Make Your Mark (2)

First, I want to thank all those readers who have already given so generously to our Appeal.   It has both surprised and impressed those who are running it how much money has poured in this afternoon.   Maybe it’s from my 7 readers in Argentina.   Second, I should have said that one of the benefits of giving £250 is that you get a private tour with Joseph Green who is brilliant at it and, if I am available, I am more than happy to offer my services as well.


Make Your Mark (1)

We had an all-staff meeting this morning which, rather amazingly, will be the last to be held in our temporary offices in Unilever House before we move back to Burlington Gardens early in the New Year.   I realised when I did a post earlier in the week about our public appeal that I didn’t actually provide a link to how to make a donation, which is rather badly needed at this juncture, if we are to get to the £3 million we have set as the target.

So, all being well (it will take a minute to be added) here is a link to the film about the appeal.

And this is a link to how to give to it.

Any amount, however large or small, will be appreciated.


Jamie Fobert

I went tonight to a lecture organised by the Architecture Foundation in which Jamie Fobert talked about his three current, long-standing arts projects, one of which, Tate St. Ives, has just opened.

He started with a modest installation he had done in Tate Modern in 2002, in which he demonstrated his interest in the placement of works of art in open space and the way the spectator related to them with extreme economy of means.

He was first employed to work at Kettle’s Yard in 2004, when he reconfigured a Chinese restaurant at the corner of the site and, following the death of Michael Harrison, was employed by Andrew Nairne to do a much more ambitious scheme, protecting, as far as possible, the Leslie Martin 1970 extension with its ample use of brick, but at the same time creating two generously proportioned exhibition galleries in the old terrace on Castle Hill and much improving disabled access.

He won the competition to transform the barns adjacent to Charleston Farmhouse in 2009, jointly with Julian Harrap (one of the characteristics of his talk was his generosity to the work of collaborators).   The old barns have been restored and a new barn-like structure has been created alongside to contain archive, exhibition gallery and loos.   The project is on site, due to open, he said, next summer.

I had no idea how long-drawn out and complicated his project in St. Ives has been, owing to the fierce determination of the local community to STOP THE TATE and retain the car park on the hill above the art gallery.   In the end, he won the second competition with a project which is sandwiched between the car park and the sheltered housing by the beach.   But it looks like a very intelligent solution, adding a large, open exhibition space underground alongside and opening up the existing Evans & Shalev 1993 building.

Each of the projects demonstrated the extreme intelligence of his approach to design, based on close attention to solving the problems of the ground plan and then allowing the shape and structure of the building to grow from the experience of its context and intelligent use of unexpected materials.


I took a small group of Patrons round Burlington Gardens.   It may not have looked it to them, but it’s making progress.   The structure of the concrete bridge is now in place:-

The Norman Shaw studios (although not authenticated as by Shaw):-

The Entrance Hall:-


Collections Gallery:-

Burlington Gardens


Tenth Anniversary

To judge from the plethora of comments in the Comments section (all now deleted), it looks as if I owe my readers an apology for having been sent a test email.   As readers may have noticed, I have been having problems with the formatting of the blog (and others have experienced problems in posting comments).   I hope the problems have now been resolved.

This morning, I was ambushed by a small celebration of the fact that we have now been fund-raising for our new building in Burlington Gardens for just over ten years, at which point, £50 million later and more still to raise (donations still very welcome), the portrait of Sir Richard Carew-Pole, the chairman of our appeal committee, by Christopher Le Brun PRA, and mine by Tom Phillips RA (very flattering because it is nearly fifteen years old) were turned into cupcakes and we all celebrated Richard’s remarkable, determined, infinitely patient and stalwart contribution:-


Brockwell Park

We were taken to admire Brockwell Park this afternoon which is not something I would normally have thought of doing.   But it is surprisingly atmospheric, windswept and on the first hill outside London, halfway between Brixton and Norwood, with views north east towards the city and south to Crystal Palace.   The hall at the top was originally the seat of John Blades, a glass merchant, and its park bought by the LCC in March 1891 as an urban amenity, which indeed it is.

The view up the hill from near the Lido:-

The organic garden and community greenhouses:-

And the old walled kitchen garden, which was made in the 1890s into a formal garden by J.J. Sexby, the author of a book about The Municipal Parks and Gardens of London (1898):-


Bow Common Lane

I’ve been intrigued several times recently by a grand, but deserted neo-Georgian building on Bow Common Lane, just south of the cemetery.   What is it ?  What was it ?  Somewhere else it might have been a post office sorting centre, but not here.   It’s not in Pevsner:-