The Nights Draw In, the Interest never Wavers

Even with a wintery feel in the air, there is no reason to retreat to the den quite yet, London has too much on says our Mayfair doyen. From the Tate Modern to new book launches, there is so much to tempt you out of doors

Column by Trevor Pickett

With the clocks falling back and the nights drawing in, is it now time to think about hibernating – maybe with a book wrapped in a luxurious dressing gown? But there are one or two things going on around town that it might be worth getting out and about for.

I am lucky to have talented friends to enlighten my life, Matthew Sturgis being one. He has just launched a new biography about Oscar Wilde, titled “Oscar: A Life” (Head of Zeus)’. His wife Rebecca Hossack has been a friend as long as I have had my shop, and she has had her gallery 30 years! So I’ve known Matthew, as long as they have been together. Matthew is charming, mild and has a reserve and a manner that makes you listen to what he says. He’s written a few highly acclaimed books, so this month his latest hit will be joining his chronicles of Downton Abbey, Walter Sickert “A Life”, Aubrey Beardsley “A Biography”  as well as “”When in Rome: 2000 Years of Roman Sightseeing”. There are many more titles, so he must take up a good yard or so of a library or bookshop shelves. The Wilde book, as the others have, is getting rave reviews. Almost all those reviews open in a veiled way (“Do we really need another Oscar Wilde book?” …   yawn!), and then proceed to praise this volume. In true colours, he has methodically explored and found a wealth of new, not previously published documentation regarding Wilde’s private life – it’s as exciting as finding the lost pieces of the jigsaw: the discovery of a wealth of material that has never been in the public domain. He adds to a story that has been well documented and often told, yet it is all thoroughly refreshing. Naturally, as a small independent business, I hope readers will support John Sandoe on Blackland’s Terrace SW3. The publisher is Hodder.

From Matthew, but staying in the second half of 19th century  in another visual genre of the period (though Wilde is not necessarily a part of this movement), one moves to Tate Britain for the pre-Raphaelite Edward Burne-Jones exhibition. For the fans of this genre of art, it is a magnificent show, with a wealth of works of the period – some interesting loans, yet another Tate Triumph!! Whilst you’re at the Tate, who can resist? Plan a visit to the restaurant, with the Rex Whistler murals around its walls: you feel you are in a cocoon of a rich luxurious tapestry. Though I recently heard a customer complain about the ceiling being dropped slightly for air con, I think it has been sympathetically achieved. It adds a stylish sense –  it’s slightly a la Oliver Messel (my mind wandered as I heard this criticism: I’m sure it would be the same customer that would complain about the space not being air conditioned!).

For the brave who like an adventure and feel that the a detour into the current or the future of art should be experienced – a visit to the Turner prize should be considered as after all the Carl Andre “Bricks” and Tracy Emin’s “Unmade Bed” like them or not, have stood the test of time and regularly show at Tate and exhibitions.

Keeping with the intensity of colour and texture, and staying lush, bringing more opulence to our lives, is the exciting new venture that has been slowly venturing out of a cocoon over the past year: the re-establishment of Georgina von Etzdorf in the world of prints. Known as the “Printcess,” she is back on the throne of textiles with her joint brand partner, Jimmy Docherty. The new mark is GvE & Co. After a decade of an artistic change of direction with her works on paper, Georgia has returned to fabric. It’s new, fresh and a developed design that is not retrospective but futuristic and uses new luscious fabric that are a joy to look at and sumptuous.  So deliciously wearable, drape’able and live’able.

With the starting up of the “let’s get an Oscar/ BAFTA/ Golden Globe” season, there will be a massive roll-out of new films just about to hit the cinema. So for me it’s been Child Act and Bohemian Rhapsody to kick off: both very different; films that I so enjoyed for different reasons. The Picture House, like us, is celebrating 30 years of trading, and one can’t forget the Curzon as a cinema of choice, with sadness you can reflect to Knightsbridge and what was Minema at The Berkeley that was true luxury visit to the silver screen!!

With Christmas just around the corner, the ice rink known as Skate opens mid-November in the courtyard of Somerset house. It is totally magical and the marriage between them and the sponsor Fortnum & Mason is a match made in heaven. So after you get on your skates on who can resist a carol concert as we lead up to the final days of the holiday season! They may seem a long way away –  but really isn’t, get planning…. St Paul’s Cathedral is surely one of the pinnacle venues in London this year with the British Red Cross being the beneficiary of the concert and gala dinner which is on Thursday 20th December 2018. David Suchet is hosting the event, which is being broadcast on Classic FM on Christmas Eve,  and Joanna Lumley, Jason Isaacs and Tom Spence are amongst those taking part, making it a very special concert. For tickets go to  https://www.ticketmaster.co.uk/st-pauls-cathedral-concert, or for gala dinner tickets go to https://www.redcross.org.uk/stpauls 

It’s good to follow on with some excitement for the post-holiday period, so I guess the blockbuster will be at the V&A. Their next extravaganza in the fashion department will be when they resurrect and reinvent, bringing the triumph of the Christian Dior exhibition from Paris. I believe the London show will have some new additions as exhibits, and I’m sure that – as they did with McQueen – it will be as much theatre as it is fashion again: artistic architecture, so of interest to all. riddle_stop 2

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