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  • Writer's pictureLianne Jarrett

Visit to Avonmore Road

Last week, we went to the studios of two of the artists to be featured in our exhibition

In Nature in the Secret Garden, Kemp Town, Brighton, this coming May. Rachel and Rob filmed interviews in both studios.

We met our friend Ann Elliott, Trustee of the Kenneth Armitage Foundation, at this sculptor’s former studio and apartment in Avonmore Road, a street of smart Victorian residences in West Kensington. This impressive, airy building was purpose designed and constructed in 1888/1889 by the Scottish Arts and Crafts architect James MacLaren for the sculptor H.R.Pinker, and has been in use continuously as an artist’s studio since then. Armitage worked and lived here from 1959 until his death in 2002. The building is now owned by the Kenneth Armitage Foundation which, as part of Armitage’s charitable legacy, awards biennially a two year scholarship residency, with a stipend, to a recognised sculptor enabling him/her to live and work here and create a substantial body of sculpture.

Above left: Ann Elliott being filmed by Rachel and Rob; above right: Rachel filming in Kenneth Armitage's apartment

Ann Elliott knew Kenneth Armitage well: she has written about him and has exhibited his work. Ann has fond memories of visiting Armitage here and has been pivotal in enabling us to borrow splendid sculptures from the Foundation. Armitage, who was one of the first young British post war sculptors to achieve international acclaim, produced a wide-ranging oeuvre during a long career and is represented in major national collections, public spaces and internationally. He developed a deep love and knowledge of trees, visiting Richmond Park regularly, over a period of thirty years, which resulted in memorable sculptures, drawings and etchings. His tree sculptures that we shall be showing in the Secret Garden include the monumental bronze Richmond Oak, which was originally commissioned by the Government Art Collection for the British Embassy in Brasilia.

Above: Rachel and Rob filming in Kenneth Armitage's library

Above left: Rob in the studio; above right: detail of library

In Nature will be open at the Secret Garden Kemp Town, on Saturdays, Sundays and Bank Holidays from 2 - 31 May, 11am - 5pm.

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