Introducing Leigh Gallery - The Architect’s View | The New Edwardians
By Doina Moss
The Wider Context:
“The High Street in Hampton Hill has an unusually long sequence of shops, extending approximately from the bridge over Bushy Park’s Longford River, northward up to the junction with Hampton Road. It is characterised just as much by the individual, one-off shops as by the longer parades, which are relatively few in number and vary in style. This variety, coupled with the modest height of the buildings (often two storeys) helps to create an informal village- like character.
Around the corner at Nos. 1-6 New Broadway (on Hampton Road) is a simple 1920s parade with detracting uPVC windows to the upper doors but there are two matching, very well-preserved shopfronts at Nos. 3 and 4, each with a sunburst glazing pattern.“
The Edwardian architecture and art movement was daring, innovative while retaining a feel of comforting classicism.
The movement was interrupted by the Great War but immediately after the end, there was a feel of urgency in expressing the oppressed creative energy.
In 1920 the shopping parade of Hampton Hill resumed construction expanding at the right of the junction with New Broadway street.
Located on the 1920s parade to the East of the character area, these frontages boast recessed entrances with chequerboard tiled pavements, stallriser, slender chrome glazing bars, upper lights with frosted glass in sunburst design and retractable canvas awning with timber end-board.
In particular, a twin shop emerged projecting double energy, radiating through the sun dials festooning the shop window displays, connecting the perfectly symmetrical composition with the accent on the entrance. This was to project confidence and a calming effect to the nervous shoppers.
Nearly 100 years after the creation of these 2 shops, Leigh managed to acquire both.
In the ethos of Edwardian arts and crafts he is uniting the 2 shops while retaining their unique identity. One is about furniture, painting techniques and applied arts while the other started a picture framing and evolved into incorporating fine arts. The new gallery is a fresh white canvas to help local artists display their works.
The shop was rebranded with the already well-established nickname, as Leigh Gallery.
To announce this change, Doina designed one of the windows to emulate the atmosphere of an artist studio, in a classical and traditional way, starting from the beginning of the artistic journey with the still life. The composition is made with antique furniture, blue velvet, Dutch silverware, lemons, a Manet lemon copy as an exercise and lots of discarded paint mixing pallets. The composition was balanced with a print of the famous Vermeer Girl with a Pearl Earring, the emblem of the original framing shop.
Leigh curated the white cube by subdividing the walls to offer separate displays for a group of 6 artists with completely different artistic identity.
A gallery is a transient lobby antechamber, connecting and facilitating an exchange of aspirations between an artist and a collector. The artist creates something which is extracted from the world through its own filters, while the collector feels that energy which resonates through its own interpretations.
The gallery takes both roles of the creation, the vision and finds ways to propagate that seed of the inner vision, inspiring future collectors.
This is where all the specialist framing takes place. The research is always investigating the latest techniques and inspirations taken from all major central London galleries. To save your travel, we are bringing Mayfair to Hampton.
Artists travelling from different countries, find quality solutions for their framing requirements at Leigh Gallery. An example of an architect - artist Livia Geambasu, who had to exhibit at Parallax in Kensington in Spring 2018, found the perfect framing solution at Leigh’s.
All photography by Cristina Schek.