Ann Carrington studied at Bourneville College of Art, Birmingham and The Royal College of Art, London. In 1988 she received The Herbert Read Award, and the Commonwealth Fellowship for Sculpture, quickly followed by two major Arts Council of Great Britain awards. She was also the winner of a national competition to produce a major new artwork for Margate sea front in 2008.
The Pearly Queens
Carrington is part magpie, part alchemist; working in the folk tradition, she creates pieces that take extraordinary amounts of time to complete. Some of the most popular pieces she has created are part of her Pearly Queens series with coloured buttons sewn onto a crimson, or black background to emulate the 1st Class Royal Mail stamp. “I’d always thought it was such a beautiful image, and yet so over familiar, so I decided to blow the stamp up, with bigger dimensions and the buttons taking the place of printed dots.” The buttons she uses in her murals are all made exclusively for her and dyed to her specifications.
Carrington was commissioned to make ‘The Royal Jubilee Banner’ for the Queen in celebration of her Diamond Jubilee. The banner hung from the stern of the Royal Barge ‘The Spirit of Chartwell’ as it made its journey up the River Thames on the Diamond Jubilee procession in the summer of 2012. ‘The Royal Banner’ was recently purchased by The Worshipful Company of Haberdashers, (one of the twelve greatest livery companies of London) and now hangs permanently in the Haberdashers’ Hall, West Smithfield.
Jacob Rothschild purchased the first Pearly Queen which now forms part of the Rothschild collection and was recently shown alongside Lucien Freud’s famous portrait of the Queen at his exhibition ‘Power and Portraiture’. The Queen also commissioned one (in red and gold) to accompany the banner made for her Diamond Jubilee. Elton John has purchased one for his collection alongside other owners Lulu Guinness and Paul Smith. Carrington has a license from Royal Mail to produce stamp artworks featuring the Queen. No other fine artist has this license so, there will be no copies or counterfeits!
Studio view as captured by Architectural Digest, click the image for a link to their take on Carrington’s work.
The United Nations invited Carrington to help raise awareness of current issues through her artwork in 2010, her first piece for The UN was presented at their Human Trafficking conference in Luxor, Egypt, for which, she selected chains as her medium.
Carrington has exhibited worldwide and fulfilled many private and public commissions. Her work is all about materials, detail and impact. Her customarily vast murals utilise all manner of recycled items. For her Manhattan Mettle piece, commissioned for a public space at the W Hotel in Hoboken, Carrington created a huge rectangular magnet and arranged found metal objects from docks, along with subway tokens and nickels, in the shape of an intricate New York skyline. “I take mundane, unremarkable objects and transform them into surprising, witty and hopefully beautiful artworks,” she says. “The materials that I use are governed by the story I am trying to tell”.
In 2014 Ann produced commissions for The Waldorf Astoria, The Alpini Gstaad, and The Chiltern Firehouse, followed by her solo show Pom Pom Pompadour at Paul Smith’s Mayfair gallery in March 2015. August 2016 saw ‘Pop goes the Weasel!’, a large retrospective exhibition of Ann’s work open at the Royal College of Art, Kensington, London. The centrepiece of the exhibition, Devil’s Trumpet, a floral sculpture crafted from cutlery (sister to Rangoon Creeper which we are lucky enough to have available in the gallery), was acquired by the V&A for their collection and will be on permanent display in the Silver Gallery from July 2017.