Barbara Hepworth, Tate Britain

Barbara Hepwoth Tate Britain

Weekends in July in London tend to be hectic and hot, and during this touristy time it can be a struggle to find pleasant things to do in the city. Tate Modern is overcrowded with keen to be cultured visitors whereas TateBritain seems to be left for Londoners to enjoy. When I visited last weekend it was a perfectly cool and serene place to spend time.

This landmark museum is currently showing a collection of Barbara Hepworth’s works. Many associate this influential artist with Cornwall, which is where I first remember seeing her sensual and smooth sculptures. The exhibition is displayed chronologically – showcasing her evolving style and use of different materials, changing organically as she moved through different periods of her life.

Most touching are the works which indicate the importance of a particular relationship, the small mother and child abstract sculptures that fit together so lovingly, or her use of her husband artist Ben Nicholson’s paint in her stringed, coloured works. Her treatment of wood is like nobody else’s, she soothes and cares for it, manipulates it into an expressive and vital figure or object.

Clearly the Cornish countryside and coast affected her work enormously. Some of the circular sculptures echo the rock formations and primitive earthworks found in Cornwall while others just possess a peace and serenity reminiscent of the land and water. I am not much of a fan of the final room which displays some of her more imposing, almost aggressive sculptures, designed for outdoor display. The jagged edges are harsh and slightly disconcerting after the calm of the earlier works

Barbara Hepworth is one of the leading sculptors of the 20th century but this exhibition is quiet and understated, a calm and beautiful presentation of her timeless art.

Exhibition continues until 25 October, more information here.

***My new travel book, CORNWALL by Weekend Journals is available to order here. Use the code TMM10 to get 10% off.***

THOROUGHLY MODERN MAN: Salt & Silver, Tate Britain

Salt & Silver comprises four rooms of some of the earliest examples of photography, salt prints, created using light-sensitive paper coated in silver salts with paper or glass negatives. As this method of printing was only in use for around twenty years between 1840 and 1860, there are limited examples in existence and so I arrived at the show in anticipation of the collection. The four rooms were roughly laid out as follows: very early examples and experiments of salt printing, by William Henry Fox Talbot in particular; prints of modern street life and architecture; prints of historical monuments and ruins, (the images taken in Egypt were particularly striking); lastly there was a room of portraits.

The first thing that struck me about even the earliest prints was how clear and well preserved they were. Having experimented with salt printing myself, I know how difficult it is to get a defined, well-exposed image, yet the prints display a contrast and sharpness that suggest more modern technology, and it is easy to forget that the items are over 150 years old. This perhaps removed some of the romance for me, as I was hoping that the physical artefacts themselves would provide interest beyond the subjects they depict.

The early rooms I found to be a little inconsistent, with it seeming as if the curator was unsure whether to highlight experimental processes, or the best examples of salt printing. Whilst I found the emotive and dramatic nature of the prints appealing, many of the photographs left me wanting a little more in terms of composition and subject matter. There are exceptions: an Édouard Baldus print of the damage left by a flood in Lyon and a George Kendall Warren print of a Harvard rowing team on the the river, in particular. The third room, titled ‘Epic’, delivered a little more with images of ancient Egyptian ruins and other dramatic monuments; however the difficulties of producing large salt prints means that the room’s name is a little overblown, seeing as the majority of the prints are around 8 by 10 inches and lack visual impact.

The final room makes this exhibition worth the rather pricey entrance fee, however. The room, simply titled ‘Presence’, contains a concentrated selection of some of the most interesting early portraits I have seen – the informal portraits of Hill and Adamson, the remarkable portraits of Roger Fenton out in the field, not to mention the influential work of Nadar and Frénet. Fine examples of all of these are crammed into the final space, and I’m glad they were, as they stayed in my mind as I left the exhibition.

First image: Gabriel Kenny-Ryder.

Second image: John Wheeley Gough Gutch Abbey Ruins, circa 1858© Wilson Centre for Photography

Third image: Roger Fenton, Captain Mottram Andrews, 28th Regiment (1st Staffordshire) Regiment of Foot, 1855© Wilson Centre for Photography.

Exhibition continues until 7 June 2015, more information and book here.

Written by a Thoroughly Modern Man, Gabriel Kenny-Ryder.

The YBFs 2014 awards, Tate Britain

The YBFs 2014: Winners Line Up

3rd September 2014, 8pm

The Winners of the YBFs 2014 were announced this evening at a ceremony hosted at TATE Britain and attended by many of the great and good of the food industry.

The YBFs Awards has firmly established it’s role to discover and shine the spotlight on new and innovative UK food talent.  In its third year, the winners line up is stronger than ever; Chloe Scott Moncrieff, food journalist and one of the three founders explains; “The awards have been extra special this year. From the ballsy butchers to the incredible bakers to the new young chefs, not only was the calibre of YBF finalists dazzling, but awards night at Tate Britain was a stellar affair. It was wild and most importantly, celebratory. We’re here to celebrate the new young food & drink talent coming through across Britain. This year, nearly 50 % of our winners weren’t London-based but hailed from everywhere from Cornwall to Suffolk to Scotland, showing the Young British Foodies is a truly national movement”

There are ten categories judged by an impressive list of judges.. and the winners are…

CATEGORY:      FOOD-WRITING     JUDGES:            Yotam Ottolenghi, Tracey MacLeod, Marina O’Loughlin and Fay Maschler       WINNER:          Misti Traya: Chagrinnamon Toast“There’s something fresh and candid, almost cheeky, in Misti’s voice; it is disarming and charming.”

Yotam Ottolenghi

CATEGORY:     COCKTAILS & ALCOHOL JUDGES:           Judged by Tony Conigliaro, Alice Lascelles, Gareth Smith and Anistatia MillerWINNER:         Carl Brown: Daru-wallah of DishoomCarl Brown is a win! Love the “pegged” service technique, using 2 different sizes of bottles, allowing customers to pour their own and add the “dividend” when desired. The fact that the drinks are barrel-aged for service makes it a double win. LOVE the story behind the concept. Historical relevance is sexy.’

Anistatia Miller

CATEGORY:     CHEFFING JUDGES:          Nuno Mendes, Margot Henderson and James KnappettWINNER:         Tomos Parry: Climpson’s‘Tomos proposed a super tasty and very interesting 5 course menu focusing on the use of the grill and charcoal, where every dish showcased this technique in an innovative and delicate way. His past cooking experiences together with his current offer at Climpsons Arch make him a perfect candidate for the YBF’s’  


CATEGORY:    HONORARY JUDGES:         Amy Thorne, Chloe Scott and Lily Vanilli (YBF FOUNDERS)WINNER:       Dana Elmara: founder of ArganicDana won because not only is her argan oil from the Berbers in Morocco delicious, healthy and will give all British salads a makeover but the story behind her business, is incredible, emotionally inspiring and shows she has a truly doughty spirit.”

Chloe Scott-Moncrieff

CATEGORY:     MEAT JUDGES:          James George , Richard Turner & Neil RankinWINNER:        Tim Matthews: The Artisan Smokehouse“The Artisan Smokehouse’s provenance and attention to detail shone through. Delicious. We also loved the use of Tim’s dad’s allotment for the vegetables.”

James George

CATEGORY:    BAKING JUDGES:          Lily Vanilli, Claire Ptak and Tom BakerWINNER:        Sarah Lemanski: Noisette Bakehouse“It was Sarah Lemanski’s incredibly versatile creativity with the flavour and presentation of her baking, as well as her passion and the work she does helping her local food community to grow that made her stand out from very stiff competition. Sarah embodies the YBFs and we will be proud to have her as an ambassador.”

Lily Vanilli

CATEGORY:   COFFEE JUDGES:         Tim Styles and Marco ArrigoWINNER:        Luke Suddards & Hugh Duffie: SandowsEnterprising, enthusiastic, courageous, passionate and driven, Hugh and Luke are exploring unchartered waters in the UK coffee market. Ones to watch — now and into the future — Sandows London are the Coffee category’s 2014 Young British Foodies.”

Tim Styles

CATEGORY:     NEW! 2014 Vegetables winner JUDGES:           Bruno Loubet, Simon Rogan and Ms Marmite LoverWINNER:         Sean O’Neill: the Modern Salad GrowerI am very pleased that Sean O’Neill from the modern salad grower has won the vegetable category. His unique collection of a seemingly common ingredient – a bunch of leaves presented in a shot glass, masquerading as a lemonade – really blew the judges away. In a city overrun by trends and fads, both the winner, and the Young British Foodies Foundation have reminded us to put the ingredient back in the heart of the dish. I am very pleased to be associated with these awards truly represent the best of British innovation and entrepreneurship.

Bruno Loubet

CATEGORY:      Street-food JUDGES:           Petra Barran, Claire Kelsey and Nichola SmithWINNER:          Radhika Mohendas:Dorshi “Dorshi’s expression is one of colour, creativity, fun and a staunch commitment to sourcing locally. Their presence on the street stands out tenfold. It’s healthy to boot. They’re effortlessly kewl and just the ticketfor any street food event.”

Petra Barran

CATEGORY:      Experiential JUDGES:            Bompas and Parr and Alexa PerrinWINNER:          The Robin Collective

The awards evening has been a celebration of The YBFs and guests were invited to taste the culinary talents of some of the YBF entrants, including Dishoom, Artisan Smokehouse and The Exploding Bakery. Guests enjoyed a twist on Earl Grey in cake form from Ahh Toots Feast and pancakes with  Argan Oil collaboration with Bethany Kehdy ; back for a second year with new creative cocktails from Chase vodka, extra sweet honey beer by Hiver Beer and carefully selected Prosecco, White and Red wine from Tate Food.

The YBFs was founded by Chloe Scott-Moncrieff, food journalist; baker Lily Vanilli, Lily Jones, and Amy Thorne, founder and MD of TASTE PR.