Stonehenge is a beautiful and culturally important landmark for British Tourism. Standing at the centre of a field in Wiltshire, it draws thousands of visitors a year from all around the world. It is an icon of intrigue, early architecture and historical ceremony.
Visual & Decorative Arts Blog
February 23 marked the anniversary of the death of beloved British artist and creator of matchstick men Laurence Stephen Lowry (1887–1976). Lowry wanted to paint the realities of the modern city – people on their way to work, fights on the street – a real insight into 20th century working class life.
I was thrilled that as part of our art of fine gifts range this year, we have produced a Jacqueline Wilson wall calendar. I remember avidly consuming her books when I was younger, and it was brilliant to read them again as part of this project. Jacqueline's books have beguiled, comforted and entertained generations of children for many years, delving into a multitude of situations which affect young people. She has written an astonishing number of books, with very real themes that resonate with everyone.
Our art calendars have been taking a lot of my focus recently, and today I've been working on our Illuminated Manuscripts wall calendar for 2015. (Yes I know, we're looking that far ahead already!) Having just seen how beautifully the 2014 calendar has turned out, we decided there was too much scope not to do it again for 2015 (and we didn't need much persuading). The artwork is stunning, and the history behind them is just as fascinating.
A whole world of merchandise and media, from art calendars to coffee cups and T-shirts to an actual theme park ('Moomin World' in Western Finland), has built up around children's favourites The Moomins – our hippopotamus-like friends really are a treasure trove for the art of fine gifts. I remember watching these eclectic characters and their adventures in Moominvalley in a cartoon series back in the 1990s. But of course they go further back than this, back to Tove Jansson's original novels, the first of which was published in 1945 in Swedish by Schildts publishers.
Throughout his life Van Gogh wrote many letters to his friends, family and fellow artists. In these letters he often discussed his own artworks, and one such example regards Van Gogh’s 1888 oil painting The Bedroom, which he discusses in a letter to his brother Theo, shown below: