Fine Art, The Queen, & Lost Technology


I have to say well done HRH Queen Elizabeth on becoming the longest reigning Monarch in Britain. Speaking in the Scottish Borders, the 89-year-old monarch said the title was "not one to which I have ever aspired". She has now reigned for something over 23,226 days or just over 63-years. Whilst many royalists welcome the news, social media has seen an array of messages both in support of her reign and not. This was to be expected in this day and age, but does a 63-year career make her a very special public servant?

HM The Queen
Her Majesty The Queen Congratulations



There is now a brand new official portrait of HRH Queen Elizabeth II, taken by photographer Mary McCartney, but it is not quite as striking as a new unofficial portrait created by a London Street Artist by the name of Pegasus.

In the work by the artist on a bar door in Islington (UK). The portrait is a youthful image of the Queen’s face transposed on to a female body with very long legs. Her bottom is bare, and she is posing in high heels in front of a union flag with the word HISTORY across it.

As tasteless as it may be, Pegasus’s tribute is passionately patriotic and rampantly royalist and should be seen as an insight to the continuing success of the British Monarchy as a popular and traditional institution that binds a modern democracy together. The only surprise for me was that Banksy didn’t come up with this first.


The pop artist Sir Peter Blake has decided to allow his art to be remixed by users of a new app inspired by the "dazzle art" that was painted on British ships during the First World-War, in the hope that it would confuse German "U"-boats.

Dazzle was commissioned as part of the commemorations for the war’s centenary and has been released as a free app for both Android and Apple devices. Blending people’s own photos with designs created by Blake and other artists, the output is then displayed on virtual boats and even a rubber-duck! The boats and the duck can then be viewed as an augmented reality overlay of the real world. Blake said he hoped the app would help aspiring artists "discover more about the way in which early 20th century artists participated in the war effort".

I haven’t had a chance to have a play with the app just yet but it sounds like good fun. Let me know if you have downloaded it and what the results are like, I am hoping to find at least five-minutes of time at some point in my life to do this. I just hope it stays around long enough for me to get to it!


Polaroid Montage by M.A
Polaroid Montage by M.A


The problem is that we are a throw-away society. Long gone are the days when new technology continuously changed our lives for the better. In some cases, technology has clearly changed our lives, except email. I really don’t like being copied in to emails that say I will let Pete know, and then I am copied into the email that lets Pete know. Turns out more often than not that Pete didn’t want to know because he had parked his mankini clad torso on a beach in the Bahamas and is away for two weeks on vacation with his latest flame.

Polaroid though, that’s a different matter entirely. Digital pretty much killed Polaroid off, in fact digital pretty much killed the whole of analogue off. Only the diehard 35mm photographers who need some graininess in their lives keep that format going. But Polaroid hasn’t been gone from our lives for quite so long as you would think. When I think Polaroid, I instantly cast my mind back to my parent’s parties, with curled up sandwiches, and a keg of Party Seven beer in the 70’s.

More recently we are starting to see attempts at bringing the brand back, none of them really setting the world alight with innovation, but it is nice to see some familiar brand names occasionally. The Impossible Project have clearly done their best at reinventing the classic instant film, but it is really nowhere near the same as the original. The problem of course started when Polaroid closed their doors and lost all of the knowledge and technology.

Polaroid introduced the first analogue instant camera back in 1947. In fact the date was February 21st 1947. Edwin Land was the original creator and first demonstrated the camera at a meeting of the optical society in New York City.

Originally known as the Land camera, the device contained a roll of positive paper with a pod of developing chemicals at the top of each frame. Turning the roll with the use of a knob forced the exposed negative and the paper through a pair of rollers, spreading the chemical evenly between the two layers. A paper cutter then trimmed the paper and low and behold, a black and white image would appear as if by magic.

I remember my parents using one back in the 70’s and I also remember vividly all of the people who were in the shot gathering around and oohing and aaghing when magically they appeared. It was like witchcraft. Panic set in when the last exposure had been reached, and it was a trip to the local photography shop to stock up with another packet.

In 1948 the Polaroid Land Camera Model 95 was on sale at the Jordan Marsh department store in Boston for $89.75. It made more than $5 million in sales in the first year, and would be the prototype for Polaroid cameras for the next 15 years. The 1963 introduction of Polacolor film enabled the cameras to produce color pictures and that was when everyone could be a photographer.

Over the years digital printing and photography lessened the need for this relatively expensive to feed camera. The concept was magnificent, but the cost of digital was quickly reducing by the day. Then one day in 2008, Polaroid said that they would stop making instant cameras, now they make digital camera that print colour photographs, but the look and feel of a true Polaroid will alas never be equaled.

So it is often with a sense of nostalgia and sadness that I look back over the years and wonder just what else was as magical at the time. It wasn’t all that long ago that flip phones were the trending must have, and not too long before that, the Motorola Brick. I think it was the 8800E or something, I still have one in the loft, as I do a working Sony Ericsson flip phone as used in the original Tomb Raider movie, but what I would love to know is what technology you miss the most? Feel free to leave a comment or get in touch. I really would like a trip down memory lane!


Work has started to remove 2,500 artworks from Hull's Ferens Gallery in the UK ahead of a £4.5m revamp of the building. The gallery, which will host the Turner Prize in the city's 2017 City of Culture year, is being fitted with new lighting, humidity and temperature control systems.

The paintings and sculptures will be kept in a high-security storage facility until the gallery, which closed to the public in August, re-opens in early 2017.


Creative Writer
Creative Writer Available on the App Store


I noticed when I came back from vacation that a new app had been released on the App Store that pretty much wrote down everything you wanted to say, using a massive array of vocabulary taken from many classic and modern texts. Of course you still have to work a little bit to actually produce something that actually makes sense, and because I hadn’t done any poetry since Noah was a classmate, I thought I would give it a go.

The App Store description is as follows:


Creative Writer is an excellent tool for writing. Helpful to both curious and pro writers, this app delivers language expressions for your writing sessions: sentences, verses and rhymes. Learned from the greatest literature: best-selling novels, classics, poetry, plays, movie scripts, TV-series and lyrics, Creative Writer is an amazing resource of writing ideas.

Easy to learn. Simple to use. No typing — simply follow your intuition by tapping on the stream of suggested words.

Creative Writer helps you ...
• Write fascinating stories very quickly. 
• Write brilliant messages in seconds. 
• Write dialogues, verses and lyrics. 
• Break through the writer's block. 
• Learn how words go together.
• Find the right words to say. 
• Find the right voice for your story. 
• Record a stream of consciousness. 
• Have fun, explore an endless stream of words. 

Includes a notepad where you can write your story or collect interesting sentences for your writing, edit them and share them. 

Includes a system level keyboard that works with any social messaging app.

Includes a talking robot that writes and talks by itself.

Writing Styles, ready for you to engage are: 
- Fiction.
- Poetry.
- Classics.
- Emotional.
- You & me.
- Dialogues.
- Love.
- Quotes.
- Cooking

Now I don’t really do a lot of writing about cooking, usually I keep that part of my life to a short list of items essential to my survival such as bread, milk, coffee, and I am perfectly capable of finding words for those without the aid of an app. Hey, I even use shorthand for bread (brd) and coffee (Starbucks) and yes I know there are less letters in coffee than in Starbucks but it makes the coffee taste nicer. But for poetry, I can categorically say that I wished that both I and Noah had this in school.

Here is my first attempt:

Art communicates what thoughts surround ourselves and protects us from those same things. It gives us something to change our hearts desires and hopes. We see something hiding inside, but with paper and pencil we unburden. Art is our strength. ​ Art Is Our Center. M.A - 2015

I doubt it will make me the next Poet Laureate but hey it’s a start. With a little more practice I am reasonably confident that I will never be able to write an entire blog with it, but let it be known that if you spot random words, I have been having a dabble.

The app costs $1.99, and there is a small charge for additional contextual dictionaries, but if nothing else, it is fun and you may have more of a use for it than I, especially if you engage in academia of some sorts, or want to write a mushy love poem. It comes from developers RESONANCA IT D.O.O. and it is available now.



New York – Christie’s is honoured to announce a dedicated auction on October 27 of English furniture and decorative arts from New York’s celebrated Metropolitan Museum of Art. Titled Property of the Metropolitan Museum of Art: American Collecting in the English Tradition, the sale is comprised of more than 200 lots of English furniture, porcelain and silver that have been deaccessioned in anticipation of a complete refurbishment of the museum’s Annie Laurie Aitken and Heathcote Galleries, which display the Museum’s British decorative arts collection. Proceeds of the sale will benefit future acquisitions of British decorative arts that will complement the Museum’s existing holdings and reinforce the new visual narrative planned for the galleries.

The auction presents an opportunity to appreciate American taste for English interiors throughout the 20th century, and the seminal role the Museum played. It offers collectors an appealing range of estimates for objects of such distinguished history. Dozens of pieces of furniture can be acquired in the $500-5,000 estimate range, while the more significant examples run from $20,000-100,000. Lot offerings range from 17th century Jacobean oak coffers to elegant 18th century walnut and mahogany seat furniture— much with colourful needlework covers, to a stylish 19th century Regency sofa table with lion-mask corners.

The provenances of many objects in the sale represent some of the greatest collectors of English furniture and silver such as the inveterate collector Judge Irwin Untermyer, whose generous gift to the Metropolitan Museum of Art comprised 2,000 objects, many of which will remain on view in the refreshed galleries.

Many of the works are attached with interesting histories, hailing from well-known early 20th century collections or country house origins, and many objects are featured in historical reference books including the Dictionary of English Furniture (1924) and the History of English Furniture (1904). The silver represents the greatest age of the London silver craft, with numerous objects from the 17th and 18th centuries. Collected by the same important connoisseurs as the furniture and silver, the English porcelain showcases objects from the premier manufacturers of the 18th and early 19th centuries - the work of Chelsea, Bow, Derby, Worcester and others paired with names like Untermyer, Cadwalader, Marquand, Rockefeller and Pratt.

Luke Syson, Iris and B. Gerald Cantor Chairman, European Sculpture and Decorative Arts, Metropolitan Museum of Art, comments on the current British galleries and future renovation, "This has been just the right moment thoroughly to reassess our British collections for the first time in half a century. In planning this sale, our key concern and challenge in deciding which pieces to retain, and which to liberate, has been to determine which pieces belong in a museum and which, on the contrary, would sing louder and better in someone’s home. We have considered what stories arise from which objects, and more practically how much space we will have in our galleries and indeed our storerooms. Moreover, as the Met’s collections have grown, some duplication has been inevitable. So this has also been the opportunity to identify gaps in our collection – for example in the nineteenth century, from the Regency to the Great Exhibition to Arts and Crafts Movement and Design Reform."

Public exhibition at Christie’s: October 22 - 26

Related Sale Sale 3780
27 October 2015
New York, Rockefeller Plaza

So that’s all for today, but while I start writing the next posts and attempting to complete a huge volume of work, you really should drop by my Facebook page and say hi. You can find me at

Look forward to catching up soon.


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