Thomas Woodham Smith
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Creative Director of Masterpiece London

Entries by Thomas Woodham Smith

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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Life in the Arts Lane - Week 65 - Silence

(0) Comments | Posted 4 March 2014 | (11:32)

Last Thursday night the drain burst outside the Oval tube station, in the Clapham Road, where I live. That most disturbing partnership of the words 'raw' and 'sewage' came into play as the road and its neighbours were awash to above waist height. Disgusting certainly, but the following days brought...

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Life in the Arts Lane - Week 64 - Change or No Change

(0) Comments | Posted 26 February 2014 | (09:04)

Some experiences pall under the burden of frequent repetition, some just get better and better. Repetition can bring consolation and comfort; it can reassure us to find and enjoy the consistency of certain places and tastes.

Le Petit Cafe is a tiny restaurant above a sandwich bar in Stafford Street,...

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Life in the Arts Lane - Week 63 - A Martini and Masterpiece

(0) Comments | Posted 17 February 2014 | (15:22)

The dry Martini is the ultimate cocktail for me. I have a deep and historic relationship with the Black Russian. On transatlantic flights I take great comfort from a spicy Bloody Mary. I have been known to find a Whiskey Sour both nurturing and rewarding. Recently, I have been having...

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Life in the Arts Lane - Week 62 - Three Lunches and Water Everywere

(0) Comments | Posted 12 February 2014 | (13:16)

When travelling, the world can seem very small. A plane journey can throw one into the middle of anywhere in just a short while. London seems like the springboard from which anywhere can be reached. This week, the world appears very fragmented, though only locally. Rain keeps coming down in...

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Life in the Arts Lane - Week 61 - NY-Miami-NY-London

(0) Comments | Posted 4 February 2014 | (08:38)

The New York Winter Antiques Show is a bastion of the New York social scene and the season opener for the local art and antique trade. The East Side House Settlement - which gives residents of the South Bronx and surrounding communities access to quality education and technology training -...

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Life in the Arts Lane - Week 60 - Battersea and BRAFA Sandwiches and Oysters

(0) Comments | Posted 31 January 2014 | (08:26)

The walls are painted grey and there is a binary split in the nature of our humble 10 square metre stand. On the left, glittering, fashionable costume jewellery sparkles and shines. On the right, like some retired Colonel standing formally but redundantly, my mahogany and satinwood furniture resides. The fun...

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Life in the Arts Lane - Week 59 - Westward by Road

(0) Comments | Posted 22 January 2014 | (14:06)

Back behind the wheel, with my trusty giant Twix nestling in my glove compartment, ready to grant me the benison of its exquisite chocolate, caramel and biscuit melange when a sugar crisis raises its head. Even now, as I guzzle the chocolate stick I cannot resist pretending I am smoking...

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Life in the Arts lane - Week 58 - Nature and Art

(0) Comments | Posted 16 January 2014 | (09:59)

You never know where your next surprise is going to come from. With window rattling winds and torrential rain, cycling around London is not a particularly pleasing prospect. After a couple of days huddling in my car and playing parking-Russian-roulette, I decided to brave the seasonal elements and head off....

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Life in the Arts Lane - Week 57 - New Year and Resolutions

(0) Comments | Posted 10 January 2014 | (09:13)

Leaving the warmth of Aqaba in the south of Jordan and driving up Highway 15 for three and a half hours towards Amman in a minibus piloted by a fresh-faced boy wearing a scarf, a beanie and sunglasses, provided a surreal new version of the expectation which New Year's Eve...

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Life in the Arts Lane - Week 56 - Christmas in Jordan

(0) Comments | Posted 6 January 2014 | (14:43)

Jordan looks on the map like a skinny student in a cagoule carrying a massive rucksack. The thought bubble above his head is the Sea of Galilee and his toes dip into the Red Sea. His rucksack is the Eastern desert. Jordan, officially The Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan, also appears...

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Life in the Arts Lane - Week 55 - Christmas Parties

(0) Comments | Posted 24 December 2013 | (09:59)

It is often said of me that I wear a number of different hats when it comes to earning a living. Though the hat swapping can be sometimes confusing to others, and even to myself, in that I never quite know which one I am wearing at any given moment,...

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Life in the Arts Lane - Week 54 - Sorolla

(0) Comments | Posted 17 December 2013 | (11:16)

Air travel is supposed to be a thrill and a delight. The limousine to the airport, followed by seamless check-in, your bags carried through security by helpful and obliging staff. A light snack as a pause before boarding, then sit back in your broad comfortable seat. All that remains before...

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Life in the Arts Lane - Week 53 - Paris and a Prayer

(0) Comments | Posted 11 December 2013 | (15:16)

Thursday and I am on the train to Paris. Not that the early part of the week was dull in London. In fact, far from it. Masterpiece is a buzz of stand allocation puzzles, with the pieces moving rapidly over the board and finally beginning to settle. This coming year...

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Life in the Arts Lane - Week 52 - The Cycle of Life

(0) Comments | Posted 2 December 2013 | (17:32)

Cycling along by Waterloo Station I am overtaken by another cyclist. Sadly this is an all too frequent event as I am not very aggressive and have a tendency to day-dream while rolling along. He is riding a 'fixie', a bike like mine that has no gears, and he is...

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