Small Town in Provence
Year Completed : 1971
Size : 1.8m x 2.4m (6ft x 8ft)
Client : Private Commission
Location : Apartment in Hyde Park, London
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In the seventies we were represented in London by a company called Tile Mart and the company obtained commissions for us from a number of private clients.
They were one of the first concerns to show lovely unusual tiles from all over the continent and as well as this they had some of our smaller ceramic panels on display and for sale. They also obtained commissions for us and over these years we did work for a number of private clients. This particular client had a London penthouse flat. She and her husband also owned a house in Provence, and they liked the idea of being reminded of this when they were sitting on their balcony overlooking Hyde Park. We submitted a design based on a drawing that I had done some years previously, of a small town somewhere south of Avignon. I have never quite been able to identify which town this is: it was just a collection of white buildings with red clay roofs and a particularly lovely baroque bell tower. The design translated well into our medium. The patterned terracotta roof tiles and the calm white buildings make up a simple design, almost abstract in quality. A patchwork of combed and textured hills rising up behind with their rich surfaces echo just what I always see in the landscape when I am in southern Europe. It always seems as if a giant hand has combed the hills, and this is just what I did with the clay as I modelled it. I included the baroque bell tower, and the lower part of the mural was designed to give the feeling that there was a terrace with pillars. Together with a richly decorated central panel this contrasted well with the simple town behind. The neighbours objected to light being taken by the mural’s height so we designed a fretted layer of tiles to run along the top. The client arranged for a simple spot light to play close to the surface and it looked really good in the dusk and at night. I have always liked this mural more than most that I have done over the years.