The star of this quirky exhibition is quite definitely the National Print Gallery itself. Located in the drawing room of a 2 room apartment in an 1795 Adams town house, The National Print Gallery is a sparkling bijoux concept gallery by print dealer and gallery director, Clive Jennings.
An eclectic eccentric sense of fun pervades everything: just take the portioning and labelling of different parts of the room (fireplace, sofa, table and so on) into Members Area, National Print Gallery Social Club (a crucified toy Santa), Project Space (the fireplace) Internet Centre, etc, etc, not to mention Audio Guides which “give you a good idea of exactly what’s going on” and which I’m reliably informed are well worth the ride.
Or how about the bottle label on the private view “Fitzrovia Fizz”? According to our host – “a cheeky little wine, created by the Fitzrovia flaneur, to excite the jaded palette of art lovers, stimulate their powers of connoisseurship, and promote the desire to purchase the stunning art of David Ferry. This wine should be drunk in copious amounts to encourage a lively debate on all that surrounds you and obsequious comments to the artist.”
No surprise that the gallery programming is equally fun. Currently, David Ferry’s montage retro-style series of technicolour digital archive prints (the accurately titled: “The Stately Aquariums of England”) is a lively choice for Christmas. Sadly they won’t fit in my festive scarlet stocking – although happily the 1960s style concertina postcard souvenir version (available from the Gallery Gift Shop) definitely will. As will the plastic goldfish I found at the bottom of my champagne glass. I’m sure if it had been possible to be given a fish pedicure in the Disabled Toilet, I would have experienced that too.
Among all the merriment lies Clive Jennings’ desire to continue the historical value of artists’ prints, both in our public art collections and, for an affordable price, on our own drawing room walls.
I had a wonderful time courtesy of my host, why not give the National Print Gallery a ring and enjoy a bespoke visit for yourself. Visit
The next show of prints by Darren Coffield runs from December 15.
Words/Photo: Dody Nash © ArtLyst 2011