Colour factory


Coloured crepe, mochi and macarons, magnetic walls, portrait booths, sound rooms and mind maps, ombré balloons and selfie wind machines, spinning plinths, pie charts, dance floors, glitter walls, an alphabet… Magic.

All photos New York, Oct 2018.



The kulebiaka must make your mouth water, it must lie before you, naked, shameless, a temptation. You wink at it, you cut off a sizeable slice, and you let your fingers just play over it…. You eat it, the butter drips from it like tears, the filling is fat, juicy, rich with eggs, giblets, onions…

Chekhov – The Siren

Painting – The Waitress, William Macgregor Paxton

Audley End


Now appearing as “Sutton Place” (the English country home of the Getty family) in the BBC’s series Trust, and in real life an English Heritage property looked after by some delightful and some unwelcoming and curmudgeonly volunteers, Audley End is a super Jacobean house that had a wing decorated by Adam in the 18th century – sadly no photos allowed in there of the astounding decoration and over the top-ness – and whose upper floors tell of a cosy Victorian family life and nature collecting.


The gardens are super too and nearby, about a twenty minute walk, is the even more enjoyable village of Saffron Walden.


This part of Essex was where Ravilious, Bawden, Michael Rothenstein and other artists gathered in the 1930s and amongst the cottages and decorated plasterwork there are art galleries and formal gardens.


(Above – Audley End gardens; below – Saffron Walden.)


Without a car it felt a pretty long trip out of London, but can you do it by train from London and then on foot.

New faces


I was absolutely blown away by the Scottish National Portrait Gallery – it’s a high quality collection that’s also well displayed in interesting groupings that also gives a nod to wider historical trends, eg a large gallery explaining the jacobite cause and the Stuart’s visual propaganda around this, another gallery on the Italian Grand Tour, a third in Victorian imperial expansion. Well worth a visit.


Paintings top to bottom:

Kathleen Raine by Victoria Crowe; Sir William Bruce by John William Wright; the Dalyells by Victoria Crowe; Sir George Seton and sons by Adam de Colone; Culloden quodlibet by Thomas Keyes; John Campbell by Charles Jervas; apartment of the Earl of Seaforth in Naples by Pierrot Fabris: Lady Charlotte Campbell by Johann Wilhelmina Tischben

Cross cultural

4E2984F5-3A8A-41F1-907E-78C49BEFB3AAA fascinating alternative image of James I, which was painted by one of the foremost Flemish artists of the time who had moved to Scotland. I find it really interesting how this image so clearly harks back to an older style of painting, and how different the king looks from his usual fleshy self.

Soery about the poor quality image, but it was hard to get a photo without big reflections/glare from the lights on it.

c.1595, Adrian Vanson; in the scottish National Portrait Gallery.