Celia Hart's blog about what's going on in and around her studio.
Art, printmaking, inspirations, gardening, vegetables, hens, landscapes, wild flowers, East Anglia, adventure, travel.

Friday, 17 June 2016

In Arcadia - the sublime and the almost ridiculous

Earlier in the year I was contacted by Emily from the London Conchord Ensemble, she wanted an illustration to publicise this year's Conchord Festival. You may recall the design I did last year, when the festival took place in Sussex. This year the festival relocated to Twickenham and the theme for the illustration was to be 'London's Arcadia'.

I wasn't familiar with the places and buildings along the banks of the River Thames in SW London, but I was sent lots of photos and web links, so I immersed myself in pastoral views, Palladian architecture and swirling river eddies. The design also includes a rowing boat, sand martins and swans. 

My design was used on the festival posters, advertising and programme - in addition I produced a set of greetings cards to be for sale at the concert venue, St Mary's church, Twickenham. I'm thinking of getting a reprint to sell in my web shop.

St Mary's Twickenham and the riverside garden featuring quotes from Alexander Pope whose home was nearby.

Emily kindly offered me 2 tickets to a concert of my choice, I chose the opening concert of music by Bach; so last week Cliff and I drove down to South London - a burst water main on the Edgeware Road made this a very very long trek, as all roundabouts for miles around had become gridlocked! 

But is was a sunny day and we arrived mid afternoon, in time to deliver the boxes of cards to the church and have a lovely walk along the river in the sunshine.

At the church I discovered my linocut design had been printed on a HUGE banner!

And onto VERY TALL flags! they looked splendid.

On our walk I was pleased to find the Arcadian landscape along the river just as I'd pictured in my mind. 

Marble Hill House

Orleans House

Across the river from St Mary's church is Eel Pie Island, if the Palladian palaces and gentle leafy parks are sublime, then Eel Pie Island is it's ridiculous neighbour - there are about 150 quirky residences, studios and shacks on the island which can only be reached by a foot-bridge or by boat.

Back in Twickenham 'village' pedestrian high street we had time for a snack before the concert, a small Lebanese tea-house/café looked inviting and the owner kindly moved a table outside for us.   

Tea with a timer!

However it wasn't calm and tranquil! Friday evening was also the start of the Twickenham Summer Festival, and that means Tug-of-War!!!

 This was happening right beside our café table!

The Tug-of-War teams were still battling for the prize when we had to leave and take our seats for the opening concert on the Conchord Festival. The church was packed and the music was beautifully performed; it wasn't surprising the audience demanded an encore! You can see a photo of two of the musicians, Daniel Rowland and Michael Foyle, inside the elegant church, here on Facebook.

The concert was recorded and filmed, so I'm hoping there will eventually be a video on YouTube. In the mean time you can see some of the Conchord Ensemble's past performances here.

There are so many places to visit along the 'Arcadian Thames', I can recommend a wander. If you look at the last page of the Conchord Festival programme you'll find a map and a list of some lovely places to visit.

This weekend the entertainment is closer to home . . . our village fete on the green just around the corner from my studio. I'm busy baking cakes for the teas!



  1. What a lovely excursion you had. The flags and banners are amazing - how special to see your art work enlarged on that scale. Glad you enjoyed the music too. X

  2. Oh! I have some great memories of Eel Pie, back in the heady 60s!

  3. How interesting! A part of London I've never visited, but will try now. Your designs look great on that large scale, very eye-catching and novel - and a clever commission on their part too.

  4. Gorgeous designs as always :) I absolutely love them in large scale - they look magnificent and so much fun! The cards are great too, nice to be able to look more closely at individual aspects of the overall picture.
    And a street tug of war too - Twickers is a happening place!

  5. Dear Celia, your creation embraced Arcadia beautifully! it's grand that your illustration works beautifully in several scales. I remember your earlier post about doing an very large print so that many details might be included, even though the finished image would be reduced in size. Fun to see the process going in the other direction!

    Thanks also for the links to Conchord, and for your wonderful photographs from the festivals opening afternoon, complete with tea table with tug of war on the side.

    I've heard of Eel Pie, but never before actually seen a picture of the place. Thanks for that, too.

    I do hope that you will be adding those splendid cards to your shop.

    Have fun at your local fete today! xo

  6. What a super day out and beautiful work as ever. Lovely to see you looking suitably proud alongside your work x

  7. Your design looks wonderful on the banner and the flags, well done.

    Was the tea made by Jeeves and Jericho? I have their Blackcurrant Pop, such a marvellous flavour?


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