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Villa Noailles

I have just returned from visiting the Villa Noailles in Hyeres. It is a fascinating reminder of the extraordinary lives of the great French patrons, Viscount and Viscountess de Noailles. One tends to hear more about Marie-Laure de Noailles than about her husband,Charles, but in fact they were both active patrons of a wide range of artistic and musical activities [Read More…]

The Henry Moore altar in St Stephen, Walbrook

I sometimes go into this church, tucked behind the Mansion House, when I am passing on the way to or from a meeting. Its site, like that of all the City churches now, has become an odd one. Rothschilds’ new building now looms over it from behind, although that has at least opened up views of the church from St [Read More…]

Peter Watson and Massimo Campigli

When the Ensatzstab Reichsleiter Rosenberg (ERR) raided Watson’s flat at 44 Rue du Bac on 9th December 1940, one of the pictures that subsequently found its way to the repository of stolen art at the Jeu de Paume was by Campigli. The Germans gave it the title “Ruckenfigur einer Frau und zwei Akte”. It was an oil on canvas from 1928. It [Read More…]

Allen Jones, Anselm Kiefer, Peder Balke and Moroni

A busy weekend of catching up on viewings. The Kiefer show at the Royal Academy was astonishing.I had no previous knowledge of his work and went twice to try to get to grips with it. The size of the work is overwhelming and cumulatively highly impactive. It seems logistically impossible that some of the works were able to be transported to [Read More…]

John Piper Stained Glass

In St Margaret’s, Westminster yesterday, we noticed the rather subdued modern stained glass in the South Aisle. It turns out that it was put there in 1966 to replace glass destroyed by bombing in the War. Designed by Piper, it was made by that great glass-maker, Patrick Reyntiens.


There is a new book out about the early years of the ICA, which Peter Watson helped to create: “The ICA 1946-1968″ By Gregor Muir and Anne Massey. The book contains a useful chronology,  showing the amazing variety of cultural projects promoted by the ICA from its earliest years. It has a footnote reference to this website and a reference to my [Read More…]

Michael O’Connell

In the Nave of Little Hadham Church in Hertfordshire hangs a textile showing a stylised representation of part of the rather scattered village. It is by Michael O’Connell (1898-1976), who was a textile artist living nearby at Perry Green, where Henry Moore lived. He is described as a “pioneer in the production of textiles using dye resist techniques”. There is a website set up [Read More…]

David Smary

At Ightham Mote yesterday my eye was drawn to a portrait of the American, Charles Henry Robinson, who saved the house in the 1950s. It was by an artist identified as David Smary. Competently painted in the 1950s/60s, I assumed he would turn out to be a known portrait painter. But a Google search reveals literally nothing except this one picture. [Read More…]

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⋅ Jankel Adler ⋅ Eileen Agar ⋅ John Aldridge ⋅ Adrian Allinson ⋅ Michael Andrews ⋅ Edward Ardizzone ⋅ Arthur Armstrong ⋅ Frank Auerbach ⋅ Michael Ayrton ⋅ Francis Bacon ⋅ Wilhelmina Barns-Graham ⋅ Edward Bawden ⋅ Adrian Berg ⋅ Basil Blackshaw ⋅ David Bomberg ⋅ Louis le Brocquy ⋅ Jean Bullock ⋅ Edward Burra ⋅ George Campbell ⋅ Prunella [Read More…]

Scotney Castle Gardens, Kent

In the incredibly beautiful and romantic gardens around Scotney is a Henry Moore sculpture. According to the plaque, it was given by Moore to Christopher Hussey, the great architectural historian who owned Scotney. The distribution of 20th century sculpture around the country is something which merits attention. (In London it is hard to escape Paolozzi.) I will continue to highlight examples [Read More…]