America The Beautiful

This is the Biden/Harris victory video, a great plea for unity to heal a divided nation, and a great advert for picture frames! I just couldn’t ignore it. The film makers have used the device of a picture frame to signify that which is beautiful. And that’s pretty much all of the USA, united again, they’re all in it together, I think that’s the idea. I hope it goes well. I think the acronym POTUS must be for Pictureframer Of The United States. It’s a pity they’re not great frames but hey you can’t have everything. They’re metaphorical. And inspirational. And a great reason to feel proud to be a picture framer!

Frames of reference

For Kai

photo: Alastair Grant

Kai arrived at The Rowley Gallery over 30 years ago, I can’t be sure of the exact date, but her name back then was Kathy. And to all who knew her in pre-Rowley days she always remained Kathy. But there was already another Cathy at The Rowley Gallery so she abbreviated her name to Ka. That was her Chinese name. But pronounced Kai, so that was how she spelt it thereafter. To avoid confusion. Continue reading “For Kai”

Frames of reference

Twelve Little Birds

And three parrots. Our window this month at the Rowley Gallery is home to a diverse flock of brightly coloured miniature tropical birds. It’s an aviary of twelve unique life-size watercolour paintings. The parrots are screen prints. And they are all by Fanny Shorter, whose work we have been lucky enough to show for the past ten years now, during which time she has developed from a printmaker of exquisite little birds and fishes into an internationally renowned textile designer. So it was a great pleasure to ask her to make twelve little paintings, just for a change. Continue reading “Twelve Little Birds”

Frames of reference

Cava Ispica

The doorway in the rock face opened into a honeycomb of catacombs, hand-carved rock tombs and tunnels, cubicles and niches, an underground depository for the dead. All now dissolved, evacuated, long gone and undead, a dormitory of empty beds, a newfangled airbnb ghost town opportunity. Continue reading “Cava Ispica”

Frames of reference

Ben Nicholson

Hare Hill, 1928

There’s a lovely little exhibition of pictures by Ben Nicholson at the Crane Kalman Gallery until the 11th of May, a roomful of his paintings and drawings and collages, and downstairs works by some of his close contemporaries, including Winifred Nicholson, Barbara Hepworth, Alfred Wallis, Joan Miró, Christopher Wood and Alexander Calder. Here are just a few of my favourite Ben Nicholsons. Continue reading “Ben Nicholson”

Frames of reference

In The Bleak Midwinter


A bright window packed with small beauties for these dark days, a fast-moving festive feast for the eyes. As works sell they will be replaced by more in an ongoing ever-changing pageant of delights.  Continue reading “In The Bleak Midwinter”

Frames of reference

Passeggiata In Ortigia

passeggiata /ˌpasɛˈdʒɑːtə/ noun (especially in Italy or Italian-speaking areas) a leisurely walk or stroll, especially one taken in the evening for the purpose of socializing.”

Ortigia is a small island, just under 1km square, attached to the Sicilian city of Syracuse by three road bridges. “It forms the charming old town, best explored on foot and certainly the most pleasant place to stay in the city.” We were there for two weeks this summer and during our stay we discovered many circuitous routes as we strolled around its maze of ancient streets and alleyways. Continue reading “Passeggiata In Ortigia”

Frames of reference

A Handful Of Twigs

St James the Less

I photographed these Twig Saints quickly, against the trellis on the south-facing wall outside my workshop, as a farewell gesture, just as we were returning them to Chris Kenny for a forthcoming exhibition at the After Nyne Gallery in September. They are all framed by the artist, often in adapted and reformed cigar boxes, cobbled together with the wooden backs of old picture frames sourced from The Rowley Gallery. The little Twig Saints are delicately fixed inside and their weird and wonderful stories are told in captions displayed on the reverse of their box-frames. Continue reading “A Handful Of Twigs”

Frames of reference

Wood, Metal, Pigment

The top floor gallery at Annely Juda Fine Art is one of my favourite spaces and when the sun shines in through the skylight on an exhibition of sculptures by David Nash it’s just about the best place to be in all of London. Wood · Metal · Pigment continues until 7th July. Continue reading “Wood, Metal, Pigment”

Frames of reference

Ouvrez Les Fenêtres De Votre Coeur

The Rowley Gallery has a new, hand-painted February window. It’s a vibrant cornucopia of visual delights. The notice reads Ouvrez Les Fenêtres De Votre Coeur: A Darktown Valentine’s Window by Jonny Hannah, and wherever you look you’ll find lovehearts on parade. Along the front lower edge of the window there’s a collection of found records, their sleeves lovingly repainted and still containing a vinyl disc, though not necessarily the one illustrated on the cover. Continue reading “Ouvrez Les Fenêtres De Votre Coeur”

Frames of reference