What do artists Johnny Bull, Gill Varle, Richard Fox, Sarah Caswell, Claire Burke and Tracey Bush have in common?
The answer is that they will all have their work exhibited on board Britannia when the ship launches in March 2015. Work by each of the talented British artists will appear in Britannia’s 8,000 piece collection; compiled by Art Consultant Tom Tempest-Radford and set to be the most valuable moveable art exhibition in the industry.
We are always keen for a sneak peek at what we might find when we finally board Britannia next year, so we thought we would take a look at the artists behind the work.
Hove-based Gill Varle will have her beautifully textured paper sculptures appear on board Britannia, after P&O Cruises commissioned the artist to create five pieces to be exhibited in the ship’s wedding chapel. Gill’s Utopia 1 and Utopia 2 pieces have a distinctly romantic air, perhaps giving a sign of what is to come from her work on board Britannia.
Incredible detail and texture is intrinsic to Gill’s art, with the acid-free paper foliage seeming to grow out from the walls on which the pieces are hung.
Sculptor and artist Richard Fox will be encouraging plenty of interaction between passengers and his work when it appears on board Britannia. Crafted from bronze, stone and sycamore, Richard’s sculptures are focused on a feeling of flow and movement, and the Oxford-based artist encourages each piece to be viewed from different perspectives. The artist’s creates his pieces with the aim of creating ever-changing curves, twists and lines, even encouraging rotation of the sculptures by hand in order to take in the varying viewpoints.
Richard began to hone his form of sculpture in 2005, when he was inspired by a visit to the Barbara Hepworth Museum in St Ives. His work has been exhibited both nationally and internationally since 2008, and alongside private commissions, Richard has also created pieces for display at The Royal Palace in Dubai and other notable locations around the world.
Sarah Caswell is no newcomer to P&O Cruises, having previously been commissioned to create a whopping 36 pieces for display in ‘The Oriental’ restaurant on board Azura. Sarah’s large scale floral and botanical forms have once again attracted the attention of P&O Cruises, who have commissioned her to create a piece that will hang in the reception area of the superliner and be seen by every single person who steps foot on board.
Details of the exact design remain top secret, however Sarah suggested that the piece will consist of seven 1m² panels, arranged alongside each other to create one huge design. White Parrot tulips are the bloom of choice for the piece and Sarah has hinted that she intends to employ a more abstract method, painting the blooms in such a way as to mirror the cloudscapes surrounding the ship.
Sarah Caswell has focused entirely on floral and botanical forms since 2005, her work created with acrylic on canvas or linen. The large scale representations convey incredible detail and rich colour, and Sarah concentrates her efforts on accuracy of structure and on communicating the effect that sunlight has on the forms and colours of the flowers. Sarah is a member of The Society of Botanical Art and has appeared at the RHS Chelsea Flower Show since 2011.
The work of Weybridge-based artist Claire Burke is set to illuminate Britannia, with seven gold-coloured reliefs to be installed in Olly Smith’s The Glass House. The commission is Claire’s largest to date, however her unique abstract art has previously featured alongside work by Damien Hirst, Sam Taylor-Wood and Banksy.
Claire uses traditional gilding techniques in gold and silver leaf, focusing on texture and picture plane, and with themes of horizon and landscape. With panoramic sea views and a seemingly endless horizon playing a starring role on any cruise holiday, Claire’s work will sit perfectly in Britannia’s surroundings.
Taxidermy and the framing of entomological specimens is a long-standing past time, however artist Tracey Bush has devised her own vastly popular and infinitely more humane method of Lepidoptera. Tracey recreates butterflies and moths by sewing together multiple layers of recycled paper using a bookbinder’s pamphlet stitch, each specimen true to size and representing an actual species. Once complete, the butterflies are pinned out in entomological boxes made by the suppliers of the Natural History Museum, the name of each species hand-written in brown ink on tiny scientific labels beneath. Tracey consciously works to create quirky links between the butterfly name and the materials used, with maps, envelopes, musical scores and stamps featuring regularly.
Aside from Britannia, Tracey’s work is exhibited around the world including The Museum of London, Tate Gallery Library and the Yale Centre for British Art. We can’t wait to see what she has in store for Britannia!
Renowned British artist Johnny Bull has been commissioned by P&O Cruises to communicate modern Britain in picture form. A campaign by P&O Cruises encouraged people across the country to describe what Britain really means to them and what person, object or cultural reference they feel embodies the true spirit of modern Britain. Johnny Bull will incorporate the most popular suggestions into two stunning pieces of artwork to be installed on Britannia and unveiled on the ship’s inaugural voyage in March 2015.
Johnny Bull is well known for his paintings of jazz musicians; however his more recent work focuses on depicting crowds of people in various locations. Johnny’s work combines photography with an element of graphic print, his crowds formed by photographs of real people superimposed on to the page.