Tuesday 23rd of July 2024
The Arts

Artist Profile: Lottie Cole

Ahead of the official launch of her first ever full equestrian collection, ‘Living with The Tetrarch And Other Horses – A Celebration’, we caught up with contemporary artist Lottie Cole for some quick-fire Q&A’s.

© Henrietta Brierley

Where does your love of horses stem from?

My Grandfather was mad about horses, racing and painting – A superb mix!

Who and what inspires you?

I’m really inspired by women who’ve managed to pursue their art yet still retained their identity – it doesn’t mean that they weren’t mothers, wives and sisters, but they were also artists first and foremost. The lives of Vanessa Bell and artists like Gluck, Sandra Blow & Elisabeth Frink are fascinating to me, and I love to think that they were single-minded, dedicated and passionate about their art. I feel like that.

Lottie as a small child

Tell us about the collection and process.

I think of interiors as a kind of conversation piece. Every element gives you a clue to the owner, even if the owner isn’t present. I also have a considerable collection of Sotheby’s, Christie’s and Bonham’s catalogues which the respected curator David Fraser Jenkins gave me. I tend to go ‘shopping’ through those and pick out the art that I think the person whose room I’m creating would have bought and placed on show with pride in their home. I then create an imagined interior to fit with that individual’s taste from the curtains and cushions, furniture, even through to the wallpaper they choose on the walls.

Why racing interiors?

I’m truly drawn to the elegance and energy of the horses I depict. Even the bronze sculptures featured in some of my work breathe a fresh energy into the paintings and have a big impact on the power of the picture. I never like to put people in my paintings, but including animals, even as objects allows the art to draw the observer in closer. I also think my trips to Lingfield & Newbury and other courses when I was younger are certainly a key factor and I have fond memories of watching the horses parade around the enclosure. This was always a big highlight for me as a small child. 

What are your childhood memories of horses?

Apart from going to the races with my Grandfather, I used to go to the local stables every weekend. Though I loved it, the only horse I really remember was Firefly. He was a beast and anyone who had the misfortune to get him usually ended up staring at the sky. I didn’t ever ask to ride him!

Do you still ride?

No, I stopped riding when I went away to school.  But we do have two stables at home so I do feel it is something that I’ll take up again when the time’s right. Creating this collection has certainly given me the horsey bug again so watch this space!

What attracted you to the Bloomsbury era?

Growing up in Sussex I was incredibly interested in the artists from where I lived. Coupled also with my experience of visiting Monk’s House in Rodmell,  the home of Virginia & Leonard Woolf. It felt so like my grandparent’s house, even the same aroma and the style and I found it really spoke to me as an artist.

What are the main themes of the collection?

Exploring imagined people’s private homes that very few of us would get access to while depicting their taste in artwork and furnishings. It gives you an opportunity to walk in their shoes metaphorically, and for the duration of the painting I can live in a certain way: be it whiling away an evening in an oversized antique armchair, passed down through the family, or staring out across acres of beautifully landscaped gardens.  In this collection of work, I’ve also tried to capture different moods. I find that the Elisabeth Frink horses have a real sense of yearning – a longing to get moving and burst out of the bronze. The Barry Flanagan sculptures are incredibly elegant and wistful, and I try to imbue my paintings with those feelings.

Where would you love to see your equestrian work hanging?

I love the fact that everything at Hermes fundamentally stems from saddlery and horses and so I would love to have my paintings in their Bond Street window on public show. And privately, I’d love to actually get to see my work hung inside my client’s homes. That’s the part that most artists never get to see; their work hung on the wall of somebody’s home. Some of the work has already sold to collectors and also a client whose hobby is buying racehorses so you never know I might be including one of his winners in a future piece!

Your favourite gallery.

I love Pallant House – the building itself in the heart of Chichester, the juxtaposition between the old part and the new extension, the courtyard garden, the collection and also their exhibition programme – so basically everything about it! 

‘Living with The Tetrarch And Other Horses’ A Celebration Can be viewed at: Cricket Fine Art, Chelsea London: 11th April 2018 for one day only. For further information: http://cricketfineart.co.uk

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