Tuesday 28 August 2012

The rust coloured mackintosh

Let's go to Brighton, I said,
to see the Biba exhibition.
(I once had a Biba mackintosh.
It was rust coloured and had sleeves 
you needed pipecleaners for instead of arms.
I was so proud of it, 
I was prepared to risk cutting off my circulation.)
Let's not drive,I said.
We'll go by train along the coast.

When we got there, well,
it was pretty much like Penzance
with its storm tossed seas
and brave souls promenading,


 and flying.

This young gull hunkered down, wisely, I felt.

And I had made a mistake about the exhibition.
It doesn't start until next month,
but I did see a Harold Harvey,

A Kitchen Interior,
which squared the circle nicely, 
as they had all been taken down in the Penlee Museum 
when I went to see the Laura Knight exhibition.
Gertrude, on the stepladder, has a cardigan very much like mine.
The table and the mirror frame 
are the exact colour of my Biba mackintosh.


  1. I also have the Biba exhibition on my to do list. I remember the Kensington store, it was magical.

  2. I loved Biba. I had a dress with leg of mutton sleeves and tiny buttons. The very first Biba opened in my Grandfather's shop in Abingdon Road in Kensington.

  3. An interesting turn of events.

  4. Ah, Biba.... I had a teeny-tiny Biba dress in chocolate brown, from the first hand-drawn catalogue. I wore it till it dropped to bits.

    Harold Harvey - must google him. Fabulous colours!

  5. The painting was definitely worth the trip ... I love having a day in Brighton . So much to see !
    I had a wonderful dove grey Biba top ... the sort of thing Tolstoy wore in the country .... and a calf length skirt in deep rose (which wouldn't have suited Tolstoy at all) . I wish I'd kept them .

  6. Even the colour of the wall the painting is hung on seems to "fit"..............

  7. Biba! I had a teeny tiny frock with spots on it which I adored.

  8. One of my favourite paintings, though I always worry she's about to fall off those steps.

    Will you return by train next month, perhaps when the sun is shining and the seas are calm (bound to happen when the kids are back in school!)?

  9. Glad to see you did find Biba, in something, after all. A train journey is a happy thought in itself!

  10. The painting is rather wonderful, and I do hope that you be able to return to see the Biba exhibit in September.

    One of the experiences I still treasure from my first mid-70's visit to London was shopping at that magnificent big Biba show on Kensington High Street. Of course, I still have a few keepsakes from that trip.

    Viva Biba!