The Ken Stradling Collection is as extraordinary as the man himself.
A collector with an open mind and personal eye, his collection is open to all of
us to see and even to handle – aware that feeling shape and texture are
essential to fully enjoying the aesthetic of a piece of skilfully blown glass or hand thrown ceramic.
— MARGARET HOWELL
Ken Stradling joined the Bristol Guild of Applied Art in 1948, setting out to find and to sell new and innovative furnishings and objects for the home. Over the following 50 years Stradling developed ‘The Guild’ as a major centre for the appreciation and sale of design and craft. At the same time, and incidental to his growing reputation as a patron of contemporary design, Stradling began his own personal collection of twentieth and twenty-first century objects.
Margaret’s curated selection includes an outstanding group of furniture
designed by Bauhaus master Marcel Breuer for the home of Bristol furniture manufacturer Crofton Gane. Gane played a pivotal role in championing the Modern Movement in 1930s Britain and the exhibition reveals the little known but fascinating story of his patronage of one of the giants of twentieth century design.
To accompany the Breuer furniture, Margaret has chosen pieces that show the breadth and quality of The Ken Stradling Collection. Everyday domestic objects, such as a Robert Welch hand-milled steel tea set from 1962 and dressing table mirrors designed by Colin Beales and Peter Cudden in 1960 are shown
alongside a selection of studio glass from Scandinavia, including works by Erik Hoglund and Per Lutken, and studio pottery by some of the most admired artist potters of the twentieth century, including works by James Tower, David Leach and Betty Blandino.
The collection is unusually varied, eclectic and personal – often Ken’s sense of humour and whimsy creeps in. For our exhibition the selection of pieces
reflects my own aesthetic, choosing objects to compliment both the new and vintage products we source to sell in our shops. But for those who visit Bristol you will see much more.
— MARGARET HOWELL
Exhibition at our 34 Wigmore Street shop from 15 October – 15 November
Learn more about The Ken Stradling Collection here
Barbara Hepworth is one of a few special people who have inspired me – through her work, her life, and her style. She was a woman to roll up her sleeves, and a woman who needed pockets – for chisel, pencil, and pebbles from the beach.
I recognise her world – I had early holidays in St Ives and some time living in the Yorkshire Dales – and share her affinity with the rugged form of these landscapes, and the textures of wood, stone and plant.
I connect with her independence, strength and hands-on approach as an artist, but also with her choice of work clothes and the way she wore them.
These pieces were designed to celebrate her spirit and I like to think she would have been happy to wear them.
– Margaret Howell
Read more about the exhibition here.
In support of RIBA’s (Royal Institute of British Architects) new exhibition that opens today, Ordinary Beauty: The Photography of Edwin Smith, Margaret has curated an online gallery of her favourite images from the exhibition.
‘You can’t fault Edwin Smith’s eye. There’s not a single photograph in the RIBA’s extensive collection that is not beautifully composed. The way he captures the spirit of place takes me right there. I love that he chose subjects that seem modest, even unpromising, then transformed them with technical assurance and vision. His images of Britain have a truth I recognise and feel at one with.’
– Margaret Howell
View the online gallery here.
Margaret Howell has produced a 2015 calendar in conjunction with the exhibition. The calendar is available to buy on our website.
Ordinary Beauty: The Photography of Edwin Smith. RIBA, 66 Portland Place, London W1
10 September – 6 December 2014
More information here
The first book from ARCA, Archive for Rural Contemporary Architecture, SLACKLANDS by Corinna Dean challenges conventional aesthetics by inviting the reader to take a journey to uncompromising rural structures, to contemplate their uneasy existence and reflect on how these buildings have impacted on the surrounding natural environment.
‘Parts of East Anglia are rich in bunkers, pillboxes and observation posts, as well as airfields and coastal defences. Some might scorn the word ‘rich’, dismiss them as concrete eyesores and wish they’d go away. Should we care if they disappear? I think we should and for at least two reasons; cultural and aesthetic.
First, these relics and the many similar ones to be found around the country, tell us directly about our history. Second, they often weather to take on a mysterious beauty of their own and become an intrinsic part of our land and seascapes, which are all the richer for them’ – Margaret Howell
ARCA, seeks to build awareness around an alternative rural idyll by drawing into the public consciousness crucial buildings of the twentieth century in rural contexts. arca-projects.com
Exhibition designed by Ben Mclaughlin and Corinna Dean, featuring selected images from the book at our Wigmore Street shop from 9 May – 1 June
‘Margaret Howell has a particular affinity for the East Anglian coastal landscape, with its openness and flatness and its aura of remoteness, even desolation, a part of the country where she can concentrate on the essentials. Her deep feeling for the natural and authentic gives her clothes design its special quality.’ Fiona MacCarthy, writer and cultural historian.
Fiona MacCarthy’s appreciation of Margaret introduces a selection of Koto Bolofo’s photographs for the 1995 fashion shoot at Shingle Street, with related drawings by Margaret, and her own personal photographs of the Suffolk landscape.
Margaret Howell’s connection with Suffolk features in the Masterpieces: Art and East Anglia exhibition, for which Margaret nominated Stephen Walters the Sudbury silk weavers, featured in our current calendar: British Made. Stephen Walters have been producing silk for Margaret Howell ties for over twenty years.
‘The Suffolk coast is a place where lines and shapes are clearly defined under broad sweeps of sky and ever changing light, the natural landscape and windswept shores constantly inspire me.’ Margaret Howell
Sainsbury Centre for Visual Arts, University of East Anglia, Norwich NR4 7TJ
14 September 2013 – 24 February 2014
More information here
Margaret Howell first exhibited a selection of landscape paintings by Peter Yates at Wigmore Street in 2010. We now offer a series of numbered limited edition fine art prints selected from works shown at the exhibition. Each print is hand numbered and hand embossed.
Peter Yates (1920-1982) was one of the founders of the innovative architectural partnership Ryder and Yates, which brought modern design to the North East of England in the post war period. But also he was an artist, painting throughout his life, often exploring ideas related to architectural form. Some works explore the juxtaposition of bold geometric shapes that characterised the practice’s architecture. Other works celebrate the relationship of traditional buildings. On many occasions his art works were incorporated within buildings in the form of large murals. He also contributed bold graphic designs for exhibition stands and commercial premises. These works were either hand painted by Yates himself, or printed on to Formica.
Prints produced by The Bookroom Art Press and made to Fine Art Trade Guild Standards.
Available at our Wigmore Street shop
ERCOL REISSUE BUTTERFLY AND STACKING CHAIR
Butterfly and stacking chair reissued in elm with black painted beech legs and uprights. The butterfly chair was originally designed with black legs when first launched as a limited run in 1958. The stacking chair was never produced with black legs and the reissue is a new design development.
NICOLA TASSIE HAND THROWN STONEWARE CERAMICS
A series of matt glazed lamp bases designed by British ceramic artist – six one-off individual sculptural forms inspired by architecture, motion and light. The lamp bases compliment a range of Nicola Tassie ceramic tableware available in Margaret Howell shops.
In support of Open House London Weekend, Margaret Howell and William Mann discover a walk along the River Lea.
Lea Valley is a mix of ancient marshland, metropolitan infrastructure and changing landscapes.
Photographs by Philipp Ebeling and Jason Orton
A visual exploration of the Lea Valley and the area’s potential to evolve as a public landscape.
Monday 5 September – Saturday 17 September
34 Wigmore Street London W1U 2RS
Open House London Weekend