Rory Hutton at the Wallace Collection
Fast-forward ten years from my first visit to the Wallace Collection, under the instruction of Vivienne Westwood, and I am thrilled to be collaborating with this fabulous museum under my own name.
In 2008 I was an intern at Vivienne Westwood, at the time Westwood drew much of her inspiration from The Wallace Collection and as a consequence all the interns were encouraged to pay a visit. I was new to London and this tranquil gem hidden away behind the bustle of Oxford Street was to become one of my favourite haunts during the subsequent seven years I spent in the capital.
As a child I was fascinated by the Court of Versailles and all its extravagant characters, a fascination I never outgrew, from primary school I had a postcard of the great palace pinned to my bedroom wall and the same postcard is on my studio noticeboard today.
I read Nancy Mitford’s delicious biographies of Louis XIV (1966) and Madame de Pompadour (1954) in my early teens as well as anything I could find about Marie Antoinette, so to find myself surrounded by so many of their personal possession’s in central London was a dreamy experience.
In July this year (the same month I joined Vivienne Westwood in 2008), I met the team at The Wallace Collection to discuss a Christmas collaboration inspired by their magnificent eighteenth century gold snuff boxes.
The resulting collection includes lady’s scarves, men’s ties, pocket squares and socks. Drawing on the rococo borders and enamel motifs of the gold boxes. I couldn’t resist introducing a bust of the majestically windswept Louis XIV which is one of my favourite pieces of sculpture in the collection.
The colours are rich and jewel like as befits the institution, drawn from the decadent silk wall coverings and the extraordinary collection of eighteenth century Sevres porcelain.
As with much of my work I began by drawing all the pieces I loved and then turned them into linocuts. Carving Louis XIV’s decadent curls makes me feel like a craftsman from days gone by, I love working with my hands and connecting with craft traditions, for me the excitement of the inaugural print from a new block is a feeling you just can’t capture on a computer. Besides a labour intensive approach seems fitting when one considers the unbelievable craftsmanship displayed everywhere at The Wallace Collection.If you have not visited London’s answer to Versailles, then I implore you to do so at once and I promise you will be transported to an age of opulence and majesty.
The collection is now available from the Wallace Collection shop and online here.
I hope this collection will please the modern day Louis XIV’s, Madame de Pompadour’s and Marie Antoinette’s, so they can take away and wear some of the opulence and drama of The Wallace Collection!