As we enter Spring I am illustrating studies of bluebells and daffodils, in the research and development phase of creating new designs for laser cut cards and marketing materials, and creating a collection of romantic couture and accessories inspired by flowers and the beauty of nature.
I am preparing to launch some exciting events this Summer and the studio is filled with golden ink, photographs that have been sent to me of past events from all of the world, and the lovely fragrance of fresh flowers. DI Events have invited me to participate in their Valentine's Masquerade Ball at Home House on 14th February, so I am creating beautiful characters inspired by a Modern Renaissance.
I have been fascinated by the history of Somerset House, a neoclassical building constructed by Edward Seymour, the duke of Somerset who in 1547 decided to build himself a palace by the Thames. Edward Seymour was the brother of Jane Seymour, third wife to Henry VIII. Following his betrayal by his friend Dudley, governmental mismanagement of a treatise handing back the French the port of Boulogne, and Dudley's liberal support of rural tenure of land, during the Ket’s Rebellion in July 1549, at expense to the property owners in Somerset and dismantlement of local churches to construct the stately home, Seymour was viewed with a suspicion which eventually lead to a charge of conspiracy, and execution in the Tower of London in 1553. Following his death, a young princess of 20 years old moves into the palace, until she is crowned Elizabeth I in 1558.
When I have the opportunity, I love to photograph all the characters and sculptures that have been etched into the building, and stand proud and tall, facing the sky and the city from the heights of the building. The tridents are tipped with gold.
When gazing up, I sometimes forget that I am so very much smaller than they are and the white sky and the stone that separates me from them and the great and wild expanse fills with grandeur and possibility. The same structures and faces have been wrought by trained hands the world over, they hold a gentle eloquence, theatricality and adventure which lights history, and the future, having stood there for over centuries, gazed at by the passing audiences, their children and their childrens' children. The wisdom and security of old buildings, the exceptional skill and training of the architects, builders, furniture makers, plasterworkers, gardeners, all studying the same patterns and mythologies from various angles to create a greater work appeals to me.
My secret recommendation to visitors to London is to photograph all of the little faces and sculptures which are enfolded into the cities' structure, all the lions, unicorns, goddesses, apollos, gryffyns, dragons, vines, deer, doric columns, wreaths, cherubim and chariots. Their grand, regal playfulness is a great acknowledgement of the wit, and enchanting bardic tradition which is traced in the pages which surround us. If anybody reading this would like to send me a dialogue of the characters they find, and images I would love to see!