2011 by Peter Vincent PS
Reflected Grandeur was part of the Royal Automobile Club’s centenary celebrations, for which they invited several artists to come into their iconic Pall Mall club building and paint its exquisite interiors. Going into a club such as the RAC is like stepping back in time; one is enveloped by a feeling of historic luxury, where ceilings tower above and rooms are separated by pillars and gilding. Perhaps the most iconic room, and winning in terms of design rather than nostalgia, is the basement swimming pool – an elegant cavern that lies just below the two tier staircase, embodying all it was and is to be Art Deco. The pillars, with their chain links and capitals, together with the simplicity of stone walls and open doorways conjure our romanticism and the much imagined feeling of Roman or Greek baths. Yet these tropes – the Olympic-like iron lantern holders – are streamlined and improved upon for the decadence of Art Deco design. A style that is almost synonymous with its characters – the Bright Young Things – one almost expects a slight figure in an elegant bathing suit and hat to slide nonchalantly into the pool. Vincent completely captures this essence with his easy and subtle pastels that are so crisply clipped with an architectural line. The soft, often underestimated, medium of pastel lends itself to this style of drawing, and indeed to the sharp Art Deco design itself. Even the reflections, so beautifully caught in the turquoise waters, adhere, keeping their angled lines rather than succumbing to the watery blur.