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Authors sign latest books in Cambridge surrounded by Lots Road Group portraits

The art of reading by the Lots Road Group forms the backdrop to author signings at this year’s Cambridge Literary Festival.

Following talks in the auditorium above, visitors come down to buy books and get authors to sign them, surrounded by 16 portraits of people reading.

Below Booker prize-winning comic novelist Howard Jacobson with his new book “Pussy” – a fantastical satire on how we got to Trump – sits in front of Stella Tooth’s portrait of her niece, Daisy, reading Julia Donaldson’s ‘The Smartest Giant in Town’.   Food historian and nutrition writer Bee Wilson stands with Hilary Puxley’s portrait of novelist and literary scout Natasha Farrant.  And Stuart Howitt’s portrait of an unknown sitter from instagram overlooks the signing desk for authors.

The Cambridge Literary Festival runs until tomorrow  – 23 April.

Painting of Paddington Bear creator travels to Cambridge in style!

When Hero Johnson’s painting of Paddington Bear creator Michael Bond was accepted for the Royal Society of Portrait Painters’ Annual Exhibition, the Lots Road Group were faced with a hole in their show, currently on tour to the Cambridge Literary Festival.

So Hero Johnson returned to the first portrait of him she began, one which is bigger than the RP one that was first shown at Waterstones in Bloomsbury in autumn last year.   This one is bigger and quite different from the other not least because it includes many more of his belongings,  which give further insight into the author.

Hero’s second painting can be seen here, taking up four seats on the train to Cambridge, and hung at the exhibition.

Hero Johnson's portrait of Michael Bond Lots Road Group The Art of Reading Cambridge Literary Festival

Biljana Sykes by Laurence Collis

 

As Laurence’s portrait of Biljana Sykes has joined us mid tour, it was not included in The Art of Reading catalogue, which can be found on Blurb.

As The Lots Road Group’s motto is Our Portrait, Your Story, words that accompany our work is equally as important as the portraits themselves.

Here is what Laurence had to say about her sitter, and what she, in turn, has to say about reading.

My sitter

I have painted my friend Biljana Sykes who is a yoga teacher and she is reading her father’s first novel, published last year.  She’s originally from Macedonia but has lived in London since 2000. Biljana is currently working on her biography which is about how her life has evolved since her divorce and the discovery that she had cancer.  She reassessed her life, she changed career, and with the help of many people she met on her journey, she is now happy and in remission.

Biljana Skyes on reading

In Laurence’s painting I am reading my father’s novel which has been published in his native Macedonian: Life: thoughts and wisdom. I like to read at home on my sofa, and occasionally on the plane – in fact, whenever I have a spare moment. I enjoy a mix of fiction and non-fiction, and if I had to choose a Desert Island book I would select Paolo Coelho’s ALEPH.

I like it because I can relate to both his voyage of self-discovery and his discovery of the world, which is relevant to the writing of my own biography. For me, reading means travelling into another person’s reality – their world.

Laurence Collis

Based in West Ealing, Laurence has a BA from Oxford Brookes University, studied portraiture at Heatherley’s and continuing studies at The Chelsea College of Art.  She has exhibited locally twice with the Ealing Art Group and twice in the Ealing Open Exhibition at the PM Gallery.  Her latest group exhibition was at the London Oratory School.  She also takes commissions.

The art of reading now on tour at Cambridge Literary Festival!

Lots Road Group members Hilary Puxley, Mark Stevenson and Katherine Firth (and her daughter) selflessly turned their backs on the glorious Spring sunshine yesterday to set up our latest exhibition The Art of Reading at the Cambridge Literary Festival.

Festival Organiser, Anna Millward, said, “We are delighted to be supporting Lots Road Group The Art of Reading Exhibition. The portraits are exquisite and will make a lovely contribution to the festival vibe.”

And we’re just thrilled to be at such a festival, which runs from today until 23 April and celebrates the subject of our show.

The exhibition, created in association with BookTrust, celebrates the pleasure of reading. It is exhibited in the hub of the Festival, The Old Divinity School, St Johns College, where book signings and sales will take place, and where visitors can relax and socialise.

The portraits depict readers from two to ninety, some of whom are well known authors and academics, including Dame Gillian Beer, Honorary Patron of the Festival. Michael Bond, creator of Paddington Bear and Caroline Dawnay, doyenne of Literary Agents are amongst the sitters, as are other authors, students, friends and family members of the artists and children taking their first steps as readers.

CLF_logo B&W final

Lots Road Group at the Cambridge Literary Festival!

The latest exhibition by the Lots Road Group, ‘The Art of Reading’ will be shown, appropriately, at the Cambridge Literary Festival, which runs from 18 to 23 April inclusive.

The exhibition, created in association with BookTrust, celebrates the pleasure of reading.  It will be exhibited in the hub of the Festival, The Old Divinity School, St Johns College, where book signings and sales will take place, and where visitors can relax and socialise.

The portraits depict readers from two to ninety, some of whom are well known authors and academics, including Dame Gillian Beer, Honorary Patron of the Festival.  Michael Bond, creator of Paddington Bear and Caroline Dawnay, doyenne of Literary Agents are amongst the sitters, as are other authors, students, friends and family members of the artists and children taking their first steps as readers.

CLF_logo B&W final

Cambridge Literary Festival booking info - The Art of Reading

Leaving Waterstones

leaving-waterstones-artist-mark-stevensonThe Art of Reading has now left Waterstones, the first leg of its tour. Watch this space for future dates.
 
What you said about it:
 
“Fantastic and calming”
– E Burke
 
“Beautiful, engaging portraits…[re portrait of Dame Gillian Beer by Katherine Firth] the artist very much captures her spirit
– M Beech
 
“We came to see the portrait of Daisy by her great aunt Stella and love it! Lovely exhibition and great hanging space.”
– L&J Rogers
 
“Beautiful portrait [of aunt Caroline Dawnay by Sarah Richardson]. Amazing exhibition.”
– D Dawnay
 
“Masterfully curated and a diverse and interesting collection of work.”
– G&J Hughes
 
“Inspiring because it’s real. Very touching.”
– G Doneva
 
“Totally arresting and engaging!”
– K Owen
 
“Great exhibition!”
– D Ingham
 
“Some really gorgeous pieces displayed!”
– E Brooks

A thank you from Newnham

Lots Road Group artist Sarah Richardson was formally thanked by Dame Carol Black, Principal of Newnham College Cambridge, this weekend for her portrait of former student and Observer columnist Katherine Whitehorn, which has been accepted into the college’s permanent collection.
 
In a letter to the artist, the chair of Newnham’s Valuable Possessions Committee said she felt Sarah had, “captured something of the essence of her [Katherine’s] personality and humour”.
 portrayed-newnham-cambridge-022

Portrayed! at Newnham College Cambridge

The Lots Road Group’s IWF UK Portrayed! 25 years of inspiring women exhibition continued its tour this weekend, visiting one of the few remaining Oxbridge all-women colleges – Newnham College Cambridge.

Principal Dame Carol Black welcomed AGM Associates, students, fellows and invited members of the public, plus sitters and artists to the well-attended event on Saturday.

Rosalind Gilmore – one of two former Newnham students, alongside Katharine Whitehorn – spoke of the trust the IWF UK sitters had needed to show the Lots Road Group at the start to make what had proved to be such a successful collaboration.