From seagulls to McQueen

Hunting out interesting prints or pictures is something that’s always on my radar. I can’t walk past a flea market or car boot sale without having a mooch around. While some offerings can be pretty awful, you never know what you might find lurking at the back.

Art can be anything: a favourite postcard, an album cover, a poster for an event or an original print. It just needs to be personal to you.

Here’s a glimpse into the art adorning my walls. I also have a family portrait gallery wall, which I’ve written about here.

Seagull painting
We commissioned this bold painting from the hugely talented David Stannard (check out David’s work here on Facebook). Our brief was simple: Brighton seagulls with attitude. We love it. It’s painted on wood, which makes it even more special.

Seagull painting

Tat prints 
These beautiful illustrations are our favourite prints chosen for Stylechapel.
So much so that we have his and hers hanging above our bed.

Tat Man print

Tat Girl print

Red cow
This Andy Warhol print makes me smile every time I walk into our kitchen. He was inspired to produce images of cows by Ivan Karp, an art dealer who told him: “Why don’t you paint some cows? They’re so wonderfully pastoral and such a durable image in the history of the arts.” He added his trademark bright pop colours and equally bright backgrounds. She has pride of place next to the Smeg fridge. It seemed fitting.

Red Cow Painting - Andy Warhol

Alexander McQueen
I picked up this lenticular print at the Alexander McQueen Savage Beauty show at the V&A a few years ago. The picture was under £10 and I bought a cheap gold frame to put it in. I’m a big fan of McQueen, and here he looks very majestic and splendid. But more importantly, it freaks out pretty much every visitor, the first time they see it.

Skull print

McQueen print

Thierry Poncelet is a self-taught Belgian oil painter, specialising in whimsical dog portraits. He is inspired by the art of Walt Disney. My husband bought this and, while it took some getting used to, I now love it too. We tell guests he’s Coco’s great grandfather. One actually believed us…

Gavroche painting

Paul Smith drawing
A few years ago I sent this notebook to Paul Smith. I had just seen his brilliant exhibition at the Design Museum. The show opened with a reconstruction of Paul’s first shop – which was a 3m x 3m space with no windows. Smith's sales assistant was a 15-year-old Afghan hound named Homer, who he claims was actually in charge. I sent him the notebook on a whim. He replied with this lovely handwritten note and cute illustration.

Paul Smith card

Spring & Winter
These oil paintings on wood are by San Francisco based artist Jeffrey Beauchamp. They feel lively and cheerful with an almost cartoon-like quality.

Winter painting

Spring painting

Dee’s drawings
Apart from my husband and Coco, these two drawings are what I would save if I had to leave the house in a hurry. They were drawn by my very talented sister Dee. She is an artist in every sense of the word and these are my personal treasures.

The two girls sharing the rollerskates are me and Dee. She drew this from memory, which makes the detail even more remarkable. I remember that skirt and the hairclips I’m wearing because they were my favourites. We are sharing the pair of skates because Dee (the taller one in the drawing) was too nervous to skate on her own. It seemed perfectly natural to us at that time. We didn’t think we looked odd at all.

Dee created this pencil drawing from a photo I sent her just after I collected Coco from the vet when she had been very poorly. You can see there’s a lot going on in those eyes. I thought Dee captured that beautifully.


The Irish corner
The first one (top right) is of a currach – a type of traditional Irish boat with a wooden frame – in my hometown in Ireland. My sister Mags bought it for us as a wedding present.

The painting (bottom right), again of my home town, was a birthday gift from Mags. She clearly has good taste!

I nabbed this typography map of Ireland as the last one in stock from Stylechapel. We love this clever map of place names. It seems to reveal a new secret every time I look. 

Irish paintings

The Laughing Cavalier
Clearly, this is not an original baroque painting (although I might take it along to Antiques Roadshow, just to be absolutely sure). I bought it because I wanted the frame. But the longer I left it propped up in a corner, the more I began to like the painting itself. Now it has pride of place in the lounge.

Laughing Cavalier

As I’ve wandered around the house snapping my favourite pieces, it’s reminded me how every one has its own story and special memories. And the hunt goes on for more to add to the collection.

“Art is what you can get away with”
            – Andy Warhol