I have been enjoying a visit back home in London this May. Not only have we been able to catch up with our son Ben and his wife Anna, both busy doctors, but we have seen some exciting exhibitions featuring our WMODA favorites.
Top of our list was a visit to the Royal Botanic Gardens in Kew to see the latest Chihuly exhibit. This is Chihuly’s second display at Kew and it is much bigger than his 2005 debut. Chihuly first began working in botanic gardens in 2001 attracted at first by glasshouses and the idea of putting glass sculptures inside glass. The Temperate House at Kew is the world’s biggest Victorian glasshouse and the climax of Chihuly’s London show.
Over the years, Chihuly has also appreciated the power of his work when it is juxtaposed with plant life. In his words, “I want my work to appear like it comes from nature so that if someone found it on a beach or in the forest, they might think it belonged there.” His goal was in “reflecting the fecundity and variety of plants in the world, both in the violence of their coloring and in the unpredictability of their forms.”
Having seen the Chihuly exhibits in Fairchild Tropical Botanic Gardens in Miami and the warm temperate climate of the New York Botanical Gardens, it was wonderful to see the different effect of his glass art in the lush green landscape of Kew in the springtime. There were installations unlike any I had seen before, including his Ethereal White Persian Pond in the Waterlily House and his Niijima Floats in a Japanese Zen garden with Kew’s Great Pagoda in the background. Some of Chihuly’s installations are almost camouflaged in their natural surroundings, as with the Fiori Verdi behind me in the Temperate House.
In addition to all the spectacular installations in Kew Gardens, there is also a fascinating retrospective exhibit of Chihuly’s work from his early Baskets to his exuberant Venetians. If you aren’t able to see Chihuly’s work outdoors this summer, remember that the exhibit at WMODA also reflects nature with its Macchia forest and Ikebana flower arrangements, which bloom all year round in cool surroundings.
Louise at Kew
WMODA at the World of Wedgwood
Next week, I will be visiting the World of Wedgwood to participate in the Collectors Fair on Sunday, June 2. Specialist dealers from the UK and overseas will be exhibiting and selling antiques and collectibles by Royal Doulton, Moorcroft, Beswick and Royal Crown Derby from 1820 to the present day.
Christopher Evans has curated a beautiful exhibit From Paper to Pottery celebrating the Royal Doulton archive. Michael Doulton will be in town for this event and I hope to see many old friends from my early days at the Royal Doulton International Collectors Club.
It was Arthur Wiener’s passion for collecting Royal Doulton that led to the creation of WMODA and the museum features the largest exhibition of Doulton art wares on public display. An article about Arthur and WMODA will feature in the next issue of the Doulton Collectors magazine which will make its debut at the fair.
Save the date of September 20-22 for an amazing Royal Doulton weekend event at WMODA and the Gallery of Amazing Things.
Pride of Africa
We also stopped in at the Ardmore exhibit at the Patrick Mavros Gallery in Fulham where I had a chance to meet up with our dear friend Fée Halsted, the founder and creative director of Ardmore. Fée presents a new show each year at her brother-in-law’s London gallery, which displays his luxury gold and silver African sculptures and jewelry alongside Ardmore’s ceramic art and creative textiles.
If you are in London this month, don’t miss this opportunity to see the latest work by the Ardmore artists from South Africa. Ardmore Ceramic Art continues to be the ‘Pride of WMODA’ so you don’t have to go on an international safari to enjoy our African exhibit all year round in Florida.
Victoria & Albert Museum
I never miss an opportunity to visit the V & A when I am in London. It is 40 years since I worked there and I see something exciting and different every time I go. Chihuly’s Rotunda Chandelier dominates the grand entrance of the V & A, which is now the setting for Friday Late. The original contemporary late-night event celebrates all aspects of visual culture and design with live performances, installations, DJs and evening exhibition openings. This year, the Mary Quant exhibit was on and I was able to relive my youth with miniskirts and hot pants! Visiting the exhibitions and galleries at the V & A always gives me ideas and inspiration for celebrating the art of having fun at WMODA.
Read about A Royal Doulton Celebration