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Meeting the Batemans

The trustees of the Mrs and Mr Bateman estate have once again curated a stunning experience showcasing a collection of artists, craftspeople and designers. Set to become an annual landmark in the world of design, the “I am Bateman” show on Blenheim Crescent, just off the Portobello Road in London runs until May 11th.

 

Mr Bateman's house of cards

Mr Bateman’s House of Cards

This year the show celebrates The Batemans and their relations. The installation journeys through the fantastical world of Mrs & Mr Bateman; comprised of seven vignettes depicting the individual stories and peculiarities of various relations. As the visitor travels through the installation, they are given insight into each persona through literal & abstract intimations; their interpretation allowing them to personally create the story that unfolds. The visitor becomes the voyeur. A concept dreamed up by the creative team of Natalie Tredgett, Clemmie Myers and Selena Baudry.

Painting by Selena Baudry

Dreamscape: ” Mrs Bateman discovered she had a love of space. She contemplated it by creating miniature paper rooms. Painting by Selena Baudry

Interior designer Natalie Tredgett, is renowned for her striking interiors, full of colour and light, she says “Living in colour! Both through my work and in my day to day life, I can’t imagine doing anything else.” Natalie has styled the interior of the Batemans imaginary world using signature colours created by Vanessa Konig especially for the event, beautifully crafted chairs using vintage fabrics, contemporary textiles and embroidery from amongst others Minnie Kemp and Pink House by Rebecca Cole. Each of the chairs represents a period in the Bateman family story.

Chairs by Natalie Tredgett

Mrs Bateman’s slipper chairs. “Whilst on her travels in Istanbul Mrs Bateman Stumbled upon this Pink House by Rebecca Cole Design.. she felt compelled to immortalise it in the form of her chair. Twinned with embroidered scenes by Minnie Kemp depicting the life of Mrs Bateman’s bull-fighting Great Grandmother, Conchita Limone.

The things they left behind

The things they left behind… “In a furious rage, Vincent ripped up her beloved clothing…. later he had his interior designer re-upholster a chair out of the remnants”

A new addition to the Bateman cast is The Groomsman. Enigmatically beautiful, his persona idolises Mr Bateman, and a fraction of his secret life is displayed as a room set in the show. fantastic wallpapers designed by Otteline Devries surround The Groomsman’s personal effects; art by Ian Vail, rugs by Emmy Elle Design and embellished garments from Nathalie Ballout

The Groomsman

“He saw himself in two parts: there was the side he showed to the world, and the side he hid from it…”

Mrs Bateman’s wardrobe has informed many of the style choices in the Batemans world, stunning vintage couture garments sourced by Lime Green Bow, who also have a boutique on the Portobello Road add a touch of glamour to the scene, enhanced by Sarah Hendler’s beautiful jewellery and millinery created by Jess Collett.

Mrs Bateman's jewels

Mrs Bateman’s jewels

Mrs Batemans fascinator

Mrs Bateman’s Fascinator. Jess Collett Millinery

Featured creatives:

Jenny Baines
Nathalie Ballout
Selena Beaudry
Dara Caponigro for Shumacher
Pink House byRebecca Cole
Jess Collett
Emmy Ellison
William Ellyard
Nannette de Gaspé
James Graham-Stewart
Paola Gratsos
Iva Gueorguieva
Sarah Hendler
Patrick Hughes
Zoe Jordan
Minnie Kemp
Karina Kochejeva
Vanessa Konig
Lily Lewis
Clemmie Myers
Nicole Myers
Lisa Penny
Clio Peppiatt
John-Paul Pietrus
Phoebe Rolls
Nathalie Seiller Dejean
Birgit Tabbarah
Barbara Campbell Thomas
Brad Thomas
Natalie Tredgett
Ian Vail
Frederike Von Cranach
Ottoline de Vries
Alice Walton
Margit Wittig

 

Textiles in the Archives

I was recently invited to attend a lovely evening hosted by Poppy Szaybo, a textile artist and archivist at the London Metropolitan Archives near Mount Pleasant.

In all the many years I have lived in London, I am ashamed to admit having never visited the Archives before, and was delighted to find such a fantastic resource for historians, researchers and genaeologists, not to mention artists, who often neglect their intellectual stimulus in favour of practicalities of producing new artwork!

The theme of the evening was ‘Fancy costume – the art of dressing up” and the talk was given by Charlotte Hopkins who works for the archive. We were a small group of creative people all with a common interest in textiles and history.

The lecture took a long and sometimes sideways look at the fascinating subject of ‘dressing up’ and it’s traditions in European and English society, from the Pleasure Gardens of Vauxhall to photographs taken by students at the London College of Fashion in the 1970’s.

One of our primeval instincts, completely acceptable in childhood, but modified and subverted in adult life is the need to ‘dress-up’ or take on another transient identity for the pleasure of ‘pretend play’. The escapism and anonymity of dressing up burgeoned in the 17th and 18th centuries, becoming part of upper class social life, and often viewed at the time as a pathway to depraved behaviour. Aristocracy and high society families spent large sums on having beautiful costumes created, and there was a large industry of costume and mask makers in London. The lower and working classes were more inventive in their creations for dressing up opportunities,

The Lord Mayor of London hosted masquerade balls for the children of the professional classes, and no expense was spared in the creation of their children’s costumes.

The London Metropolitan picture archive’s online resource ‘Collage’ allows free access to thousands of the documents and images in the collection, and is a fascinating resource for historians and artists alike. Tiny snippets from historic documents are available to view on request, old newspapers, photographs and illustrations are a rich resource of inspiration and a little window into lives led in another era. 


I loved the tiny catalogues of prices and business cards that had been taken out for us to handle, listing prices for ‘ladies undergarments’ and necessities !

We were lucky enough to be shown into the strong rooms of the archive, deep in the building. 

Long corridors filled with shelves and files, all housed in custom made archival boxes, with one member of staff purely responsible for creating these custom made boxes! The wonderful aroma of ancient documents and slightly musty books pervades the space. What look like really old bound books are stacked on some shelves, but on closer inspection date back only to the 1950’s, maybe the mere fact of them being in this environment has given us a preconception of their antiquity!

London coroner’s court records are stored here, with files containing both the mundane and the macabre details of lives prematurely reaching their end. A sobering view as we peer into the corridors of files. Illustrations of dress design and fashions were displayed for us to see, and I was delighted to find plates of Leon Baskt illustrations amongst the pages of the London Illustrated News from 1913. Radical costumes for the time, unstructured and body hugging in comparison with contemporary fashions.

I could happily return (and probably will!) To explore more of this fantastic free resource, but leave you to explore either through the virtual portal of  ‘Collage‘ or in person, do let me know if you find a treasure!

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