I will be collaborating with BENSON & CLEGG in 2018, using their bespoke label to assemble a portrait of King George VI, (Benson & Clegg are proud to have held the Royal Warrant to His Majesty). King George VI instituted the George Cross award and I will be using the 418 recipients names to assemble the royal portrait. The collaboration will mark the 65th anniversary of Queen Elizabeth's coronation and will be exhibited in the Window at Benson & Clegg, 9 Piccadilly Arcade, Jermyn Street, London SW1Y 6NH, from 1st June - 29th June 2018
When I heard the news about the Duke of Edinburgh stepping down from his official royal duties in the autumn of 2017, I immediately saw an opportunity for a project that would celebrate his contribution to The DofE Award since 1956. My idea was to use the names of people who had completed their DofE Award at Bronze, Silver or Gold. The names would be woven onto cotton tapes and used to assemble the Duke’s portrait with dressmaker pins on canvas. The response to the callout to put forward a name was fantastic and within a week I had gathered the names of 100 lucky participants. Some people put forward their own name while others put forward a friend or relatives name as a surprise gift. I received a name from Canada, and a Gold DofE participant who collected her award 38 years ago at Buckingham Palace from the Duke himself. By special invitation the portrait also includes the name of Double Olympic Champion Dame Kelly Holmes (Silver Award), also well-known TV presenter Jim Rosenthal (Gold Award).
The portrait measures 88cm high x 72cm wide, it took 209 hours to assemble and used 130grams of dressmaker pins. The portrait will be exhibited in the window at The Makers, 47 Church Street, Ashbourne, Derbyshire DE6 1AE from Friday 17th November until Friday 24th November 2017. It will be displayed for the first time alongside the WW1 portrait of Queen Elizabeth II to celebrate the 70th wedding anniversary of the royal couple.
What a fantastic year!
It began on Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II birthday with an invitation to exhibit the royal portrait in the window of bespoke tailors Meyer & Mortimer, Mayfair, London. The portrait then toured to Smalley's, a Gentleman's outfitters in Nottingham for the official celebrations in June, followed by an invitation to attend a street party at Bakewell Old House Museum, Derbyshire. The royal portrait made from names taken from a Derbyshire War Memorial then spent the summer at Derby Museum, where residents were thrilled to find WW1 family names in the artwork. Finally in 2016 the portrait was selected for exhibition at the prestigious Bishops Palace, Wells, Somerset. It was here that Camilla, Duchess of Cornwall viewed my work hanging amongst the historic portraits in the Long Gallery.
Also worth mentioning is my portrait of Sir Winston Churchill, a collaboration with three of Churchill's selected outfitters on Savile Row and St James, London. Known as Britain's 'Best-dressed PM' Churchill's portrait toured to the three windows in the Autumn of 2016.
My work also appeared on BBC FOUR MAKE #craftbritain in June and in several newspapers and publications including Country Life Magazine and The Radio Times. 2016 concluded with a commission for Bromley House Library, an artwork to celebrate 200 years of this amazing library in Nottingham Market Square. Please feel free to visit the library to view the work in the new reading room.
I am now looking forward to 2017, and to sharing my work as new projects and exciting collaborations evolve.
Best wishes for a happy and prosperous new year. Joy Pitts.
Thank you to those who have visited The Queens portrait at Derby Museum. The exhibition runs until 25th Sept 2016.
FROM SAVILE ROW to WIRKSWORTH FESTIVAL
Exciting news…The Bespoke Merino will be exhibited from 9th – 23rd Sept in the window of AIRR Clothing, 2 Market Pl, Wirksworth, Matlock DE4 4ET.
The Wirksworth Trail weekend is 10th & 11th September, this is when the town comes to life with more than 100 artists showing wonderful art in historic buildings, gardens, courtyards, shop windows and churches. It is a great weekend when you can complete the Art Trail, or just enjoy the town. I will be in and around the shop all weekend with the Merino, pop by to say hello.
The WW1 Homing Pigeon was selected for this summer Exhibition, (supported by ACE). Exhibition runs until 30th August 2016 at Weston Park Art Gallery, Shropshire, TF11 8LE.
Winston Churchill’s portrait tours to the three bespoke collaborators: -
September 12th - Lock & Co Hatters, 6 St James's St, London. SW1A 1EP
October - Henry Poole & Co, 15 Savile Row, London. W1S 3PJ
November - Turnbull & Asser, 71-72 Jermyn Street, London. SW1Y 6PF
BROMLEY HOUSE LIBRARY COMMISSION
To celebrate 200 years of Bromley House Library, Nottingham, more information to follow.
For those who participated in The Military Boots project by stitching a name. I have received a few enquiries about purchasing Limited Edition prints of the Boots, please let me know if you are interested and I will forward the details.
9th July - 25th September 2016
Delighted that the Queen Elizabeth portrait constructed using WW1 names taken from the Cenotaph at Ilkeston Market Place is available to view at Derby Museum this summer.