The Maidstone area is such a beautiful and unexplored part of the south east (for me). I drove up from Brighton via the High Weald, driving through Goudhurst and Wadhurst. If you ignore the satnav routes and just aim for the small country lanes you find yourself driving down deep, dark green holloways and past verdant pastures. It’s refreshing for an urban dweller to realise how much there is to explore on parts of the map where there are no A roads and large towns. There are also beautiful little villages and bridges over the River Medway (I seemed to be west of Maidstone, before the river widens out) that really deserve a second and third visit when I’m not working and can take my time.
Anyway, I digress somewhat.
One of the many things I love about my job and running this business is the unexpected places it takes me and the homes I find myself in. This client’s house in East Farleigh (a few miles south-west of Maidstone) was not a mansion or a stately home. It’s only occasionally that we find ourselves hanging pictures in these types of homes. More often than not it’s a regular home, with a huge eclectic mix of pictures to hang. We’re often presented with a jumble of frames, pictures, photography, family photos, artworks, canvases and mirrors, all leaning together in a stack in spare room, waiting for us to come in with an objective eye to make sense of it all. There’s usually a story attached to each item, a history and often an emotional or familial attachment that transcends aesthetics. And then there is the overarching narrative of a life that can pieced together from the whole jumbled stack.
Take for example my East Farleigh client. She had moved to Kent 5 years ago, from 30 years of living in Belsize Park, and before that east coast U.S.A. Here is a rough and incomplete list of the items we hung that made up her collection (I don’t feel totally comfortable with with the term collection as it makes most people think of someone with a huge disposable income that has their finger on the pulse of the art world. This is rarely any of our clients. They all have “collections”, as we all do in some form or another, even if they wouldn’t describe it like that).
- Two watercolours bought many years ago in the Picadilly Art Market, St James’s Church, London, for £1 each. The artists’ mother was running the stall for him and by the sounds of it she was sorely under-pricing him!
- Three paintings by a friend, spanning 20 years of that friend learning to paint and slowly becoming an accomplished exhibiting artist. I hung these in different parts of the house, not all together, as despite their relationship they just didn’t work together aesthetically.
- Paintings by the client’s mother.
- A series of of unrelated nature photography, hung in the dining room. See below.
- A range of works by the American painter Andrew Stevovich. I’d never encountered his work before. His subject matter is seemingly mundane and yet intriguing. The way he applies paint to canvas is similarly intriguing so I’ve included some detail photos of the work we hung .