I keeping hearing about people downsizing and getting rid of their stuff. I take my cue from an 80+ year old American neighbour of ours, Jack, who sadly died recently. He used to invite me on little jollies, to meet up with a chap who found interesting objects and furniture in China. He imported it to a warehouse about 20 miles from where we live. Jack would invite me to drive down with him and we would delve into the tea-chests looking at the unusual things he had brought back to sell. We would return home with the back of the car laden, mostly bought by Jack, and I would think, yes, he is still interested and has a zest for life - no downsizing for him.Most people collect things, be it antiques, modern glass, cars, pictures, the list is endless. We start collecting at a very early age. Children collect treasures, little hoards of pebbles, shells, and stamps. Why do we do it? I realise that we make collections because they are of interest to us, may be they are aesthetically pleasing or we simply like or admire the object.
Is it a security blanket to have our things around us, or just some inherent thing in our psyche that urges us to collect?
My latest collection is inspired by the great 17th century woodcarver Grinling Gibbons. I have always admired his fantastic, majestic, swags of fruit, nuts, and flowers cascading with fish and birds. Mostly he worked in lime wood, and Horace Walpole (Strawberry Hill) is said to have remarked that there is no instance of a man before Gibbons who gave to wood the loose and airy lightness of flowers. Horace Walpole was known to have worn the wooden cravat carved by Grinling, and now on display at Chatsworth house.
|courtesy The Gothic Imagination - University of Stirling|
|courtesy Camster2 via Wikipedia|
When Hampton Court Palace had a fire in 1986 much of Grinling Gibbons work was destroyed. This lime wood pea pod was made by one of the wood carvers employed to work on the restoration
Small collection of silver and ceramic pea pods
Apprentice piece done at the Royal School of Needlework in single thread silk. It was the Royal School of Needlework that embroidered the wedding dress for Kate (Duchess of Cambridge).