Beloved houses (house portraits in clay)
Meticulous small-scale portraits of much-loved buildings in terracotta or stoneware depending on the building material - a visual pun that gives a tactile reality to the portrait. I'm fascinated with exploring the character of each subject, the spirit of the place, and catching a likeness. Since 1986 I've made hundreds of commissions, sometimes for the NT and historical societies, but mostly for individual commissions. For a gallery of commissions see: https://www.pottersyardhouseportraits.com
Liz Mathews at Potters' Yard
A portrait in terracotta of one of London's Small Historic Houses, a beautiful quirky subject with a complicated roofline and lots of challenges, including those columns holding up the porch, and the wooden balconies. The windows and gloss paint areas are glazed (real glass), and the flat back is inscribed; the portrait can hang from an integral fixture, or stand on its own base.
Decorating with a brush the railings on this immaculate A&C semi in North London. Not all of the subjects for my portraits are historic houses or stately piles; many are just beloved homes, each with its own character, quirks and challenges for the maker. Here, I particularly enjoyed the immaculate features, the coloured glass in the front door, the sculpted hedges and the smart railings, giving the house a happy and cared-for feeling. Commissions start at £450 for a very straightforward subject. Please see my house portraits website: www.pottersyardhouseportraits.com
Sigmund Freud lived here in the last few years of his life, and I found it a fascinating subject, particularly in the way that the climbing garden foliage and clear, light-bringing windows both conceal and give glimpses of the hidden complexities inside. This is another small historic house of London, made for exhibition at Hampstead's Burgh House (another one!) in July 2022: for more information please see my exhibition page at https://pottersyardhouseportraits.com/exhibition-the-prospect-of-happiness/the-prospect-of-happiness/
This enchanting house proved a lovely subject for a portrait commission, with its interesting perspective, mullioned windows and embracing garden. I used stoneware clay to bring that tactile quality to the portrait; with a brick house, I love the idea that the terracotta clay I make it with is the same material that made the bricks, and the same applies to the stoneware I used for this portrait - given a little help from the kiln-heat to replicate the action of time and the earth in turning the clay to stone.
This delightful, classic thatched cottage has sections of medieval brickwork and many quirky details. The cottage is embraced by a beautiful garden, and I aimed to include as much as possible of this flowery bower in the portrait. I particularly like the challenge of bringing a likeness of different materials and textures to the portrait, sometimes giving the clay a real challenge in the process. I've also made portraits of log cabins, shepherd's huts, glasshouses, castles and the occasional fire station, not to mention hospitals, churches and pubs. But I've never (yet) done an office block.