Shapero Rare Books Celebrates London's West End

Screen Shot 2016-06-27 at 8.19.26 AM.pngFor this year’s Masterpiece art fair Shapero Rare Books and Shapero Modern present the work of three artists who celebrate the changing face of London’s West End - aerial photographer Jason Hawkes, Swiss artist Dieter Roth and map-maker Stephen Walter.

Jason Hawkes is a prominent British photographer whose work surveys our constantly changing landscape from above. Entitled Piccadilly at Night, Hawkes’s stunning aerial photograph, shot from a helicopter, captures the vibrant atmosphere of Piccadilly Circus at night. London’s iconic red buses can be seen weaving their way through the busy streets, aglow with people and light.

The photograph encapsulates the contrasts of contemporary London: the heritage buildings juxtaposed with the flashing colours of Piccadilly’s infamous billboards. A crane stands tall in the foreground, an ever-present reminder of construction and London’s exponential growth. Hawkes says: ‘Each time I fly over London I notice the landscape constantly changing, new developments seem to appear overnight.’

To accompany Hawkes’ photography, Shapero Rare Books will display a set of six offset lithographs by the world-renowned Swiss artist Dieter Roth. Executed in 1969-70, the series was inspired by Roth’s encounter with the collection of postcards of Piccadilly Circus owned by the British Pop artist Richard Hamilton. Each work in the series was initially printed as a double-sided photolithograph with the same enlarged postcard image of Piccadilly Circus, and the recto then over-printed in colour screen-print from a stencil drawn by the artist.

Each picture is transformed in various ways and emphasises a different aspect of the scene: in one, Roth has overprinted it in Day-Glo colours, and in another submerged it in a fog of translucent white. One is blanked out everywhere except for the buses circling the statue of Eros; another uses black paint judiciously across the scene to suggest a bustling nightscape. The verso of each print has an unembellished vignette of the original Piccadilly scene.

Roth’s 6 Piccadillies are among the most celebrated prints of the last fifty years, and as iconic as Piccadilly Circus itself. From an edition of 150, further iterations of this series are held in the collections of Tate, London, and the Museum of Modern Art, New York.

And finally, Shapero Rare Books and Shapero Modern, along with TAG Fine Arts, have commissioned the artist Stephen Walter to produce a large-scale pictorial map of Mayfair and St James’s.

Entitled Mayfair & St James’s, the map celebrates two of London’s most historic neighbourhoods, and features many of the institutions it is famous for: from the tailors of Savile Row to the gentleman’s clubs of Pall Mall; from world famous hotels such as the Hilton and The Dorchester on Park Lane to landmark restaurants like Scott’s, Le Caprice and The Wolseley.

Like any area of London, Mayfair and St James’s are constantly changing, so while the map includes venerable businesses such as the gentleman’s barbers Geo. F Trumper on Curzon Street and tailors Turnbull & Asser on Jermyn Street, it also includes the Russian-owned wine shop Decadence just up from Berkeley Square. On the square itself is the casino The Clermont Club (one time haunt of Lord ‘Lucky’ Lucan), and the nightclub Annabel’s (named after the late Sir James Goldsmith’s wife). There are also clubs of a more recent vintage, such as Soho House’s Mayfair branch (also on Curzon Street), The Arts Club on Dover Street, 5 Hertford Street and Mark’s on Charles Street.

Amongst these fleshpots are the businesses that give the two neighbourhoods their life forces, a mixture of high-end real estate companies, auction houses and, of course, hedge funds. None of the latter feature on the map, however, leaving the viewer to speculate about what goes on behind the doors of the elegant Georgian townhouses that are typical of the area.

Additionally, some infamous historical events are noted, such as the poisoning of Alexander Litvinenko, which took place at the Millennium Hotel on Grosvenor Square in 2006. This is commemorated by a teapot, the instrument that was used (allegedly at the instruction of the Russian President, Vladimir Putin) to administer the radioactive polonium-210 that killed him.

Masterpiece information:

30th June - July 6th, 2016

Opening hours: daily 11am - 7pm, Sunday 20 June 11am - 6pm

Location: South Grounds

The Royal Hospital Chelsea



Shapero Rare Books can be found at Stand 231

Auction Guide