Posts Tagged ‘The Sunday Times Magazine’

Exhibition | Saul ‘The New Yorker’ Steinberg

Friday, September 12th, 2014

Chest of Drawers Cityscape, 1950
Gelatin silver print


Saul Steinberg
100th Anniversary Exhibition
Pace + Pace / MacGill Gallery
New York City | USA
Until 18th October 2014


What is a cartoonist? What is an illustrator? Where does one draw the line between illustration and fine art? What happens when you mix illustration with photography; is the end product an illustration or a still life photograph? If you draw something on a 3D object and photograph it; is the result an illustration, or a photograph? And, what if the person who did the drawing, wasn’t the photographer? Whose work is the final image? Does any of these questions matter? Certainly not to Saul Steinberg whose unique creations, equally at home on the pages of magazines and on gallery walls, can’t be confined to a single category or movement, nor did he allow his palette to be bound by any restrictions. His art, if that is how we choose to refer to it, informed by cubism, surrealism, dadaism and pop – indeed he fraternised with many key figures across all areas of the arts, including Pablo Picasso, Alexander Calder, Marcel Breuer, Le Corbusier, Vladimir Nabakov, Simone de Beauvoir and Jean-Paul-Satre, to name but a few – is both catholic and democratic, his influences from high art as well as from low, his subject areas from Wall Street to the gutter.


Girl in Tub, 1949
Gelatin silver print


I first came across Steinberg’s View of the World from 9th Avenue, 1976, reproduced as a poster, hung on the kitchen wall of some illustrator friends, at the Royal College of Art halls of residence in London, in 1977. They’d just returned from New York – which I was yet to visit – bringing the poster back as a souvenir. Having up to that point only ever seen the city in photographs or films, its colossal architecture dominating everything else, leaving me daunted at the thought of ever going there, I was struck by the simplistic, friendly Steinberg depiction of New York as a place in which the people at street level just carried on as they might in any European city – going to work, shopping, wandering around the broad pavements of Manhattan, oblivious to events elsewhere in their country, and beyond. And later, when I’d seen a few Woody Allen films, it occurred to me that here were some life-size characters, who might have been the miniature people that populated Steinberg’s illustration.

Even so, I didn’t consciously go looking for Steinberg’s work – as I had done for that of Milton Glaser and Seymour Chwast, the Push Pin Studios design and illustration heroes of my early college years. And when I started working for a living, I knew that behind the cover of the The New Yorker – which a few of my journalist colleagues at The Sunday Times Magazine studiously read, toting the latest issue around the office as symbols of their literary status and aspirations – there were great swathes of words, which to me, as a ‘visual journalist’, held little appeal. So, although I was certainly aware of his fame and that he was held in high regard, I never knew, until now, that over six decades, Steinberg’s work featured on the cover of The New Yorker no less than 90 times and appeared 1,200 times on its inside pages, before he ended his collaboration with the magazine in 1987 (recommenced, 1993), or that his View of the World from 9th Avenue is regarded by connoisseurs as one of his most notable creations for the magazine – ripped off, adapted, its text changed to suit many major cities across the country, his lawyers were constantly in pursuit of the perpetrators.

Up until I first visited New York in 1997, some nineteen years after seeing the poster, despite what had become my almost daily contact with photographers and sometimes with illustrators based there and elsewhere in the United States, the city remained for me remote, beyond my horizon. And a few more years would pass before I stumbled across a fascinating little book called Saul Steinberg Masquerade (Viking Press, 2000, a reprint, or perhaps re-design of the original Steinberg: The Mask, 1966). It contained The Mask series, an inspired collaboration by Steinberg and the photographer, Inge Morath, between 1959 and 1963, in which Steinberg’s friends posed anonymously in group and individual photographs, having donned paper bags drawn with plain or fantastic faces. Morath had become fascinated by Steinberg and his ‘Steinbergian universe’, whilst living in Vienna in the 1940s, long before she came into contact with him; it wasn’t until she joined Magnum and moved to Paris, where she met Henri Cartier-Bresson, who had taken a portrait of Steinberg, that she even knew what he looked like. Cartier-Bresson described him as ‘un homme délicieux, d’une si grande intelligence’. Irving Penn, too, would create a studio portrait of Steinberg wearing one of his nose masks, in 1966 – during his long career, he sat for many famous photographers, including Arnold Newman and Lee Miller.


Untitled, c 1950
Gelatin silver print


Saul Steinberg (1914 > 1999) was a Jewish Romania-born American. He studied philosophy and literature at the University of Bucharest, and trained as a draughtsman during the 1930s, in Milan. Fleeing Italy’s new anti-semitic laws, in 1941, he arrived in the United States the following year, and had his first one-man show there a year later. He married the only prominent abstract expressionist artist, Hedda Sterne, in 1951, but left her and took up with a German photography and design student in 1960. His work has been the subject of dozens of exhibitions around the globe and produced numerous publications. Saul Steinberg 100th Anniversary Exhibition at Pace + Pace / MacGill Gallery includes work from five decades of Steinberg’s career, exploring the man who himself explored the world and adapted his medium to suit whatever he found in it. Saul Steinberg: A Biography by Deirdre Blair was published by Nan A Talese / Doubleday in 2012. The Musees Strasbourg website has a useful and succinct Steinberg biography in list form.

The Saul Steinberg Foundation is a nonprofit organisation established as a result of the artist’s will. His collection of his own works was divided between the Foundation and Yale University, which also received Steinberg’s archives. The Foundation holds the copyrights to Steinberg’s artworks and writings.

While Steinberg remains for many ‘The man who did that poster’, The New York Times called him ‘a veritable Leonardo of graphic drollery,’ in 2006. On the Magnum Photos site, in the credit for an Inge Morath portrait of him, shot as part of the Mask series, it might have amused him to see himself still quaintly referred to as a ‘draughtsman’, which is perhaps as good a description as any.

All images by Saul Steinberg, © The Saul Steinberg Foundation / Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York, USA. Courtesy Pace and Pace / MacGill Gallery, New York, USA


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The publishers of The Blog insist that all images supplied for publication in our posts are cleared for that use before being sent to us. Whether pictures are sent to us as email attachments or made available as downloadable files, any responsibility for fees which may, under any circumstances, fall due, must be borne by the source supplier


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Books | Creative Salvage

Friday, November 30th, 2012

Cut & Shut: The History of Creative Salvage
Gareth Williams & Nick Wright
Published by Williams Wright
Stockists: Paul Smith, Tom Dixon, Dover Street Market,
Themes & Variations, KK Outlet, and Bonhams
Available from 4th December, 2012

In an opening essay to Ron Arad Associates, One Off Three (Artemis, 1993) the late Italian design maestro, Ettore Sottsass, described the 1983 Milan season as being very strange. ‘Ron Arad appeared in a show with that immense, rusted armchair, strange antique animal, strange fossil, probably from a generation destroyed by a meteorite.’ Sottsass went on to say that the sudden presence within the landscape of his thoughts of a being so different, of an animal that seemed to have been built by someone with large hands, working inside some dark grotto with Nordic fires, was a huge shock: ‘I was really frightened.’

I was pretty scared myself in about 1980, when, a young designer on The Sunday Times Magazine, I decided to approach Arad at his workshop – dark, forbidding, elemental, in a mews just a few hundred meters from our offices, that seemed no place for the faint-hearted – to design a trophy for The Sunday Times Young Computer Brain of the Year competition, so I waited around and grabbed him when he popped outside for a tea break. Keen to break the mould, I wanted to go for something edgy by someone new but perhaps I was naïve in not taking into account Arad’s philosophical approach and taste for ambiguity. His suggestion – the raw, amorphous lump of melted metal he brought in to show the science editor and myself a week later – as visually unimpressive as a bit of dusty moon rock – failed to emote the precious quality that was an essential requirement of the brief. Deemed unsuitable by us as an object for presentation, it was not a thing that might sit proudly on anyone’s mantlepiece. I ended up designing the trophy myself and, although it saw many years of use, it didn’t win any prizes.

Sotsass’s reaction and mine probably reflected the bulk of the design establishment’s attitude to reports of what were considered to be bizarre phenomena related to the London furniture scene at the dawn of the 80s. One of these described how Funkapolitan band members Tom Dixon and Nick Jones joined by Mark Brazier Jones, began putting on parties in pirated buildings across the city’s industrial deadlands, and how, inspired by the sparks that flew as Mark cut up cars to provide a light show and fuel-spewing wrecks were crashed, the trio came up with the idea of welding waste metal into furniture. Buying a tonne of scrap, they had it dropped into a gallery and began welding it in the window, continuing up to the moment when their exhibition was opened at the end of the week. And that was just the start…

With contributions from the main perpetrators, among others: Tom Dixon, Ron Arad, Nick Jones, Mark Brazier-Jones, André Dubreuil, Danny Lane and Nigel Coates, and with a wealth of previously unpublished picture material, Nick Wright and Gareth Williams’ new book Cut & Shut: The History of Creative Salvage, being launched at London auction house, Bonhams, on 3rd December, charts, the story of ’some of the most anarchic design ever produced’.

The potent mixture of nihilism and raw energy released in the punk explosion of the late 70s, of which the creative salvage movement was a consequence, undoubtedly threw up a lot of talent across the whole creative arena. A few of those who had the ability to grow and to develop their ideas sometimes achieved great success.

Tom Dixon, who soon began to be taken seriously on the international stage started a long term collaboration with Italian furniture company, Cappellini. Items he has designed are included in museum collections around the globe, including that of MoMA in New York. From 1997 until 2008 he was creative director of Habitat, and he has served as creative director for London’s 100% London event. He set up the Tom Dixon company in 2002 which sells products in over 60 countries.

Perhaps needless to say, Ron Arad went on to become, and remains, one of the world’s most influential and idiosynchratic designers and architects. His designs have been produced by, among others: Moroso, Swarovski and Vitra. He has completed architectural projects for clients as diverse as Yohiji Yamamoto, Maserati, and the Holon Design Museum in Israel, and had numerous one man shows at such prestigious institutions as Paris’s Centre Georges Pompidou and London’s Barbican. A miniature version of Vortext, his 17m high spiral sculpture with 24,000 LEDs embedded into its surface – by day, bright red, by night, a shimmering mutli-coloured, multi-language public art piece – would certainly make a damn good trophy for something.

Images from top
Tom Dixon, Chair, 1984
Unique. Fire grate, door hinges, wire and other found objects
Photo: Bonhams Auctioneers

Ron Arad, Big Easy Volume 2, designed 1988
Edition of twenty. Cut and welded sheet steel
Photo: Ron Arad Associates

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The Blog is about art, architecture, gardens, books, design and anything else that currently interests us which we think might interest you

The publishers of The Blog insist that all images supplied for publication in our posts are cleared for that use before being sent to us. Whether pictures are sent to us as email attachments or made available as downloadable files, any responsibility for fees which may, under any circumstances, fall due, must be borne by the source supplier

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Photography | Freud by Cecil Beaton & David Dawson

Friday, July 13th, 2012

An Artist’s Life: Photographs of Lucian Freud by Cecil Beaton and David Dawson
Sotheby’s London, UK
Selling Exhibition: until 11th August, 2012

It’s probably fair to say that David Dawson’s photographing daily life at Lucian Freud’s studio, and beyond, had its genesis in Bruce Bernard’s photographs of the great British painter. Freud (1922-2011) and Bernard (1928-2000) had been friends since their teens. Curator  and author of fine art and photography books, including his great Phaidon tome Century, Bernard (to whom, incidentally, I owe a debt with regard to my picture editing education – he was picture editor at The Sunday Times Magazine for the first couple of years I was there) sat – or more accurately, stood, in 1992 and sat in 1996 for Freud, having previously had his unusually large head immortalised by the artist in Head of Bruce Bernard, 1985. In the 1990s, Freud, famed for shunning the limelight, uncharacteristically, allowed Bernard, who had been taking photographic portraits of fellow Soho drinkers, artists and luminaries including Francis Bacon and Euan Uglow, to begin photographing him at work in his studio.

Having studied painting at the Royal College of Art – where he was a contemporary of Tracey Emin and Jake and Dinos Chapman – Dawson (b.1960) became Freud’s studio assistant in 1991. It wasn’t until some years later that Dawson – Freud by now used to have a photographer in his studio – picked up his own camera and began to record the day-to-day comings and goings and the work processes happening in front of and around him. After Bruce Bernard’s death in 2000, with unprecedented and now, exclusive, access – Bernard, in any case, having only been a visitor – Dawson was able to capture intimate moments: Freud in deep concentration, Freud applying shaving cream to his face with one of his large brushes (which, although we used it across a double-page spread in Tatler – where I was creative director – I suspect was set up, possibly at the behest of my editor-in-chief, Geordie Greig, himself a regular visitor at Freud’s studio) and to produce images that allow us to see the development of some of Freud’s later paintings.

Freud at Work, Photographs by Bruce Bernard and David Dawson was shown at Hazlitt Holland-Hibbert in 2006. Earlier this year, the same gallery showed Lucian Freud: Studio Life, Photographs by David Dawson. More recently Dawson’s image of Freud painting the Queen was selected for the Whitechapel’s exhibition of works from the Government Art Collection. A selection of Dawson’s pictures of Freud were also shown at the National Portrait Gallery in 2004. Twenty six of these, including those showing the artist painting Hockney and Queen Elizabeth II, and Frank Auerbach visiting the studio, were acquired for the gallery’s collection.

The unlikely juxtaposition of Dawson and Beaton’s photographs in this summer’s selling exhibition of limited edition prints at Sotheby’s, as much as it is revealing about Freud, provides an insight into the characters, aspirations and appetites of both photographers. Dawson comes across as a little shy and somewhat reticent, whereas, by all accounts, Beaton, who produced a prodigious number of self-portraits, was just the opposite.

Sir Cecil Beaton (1904-1980) has a staggering 1,050 portraits in the NPG collection. His career as a portrait photographer took off after meeting the Sitwells in 1926. He signed his first contract with Vogue in 1927 and was associated with the magazine throughout his life. Beaton had been in Hollywood in the 1930s, where he became obsessed with Garbo, whom he continued to photograph throughout her life. He photographed Katherine Hepburn and later Marylin Monroe, of whom he wrote: ‘She romps, she squeals with delight, she leaps on the sofa. She puts a flower stem in her mouth, puffing on a daisy as though it were a cigarette. It is an artless, impromptu, high-spirited, infectiously gay performance. It will probably end in tears.’ During WWII he worked for the Ministry of Information and afterwards took on the additional role of stage designer for film, ballet and opera. In 1965 he was awarded two oscars for his stage production of My Fair Lady. His work has appeared in countless exhibitions and books, the first of which, Beaton by James Danziger – another former Sunday Times Magazine picture editor, now running the eponymous Danziger Projects in New York – was published in 1977, the same year that Sotheby’s acquired the photographer’s estate.

Beaton’s photographs of Freud from the 1950s capture him alone, with friends, with family and with his second wife Caroline Blackwood at Coombe Priory, their Dorset retreat. Although Beaton claimed to be drawn to Freud, whom he described as ‘a true artist and a true Bohemian’ – in some of Beaton’s pictures his subject wears no tie, or if he does it’s ratty and his shirt appears somewhat creased – the painter is portrayed as a clean-shaven, well-quaffed, heroic and brooding figure with movie-star good looks. While Dawson’s photographs are not about Dawson – he often lurks in the background, content to simply tag along behind his elderly master – Beaton had other ideas. While some of his images affect reportage, each one of them is a carefully-controlled portrait. One of these in particular, makes Freud look particularly stiff and awkward as he struggles to look at the camera, in front of the lens of which, Beaton, in one of his surrealist moments, seems to have flung a cyclamen flower and a few leaves – almost definitely montaged in later – that in the final image float above the sitter’s head. At first sight, what appears to be Beaton’s least set up, least theatrical picture of Lucien Freud’s daughter, Annie, 3rd October, 195o, in which she sits on another animal’s back while stroking the nose of a zebra, comes as a refreshing surprise; then one realises that the photographer is playing his usual, for me disappointingly tiresome, games; the zebra is obviously stuffed. Not everyone is as lively as Monroe was but oh, if only Beaton could have allowed a little of the extemporaneous excitement he had captured in his shoot with her to seep into his photographing Freud – as Dawson did so successfully with Kate Moss in Having a cuddle with Kate, 2010… Mind you, some of Dawson’s pictures are more record shot than fine photography: Breakfast at Clarke’s with Stella McCartney, 2008, is just a snap, as is his picture of Bono and Freud breakfasting together. His Lucian Freud and Frank Auerbach at the V&A, 2006, however, has the ease and spontaneity of a Lartigue.

Images from top
David Dawson, Having a cuddle with Kate, 2010
Cecil Beaton, Coombe Priory, Dorset, 1956

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Book | Lord Snowdon by Koto Bolofo | Exhibition

Friday, January 27th, 2012

Lord Snowdon by Koto Bolofo
Published by Steidl, February, 2012
The Sunday Times Magazine, 50th Anniversary
Saatchi Gallery, London, UK. 31st January – 19th February, 2012. Closed 11-14th February

The Steidl press release for Koto Bolofo’s photographic portrayal of Antony Armstrong-Jones, Lord Snowdon, arrived in my inbox almost simultaneously with an invitation to a party for the opening of an exhibition at London’s prestigious Saatchi Gallery, celebrating 50 years of The Sunday Times Magazine.

In July 1979, when I arrived as a freelance designer at The Sunday Times Magazine – The Magazine – as everyone who worked on it called it, Snowdon’s name – like Bailey, like Donovan, like even Parkinson, who all had names consisting only of a single word – was never used with ‘Lord’ in front of it. Those on familiar terms with him called him Tony. He’d had some sort of contractual agreement with The Magazine from the 1960s up until 1990 and had had a studio built to his specifications on the flat roof of The Sunday Times building in Gray’s Inn Road. There was a complex, sculpted bronze balustrade at the top of the stairs that faced the lift doors that he had, apparently, produced.

Donald McCullin, sometimes called simply McCullin, was Don to everyone in the office. He was on staff and every so often, between trips to any one of the world’s hazardous war zones came in to show Michael Rand, the magazine’s legendary art director, a new set of contact prints. There was a tradition that every few years the magazine staff would be gathered together for a big group portrait. Some time in the mid-80s Snowdon was asked to shoot one of these and Don became its unwitting star.

I had, a few years before, been taken on to the staff myself which had expanded so much that the party that trekked across town from Wapping – where the magazine had been relocated – to the studio Snowdon was using at Chelsea Wharf, was restricted to only members of the art department and picture desk. With the shoot in mind and the idea of our being captured for posterity, although none of us were particularly dressed up, we’d all I think, nevertheless made a bit of an effort that day. The photographer, dressed almost exactly as he appears in Bolofo’s portrait, above, was smaller than I had expected, quite jolly and had a relaxed demeanour, greeting our group in the manner of a kindly schoolmaster at a parents’ meeting. An enormous piece of rather grubby-looking fabric had been spread out on the floor. We stepped on to it, arranged ourselves on the assortment of white boxes that had been put there for us to sit on or stand beside, and were gently and politely re-arranged, asked to look at the camera and not to smile. With little other fuss a few rolls of film were shot off. Group shots being notoriously difficult to get right or be creative with, most photogrpahers would have been satisfied just to have got something decent. But now we were asked – this time with an impish little smirk – to reach down and grab the cloth and to haul it over ourselves in such a way that only our heads were visible. The fabric smelled as ugly as it looked but, good sports all, albeit with some apprehension, we gritted our teeth and did as we were bidden. A little necessary tweaking and re-arranging was done, a few more pictures taken and we returned to the office.

A week or so later Gunn Brinson, then deputy picture editor, walked from one desk to another handing each of us a stiffened brown envelope with Please Do Not Bend printed on it. Inside each were two nicely-printed, black and white photographs slightly tinted brown, one of us with, one without the smelly tarpaulin wrapping. In the cleverly composed and second picture – easily the most interesting – stood Don resembling, as each of us did, an ancient Roman statue. I like to think this was uncontrived but eerily, he had what appeared to be a bullet hole in the chest area of his rumpled toga and another in the thigh.

Images, top: The photograph is put through the chemical baths under a red light so as not to affect the photo-sensitive paper, 13th November 2009.

Snowdon sits before his prized tool cupboard in his London home, 28th January  2010.

The first floor toilet, stained glass window designed by Snowdon. The walls are papered with the proofs of his book A View of Venice.

All taken from Lord Snowdon by Koto Bolofo published by Steidl/www.steidlville.com

Group above, left to right, back row: James Danziger, Ian Denning, Gunn Brinson, Kate Crook (nee Newman), picture desk secretary (name to come), Don McCullen. Middle row: Vincent page, John Tennant, Michael Rand’s secretary Jane (surname forgotten). Front row: Lucy Sisman, Michael Rand, Gilvrie Mistear, Pedro Silmon. Photograph by Snowdon, circa 1985

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Exhibition | Jean-Paul Goude Retrospective

Wednesday, November 9th, 2011


Goudemalion, A Retrospective of the life and work of Jean-Paul Goude

Les Arts Decoratifs, Paris, France. 11th November, 2011 – 18th March 2012

I had been a great admirer of Jean-Paul Goude’s work long before he agreed to produce a cover for me in 1989 for one of the two Sunday Times Magazine issues we devoted to the bicentenary of the French Revolution. I had immediately bought his book Jungle Fever in 1982 when it was first published in the UK; it remains one of my most treasured possessions and is filled with so many original visual ideas that it makes my head spin, even now, to flick through its slick, chic-idea-packed pages. Another treasure, perhaps more precious, is a drawing similar to the sketch above though less accomplished and less detailed that Jean-Paul very kindly gave me as a memento of our collaboration. I was a fan of Grace Jones, too – still am – of her phenomenal presence and talent and the amazing and incredibly sexy music she produced in the 80s. I regret that although I was briefly introduced to her a few years ago by her great friend the milliner, Philip Treacy – I shook her Warm Leatherette hand while she scowled at me – I never saw her perform live in any of the fantastical, postmodernist-meets-expressionist sets created and master-minded for her by Goude.

The colleague who edited the bicentenary issue and myself were surprised and greatly honoured to receive invitations from Jean-Paul to attend the bicentenary celebrations in Paris – possibly the most spectacular pageant the world has ever seen – a taster of it and of the rest of this polymath’s formidable portfolio of painting, sculpture, photography, choreography, stage direction and advertising genius, appears as part of the (somewhat blurred) retrospective film on YouTube, which I’d rather you see for yourself than try to describe.

‘I like to amaze’, wrote Goude in his introductory text to Jungle Fever, ‘ It is an impulse I have that is uncontrollable.’ Long has he amazed us and long may he continue to do so.

Image Le bicentenaire, Paris, 1988. Courtesy of Jean-Paul Goude

Link Opening Night Images


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Typography | No Qualitative Easing

Friday, October 7th, 2011


Letter Fountain
Website companion to Taschen’s book Letter Fountain by Joep Pohlen

Designers born after 1980 have a total [sic] different view on visual culture, on aesthetic products, visions and history than the people born before the eighties – Extracted from Everyone is a Designer in the Age of Social Media, edited by dutch pair Geert Lovink and Mieke Gerritzen – first published in 2001, substantially revised and republished in summer 2010 by BIS publishers.

Until I began composing this blog post, I wasn’t aware of Everyone is a designer… but agree – with some reservations – to the authors’ sentiment regarding the democratisation of design for publishing and that nowadays anyone who wants to can turn their hand to layout or graphic design and even design typefaces.

Born well before the 1980s, classically trained in the use of typography, my peers and I at art college even set metal type and printed from it. Modernist that I’ve turned out to be, I make no apologies in admitting to being one of those designers who struggled (and continue to struggle) with what used to be called new technology. New technology – aka design on computer, arrived rather late, in 1990, at The Sunday Times Magazine where I had recently been made Art Director. Interestingly, Joep Polen and graphic designer Geert Setola’s first version of Letterfontein (Letter fountain) was published, only a short time later, in 1994, but rather unhelpfully, only in dutch and french. The 2011 manifestation is more international, with editions in english and spanish.

Aesthetically pleasing as the typography and design of Pohlen’s book and the website are, and although in their blurb Taschen claim that Letter Fountain will be useful for a new group of people interested in typography and typefaces, the very clear and classical presentation might easily be construed as dry, possibly patronising and rather academic to today’s snowboarding, crowd-surfing and web-surfing generation. For silver surfers, though, this book/website combo, might turn out to be a godsend.

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and anything else that interests me and I think might interest you

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Fashion | Apropos Smithestablishmentarianism?

Thursday, August 18th, 2011


The Paul Smith wedding suit

See July 26th post: Smithestablishmentarianism? and tweets, below


@TheChicGeekcouk

Moore is more – Paul Smith gets inspiration from The Henry Moore Foundation http://t.co/FqaFv9E @PaulSmithDesign @henrymoorefdn

@PedroSilmon
@TheChicGeekcouk I posted a blog about the @PaulSmithDesign@henrymoorefdn thing in July tinyurl.com/3kgqx93

TheChicGeekcouk
The Chic Geek
@PedroSilmon @PaulSmithDesign Do you still have the suit?

@PedroSilmon
@TheChicGeekcouk @PaulSmithDesign Gave it to Tony Chambers, my assistant at The Sunday Times Magazine, now editor-in-chief at @wallpapermag

@TheChicGeekcouk
Has Tony Chambers @wallpapermag still got @PedroSilmon’s 1981 @PaulSmithDesign wedding suit? #detectivebytwitter

@wallpapermag
@TheChicGeekcouk
@PedroSilmon @PaulSmithDesign
He has. It’s a very good cut – very now.

@PedroSilmon
@wallpapermag @TheChicGeekcouk @PaulSmithDesign
Really chuffed! There was a lovely, navy blazer too… 

Images, from top: on the occasion of their 1981 wedding, Pedro Silmon wearing wool suit, cotton shirt and silk knitted tie, all by Paul Smith (Bass Wejuns, not shown) with wife, Lesley, in cotton and silk Mexicana dress (Midas shoes, not shown). P&L’s hair by Smile.
At their younger daughter’s graduation ceremony in July 2010, Pedro wears cotton Paul Smith suit, Agnes B crêpe shirt and Reiss knitted silk tie. Sunglasses by Ray-Ban (Hugo Boss loafers, not shown). Belt from a selection in his wardrobe. Lesley is in Hobbs knitted cardigan with Zara cotton skirt and LK Bennett gold leather clutch. Sunglasses by Ray-Ban. Watch by Skagen. (LK Bennett gold sandals, not shown). P&L’s hair by Tony & Guy.


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and d
on’t miss the seventh
instalment of Pedro Silmon’s new on-line novel,
This is for you, which follows tomorrow, Friday, 19th August,
serialised exclusively for you on
The Blog

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Roses Grew on Me

Monday, February 22nd, 2010

The Garden of the Rose
Weekdays 9am – 5pm. Members of The Royal National Rose Society only

I’m not sure what might have triggered it off – it seemed to come out of the blue – but I remember once, when I was in my mid-twenties, long before I had a garden, telling a colleague that I hated roses. Clearly puzzled, he screwed up his eyes and looked at me strangely, not quite knowing how to respond.

Prior to my impassioned outburst, I suppose my only experience of roses had been those I’d seen on chocolate boxes and the massed ranks of Hybrid Teas grown in the middle of roundabouts in dull, British seaside resorts or in municipal parks. I probably could have named a couple of other flowers – daffodils and pansies – but, on the whole, felt pretty ambivalent about them.

Shortly after my odd declaration, I was put in charge of the design of the Lifespan pages at The Sunday Times Magazine, which, among subjects such as food and travel, included, for my sins, gardening. The gardening editor at that time was the late, and appropriately-named, Graham Rose – who, at first struck me as a stubborn sort of man with a deep, rasping voice that the more he smoked got deeper and more rasping. His fingers may, in an earlier life, have been green but nicotine had turned them the colour of polished oak. While I tried hard to temper evidence of my own northern roots, Graham spoke with a raucous, music-hall Geordie accent which, whenever he came near my desk rose in decibel-rating and frankly embarrassed me. Possibly out of what he imagined as kindred spirit – both of us were displaced Geordies – Graham took a shine to me and in no time, I found myself – a non- and fervently anti–smoker – dragged off in a smoke-filled car, in the rain, to some nursery in, I think it was, deepest Berkshire to look at a few canes with sodden, limp string stretched between them that had been stuck into a muddy corner of a field. This ensemble apparently represented the plan of The Sunday Times competition garden, which would be installed at that year’s Chelsea Flower Show. I was unimpressed and unconvinced. But, little by little and with a lot of cajoling and witty remarks from Graham  – it had dawned on me he had a very dry but hilarious sense of humour – and his encouragement, over the next couple of months, my own fingers, at first reluctant, took on a distinctly green-ish hue and by the time Chelsea came around, wild roses wouldn’t have kept me away. Graham kindly got me a ticket for press day and, that summer, even came around to my and my wife’s first house to give us a few tips on how to sort out the garden, including where to position the climbing rose he’d recommended; it was raining so we even let him smoke indoors.

About twenty years later, on a blisteringly hot day, last summer, I visited The Garden of the Rose at the The Royal National Rose Society, in Hertfordshire, where, in the course of 8 hours, totally engrossed and in my element, I photographed 73 different varieties. A dozen beautiful red ones, including Rosa ‘The Jubilee Rose’, pictured above, are now blooming on Pedro Silmon.com.

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