Thomas Woodham Smith
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Creative Director of Masterpiece London

Entries by Thomas Woodham Smith

Life in the Arts Lane - Week 87 - Bruton and Chard, Art and Black Pudding

(0) Comments | Posted 27 August 2014 | (10:45)

Bruton in Somerset seems always to have been an 'arty' town. There are lots of young folk about because the town has a number of schools. There is the legendary Sexey's which is a Church of England co-ed state boarding school and the starting point of many lewd - and...

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Life In The Arts Lane - Week 85- The Dangerous Roads of London and the West Country

(0) Comments | Posted 5 August 2014 | (10:52)

As the Tour de France surges forward and the occasional pile-up is reported in the English news, so the domestic daily version of this annual gladiatorial struggle invades my experience. I have had to attend various morning meetings and therefore I have been compelled to travel with the commuters. Every...

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Life In the Arts Lane - Week 84 - Season Finale

(0) Comments | Posted 16 July 2014 | (12:37)

The dust is rising as the last few struts are removed and packed up for onward travel,The Dutch are licking their wounds following another World Cup penalty shoot-out failure, and a disconsolate mood hangs over the dry bare ground revealed by the vanished Masterpiece 'Evolution' tent like a miasma. Elsewhere...

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Life in the Arts Lane - Week 83 - Masterpiece to Milan

(0) Comments | Posted 16 July 2014 | (12:07)

The temptation to live for a week in a world where Ruinart Champagne flows like water (or Coca Cola) whilst eating every meal in Le Caprice was one that I failed to resist. This was my last Masterpiece fair and I thought that as my involvement, other than as a...

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Life in the Arts Lane - Week 82 - Build to Bang

(0) Comments | Posted 8 July 2014 | (12:44)

Arriving on site in high viz with my steel-toe-capped boots, there is a frenetic energy crackling in the atmosphere. The exhibitors' own contractors arrive on Wednesday to join the already numerous Stabilo staff, they have two days to prepare before the gates are opened on Saturday morning for the exhibitors...

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Life in the Arts Lane - Week 81 - 36 Hours in Basel

(0) Comments | Posted 27 June 2014 | (16:20)

For the last 5 years I have been to Basel to help vet the Design Fair. I join with Simon Andrews from Christie's and a small group of exhibitors and we slowly and methodically look at and assess every piece at the fair. It requires an early morning flight on...

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Life in the Arts Lane - Week 80 - Progress and Protest

(1) Comments | Posted 19 June 2014 | (09:36)

As the Masterpiece tents rise from the glistening flat floors laid out across the grounds at the Royal Hospital, the sun is shining. My visits to the site to observe the progress and watch the installation of the Philip King exhibition in Ranelagh Gardens are bathed in sunshine and the...

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Life in the Arts Lane - Week 79 - Founder's Day and Full Possession

(0) Comments | Posted 13 June 2014 | (11:09)

It's all Masterpiece now. My life is on hold until the last contractor packs up his tools and vacates the site. Masterpiece is just beginning to enter the birthing chamber.

However, the week began at Home House, where I was invited to be part of a panel discussion about...

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Life in the Arts Lane - Week 78 - an Atrocity in Brussels

(0) Comments | Posted 3 June 2014 | (17:23)

I am sad, very sad. For the last few days I have been haunted by the news of the man who pulled up outside the Jewish museum in Brussels, and shot and killed two visitors and a member of staff. There are photographs on the internet of him firing through...

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LIfe in the Arts Lane - Week 77 - Stanley Spencer Lobster and Burgundian snails

(0) Comments | Posted 29 May 2014 | (11:23)

I began the week with Lobster thermidor and ended it with half a dozen Burgundian snails; or, I began the week with the Stanley Spencer exhibition at Pallant House in Chichester and ended it with the fabulous 13th century Tour du Guet in Calais. It all depends on how you...

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Life in the Arts Lane - Week 76 - New York Contemporary Week

(0) Comments | Posted 21 May 2014 | (11:40)

My first time in NY I had a terrible row. A director of Mallett at that time - it was 1996 - on arrival I was daunted by my first experience of serious jet lag. It was stupid o'clock in the morning, as far as I was concerned, when I...

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Life in the Arts Lane - Week 75 - Collecting Ladybirds and Plates

(0) Comments | Posted 13 May 2014 | (11:19)

Sorting through my books, I rediscovered a stash of Ladybird Books and spent a delicious couple of hours reveling in both an erstwhile collecting obsession and a flashback to my childhood. In the 60s, when I was learning to read, these little hardback books were my constant pleasure. They have...

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Life in the Arts Lane - Week 73 - Work Work Work

(0) Comments | Posted 1 May 2014 | (14:32)

Knuckling down is a great phrase which simultaneously calls to mind the twin thoughts of hard work and orangutans. After the Easter break there was a general sense that London remained a bit quiet, empty even. Many people were taking advantage of the bank holiday to grab a few extra...

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Life in the Arts Lane - Week 72 - Easter in Bourgogne, with Salt and Wine

(0) Comments | Posted 23 April 2014 | (12:11)

For many years now I have been boring my friends to distraction with my obsession with salt. If the conversation flagged over dinner at any point, I could always be counted upon to regale them with an account of how the French and American Revolutions, or Indian Independence, began with...

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LIfe in the Arts Lane - Week 71 - Shopping and Sipping in the South

(0) Comments | Posted 16 April 2014 | (12:04)

On Sunday it's goodbye to the Oval, London, and hello to Montpellier, Languedoc, where Michael, my carpet dealer friend and I picked up a rental car and drove to Avignon. The latest iteration of the thrice yearly confluence of brocantes/deballages at Beziers (which we skipped), Avignon and Montpellier is upon...

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Life in the Arts Lane - Week 70 - Spring Has Sprung

(0) Comments | Posted 8 April 2014 | (16:16)

The clocks went forward and the blossom looks lush, pink and heavy on the trees. Spring brings eagerly anticipated light and those ephemeral tiny-petalled flowers which have burst from their buds almost look relieved after all the effort they have made. The vital and vigorous business of being out in...

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Life in the Arts Lane - Week 69 - Milan to Coombe Bissett

(0) Comments | Posted 4 April 2014 | (17:53)

Alitalia to Milan: arriving at City airport, embarrassingly early as ever, I found myself lost in its recently acquired slickness. In days of yore when we used to fly to Maastricht from City, it had an old school amateurishness. Once, flying to Scotland from here with Giles, the little airline...

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Life in the Arts Lane - Week 68 - TEFAF and Beyond

(0) Comments | Posted 25 March 2014 | (12:35)

Monday morning at TEFAF brings a different mood; the preview day, Friday and the 1st weekend are widely considered the make or break days. If you have not done business by the close of the fair on Sunday, you are seriously gloomy. Many a dealer has dragged himself to his...

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Life in the Arts Lane - Week 67 - Approaches to TEFAF

(0) Comments | Posted 18 March 2014 | (10:11)

The euro shuttle is does its job beautifully and sooner than expected I am crunching up the gravel visiting Paul De Grande at his schloss. The Kasteel van Snellegem is in the village of the same name but is accessed from Jabbeke, which is just over an hour from Calais....

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Life in the Arts Lane - Week 66 - Here We Go Again

(0) Comments | Posted 11 March 2014 | (14:59)

Can it be that time of year again? Already? Really? Yes, astonishingly time has sped through the seasons and it is TEFAF time again. The Gander and White shipping trucks are blocking Dover St and the drivers are hooting their horns in the traditional fashion for the season. At Mallett...

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