Commissions

Penguins for the Pension Insurance Corporation

2013 was an ice-cool year for The Pension Insurance Corporation.

They wanted to decorate the 11 meeting rooms, and 2 public spaces of their Cornhill office, with art that would be admired by clients, enjoyed by staff, that would be a smart investment and that would extol their values as a company. To PIC, the penguin represents focus, dedication and adaptability- traits they relate to. Every PIC meeting room is named after a different species of penguin, the company logo also comprises two penguins. The project also grew out of then CEO John Coomber's commitment to sustainability, environmentally-conscious business practices and conservation. Enlisting members of the SWLA (Society of Wildlife Artists) who are keen advocates of understanding wildlife in it's natural habitat and any forces such as climate change that may affect that, seemed in line with PIC's brief.  Engaging Chris Rose and Bruce Pearson, who have actually been to the Antarctic to draw penguins from life was also a major addition to the project. Several newly graduated artists were also enlisted (enabling PIC to fulfil another of their wants from this project; to support young and emerging artists); and ultimately one artist was commissioned for each space.

Research

Each artist was to interpret their designated species of penguin in their own style. First, they had to learn more about penguins. Chris and Bruce shared their previous experience and research throughout the project, but if ever there were an excuse for a trip to London Zoo, this was it! The artists observed and drew penguins from life, then developed their ideas in a group workshop. The day ended with a drinks reception at the Mall Galleries, where PIC shared the project with their clients. Sketches were presented and SWLA members also gave a presentation on penguins, sharing their experiences of travelling in the Antarctic.

      

 

           


Launching

To inaugurate the 33 works of art, PIC held an unveiling event at their office. Guests arrived to find artists drawing penguins on the reception walls (PIC have since decided to leave the drawings there). As the night went on, each artist was stationed in their meeting room, alongside their work, and a few conducted workshops on drawing penguins. The event concluded with a silent auction of artists’ preparatory sketches to raise money for the SWLA (a registered charity). Feedback on the evening, project and artworks was extremely positive.

To commemorate the project PIC produced a coffee-table book The Art of Penguin Insurance which documented the project as well providing illustrations of each artwork. 

      

      


Sketches

                  

Adelie - Dafila Scott             African - Eleanor Watson      Emperor - Adam Binder

 

                      

Emperor - Adam Binder     Anna Ilsley - Fiordland      Galapagos - Antonia Phillips

 

          

Gentoo - Fran Giffard        Humboldt - Dolores de Sade  King - Bruce Pearson

 

                     

Macaroni - Chris Rose         Rockhopper - Michael McManus  Royal - Gemma Anderson

 

Penguin Map - Francisca Prieto

 


Final Works

Work ranged from origami using maps, to bronze sculpture. Dolores de Sade depicted her Humbolt penguins in the library of their discoverer, Alexander von Humbolt. Fran Giffard’s Gentoo penguins were precisely and scientifically recorded, where Chris Rose’s piece was composed primarily of ocean. Eleanor Watson depicted her African penguins in a zoo setting, whilst Anna Ilsley prefered to depict the fascinating South Island, home of the Fiordland penguin.

          

Adelie - Dafila Scott           African - Eleanor Watson   African - Eleanor Watson   

 

                 

Emperor - Adam Binder   Fiordland - Anna Ilsley       Galapagos  Antonia Phillip

 

                 

Galapagos -             Gentoo - Fran Giffard           Humboldt - Dolores de Sade

Antonia Phillips

 

                           

Humboldt - Delores de Sade  Little Penguin - Nadine Collinson   Little Penguin - Nadine Collinson

                         

Macaroni - Chris Rose             Rockhopper - Michael McManus   Rockhopper - Michael McManus

                    

Royal - Gemma Anderson   Royal - Gemma Anderson   Penguin Map - Francisca Prieto

 

Toby Ward on Painting Architecture

Toby Ward talks us through his commissions for St-Martin-in-the-Fields, the Royal Opera House and Lincoln Cathedral.

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St Martins in the Fields by Toby Ward Church Art Commission

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Chastleton House by Toby Ward NEAC

Melissa Scott-Miller talks House Portraits

In this episode of our series of artist talks, Commissioning Conversation, Melissa Scott-Miller talks about painting portraits of Islington houses, the view from the roof of John Lewis and the client who wanted Santa Claus painted into the picture. 

 

 

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Islington Street with Wysteria by Melissa Scott-Miller NEAC RP

Still Lifes by A Portrait Painter

Fiddler's Hill Nest by Miriam Escofet AssocRP Still Life Commissions

Miriam Escofet AssocRP talks about the Still Lifes she painted using her client's collections of objects

 

Fiddler's Hill Nest

The owner of this painting lives in a farm in Wiltshire. He particularly admired one of my previous paintings on the theme of a bird’s nest and wanted something very similar, but very particularly depicting certain eggs and insects from his collection. As a child he would collect bird’s eggs with his father and he has very fond memories of this, they amassed quite an impressive selection of all kinds of eggs, kept in old tobacco tins and cushioned with tufts of wool. Most of the eggs in the painting come from his collection. The inclusion of a death head moth and other British butterflies were also specific requests.

 

Inkwells on Blue

This commission was loosely based on a previous still life painting also on the theme of inkwells and drawing implements. The painting combines objects belonging to the clients with objects from my own still life materials. It is somewhat based on Dutch Golden Age still life paintings in terms of lighting and layout and later was used in a photo-shoot for Wallpaper* magazine on the theme of Patrick Caulfield’s paintings.

 

 

Hear Miriam talking about her commissioned work in our series of Artist Talks Commissioning Conversation

 

An artwork commission is a personalised experience that is different for everyone, at Mall Galleries we employ Commission Consultants to guide you through the process of commissioning an artwork from choosing an artist to choosing an artwork that is suitable for your home or business.

If you would like to find out more information regarding commissioning an artwork or book a private consultation, click here.

 

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Inkwells on Blue by Miriam Escofet AssocRP Still Life Commissions

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Fiddler's Hill Nest by Miriam Escofet AssocRP

A ceramics collection as the basis of a still life

Interior with Ceramics by Charles Hardaker RBA Still Life Ceramics Collection Commission

One of our most touching commissions at Mall Galleries was a wedding gift of a highly personal still life painting using the couple’s ceramics collection.  The wedding gift had taken the form of a gift voucher contributed to by the couple’s friends and presented by Mall Galleries in a white gift box containing literature on how to begin the process of commissioning.   The couple decided that what they would like to do is commission an artist to respond to their ceramics collection and having looked through our Artist Explorer resource, they came up with Charles Hardaker. Charles was more than responsive to the commission and as his studio wasn’t too far away, the couple dropped off several of their ceramics pieces for him to work with.  The painting that came out of the commission was in Charles’ typical modernist style with muted colours and a door opening towards the light.

Portrait of a Family House

Mill Farm by Graham Webber ROI House portrait Commissions

For her husband’s birthday, Monica Tudor commissioned a portrait of their Oxfordshire farmhouse, which was soon to go on the market, by artist Graham Webber ROI.  Monica wanted the house depicted in spring time but she needed a gift to present to her husband on his birthday in late winter.  Mall Galleries sent Monica a commissions gift box announcing the commission, explaining how in the coming months the artist would arrive onsite to paint the farmhouse in full bloom along with examples of Graham’s portfolio.

Monica explains the experience in her own words below:

“With the approaching milestone of my husband's 60th and impending sale of our much loved home, I decided that a portrait of our house would be an inspired idea.  But where to start?  Google just brought up hundreds of names which meant nothing and as a result things were beginning to look gloomy.  However, in amongst the gloom, I came across the Mall Galleries and decided that they would be a good point at which to start.  How right I was!

Their website alone is inspiring.  It provides you with a list of all their members with photographic examples of their works, enabling you to choose the artist with the style that you are looking for.  Anna Bromwich could not have been more helpful, guiding me through the process and providing me with a lovely 'gift box' to present the birthday boy.

The actual execution of the 'gift' was a wonderful experience - liaising with the artist to decide on which season to choose, meeting him on the day and watching the creation of the "working sketch" on sight was fascinating.  The whole family is thrilled with the result.

The experience was so enjoyable and seamlessly organised by Anna from start to finish. Highly recommended!”

 

                            - Monica Tudor, 2016

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Mill Farm by Graham Webber ROI House portrait Commissions

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Mill Farm by Graham Webber ROI

Commission for a 1950s modernist church and its vicarage

Let there be Light- St Cuthbert's by Peter Vincent PS



One of our most niche commissions to date was a portrait of a modern 1950s church in North London. 

The client, the church’s vicar, had seen the 2015 FBA exhibition The Painted Parish' online and was inspired to commission an artist to paint his own place of worship.  Mall Galleries art advisors put together a portfolio of possible artists and Peter Vincent PS was chosen. Peter had previously been commissioned by us to paint the Royal Automobile Club’s Art Deco swimming pool, therefore seemed a perfect fit for a 20th century building portrait. 

The resulting pastel works, two paintings of the interior and exterior, were a memento of the exchange between a reverend and an artist in the shadow of a modernist church. 

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Let there be Light- St Cuthbert's by Peter Vincent PS

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St Cuthberts by Peter Vincent PS

The Royal Automobile Club Exhibitions and Commissions

The RAC Snow Effect by Ken Howard OBE RA

In 2011, the Royal Automobile Club (RAC) reached it’s centenary year. In commemoration of this, they invited 26 artists to paint the Club’s two stunning premises in Central London and Surrey, culminating in a large exhibition for the Club’s members.  The artists were given free reign of the two clubs on a day of their choice and asked to produce paintings for a final exhibition.

Ken Howard OBE and Pete ‘the Street’ Brown NEAC RP chose external views of the RAC on Pall Mall, in winter and summer respectively, with red buses hurtling past it’s façade.

Some, such as Sue Ryder RP NEAC and Robbie Wraith RP chose to depict the vast gold-gilded dining room whereas, others ventured outside to the terrace where the Club backs out onto the private gardens of Carlton House Terrace.

At Woodcote Park, the Club’s country home, the artists took in the sweeping views and the parked vintage cars on show, reminding members of summer days spent there.

The final exhibition was extremely well-received, with many members taking home paintings of their club. We have been commissioning exhibitions with the RAC every year since.

 

The Club Room by Glyns Ambrose PS

End of the Day Pall Mall by Peter Brown NEAC RP

Morning in the Great Gallery by Roger Dellar ROI

Fine Dining Preparations by Pauline Fazakerley RI

Members Sitting Room by Felicity House PS

The RAC Snow Effect by Ken Howard OBE RA

Dining with Roses by Sue Ryder NEAC RP

The Front of the RAC Club by Melissa Scott-Miller NEAC RP

Reflected Grandeur by Peter Vincent PS

The Grand Gallery II by Robbie Wraith RP

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A Club Room Desk

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Snow Effect by Ken Howard RA OBE

Waves and Windsurfing: A Family Holiday at Bantham Beach

Bantham Beach by Duncan Palmar

Sebastian Seal had come across a painting of Bantham Beach by Duncan Palmar at the Royal Society of Marine Artists (RSMA) Annual Exhibition and although the painting had sold, it had struck a chord.  Sebastian knew the area well, as he spends the summer holidays with his family windsurfing in the Cornish bay.  

Mall Galleries offers commissions advice throughout the RSMA and so Sebastian was able to discuss the possibilities of commissioning Duncan with our consultants who arranged quotes and contracts with the artist and put them in touch. Sebastian was interested in commissioning a similar work to the Bantham Beach painting he’d seen, but as the conversation unfolded with Duncan, the idea that he and his family would feature in it emerged.  The final result featured the beach that Sebastian had such a connection to, bathed in summer sunlight, his children in the foreground and almost a speck on the horizon, Sebastian’s red windsurf sail.

Sebastian said about the experience:

"Commissioning was a great experience for us, from the anticipation in waiting for the painting to be finished, the lovely surprise at the final result and the personal touch when we met Duncan and discussed how our ideas were introduced into his own work."



-Sebastian Seal 2016

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Bantham Beach by Duncan Palmar

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Bantham Beach by Duncan Palmar

Commissioning Conversation: Context

 

Here are the videos from the second in the Commissioning Conversation talks which aim to demystify the commissions process by inviting artists and art consultants to talk about projects they have worked on with their clients.  The theme for this particluar event which took place 7 February 2016 during the Columbia Threadneedle Prize Exhibition was Context.

We invited Yuki Aruga, Miriam Escofet Assoc RP and Eleanor Watson to speak about the contexts from which some of their favourite commissioned artworks arose. Stories of moving house, the death of a grandparent, renaissance scuplture galleries and even superhero wallpaper emerged! Watch the videos below to see the results.

The next Commissioning Conversation event is Sunday 20th March, 3-4pm with Melissa Scott-Miller, Toby Ward and Anna Bromwich.  Find out more and book your place here.

 

Eleanor Watson

Miriam Escofet Assoc RP

Yuki Aruga


An artwork commission is a personalised experience that is different for everyone, at Mall Galleries we employ Commission Consultants to guide you through the process of commissioning an artwork from choosing an artist to choosing an artwork that is suitable for your home or business.

If you would like to find out more information regarding commissioning an artwork or book a private consultation, click here.