Art in The Week That Was

A selection of creative current affairs and events which have hit the headlines…


The impressive Game of Thrones textile piece took 142 volunteers from The Embroiderers’ Guild (Scotland) over 5,000 hours to make.

This week, it emerged that HBO have commissioned a stunning work of embroidery in honour of their hit TV show – Game of Thrones.  Set at Glasgow Caledonian University, the giant textile artwork features the villain of the piece – The Night King.  Taking over 5,000 hours to produce the effective likeness, volunteers from The Embroiderers’ Guild worked solidly to meet their brief.  The piece will stay at the university until February for viewing, with the Guild stating that they hope it will inspire others to take up the craft.

‘Salvator Mundi’ by Leonardo Da Vinci, c. 1500.

More has been revealed about portrait superstar ‘Salvator Mundi’ and its backstory this week.  Auctioned last year for a whopping $450.3 million, the painting by Leonardo da Vinci has previously graced the halls of British kings and Russian oligarchs alike.  Back in 2005, however, it was sold by a family in Louisiana to a pair of international art dealers for less than $10,000.  Both dealers – Robert Simon and Alexander Parrish – have since been piecing together the painting’s varied provenance in an attempt to solidly reauthenticate the rare painting.  According to Christie’s, the portrait of Christ was once owned by King Charles I, having been listed in his inventory before he was executed in 1649.  It has passed through so many owners since that its stellar attribution had been lost somewhere along the timeline.  Experts currently state that only around 20 of Da Vinci’s 16th-Century works remain extant.

‘ArquiCostura’ by Raquel Rodrigo adorning the shopfronts of commercial Madrid.

Textile artist Raquel Rodrigo is determined to keep the summer alive in Madrid.  Her large-scale, cross-stitch installations have popped up all over the city this week, adorning the facades of the local shops and businesses with beautiful, red and pink roses.  Using chicken wire to emulate canvas and thick string and rope as embroidery thread, the artist – whose background spans window display, set decoration and interior design – has named the installation ‘ArquiCostura’ (a combination of architetura and costura – needlework).  The designs have proved an exciting, fresh take on the street art genre.

The general public will be able to access the Tower of London flames display for free by viewing from Tower Hill, whilst a ticketed, more intimate audience will be allowed access to the moat itself.

A new art installation is also set to adorn the Tower of London, this time to commemorate the end of the First World War.  The team behind the iconic 888, 246-poppy display at the tower – artist Paul Cummins and designer Tom Piper –  will this year return to fill its moat with thousands of flames.  Entitled ‘Beyond the Deepening Shadow:  The Tower Remembers’, the installation will involve a circle of light illuminating the building each night for a week leading up to Armistice Day.  The scene will be set with the additional features of both atmospheric sound and a specially-commissioned soundtrack inspired by Mary Borden’s ‘Sonnets To A Soldier’.  The Yeoman Warders will also be involved, lighting the first flame every night before volunteers are able to light the rest.

General the Lord Houghton, Constable of the Tower of London commented:-

‘The war claimed the lives of over 18 million people.  We remembered them on the anniversary of the start of the war, and we should commemorate their sacrifice 100 years after hostilities ended.  Many of the Tower community have served in the Armed Forces.  It is important that lessons from these conflicts continue to be shared.’.

The Harry Potter wand installation will light up St Peter’s Hill – between Millennium Bridge and St Paul’s Cathedral – from October 18th to November 12th, from 6.45pm each evening.

To celebrate the film release of ‘Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald’ – the new Harry Potter film – an avenue of giant wands is set to illuminate the route between London’s Millennium Bridge and St Paul’s Cathedral.  Standing 15 feet tall, the wands will accurately depict those used by specific characters in the popular wizarding franchise.  It is hoped the stunning installation will also raise awareness for author JK Rowling’s charity – Lumos – which was founded in order to end the institutionalisation of children around the world.

‘Future’ by Saype is the artist’s latest large-scale land fresco in support of a world-wide cause.

A large-scale, Message of Hope’ land fresco was unveiled this week by French artist Saype.  He has commented that the stunning piece depicting a child launching a boat into Lake Geneva was made using biodegradable paints.  Taking up approximately 1.2 acres of lawn, the monochrome image has been designed to support SOS Mediterranee, the maritime-humanitarian organization dedicated to rescuing migrants stranded on boats in the Mediterranean Sea.

Earlier this month, the U.N. Refugee Agency stated that, in 2018 alone, more than 1,600 people had died or gone missing while attempting to reach western Europe from northern Africa and the Middle East by sea.

Saype said of his work:-

‘The childish figure is a recurrent one in my work because I think it’s the future generations who will eventually take over.’.


Photographer and filmmaker Steve McQueen’s ambitious project has been backed by Tate Britain, commissioners Artangel, and learning specialists A New Direction.

It was reported recently that photographer Steve McQueen is aiming to record the likeness of every Year 3 pupil in London in a collaboration with Tate Britain.  The Oscar-winning filmmaker and artist will undertake one of the world’s most ambitious art projects by inviting all 2,410 primary schools in the capital to take part.  Following taking every qualifying child’s image, the works will then go on display at Tate Britain and then across London.

Taking a trip down memory lane has prompted the photographer’s comprehensive project.

McQueen stated:-

‘People have passed and died, people are doing well, not doing well.  Those kind of trajectories, those kind of paths, I wanted to go back to the beginning of a certain kind of consciousness.’.

He has fond memories of his school days in Ealing aged just 7.

‘It was exciting.  I couldn’t wait to go to school every morning.  I loved art, I loved being with my friends, I loved experimenting and drawing.  It was a wonderful, wonderful, wonderful time.’.


The Intimate Theatre can seat an audience of up to 406 people.

A campaign has emerged on social media recently to save The Intimate Theatre of Palmers Green, North London.  Doubling as the Parish Hall of St Monica’s Church, the building is set to be demolished by the church and replaced by a new parish centre and apartment block.  The Enfield Local Heritage List includes the theatre, citing it as having landmark status, as well as historical association and social value to its community.  The theatre is apparently the site of the first play to have ever been broadcast live on television and by the end of the 1960s housed the last repertory theatre company surviving in the capital.  The list of famous names who have appeared on stage there is both lengthy and varied.  From David Bowie to Richard Attenborough; Roger Moore to Irene Handl, this diminutive playhouse has hosted them all.  The petition can be found here:


It was widely reported this week that singer Justin Bieber surprised fans by striking up a song outside Buckingham Palace.  In order to serenade his girlfriend Hailey Baldwin – actor Steven Baldwin’s daughter – the performer sang acoustic renditions of ‘Cold Water’ (his 2016 collaboration with Major Lazer and MO) and ‘Fast Car’ by famous acoustic songwriter Tracy Chapman.  Baldwin was sufficiently bowled over by the sentiment and proudly filmed the occasion on her smart phone.


A spokesman for Kiely Rowan stated:- ‘Orla Kiely’s home and design licensing business will not be affected, and its selection of accessories and homewares will continue to be sold through its distribution partners.’.

Queen of Prints Orla Kiely’s fashion brand has closed its website and stores.  The Irish designer’s brand Kiely Rowan has appointed administrators to wind down the company, news outlets have revealed.  Insolvency practitioners David Rubin & Partners are to handle the liquidation process, which will include closing stores on the King’s Road and Seven Dials, London, and one in Kildare, Ireland.  The company commented that the voluntary move was prompted:-

‘… following various challenges that have faced the company over the past few years, both in the UK and abroad.’.

The iconic brand has been known for its 70s-inspired textiles, interiors accessories, and fashion accessories, with Kiely herself appearing as a guest judge on popular British TV show ‘The Great Interior Design Challenge’ (BBC2).



[Credits: Feature image – ‘Salvator Mundi’ by Leonardo Da Vinci, c. 1500 (;;;;;;; The Guardian;;;;; E! News]




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