Tuesday, 10 July 2012


This was my final scheduled trip presenting the Arden Collection for Zoffany. 
And what an adventure to be sent to Moscow!

St Basil's Cathedral and the Moscow sign
The event was called DECORUS, a glamorous, high calibre show for design industry professionals. Its organisers are the dynamic Natasha and James Kimberly who launched Decorus two years ago.

Presenting Arden at Decorus

I gave my talk explaining the history behind Arden's Elizabethan/Jacobean designs and the multi-lingual Natasha translated into Russian.

Meanwhile Alison Keane (Export Sales Manager for Sanderson/Zoffany/Morris) worked her magic selling pattern books and opening accounts with the Russian interior design world.

Then it was off to explore Moscow with my fella....

Kremlin panorama

First we were keen to see some Russian art at the State Tretyakov Gallery

Some obligatory giant historic scenes of uprising, subjugation and execution:

The Morning of the Execution of the Streltsy in 1698 by Vasiliy Suriko

...then some giant biblical scenes:

The Appearance of Christ to the People by A. Ivanov
....and finally walls and walls of portraits, my favourites being these lovely ladies by Vladimir Borovikovsky:

Vladimir Borovikovsky busts!
I revelled in the rich detail of the fabrics and flowers. It was a such a treat to be allowed to take pictures in an art gallery (at an extra cost of 200rubels).

Here are more details of costume and furnishings by various Russian artists. Inspiration for a new collection perhaps.

Details from the Tretyakov Gallery
On our last day we entered the Kremlin and were blown away by the abundance of floor to ceiling frescoes and icons in its many churches. Thankfully we weren't allowed to take pictures inside or I'd still be there now!

Here's a hint anyway...

....golden domes gleaming even on a rainy day!

Golden domes inside the Kremlin
In transit of course we took in the famous Moscow Metro, a powerful symbol of the Communist dream. There are frescoes, mosaics, statues of Communist heroes and reliefs of revolutionaries and all over the place powerful symbolic bundles of wheat. The metro is pristine, graffiti and advert free - lovely!

Melissa and Alison in the Moscow metro

So we ticked many boxes in our two days exploring Moscow. Our visit was challenging and the atmosphere around the Kremlin was quite intense but the city revealed many hidden treasures and remains a source of intrigue.

As Churchill famously said of Russia:

It is a riddle, wrapped in a mystery, inside an enigma

Thank you to Alison for looking after us
Thank you to James for vodka and pickles at Cafe Pushkin
Thank you to Natasha for inviting me to Decorus when we met at Paris Deco Off

...and thank you to Zoffany for this amazing opportunity!