Art in London’s Finest Residences
January 5, 2020|Luxury Insight
ondon is one of the greatest artistic epicentres, with world-renowned galleries such as The Royal Academy, The National Gallery and the Tate Galleries displaying some of the finest and most highly valued masterpieces. From Seurat’s Bathers at Asnières to Diego Velázquez’s Rokeby Venus, London is a treasure trove of iconic and celebrated works of art. However, it is no longer just the capital’s art galleries where the world’s finest art can be found, but also the interiors of London’s most prestigious addresses which have been thoughtfully designed, built and finished by Oliver Burns.
Adorning the walls of period townhouses and city boltholes alike, art forms a key element to the overall design of a home. From adding visual interest and texture to complementing the colour palette, art is the finishing touch that adds all important character and personality to a space. Therefore when designing a home, art remains at the forefront to ensure the pieces selected not only reflect the tastes of our discerning clients but also harmonise with the architecture and design of the property.
Lining the hallway of the Brummell Penthouse at Beau House is a striking quartet of Picasso lithographs produced when he was 87 years of age. Inspired by the emergence of pop art, Picasso created a series of imaginary portraits of historical characters including William Shakespeare, Salvador Dali and the dandies of 17th century Holland. Working with printmaker, Marcel Salinas, Picasso reproduced these energetic and colourful portraits into a series of lithographs. Upon completion, each lithographic block was destroyed, resulting in a highly unique and exclusive collection. These playful portraits reflect Jermyn Street’s dandy past and bring colour to this otherwise neutral space.
Another homage to Picasso can be found in the master bedroom, where his Portrait De Dora Maar has been ingeniously transformed from painting to pillow. Crafted using an age-old method of weaving on Jacquard looms, the result is a magnificently handcrafted tapestry cushion that injects colour and irreverence. A more traditional piece comes in the form of John Willis Good’s equestrian pair of bronzes, which sit either side of a framed Hermès silk scarf. In keeping with the quintessentially British feel of the property, these casts capture the relationship between the race and his horse.
A more contemporary piece, by modern British painter Tim Woolcock, can be found in the reception room. Taking inspiration from the mystery of the natural world, the variety of textures gives the painting a dream-like familiarity. In one of the guest suites, a glamorous black and white photograph of Marilyn Monroe has been included to match the opulent feel of the room. Captured by photojournalist Eve Arnold, this image of the film star playing billiards forms a striking piece.
I try to apply colours like words that shape poems, like notes that shape music
Another residence that incorporates statement art is the Belgravia Townhouse. Positioned pride of place in the stately reception room is a lithograph of Joan Miró’s Le Permissionnaire. Created in the last decade of his life, this print reflects Miró’s eclectic interests and surrealist style. Featuring calligraphic brushstrokes, thick black lines inspired from the artist’s travels in Japan and a constellation of symbols, this abstract and contemporary piece perfectly offsets the traditional curved architecture of the room. Another conversation piece is Dashi Namdakov’s Monkey, one of 11 animal sculptures that make up the Chinese zodiac. The bronze sculpture sits regally upon a plinth; its curved lines and calm countenance the perfect addition to this inviting space.
British painter, Francis Bacon, known for his emotionally charged and often visceral works of art, hangs in one of the guest suites. This masculine and tailored space features a colour palette of rich browns, midnight blue and tan. The eye-catching piece, Study for a Portrait of John Edwards, is framed by two fretwork sliding doors and its position above a leather sofa, creates a focal point in the room.
In our Regent’s Park Townhouse, a Dale Chihuly painting takes pride of place above a grand fireplace, the blue and yellow paintwork mirroring the rich midnight blue and gold studwork of the dining chairs. A print by street artist, Mr Brainwash, adds a contemporary contrast to the neutral colour palette and classical style of the informal reception room. Likewise, in the media room, David Yarrow’s Crazy Horse has been carefully selected for its modern playfulness. By contrast, sculpture and photography, rather than paintings, forms a key design feature within Walpole Mayfair with pieces by Italian sculptor Lorenzo Quinn and photojournalist Eve Arnold.
Whether an artwork is selected as a finishing touch to a room, a conversation starter, or simply a way to inject colour and personality, the appeal of owning and displaying a cherished piece of art will always be truly timeless.