Art takes Alison into heart of London culture

A NORTH East illustrator has taken up the first residency in London’s famous Mansion House building.

Alison Barratt

A NORTH East illustrator has taken up the first residency in London’s famous Mansion House building.

Alison Barratt, from Sunderland, has been invited to draw and paint in the Georgian town house, which is the private residence for the Lord Mayor and a base for the Lord Mayor’s Office.

It is visited by more than 40,000 people every year and provides a location for business meetings, conferences, banquets and entertaining visiting heads of state.

A programme leader for illustration and design at the University of Sunderland, Alison has been commissioned to produce the first-ever commemorative book celebrating the Lord Mayor Michael Bear’s year in office 2010-2011.

As part of the commission, which she has been undertaking as a research project, Alison has been granted access to the venue’s collection of art.

The residency has developed as a result of a proposal Alison put together, and the publicity poster she designed last year to advertise the Lord Mayor’s parade.

The posters were placed in tube stations across London.

“I hope this demonstrates to our students just where illustration can take you – from an international advertising campaign for example to a one-off experience like this,” she said.

“This is a very exciting opportunity for me. I still can’t believe that I have access to such an amazing building at the heart of London life.

“The commemorative book is something that has never been done before and I will be responsible for the production of it, from its design to the book binding.”

The book will take up to six months to complete and is a celebration of the Lord Mayor’s time in office.

Alison has been dividing her time between teaching at the university and research days in London at the Mansion House.

She said: “I will be illustrating all the Mansion House’s various rooms: its halls, offices, private apartments as well as the fabulous arts collections.

“I’ll be drawing some of the many meetings, award ceremonies and banquets.

“There’ll also be photographs, notes and memorabilia included in the book. So, this really is a celebration of all the events over the year from his presentation ceremony when Michael Bear was chosen as Lord Mayor, through to the Lord Mayor’s Show, all his foreign trips, visits by the Prime Minister, the Chancellor and other politicians.”

Alderman Michael Bear, Lord Mayor of London from 2010-2011, said: “It is a pleasure to have such an inspired artist to help us bring our year alive through her drawings and design expertise.

“We are enjoying watching the book being created over the weeks Alison has been here.

“The work Alison has done on chronicling the year has been outstanding. People still talk about the Lord Mayor’s Show 2010 poster as the best ever.”

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