Wednesday, 16 March 2016

Spring, Sotheby's Auctions, Dogs, and Alberto Pinto's refurbished rooms at the Lanesborough

There is a definite change in the air and people coming out of hibernation.

The Queen's various departments use the park for training and I did wonder what this royal horse carriage is in aid of.

My friend and I had our first coffee morning outside in the balmy 13 degree weather.
Even the doggy was happy.

I dog sat him one day as well and French bull dogs have the most gentle temperament.

But yes I know they are the marmite of canines.
You love them or hate them.

Curious to see what one of the rooms designed by the late Alberto Pinto at the refurbished Lanesborough Hotel looks like after it shut down for two years? 

It was funny because the friend who isn't into decor was saying how there were Chinese people looking at him on the walls and 
it was all Asian.

I had a good laugh over that.

I like the chair but am not partial to public space industrial carpets even though I know they are a necessity.

It's nice enough and this was one of their suites but truth be told I wasn't bowled over.

The public spaces also were a bit erratic with traditional English club design
but then clean and streamlined stone.

This is their breakfast room which has spruced up all its Regency detail.

I like leopard but don't know if this works but it was parked on Brick Lane.

But I do love Shoreditch more and more and if it wasn't for the fact it doesn't have proper green spaces I think I would move there.

The nearest park near my brother's flat is this one that has the vestiges of gang warfare with shoes hanging up a tree.  
My brother was talking to the guy who does this as he doesn't like the gentrification of the area and wanted this as a reminder of the "good old days" apparently.

Lucky I like graffiti art.

Back in west London, there was a great buzz in Sotheby's with all the auctions it held.

There was a lot of bouffant hair which I always appreciate.

But it is equally sweet and sad to see a certain generation attend these events and overhear their conversation of reminiscing.  
Downstairs there was another design auction at the same time as the Duchess of Devonshire one.
It had ball gowns and draft drawings of jewellery of all the important design houses.

Meanwhile, just after all this they had another fantastic array of objects from the Pelham galleries.
The items ranged from dresses to gates to mirrors.

It even included one of the most beautiful sewing box kits I have seen.
Martha would have approved.

I have no need for this but I have a black and gold chinoiserie cabinet like the one below on my wishlist. In fact, I wish I could have just bought the whole vignette outright.

Corners are tricky unless you have objects like this.

If you are into chairs and Marie Antoinette, then this is for you.

This chair belonged to and was made specifically for the milk maid Queen.
Do you see her initials on the top?

Yes she was immature but the hate campaign against her was truly awful and shameful.

Another reason to go to the V&A| is...
There were two rooms and the first section was modern interpretations and art based on the artificial muse that was Botticelli.

I really was not impressed and regretted coming initially.
That is - until I went to the next section with all the original Renaissance versions.
This is a triumph.

The curation and selection was exquisite and I am going to go again.

This is a far picture of the lady but I though it was so apt that a auburn haired lady was sitting alone in the center of all the Botticelli's as she was the modern version.

These are the descendants of the London parakeets that escaped the zoo in the 1960's.
FYI - they are most easily found near the Peter Pan statue in Kensington Gardens..

Yes I am dog mad if you haven't noticed.
Crazy I don't have one myself.
This dog was a rejected army dog that didn't pass training so now hangs out in the pubs.
Funny how not getting through was actually a blessing in disguise!

Went to a dinner party and I love this ice cream with sugared sunflower seeds and sunflower oil.
So darn good.
You should try it and if you want the kids to eat it just tell them the oil is syrup!

Hope you are all having a good week x


  1. "There was a lot of bouffant hair which I always appreciate." made me fall out of my chair laughing - because me too!! I'm an old lady in a 35 yr old gay guys body -happy to admit it. That ice cream looks great!
    I need to visit London -both exhibits at the V&A look fabulous.

    1. Well I'm a 35 year old gay guy in an old lady's body so we would have a ball!
      Yes you need to come and visit - London is waiting patiently :)

  2. From the back, the woman with the bouffant hair looks like a friend with whom we once shared a student house! Back in the day she was considered one of the most beautiful girls in Cambridge.
    How wonderful that the V and A has a Botticelli Exhibition - one of our favourite artists (and also one of hers)! It looks stunning. Lucky you to be able to visit multiple times.
    So glad spring is in the air and it's balmy enough to have coffee outdoors. PS G and I tonight saw the film of the Paris Opera Ballet performing a selection from the Ballets Russes. I was heartbroken in May 2013 (during the Paris non-tour) that there were no seats left to see a stage performance of these at the Opera Garnier - so we felt incredibly lucky to be able to see "Le Spectre de la Rose" (actually G fell asleep during this but woke after a bid of nudging and really enjoyed the rest) , "L'Apres-midi d'un Faune", "Le Tricorne" and "Petrouchka". All brilliantly danced with outstanding costumes and backdrops that looked to be close to original Diaghilev production designs. There was even a (short) interval like at the real opera so we could go to the bar and have French champagne. Magical! Pammie xx

    1. Were there turbans in that production Pammie? Ain't Diaghilev without a turban - basic cocktail stuff that has helped over the years hehe.

      Well "balmy" is a bit much but we are toughened so anything double digit feels good. The Botticelli is probably one of the best exhibits I have seen art wise and yet it doesn't seem to be getting attention probably because they think it's too renaissance which is out of favour but if you are in town - I insist you go!!! That lady in the picture seemed to have known the Duchess somehow because I went before I went to a lunch and went back after the lunch and she was still there chatting with various people - I would have too but didn't want to interrupt. Sotheby's was on fire the past few weeks and made me happy to live here despite the weather xx

    2. Don't recall turbans, though lots of head-dresses of different kinds. You'd have loved the costumes, Petrouchka particularly. It's a very Russian ballet - the set is a fair with a combination of village people and higher echelons attending - along with the fairground characters, animals, dancing puppets etc. Fabulous colour and movement, costumes and backdrops. Stravinsky wrote the music - incorporating old Russian folk melodies. Even people who aren't ballet fans usually enjoy it. You can see why the French (and later the English) went wild for it and the Ballets Russes in general. So different from traditional ballet they were used to. Am a great Diaghilev admirer. He was so brilliant in attracting the great artists of the day from so many fields and pulling all the threads together to create spectacular ballets and other productions: Stravinsky, Picasso, Matisse, Chanel, Delaunay, Sert, Bakst etc etc. Also the brilliant dancers - Nijinski, Karsarvina, Pavlova (briefly I think) etc. But he spent so lavishly on these magnificent productions (that were mostly huge hits and well attended) that he lost vast amounts of money and had to be bailed out by his rich friends and patrons. When he died in Venice, much too young, it was his English friends who paid for his funeral to save him from the indignity of a pauper's grave. I always mean to go sometime to the funeral island of San Michele (I think) to visit his grave and that of other great artists/writers buried there (even maybe Stravinsky?) - as the composer (Michael Caine) does in "Youth". Though I'm not a fan of gravesites normally.
      Can't understand any art lover who doesn't love Botticelli. Art fashion/smashion! Would that we were in town to go and visit! Think I could take up residence at Sotheby's too with the beautiful exhibits! Pammie xx

    3. Ballets ruses gets forgotten even though the influence was immense. Yes wealth is only earthly but he has a legacy! I would like to go to Venice too and absorb but the crowds put me off and it's extortionate. It's funny how nothing escapes trends these days!! Xx

    4. They say it's best to go in winter to escape the crowds - but sometimes this coincides with the aqua alta. We've usually been there in May or October. These days even May can be crowded in the main tourist areas. If you're unlucky enough to get four cruise boats in port at once that's an awful lot of people, but luckily they only stay about a day - and if you move on from the main tourist areas like Piazza San Marco or the Rialto then you're away from the hordes and it's much more pleasant. So many beautiful parts of Venice to wander and get lost in.
      The tour boats are doing so much damage - both to the foundations and also to the local economy. The people of Venice get very little benefit from the boats as tourists just fly or train in/out to board or disembark (rarely even stay one night) and many shop on board rather than in the Venice shops. In the old days they say that visitors used to come for at least two or three nights and would shop and dine locally. The last time we were there it even seemed to be affecting the grande luxe hotels. But that was some years ago - hopefully it's better now.
      Last time there we stayed in a tiny hotel right on the Grand Canal. It's only good if you stay in one or two rooms that have the grand view - but if you book a long way ahead, it's possible. The hotel itself is very simple, though really old, and wasn't outrageously expensive. Another hotel we've stayed at is the Hotel American, which was quite pleasant and wonderfully has a water gate. So you can arrive at either the airport or railway station and take a water taxi (a heavenly ride through the canals particularly if it's early morning) right to the hotel's water gate. Their porter will hoist your bags up and inside and you're checked in in no time.
      I like to know what the trends are - to know what is au courant - but following them doesn't interest me. Do go to Venice (also the other islands) and Cracow this year! Pammie xxx

    5. I'm trying to go where I haven't been so it might be Kraków then xx

  3. Hello CSW, My head is still spinning from another whirlwind tour of London. I agree with you about the Lanesborough--the original details are wonderful, but the new decor has a too-heavy commercial/hotel ambiance. I would make some time for the Botticelli exhibit, and the V&A is always worth the trip. I think what really makes that sewing chest is the accouterments and colorful thread--I'll have to remember that if I ever am selling such a piece. Unfortunately, I can't agree with you about the graffiti, and you can have my share of the ice cream with sunflower seeds.

    1. Good spin I hope? It is an institution and perfectly located so decor is almost secondary but it is all a bit spanking new. Yes I think the Botticelli exhibit is to be digested in small morsels. And of course you are right that the thread is oddly what caps it off and shows it to its best. I really like the graffiti in that area and those who like it come weekly to see the updated murals too! But at least there is something for everyone in town Jim :)

  4. I just died of the cute from the French Bulldog, and the Spaniel.
    If you could dedicate a whole post to the dogs of London, that'd be superb.

  5. Just love the doggie photos you included! They always make me smile!
    But the liver/white Springer Spaniel is priceless. What a funny look on it's face in the if they know you are "calling them out for being *just* a pub dog!" Too hilarious! I used to dog sit two black/white Springer Spaniels...they were like show dogs, well taken care of by their owners and the sweetest dispositions. Thanks for your lovely post! I'll re-read the rest that wasn't doggie-centric!

    1. He's the dog of an ex army millionaire so he hangs out st pubs but doesn't belong there! He's so pampered :)

  6. For a minute, when I saw the modern Botticelli, I thought of the black light posters of my youth...a bit tacky but a bit intriguing. It is 80F here and they say we may have snow soon. Mother Nature is a bitch. Thanks for the looksy into your realm. Love the pooches.

    1. I envy you!!! Dipped again and feeling. Pooches are heartwarming tho!

  7. ahhhh, feel like i could be in london via you, love that Rie.
    until i go back in autumn, i have a friend at my home visiting from london, and i have your blog
    ps; thank you for your lovely sentiment on my blog Rie

  8. Balmy 13C? Ha! We're roasting at 37C again today, and I'm really wishing this heat was over. Although there has been a lot of pool time,which is the nice bit.
    Love the way they've upholstered those chairs, really lovely. Rest of the room is a little bit meh though, so I see why you weren't so impressed. Although the Breakfast room is divine. Love the blue.
    I never knew there were london parrots - from where were they descended? South American or Aussie parrots that escaped?
    The bulldog is super cute, and I think you really need your own dog. xx

    1. 37 without a pool would be torture! I topple at 30 even with a pool and go inside. The hotel is still settling in as it opened a few months ago. But I had to see hat Pinto did. Don't know re lineage but in the 60's a few escaped and settled in the parks. Yes might commit to a few in a couple of years time. Xx

  9. Dear lord, those Botticellis! I die.

    My father and stepmother had a place in Nantucket island that they used to rent out in the off-season for a very low rate to deserving people, usually artists, because that was my stepmother's thing, because it's better to have warm bodies living in a house. ANYWAY one year this artist painted an old junky pine chest of drawers with a Nantucket version of the Birth of Venus, where the background is Nantucket town, the zephyrs are in Coast Guard uniforms, and they're scattering rugosa roses, etc. I love it to death and will leave it to the V&A in my will. ;-)

    1. Yes the exhibit was sublime and you should have sent pics for consideration BC they had a DG dress too!!

  10. The bouffant hair is 11/10, what were the conversations???

    You do lead the life x

    1. She met the duchess a few times BC they had mutual friends and said she played Elvis a bit but Elvis wasn't appreciated by the others. But a polite Brit would never complain! I'm sure she had more up her sleeve as she was there so long. Her hair didn't fall an inch. Aqua net me thinks. It's freezing here. Very cold life!! Xx

  11. Ahh, the weather. It's going to be 64 in New York today, tentative buds on trees, and they're forecasting 5 inches of snow for the weekend. I was watching our politicians, and now I know why English folk stick to talking about the weather (doesn't lead to nausea or violence), so I'm actually glad for the crazy weather. V. eager to get back to traveling, missing the V&A like crazy.

    1. V&A is really becoming one of the best museums in the world and I love it so much. We have a very important election in June but might have to talk about it after football and the us politics which makes house of cards look tame!

  12. Naomi, Looks lovely in London! Happy spring! I adore French Bulldogs too. They are adorable and I am like you love dogs, but still just have cats.. Maybe one day. You are so fortunate to get to all these exhibits. The Botticelli one would be fun to see. The big ones in the Uffizi are my most favorite art I've ever seen, they are unbelievably beautiful! xo Kim

    1. They brought some in from there!!! First time for some 50 years for others. I'd have dogs if I had a garden but I will one day! Xx

  13. I too have seen that LITTLE chair‼️she was small .The frames on the Botticelli are Magnificent.
    It is sad hearing about the How it was days by the older set.I think I have arrived there‼️
    Those birds escaped the ZOO‼️love that and the hang out is perfect‼️
    🎩 Of the day to You You are My Fair Lady living in the middle of all this LOVE the updates‼️

    1. I think there are about 10 chairs made for her that are still in existence - last one sold last year for 1.5 million i think? Yes there was an incident and they live happily dotted around London :)

  14. All these lovely places on your door step Naomi - you Londoners are very lucky, but I guess I'm quite luck to only be an hour and a half away. I haven't visited Shoreditch since uni days but I'm hearing all about it on blogs and Instagram. Here's to more coffee mornings outside - today is lovely! Have a great week xx

    1. There are definite pros and cons in living here Colleen! I think you might remember the stress here. You would love Shoreditch and you just have to visit again because it is totally different and changes drastically on a year to year basis too xx

  15. Gorgeous photos! And that pup! "The marmite of canines." *snort* Well, I do love marmite too!

  16. Ooh I'm going to the V&A exhibition this weekend, it looks great and nice to see that you can take photos

    1. It depends on the exhibit and also I went to the preview where they allow photos.

  17. I love both dogs, they are adorable! I love that Marie Antoinette chair too. Did you get any up close pictures of those jewelry drawings? The people that create them are such wonderful artists, I enjoy seeing their work alongside the finished creations. I should work on my bouffant this week, my bob has grown out and is a bit of a bouffant-like mess. Pass the hairspray this way! I will wear it with a big H scarf and pearls like any good Sotheby's lady would. Ha. Great post. xx

    1. I rarely see a dog that isn't adorable to be fair! I didn't get a good pic of the drawings bc of the glare on the glass but you might be able to google or search the website for it. Only reason i would do a bob is the bouffant quality of it! hehe xx

  18. Naomi I'm back to tell you about a T&C feature that someone told me about. It has a ton of VCA jewelry and the pictures are so good! I want one of everything. Here's the link.

  19. Ahhh, the Sotheby's auctions and the Botticelli exhibit would certainly be at the top of my list. Wondrous indeed!

    Featuring Artist Scott McBee


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