Roy Strong at 80, Vivian Maier and the Illustration Cupboard

For some reason my mum doesn't like Roy Strong. I think he is one of the most wonderful people. He was the youngest directors of the National Portrait Gallery and was also director at the Victoria and Albert Museum. He is flamboyant and not afraid to speak his mind and shake things up. Before he took over at the NPG in the 60s there was a policy that someone had to be dead for 10 years before their portrait could be hung in the gallery - can you imagine! But he is also a keen gardener and was a talking head on a documentary about my beloved Great Dixter. Anyway he is 80 this year and to celebrate the NPG put on a display of portraits of him taken by John Swannell. All the photos were inspired by famous portraits throughout the ages

 And they all feature Roy. So here he is as Brunel and Henry VIII

 Rasputin and a Rennaisance Prince
 OK I admit I'm struggling with this one - I'm going to guess Charles I but let me know if I'm wrong!
 It was a fantastic collection and such a great idea. It was apparently only meant to be one portrait but he enjoyed it so much they created this amazing collection. And if I have half the energy Roy has at 80 I will be a happy!
 Another photography favourite was in town. There was an exhibition of the wonderful Vivian Maier in a private gallery. Obviously I couldn't take photos in the gallery but did take these two sneeky photos from outside!
We finished a trio of exhibitions by going to the Illustration Cupboard which is another commercial gallery so no photos I'm afraid. But if you are in central London this is a treasure trove of book illustration. We'd gone to see the artwork by Anita Jeram's Guess How Much I Love You which was the featured exhibition but there was work by Chris Ridell, Jane Hissey, Gerald Scarfe and Brian Wildsmith to name just a few. It was such a heavenly little shop - if only I had a couple of thousand pounds 

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