Tuesday, 25 May 2010

The Greatest Plainess of Structure

St Mary's Church in Twickenham is just along the river from Orleans House. It was designed by John James - the original architect of Orleans House. Of course John James' part of Orleans House no longer stands. The only remaining part of the house - the Octagonal banqueting room - was added later to James Gibbs' design. So it is interesting to get a feel for John James's style and taste. There's a lovely lightness and elegance to the church - it exemplifies James' belief that

"The beautys of architecture may consist with the greatest plainess of structure"

Though the columns perhaps show a little more fancy...

The church boasts a number of very illustrious parishioners over its history. Amongst my guest list for 'Place Setting' are Alexander Pope, his nurse Mary Beach, and the actress Kitty Clive - a favourite of both Walpole and Garrick.

Tuesday, 11 May 2010

Delightful Ham

I was at Ham House the other day, doing some research into a few of the characters that have lived there over the centuries.

While I was looking around the housekeeper's rooms, I came across this beautiful little fireplace with the most charming tiles.

I also really love the legs which support the marble counter top in the dairy - oh what wit!
And not forgetting that Ham too has some beautiful plasterwork.

Monday, 3 May 2010

Structure and Strata

The table base for the piece is being constructed by Matt Cockrem. He has built a skeleton sub-structure, which he is now cladding in archive boxes. The overall effect reads like a random pile of boxes, tumbled and jumbled. There's something almost slate-like about all the different angles and facets.

Matt has played an integral part in the development of the piece, both as an amazingly skilled fabricator and maker, and also as a really valuable sounding-board for ideas. I feel very fortunate that he's working with me.

Here he is, building up the side of the table.

Over the weeks, I have been slowly collecting the cultery and glassware for the table top. I have built up a random collection of silver and cut and pressed glass - to match the random mix of my guests. Most of the pieces come from Deptford market - an extraordinary resource of flotsam and jetsam.