Would you like to be part of a unique project?
We are seeking funds of £3,000 to ensure the publication of my book ‘If only these walls could talk’. The book and Exhibition (being held at Burgh House in Hampstead from June to October of next year) provide a unique insight into 200 plus years of living history. This is all done through the unique perspective of the studio built by the 18th century portrait painter George Romney as part of his Hampstead home, North West London. In the hierarchy of the art world at that time, Romney came third to Gainsborough and Joshua Reynolds. The Exhibition is an exciting opportunity to explore under one roof many of the artefacts that would have been in the house.
Romney’s House is not a traditional stately home owned by one family through the generations. It was most definitely built as a private home with a studio as an integral part of the house. The book explores the relationship of the first five very different owners to the house. It should be remembered that for a period of well over 100 years, it was used for the benefit of the community to further an interest in the arts and not as a private home. This is a time when the likes of Florence Nightingale, Michael Faraday and Elizabeth Fry visited.
Really, it is a fascinating tale of the social glitterati of their time who came to the house whether as owners, think Sir Clough Williams Ellis who designed Portmeirion or as visitors for example Charles Dickens or John Constable. It has been a total journey of discovery collating this previously scattered material from all round the UK from many of our most prestigious museums The Victoria and Albert, the Sir John Soane Museum, the National Portrait Gallery, Local Records Offices and Edinburgh University to name but a few.
But the book is so much more – providing the reader with background information on Hampstead and the development of the studio as the artist’s workplace. Recognising the current interest in researching the history of your own home, there is also a chapter with suggestions gleaned from my experience.
The book and Exhibition have been my abiding passion for over 10 years now. I have loved researching the story and sourcing the photographs and pictorial evidence. This is where a third of the investment will be spent as copyright fees for reproduction rights are so high. The remaining funds will be spent on promotional tools, the first print run, the book cover design and general marketing. We are looking to include 80 plus illustrations, mainly in colour.
Great care and attention to detail has been taken to source the designer for the book cover and also the publishers – people who have fully embraced the ethos of this A4 book.
I hope that you find this project of interest. It is hard to convey my personal joy at finding out all about the house. I want to share it and would love for you to be part of this very special journey. Thank you for reading this.