Sudbury

I wasn’t sure what to make of Sudbury:  a large medieval town, made wealthy through weaving, still with four active silk-weaving establishments;  a large medieval church, St. Botolph, with a good early eighteenth-century monument to Thomas Carter:-

Another medieval church, St. Peter, which was full of a farmer’s market and a worn north door:-

And good early houses on Stour Street, including The Chantry:-

And Salter’s Hall, which has a carving of St. James the Less with an elephant and lion on the street front:-

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Gainsborough’s House

For some reason I have never previously been to Gainsborough’s House, so was pleased to be invited, travelling by way of the branch line from Mark’s Tey which somehow survived Dr. Beeching’s cuts.   It’s where Gainsborough’s parents lived and where he was born in 1727, not long after they had bought the house for £232 in 1722.   The sales particulars when it was sold again in 1792 describe it as a ‘Brickt Mansion…replete with every convenient Accommodation for a genteel Family, or principal Manufacturer’.   Gainsborough’s father was both genteel and a local cloth merchant, who bankrupted himself in 1733, maybe by adding the brick façade.   Thomas was the youngest of at least nine children, educated at the local grammar school, and returned to live in Sudbury when his father died in October 1748, painting Mr. and Mrs. Andrews in a field nearby (there’s a view of Sudbury church in the distance):-

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Maker’s House (1)

I went, but rather briefly, to Maker’s House, the project run jointly by Burberry and the Henry Moore Foundation (with a bit of input from the RA) in the old Foyle’s building on Charing Cross Road which Burberry are due to vacate on Monday.   It looked wonderful:  an old industrial space filled with the grand capes of Burberry’s autumn collection and Henry Moore’s bronzes, grandly and rather sublimely indifferent to the surrounding garb, with maquettes in the showcases and working models upstairs:-

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Euston Arch

I have discovered that it is still possible to obtain copies of the book the Smithsons produced in 1968 about the Euston Arch.   It’s a period piece, with an introduction by Nikolaus Pevsner in which he commends the fact that architects ‘who have designed buildings of outstanding integrity…are here denouncing the Euston Murder’.   There are sketches by J.C. Bourne of the building under construction:-

Fine photographs of it in its heyday:-

And photographs of it in the course of its demolition:-

There is something mournful when Peter Smithson writes how we have ‘an obligation to try and explain our nervousness when officials start to execute our value judgements for us, because we are near enough to fascist or communist bureaucracies where all value judgements are taken for everyone – architects, artists, people very like ourselves and our friends’.

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Ernö Goldfinger (2)

In looking up about Ernö Goldfinger the day before yesterday, it caught my eye that he had stayed with the Terrys during the war.   I wondered if this was anything to do with Quinlan Terry and indeed it was.   His parents were friends of the Goldfingers and on the outbreak of war they stayed in a house designed by Lubetkin in the grounds of Whipsnade Zoo.  I like the idea of the middle-aged Hungarian and the earnest schoolboy proto-classicist in amongst the elephants.

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Grosvenor Estate (2)

I have been sent a fascinating set of maps connected to the future of the Grosvenor Estate.   One shows the full extent of the estate – not just the whole of north Mayfair, but also most of Belgravia which was acquired and developed as a result of the marriage by Thomas Grosvenor, a Cheshire baronet, to Mary Davies, the daughter of a city scrivener, in 1677.   The best description of the estate is by Defoe in Applebee’s Weekly Journal in 1725:  ‘I passed an amazing Scene of new Foundations, not of Houses only, but as I might say of new Cities, New Towns, new Squares, and fine Buildings, the like of which no City, no Town, nay, no Place in the World can shew;  nor is it possible to judge where or when, they will make an end or stop of Building’:-

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Kasmin

I was asked to see the Kasmin display at Tate Britain which shows work acquired from the gallery in the 1960s, together with information about the circumstances of their acquisition, including the haggling about price.   It has been done in conjunction with Artists’ Lives, the programme of recordings of artists run by National Life Stories at the British Library.   Kasmin was born in the London Hospital, the grandson of Polish immigrants.   Educated at Magdalen College School.   Left to work for Pressed Steel.   Emigrated to New Zealand.   Changed his name from Kaye to Count Kasmin.   Returned to London in 1956.   He joined Marlborough Fine Art, run by Harry Fischer and Frank Lloyd, in the summer of 1960.   Left to establish his own gallery, designed by Richard Burton (recently deceased) and bankrolled by Sheridan Dufferin, at 118, New Bond Street in 1963.   A key figure in the art world of the 1960s, not least for representing Hockney.

This is a picture of Kasmin and Sheridan Dufferin, courtesy of Christopher Simon Sykes:-

And the gallery at 118, New Bond Street:-

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