Welcome to the Gallery

Imagine is set in the Suffolk village of Long Melford.
This is an attempt to record the daily trials, tribulation and pleasure of running an art gallery.

Wednesday, 3 February 2010

It has been another week of travelling, not that I mind that at all as it is the closest I ever come to a holiday plus sitting in the car for hours always gives me plenty of time to think through the many things that are worrying me and to come up with a solution to them.
Maybe I need to drive more.
I talk about one of the journeys in the next post as I know that it will be of interest to Jackie Morris fans and to any potters that admire Phil Rogers. But that's for next time.
The trip that I have just made was to collect the sculptures that Paul Day had brought over from France for us. He was only in the UK for two days and had a very full itinerary so we arranged to meet at a very famous art foundry, 'Morris Singer'. 
The chances are that at some time in your life you have stood and admired their work without knowing it, they are maybe the country's leading founder and they produce many large scale pieces for public display, when I say large I mean BIG, when I was there they were casting a bronze wing for a bird, the wing was 30 feet in length.
I'm getting ahead of myself a little, and I think the foundry itself would fill one post.
So, Paul and I were meeting there because he had told me that he had a few "bits" to collect
and as it is only an hour from us it made sense.

A couple of years ago Paul was the subject of a television documentary titled
"A Day to Remember"
The film records the making of "The Battle of Britain" memorial which is now situated upon the embankment at Westminster, it shows everything from the initial sketches to the unveiling by Prince Charles. Having learned of this film I approached the production company and purchased a few DVDs of the program, the idea being that I would get Paul to sign them and give one with every purchase of his work.
The evening before meeting him I decided that I should watch it myself.
I'm so glad that I did.
Although I understood that Paul was a very well known sculptor I had no idea of just how famous and incredibly talented he is, all I can say is if you get a chance to get hold of a copy then do so. Irene and I sat mesmerised by the video and when it finished she asked
"how on earth did you persuade him to let us have sculpture".
"I dunno."

The next morning I arrived at the foundry with just a "slight feeling" of excitement, but also I was worried about the impression that I would make upon him as I was now very aware just how famous he is [ the Guardian newspaper describes him as "world renowned"].
As I approached the foundry I saw that outside there were three "workmen" struggling with a 
very large sculpture, one of the workmen was Paul and the sculpture was the original of
"The Kiss"
the giant sculpture at the 'Eurostar Terminal' in London.
As I slowed Paul waived and came over to greet me. I recognised him but he certainly didn't
know what I looked like. Maybe he was just waiting for a handsome, dignified slightly older chap to arrive. If he was he was disappointed, although I suppose the older bit might have fitted.
From the moment that we shook hands he was attentive, charming and so very gracious, it was as if I was the only gallery owner who had ever shown interest in his art.
He and the other two men were in the process of cutting up the large sculpture so that it would fit inside his van, he was taking it back to France where he would re-build it for a major exhibition of his work.
I told him to ignore me and to finish what he was doing.
He did, but all the time checking that I was not bored or cold and assuring me that they wouldn't take long.
How could I be bored? I was witnessing a little part of English history.

Eventually, the sculpture was in pieces, his van packed and then I was his only focus of attention.
We talked, far too long, he had an appointment in London in two hours time but he gave no sense of being under pressure or annoyed as he told me about himself and his work.
Although I wanted to prolong the meeting I knew he must have been worrying  about his meeting, so we parted.
He, for London and then home to France and me, back to the gallery with some pieces of National treasure in the car.
I returned with four sculptures, one being a limited edition piece [25] which was from the centre of the "Battle of Britain', titled SCRAMBLE.
On the film that I had watched the evening before he had explained that it gave him a strange feeling that to know long after he had "gone" people and his great grandchildren would visit 
London and would be able to view his work.
It has a place in English history, and importantly for me a place in Imagine Gallery.
How lucky am I?

The pictures explain themselves, with the exception of the sculpture detail photograph which is a piece from the 'Frieze' that is the base of 'The Kiss' sculpture.
It is also in my gallery window.


  1. Beautiful post...amazing sculpture. Thank you so much for sharing this "moment in English history".

  2. I could have written so much about him and his work Amy, I find his sculptures so moving, they have so much going on in them, so many details and each telling a little story.
    At the same time they are very childlike [not in execution] as Paul leaves gaps in them so that they can be illuminated from within, it gives them a real sense of theatre and drama.
    I feel very proud that he is letting me have them, he really is a very nice and very modest man.

  3. With that wonderful sculpture in the window your gallery must be looking very inviying. Wish I could pop in it is always inspiring to see your gallery.