"A picture tells a thousand words"
Our estate is home to a wealth of historical art treasures, tenderly curated by Beaverbrook’s creative director, Sir Frank Lowe. He has been responsible for lining Beaverbrook’s walls with inspirational works created by a whole host of artists from diverse genres and generations, including contemporary stained-glass artist, Brian Clarke, Victorian adventurer, Marianne North, as well as highly esteemed names such as Gerhard Richter and Jean Cocteau.
The Coach House Spa
Today's greatest stained-glass artist, Brian Clarke, was commissioned to bring his unique magic to creating Beaverbrook’s spa. The result was what the German's call Gesamtkunstwerk; art that embraces everything in the space, and makes the space itself a work of art.
Also celebrated for his work on canvas, in sculpture, ceramics, mosaic and tapestry and his radical innovation in stained glass, Clarke is a lifelong exponent of the integration of art and architecture. He has collaborated globally with the most dynamic architects of our time – such as Norman Foster, Renzo Piano, I.M Pei and Zaha Hadid – to bring hundreds of designs and installations to some of the world’s most inspirational buildings, such as the Wall of Glass for the Al Faisaliah skyscraper in Riyadh and the stunning apex of the Pyramid of Peace in Kazakhstan.
SIR FRANK'S BAR
Once dubbed, "The Flower Huntress", the Victorian botanical artist, Marianne North, travelled across the globe to capture botanical wonders of the world on paper. Her paintings of exotic, and often rare, plants and flowers became Britain's finest collection of botanical art, and many of her works now hang proudly in Sir Frank's Bar.
Installed above the doorway of the entrance to the Italian gardens, next to the Library, is a rare, original, autonomous stained-glass panel entitled “Engel” (1958) by Jean Cocteau (1889-1963), the renowned poet, playwright, visual artist and avant-garde filmmaker. He began writing aged 10, and was a published poet by 16. “Poets don’t draw”, he once quipped about his artworks, “They unravel their handwriting and then tie it up again, but differently.” “Engel” depicts an angel, a symbol close to Cocteau’s heart. He wrote: “We shelter an angel within us. We must be the guardians of that angel.”
Hanging in the lobby of The House is a tapestry by celebrated artist, Gerhard Richter. The work, entitled Abdu, is one of a group of four enormous tapestries created by the artist in 2009. It is based on one of his previous works, Abstract Painting (724-4), and fuses the ancient Arab art of carpet weaving with high tech sophistication.
Displayed above the staircase in the lobby are a series of unique stained- glass panels from Brian Clarke’s celebrated Spitfire collection. The Spitfire, designed by RJ Mitchell, is the most iconic and recognisable British World War II aircraft, and gave the RAF a critical edge over the Luftwaffe in the tide-turning Battle of Britain. The distinctive form of the Spitfire inspired Clarke’s stunning Spitfire Collection on glass, paper, canvas and in architectural and autonomous artworks, treating the shape as a heraldic emblem like the medieval fleur-de-lis. As Minister of Aircraft Production during the war years, Lord Beaverbrook quadrupled Spitfire numbers through his famous “Saucepans for Spitfires” campaign, which has also inspired us to adopt the symbolic Spitfire as the Beaverbrook emblem.
Sir Alan Parker
Displayed outside each named guest room and suite is a specially commissioned, bespoke, artwork collage depicting the original beau monde occupants, created by Sir Alan Parker CBE – one of Britain’s most acclaimed film directors, turned artist. Parker’s remarkable catalogue of feature films, which include Bugsy Malone, Midnight Express, Mississippi Burning, Evita, Fame, Birdy, Angel Heart and Angela’s Ashes have won an impressive total of nineteen BAFTA awards, ten Golden Globes and ten Oscars.
Prior to moving into film, Sir Alan was one of London’s most talented advertising copywriters, which was when he first met Sir Frank.
Sir Alan finally hung up his director’s hat in 2014 and turned his considerable creative talent to painting full time.
The Ian Fleming Room is home to an iconic black and white portrait of the late, great Roger Moore as James Bond, taken by Terry O’Neill CBE, one of the world’s most collected photographers. O’Neill has photographed the frontline of fame for over six decades – from Churchill to Mandela, from Sinatra to Elvis and Bowie, and notable early portraits of The Beatles and The Rolling Stones. This portrait was donated for exhibition at Beaverbrook by Sir Frank, a longstanding friend of both Roger and Terry’s.
Victorian Show Animals
THE GARDEN HOUSE RESTAURANT
Our Anglo-Italian restaurant in The Garden House is home to a rare collection of original Victorian paintings. The subjects of each are prize-winning show animals, and the artists include Thomas Weaver, Albert Clark, John Miles, and Richard Whitford to name but a few. The collection is regarded as being one of the finest in England.
John Swannell is one of the great British photographers of his generation. During his five decades in the business, he has shot celebrity portraits, fashion, beauty, advertising, nudes and landscapes, with a natural instinct for creating beautiful images, with David Bailey once describing him as “an incurable romantic.”
Swannell is well known for his royal portraits. In 1994, Diana, Princess of Wales, personally commissioned Swannell to photograph her together with her sons – a widely admired and remembered intimate portrait. He was also commissioned to take official photographs of the Queen and Duke of Edinburgh for the Diamond Jubilee.
After an invitation from Sir Frank, Swannell kindly agreed to create a photographic essay of Beaverbrook over three glorious summer days – the stunning results of which are featured on this website.
The Coach House
A rare collection of signed black and white photographs by world-renowned photographer and documentarian, Lord Snowden, picturing grey shire horses at play can be found in The Coach House rooms and suites. The horses belonged to the Whitbread Brewery, who used Shires to pull their heavy beer drays around the City of London for over 200 years. Snowden, famously married to Queen Elizabeth’s sister, Princess Margaret, stumbled across the delightful Shires in the Kent countryside, where they were enjoying their annual holiday.
The Cottage Literary Collection
The Coach House
A collection of artworks featuring a selection of Britain’s historic literary elite, connect their country cottage homes, where many penned their most sublime works, to the cottage style nature of The Coach House accommodation. The artworks are composed of a rich collage of portraits, much-loved excerpts and quotes, and vintage illustrations from literary greats such as Shakespeare, Austin, Keats, Carroll, Milne, Dickens, Blake and many more.
The Lido Collection
The Coach House Spa
Situated near the pools are a special collection of vintage black and white photographs that capture and recreate the spirit of spontaneity, vitality, glamour and unbridled joie de vivre of the much-loved British Lido, here at Beaverbrook.
The term “Lido” – borrowed from the famous bathing resort of Venice – was first adopted in the 1930s to add an air of exotic excitement and continental sophistication to Britain’s infatuation with the outdoor swimming pool.
Olympic Wall Art
The Coach House Gymnasium
An inspirational collection of reportage-style photographs showcasing historic and contemporary Olympic athletic heroes can be found in the gym. These are married with a cherry-picked selection of vintage Olympic posters and a write-up of the history of the gymnasium and the Olympic Games from their ancient Greek roots to the modern day.