excellent Easter Day service and chocolate for the congregation on departure!

The State dress uniforms which are only worn on State occasions date from 1552 comprise a knee length scarlet tunic, breeches, stockings and a round brimmed hat called a Tudor bonnet.  Queen Elizabeth I introduced the distinctive neck ruff.  Their tunics display the thistle, rose and shamrock (emblems of Scotland, England and Ireland) and the initials ER (Elizabeth Regina).  They are armed with a sword and partisan with the gaoler (on this occasion acting gaoler Yeoman Serjeant Bob Loughlin) carrying the ceremonial axe.

There are currently 37 Yeoman Warders residing at The Tower all of whom have served a minimum of 22 years with the Armed Forces and have received a long service and good conduct medal.  They are not to be confused with the Yeomen of the Guard (whose State dress is distinguished by cross belts worn from the left shoulder).  For every day dress the Yeoman Warders wear dark blue and red ‘undress’ uniform.

Governor Colonel Richard Harrold OBE inspects the Yeoman Warders before the State Parade to the Royal Chapel

Governor Colonel Richard Harrold OBE inspects the Yeoman Warders before the State Parade to the Royal Chapel.

Chief Warder Alan Kingshott with the mace which is carried on ceremonial occasions.

Chief Warder Alan Kingshott with the mace which is carried on ceremonial occasions.

The Governor leads the Yeoman Warders to the Chapel Royal for the State Parade.

The Governor leads the Yeoman Warders to the Chapel Royal for the State Parade.

The Reverend, Roger J Hall MBE awaiting the arrival of the Parade before the Easter Sunday service.

The Reverend, Roger J Hall MBE awaiting the arrival of the Parade before the Easter Sunday service.

The Yeoman Gaoler carries the ceremonial axe into the Chapel.

The Yeoman Gaoler carries the ceremonial axe into the Chapel.

Yeoman Warder.

Yeoman Warder Jimmy James.

State dress detail. 'Dieu et mon droit'.  This is the motto of the British Monarch in England meaning literally 'God and my right'.

State dress detail. ‘Dieu et mon droit’. This is the motto of the British Monarch in England meaning literally ‘God and my right’.

State dress detail.  Leather shoes with red white and blue rosettes.

State dress detail. Leather shoes with red white and blue rosettes.

After the Parade.

Yeoman Warder, Jimmy James.

Finely dressed member of the congregation.

Finely dressed member of the congregation.

Good to see spats being worn by congregation member.

Good to see spats being worn by congregation member.

Yeoman Warder (left) wearing the navy blue and red undress uniform.

Yeoman Warder (left) wearing the navy blue and red undress uniform.  State dress (right).

Cast iron 12 pounder gun, probably Flemish, dated 1607.  Carriage, British 1827.

Cast iron 12 pounder gun, probably Flemish, dated 1607. Carriage, British 1827.

The Tower of London is one of the most popular heritage sites in the country attracting over 2.5 million visitors last year.

The Exhibition ‘Coins and Kings: The Royal Mint at the Tower’ opens on May 24 2013.

Photographs are the copyright of Fiona Campbell and may not be used without permission.

Purim in Stamford Hill

Family crosses the road bearing a gift of food wrapped in customary cellophane.

The Haredi Jews of Stamford Hill are normally a sober bunch.  Once a year however on the festival of Purim they take to the streets in fancy dress, crank up the sound systems and party in carnival style.  Purim commemorates the time when the Jewish people living in Persia were saved from extermination from a massacre by Haman due to the courage of a young Jewish woman called Esther.

Adults of legal age are actively encouraged to get intoxicated, specifically to the point that they can’t tell the difference between the words “cursed be Haman” and “blessed be Mordecai”.  Purim is celebrated not only with drinking, feasting and dancing but the offering of gifts and collection of money for charity.  Not a policeman in sight.

Colonel Gaddafi

The Haredi – strictly-Orthodox Jews (Haredi meaning ‘fearful’) who trace their ancestry to 18th-century Eastern Europe – are one of the most close-knit, insular and private communities in Britain. More than 20,000 live in Stamford Hill, in north-east London.  Yiddish is the main language. Contact with the secular society is generally avoided, television and secular newspapers are banned and religious study is a major part of their lives.  The mingling of sexes is strictly regulated and it is not unusual for families to have up to 10 children who all attend single sex Jewish schools (all but one is private).  The women dress in dark coats, long skirts and once married wigs are obligatory.  As often seen on the sabbath the men dress in frock coats, long silk gowns (bekishes), flamboyant fur hat (shtreimel), white stockings and slip on shoes.

Further images can be seen in the following slideshow.

All images copyright Fiona Campbell.  Images may not be used without permission.

The Lord Mayor’s Show 2011

David Wootton, Lord Mayor.

On Saturday 12 November, London celebrated the installation of the 684th Lord Mayor of London, Alderman David Wootton at the annual Lord Mayor’s Show.  Based at Mansion House, his principal role is ambassador for all UK based financial and professional services.  Not to be confused with the Mayor of London, Boris Johnson who is concerned with the strategic governance of Greater London.

Crowds at the Lord Mayor's Show.

The procession is a spectacular show of Britain at its best with thousands lining the three mile route which passes from The Guildhall via Mansion House to St Paul’s Cathedral (where the Lord Mayor is blessed) to the Royal Courts of Justice where the Lord Mayor swears allegiance to the Crown.

The 6000+ participants included the Great Twelve Livery Companies (Mercers, Grocers, Drapers, Fishmongers, Goldsmiths, Merchant Taylors, Skinners, Habadashers, Salters, Ironmongers, Vintners and Clothworkers) as well as marching bands, charities, schools, Yeoman Warders, Pikemen and Musketeers, former Lord Mayors, sheriff’s, members of the clergy, the City of London Police and more.   Spectacular Carriages (some supplied by the Royal Mews), horses, sheep, Stephen Fry (doing a ‘fry-on-the-wall documentary), Clare Balding (trotting alongside the procession in inimitable style presenting for the BBC) gowns, fur, swords, muskets, pikes, bejewelled chains of office, maces – a pageant of colour and carnival to welcome the new Lord Mayor.

Trooper from The Blues and Royals of the Household Cavalry Regiment. The escort to the new Lord Mayor.

Captain Alistair Bassett Cross leading The Company of Pikemen and Musketeers.

Yeoman Warders, Pikemen and Musketeers watching the procession outside Mansion House.

HM Forces salute.

Yeoman Warders.

Clare Balding presenting for the BBC.

Members of the Worshipful Company of Fletchers.

Members of the Worshipful Company of Fletchers.

Stan Brown, Ward Beadle, Port Soken and Malcolm Potter, Beadle, Bridge Within and Without.

Members of the Company of Pikemen and Musketeers at ease outside Mansion House.

David Lawless, the Lord Mayor's Coachman. The 6 horses drawing the carriage were provided by (when HM The Queen is out in a carriage she has 8 horses pulling it)

Pageant Master, Dominic Reid (r) chatting to members of the Company of Pikemen and Musketeers.

Caspar Wootton, grandson of the Lord Mayor.

The Lord Mayor and his wife are blessed by Canon Pastor Michael Colclough, St Paul's Cathedral. While the State Coach was unable to stop at the front of the Cathedral (due to the occupiers tents) the procession continued as usual giving us a rare glimpse of the blessing.

Alderman and Sheriff Alan Yarrow with his Chaplain, Canon Giles Fraser. (who resigned as Canon Chancellor of St Paul's on October 27 2011).

Doggett's Coat and Badge Men with Pikemen and Musketeer outside the Royal Courts.

Masters of the Worshipful Company of Drapers, Grocers and Mercers.

The Lord Mayor's State Coach outside the Royal Courts of Justice.

Aldermen Past the Chair - Carriage with former Lord Mayors, Sir John Stuttard (2006-7, Glazier), Ian Luder (2008-9, Cooper), Sir David Lewis (2007-8, Solicitor), Nick Anstee (2009-10, Butcher) l-r

Lady Mayoress, Elizabeth Wootton and son Christopher. The Lady Mayoress wearing English Tweed from Carlisle and gloves presented to her by the Worshipful Company of Glovers.

The Lord Mayor's Car. Registration LMO.

The Front of the Pageantmaster's Land-Rover.

The Lord Mayor's State Coach.

Outside Mansion House at the end of the Show.

Alderman David Wootton, Lord Mayor is not merely some ‘corporate lawyer chappie’ (Guardian Sports journalist Martin Kelner bemoaning the fact that the Show was broadcast on BBC1 in the place of Football Focus) who dresses up in gown and tricorn.  He works exceptionally hard representing the interests of the City both in the UK and abroad, giving over 700 speeches throughout the year and addressing over 10,000 people each month.  I might add that he does not take a salary for this position.  I wish him the best with the challenges that lie ahead.

The 2012 Lord Mayor’s Show is on Saturday 10 November.


Further images from the show can be seen on the following link

In May 2010 my book on the Company of Pikemen and Musketeers at the Lord Mayor’s Show 2009 was presented to HM The Queen by the Company of Pikemen and Musketeers.  The book can be viewed on the following link.

If you would like to buy a copy of the book (limited edition of 150) please contact me directly as I have some copies.  Likewise if you would like a print or license to use any of the images.

Pageant Master of almost 20 years, Dominic Reid OBE gives a lecture on the history of the Lord Mayor’s Show:’s-show

Masterpiece 2011

Adjoining concurrently with the fun and games built around the auction rooms’ main summer sales (as described in previous entry ‘Old Masters Week in London’) was Masterpiece (29 June-5 July 2011). This successor to the Grosvenor House antiques fair (once part of The Season) took place in a rectangular space-ship of a ‘marquee’ that had landed on splendid south lawn of the Royal Chelsea Hospital, a marked improvement on last year’s setting amidst the nearby demolished Chelsea barracks. A child of TEFAF Maastricht Masterpiece is thus both flashier and more Europeanised than its old school Piccadilly predecessor.

Therein one could still find a few impressive Old Masters and some of the best Georgian silver, otherwise the chimera was stuffed with everything one needs from tiaras, Monets, suits of armour, £500,000 billiard tables, custom built Rolls-Royces (Asprey’s jewellery box in the glove compartment included in the price £400,000) to cocktail shakers, and even a sprinkling of Contemporary Art.  

The show featured more than 160 dealerships, some of whom had paid between £40,000 and £50,000 for their stands – not a great outlay for some such as Symbolic and Chase who sold a 1930s brooch with a yellow diamond for more than £1,250,000.

Prince Harry (did he stop for a bellini in Harry’s Bar I wonder?), Uma Thurman, Oprah Winfrey, Sir Elton John and Lord Lloyd-Webber were spotted at what was described by one dealer as ‘A shopping mall for luxury customers’.
A far cry from Westfield, Harry’s Bar provides a comfortable resting place to contemplate ones purchases.
Gallery ladies ready for action.

Peter Finer, Antique Arms and Armour had a fine selection of items on display.  His Gallery is in Duke Street, St James’s.

A North German Field Armour, Brunswick circa 1555.
Provenance. Historic Collections of the Duke of Brunswick
successively at Schloss Blankenburg and Schloss Marienburg.
Price £140,000.
Ciancinimo, specialising in 20th Century furniture and art.  Photograph on wall by Araki. 

The sumptuousness of some of the stands was mindblowing.  Wick Antiques Ltd (Lymington) and Billiard Room Ltd (Bath) shared a stand.  If you are after a canon or half a million pounds of billiard table this is the place to go.

A fine collection of canons available from Wick Antiques.
Rodolph de Salis with striking billiard table that was made for James Blyth, 1st Baron Blyth (1841-1925)
for 33 Portland Place, London. Cox and Yeman, circa 1890.
Gordon Watson (Pimlico Road, London) fine 20th Century furniture, objects and lighting.
Elle Sushan (Philadelphia), fine portrait miniatures.
Interesting display of late 18th Century Portuguese chairs, made in Brazil.
Fine paintings from Philip Mould (Dover Street, London).
Hamiltons Gallery (Carlos Place, London).
Rodolph takes a break.  Left couple making interesting fashion statement.  Shirt by Hermes.
These chaps were having a very busy week.
A quiet moment…

Old Masters week in London

Christie’s sales room, ‘Captain John Bullock’ portrait by Gainsborough (centre) 
est. £3,500,000- £5,000,000.  This beautiful painting remained unsold. 

This week, London is heaving with a host of finely attired art collectors and dealers from all over the world.  July 1-8 is Old Masters Week where 23 commercial art galleries in Mayfair and St James’ are showing off their wares in collaboration with Christie’s, Sotheby’s and Bonham’s where one has a great and brief opportunity to view some of the most spectacular old master paintings and drawings before they are dispersed at auction.

Christie’s was bustling with excitement and set a record with sales of the ‘Old Masters and British Paintings’ reaching almost £50,000,000.

A highlight at Christie’s was George Stubbs’ ‘Gimcrack on Newmarket Heath’, at a very long 40 x 76 inches – est. £20-30 million it sold for 22.4 million (including commission) which places Stubbs amongst the most valuable Old Master paintings in auction history.  [The most expensive Old Master painting at auction remains ‘The Massacre of the Innocents’ by Peter Paul Rubens which fetched 49.5 million pounds at Sotheby’s in 2002.]

George Stubbs, ‘Gimcrack on Newmarket Heath’

The painting was sold by the Trustees of the collection of the late Lord Woolavington, a whiskey magnate who bought it in 1951 for £12,600.  Christie’s state the the picture was sold due to the high cost of insurance which is disproportionate to the value of the other works in the collection housed at Cottesbrooke Hall in Northamptonshire which is occupied by Woolavington’s descendant, Captain Macdonald-Buchanan.  It is not known if the painting will stay in Britain, the buyer wishes to remain anonymous.

Detail of the Stubbs painting featuring Gimcrack winning a race (R) and his jockey (L).
Jean-Marc Nattier (1685-1766), portrait of Marguerite-Francoise-Bernard de Reims. 
Est. £350,000-450,000.   Unsold
George Romney (1743-1802), portrait of Francis Lind with flute, est. £100,000-£150,000. Unsold.
Then to Bonham’s
Giacomo Ceruti, called il Pitochetto (active Lombardy, 1724-1757) detail of Portrait of a lady, Est, £50,000 – 70,000.
Old Master taken off the wall for closer inspection.

And Sotheby’s

Head Porter with table, Sotheby’s.
Old master being inspected with glasses / ultraviolet light torch, Sotheby’s.

After the auction houses closed their doors to prepare for the evening sales the dealerships of St James’s and Mayfair welcomed art lovers with canapes and champagne for further perusal of artistic offerings as part of Old Masters Week.

Art lovers take a break in the window of Robert Bowman Gallery, Duke Street.
Jean-Luc Baroni, Mason’s Yard.
Arty canapes at Baroni.
Stanley at the door of Åmell’s Gallery, Ryder Street.
The Weiss Gallery on Jermyn Street, specialising in Tudor, Stuart and North European portraiture had a stunning selection of paintings immaculately displayed and lit.
Detail of painting by Jan Claesz (1570-1636), Weiss Gallery.
Portrait of John Wyndham Dalling (1769-1786) by  Philip Reinagle, Weiss Gallery.
Provenance: by descent through the Wyndham Dalling and Meade families of  Earsham Hall, Bungay, Suffolk.
This portrait was commissioned as an aspirational hope for the sitter’s (aged no more than 6 or 7) future military career.  Sadly the boy did not live to fulfil his father’s dreams as in 1786 he died aged 17 of fever in India.  This picture sold at Bonhams for £50,400 including 20% buyer’s premium.  The ticket on the picture at the Weiss Gallery is £150,000.

Last stop on the tour was the Colnaghi gallery on Old Bond Street.  An impressive viewing space indeed.

Colnagi Gallery.
Let’s hope that some of these stunning paintings will remain in Britain.  There is increasing concern that many of these Old Masters being sold are being taken abroad as British titled families offload their treasures to raise funds for repairs to their estates or to meet demands from Revenue and Customs.  Last year Earl Spencer sold £21m worth of art from Althorpe House and in 2010 the Duke of Devonshire raised £6.5m (inc. commission) from his ‘attic sale’ of 20,000 items at Chatsworth House.  It is thought that much of this treasure is going to the Middle East and Asia.  

Overheard in one of the galleries was a middle eastern chap whose criteria was for paintings that were large and old with no nudity. “Don’t show me anything small” he said. 

On the way home some street art by Ralph Lauren who were changing their window display.  Excuse the nudity.

Fiona Campbell with Ralph Lauren mannequins, wearing Victoria Grant hat.
Someone commented that the hat would be worthy of an Old Master.
Photograph by Rodolph de Salis.

Barfleur with Campbell de Salis chez Artmonger JH

Coat of arms, Barfleur

This weekend, Campbell De Salis (aka Fiona Campbell and Rodolph de Salis) had the pleasure of a weekend sojourn to Barfleur, Normandy at the kind invitation of artmonger JH who resides in a beautiful house on the harbour front packed with curious treasures and artworks.  

A charming and dare I use the word ‘unspoilt’ harbour village that was the principal port of the medieval Anglo-Norman Plantagenet Kingdom. Point of departure in 1066 for the Normans to the Battle of Hastings and in 1120, The White Ship carrying Prince William, the only legitimate son of Henry 1 of England went down outside the Harbour causing chaos in the monarchy.  According to reports (possibly from the only survivor, a butcher from Rouen named Berold, the crew had imbibed rather alot of Calvados).

Artist, Paul Signac(1853-1935) had a house in Barfleur.  In a letter to his friend and art collector Gaston Lévy, Signac wrote: ‘The port has enough hustle and bustle about it, and is lined with houses of a handsome and pure architecture. The countryside around is magnificent and very wooded, and the terrain is rolling. It’s one of the high spots of France: the sea is beautiful and the gardens are full of flowers’.

Indeed Barfleur was to provide a cornucopia of delights, from the glorious residence and inside knowledge of our host and his trusty companion Clemmy the sheepdog, to the flea market, fishermen, medieval buildings, fruits de mer,  the ferry journeys (of course) and visit to the Chevalier in Cherbourg… 

The ferry from Portsmouth to Cherbourg provided plenty of entertainment before we were picked up by our host, JH and Clemmy for the short (25K) journey to Barfleur.

Departure from Portsmouth, a passenger ferry crosses our wake.
Rodolph sporting a fine tabard.  He takes his health and safety on board seriously.
Barfleur harbour.
Clemmy (r) and chum

JH taking photograph of Campbell de Salis from outside his residence.
JH collection of crucifixen (jcs carved out of bone hence upright arms) with stapled
together plate in background ‘Dans un amoroux delire. On peut tenter, tout dire’…

JH residence
JH residence
Saint de Salis (r) in JH residence
As luck would have it, the Barfleur ‘Vide Grenier’  (literal translation ’empty attic’, flea market, car bootie) set up on our doorstep.  The next Vide-Grenier is on Sunday 24th July 2011.
Vide-Grenier on the harbour front.

Campbell de Salis in Action.

The Belgian,  Jacques Brel wrote and recorded his songs almost exclusively in French.
The item on the right was on sale for 1 euro… 
Barfleur’s principal resource is its fishing.  The Barfleur white mussel is one of the most sought after in France.
‘Mini cuisine vapeur’… 
Le vendeur.
Les chapeuxs.
Rodolph looking resplendant in French chapeu.
Chopin, the bassett hound.
Bassett hound, name unknown.
Le chat.
Les moines.
Le mur.
The church of St Nicholas, Barfleur.  It took 223 years to build starting in 1650.

Once the grenier-vide finished there was time to explore the local environs.

Clemmy, our trusty companion.

Before the war this used to be a sandy beach.

Entrance to the harbour.  
Les bateaux.
A handsome potter resides in Barfleur which is renowned for its house plaques and roof tiles known as ‘epis de faitage’ or roof statues.  If you are favoured by said potter you may be lucky enough to have a custom made statue often a bird on your roof.
No 26.
No. 26. This one bears a striking resemblance to our dear Prince Philip…
Les fleurs de Barfleur.
The pink house.
Back at the residence…
JH and Rodolph discuss preparation of the fish purchased from  the harbour.
Sole on mosaic table, creation by JH.
The aftermath of the artichokes.
On the way to our return ferry JH kindly took us to the Chevalier where I purchased some horse steak and horse sausage on order from my friend Craig Hunt who has a superb food blog.  Here’s a link to his entry which has a good explanation of the history of horse eating.   

Fiona outside the horse butcher.  Photograph by Rodolph de Salis.
Certificate awarded to the Chevaline de Cherbourg by the Confrerie Cassine des Chevaliers de Saint-Jacques.
The steaks are cut by our friendly butcher.
We were kindly offered some of the red horse sausage, a bit like liver sausage .  Just in case you’re in doubt of the provenance of the meat there’s a picture of a horse on the label.
Horse sausages or chipos / short for chipolatas.
Rodolph was rather envious of this couple with their travel scrabble, very practical for those bumpy journeys.   
We did however have plenty of things to keep us occupied on the sea voyage.
Rodolph found himself a prime seat with a superb view.
Rodolph masquerading as commuter back in the smoke.  Waterloo Station.

On return to London I took one of the horse steaks and sausages to my chef friend Charles Merrington who was celebrating his birthday with a barbecue.  Hot debate ensued and some party goers thought I was ‘taking them for a ride’… Alas I did not get to try the horse as Charlie’s fellow chef, Ruben put it to one side for concentrated degustation the following day.  He had never tried horsemeat before.

Day 4 – Venice Biennale

Fiona Campbell and Rodolph de Salis with Song Dong installation.
Photograph by Fiona Campbell
Still Life, San Samuele.
Detail of sculpture by Luca Francesconi ‘non operative electric hot plate’ in the context of marble, bronze,iron,
objects of chinese production, variable dimensions.
One of a collection of public waste paper baskets.
Detail of the Arsenale, electrical fitting.
Argentinian contribution at The Arsenale.

Day 3 Venice Biennale

Milanese offering.  Hat by Victoria Grant.
Front door of the Palazzo, location of very exclusive birdsnest party at which most of the guests arrived by boat.
View through the window of the Peggy Guggenheim Museum.
Koen Vanmechelen’s Chicken, part of the CCP / Cosmopolitan Chicken Research Project.
“After so many generations, I started noticing the diversity on the surface, what made we wonder. And so, together with a team of scientists, we jumped inside the chicken.”  Koen Vanmechelen
Narrow House, 2010, Erwin Wurm Austria.
This lady was sitting on a bench with a bucket on her head singing.  Art?  discuss…
Artist Performer applying ice to the buttocks of his victim who had been whipped as he circled the pole. 
This was accompanied by an ‘art’ rock band and men in suits melting glass bottles in a furnace.
Part of the Chinese offering at The Arsenale by Yang Maoyuan
Party goer awaits water taxi in her stilettos… probably on the way to the Bauer Hotel.