Wednesday, 29 January 2014

Sergei Chepik retrospective.

Plios, 1985
I had an incredibly fun evening last night at an exhibition that I urge you to see.  Sergei Chepik is one of modern Russia's finest painters and, three years after his death, this retrospective is a wonderful way to see a large portion of his work in one place.  The show is free and the gallery space is gorgeous.

His inspirations are disparate; from his love for Paris (he became a French citizen for the last few decades of his life) to circus scenes, landscape and the way we see dreams.  His series on the Pont Neuf were perhaps my highlight of the show, twisted city scapes in vibrant colour, though I also found myself going back repeatedly to 'Plios' (right) as something in the the colours and tranquility of this early work hit a chord.

Often he would insert himself into his paintings, the way he depicts himself in scenes from the nightmarish to the everyday is fascinating. 

Self portrait with Petrushka, 1989
Some works left me conflicted, 'Dream of Kings' (below) was a perspective on our British Royal family that was at once sympathetic and deeply critical.  Whether it was raising the point that the weight of the crown must weigh doubly on the heads of the royals, or a comment on the excessive and dangerous nature of such power imbued in one family is left to the viewer.  
The Angel of Notre Dame, 2008

The exhibition, taking place from this evening at the Mall Galleries (   is being run by the Catto Gallery (, a rather fantastic gallery in Hampstead with whom we may soon be collaborating. It runs until the 13th of February, so if you find yourself in central London then do pop in and let us know your thoughts and favourites.

The show is curated in broadly chronological fashion, and it is wonderful to see the evolution of an artist that is so hard to categorise into any particular school.  

Fascinating evening, one aided no doubt by great company, champagne and canapes - though very naughty of me to drink on a 'school night'...

Let there be light, 1997

Dream of Kings, 2003

Monday, 13 January 2014

The Great British Chefs Dinner, in support of Childline

Here at Marshall Murray we love giving support to great causes.  If these causes also come with world-class food from the best of British cuisine then this is just an added bonus...

At the end of last year I was invited to the Great British Chef's Dinner, in support of Childline, the UK’s free, confidential 24-hour helpline and online service for children and young people, provided by the NSPCC

You can learn more about their valuable work in the link below:

Find out more about ChildLine

The format of the evening was an auction running concurrently with a four course meal by some truly remarkable British chefs.  Paul Foster, Matthew Tomkinson, Michael Smith and Josh Eggleton, each award-winners in their own right, took on a course that used exclusively British ingredients to create one of the finest meals this humble writer can recall.

We were asked earlier in 2013 whether we might show our support of their work with a donation of an auction lot, which we were very happy to offer. 

Paul Foster's poached duck, brussels sprouts, apple & buckwheat
Guests were (both sensibly and gratefully) plied with champagne and perfectly-matched wines throughout the evening, while tablet devices were placed conveniently close by on each table via which one could place bids on the various lots.  The highest bidder's were update in real time which introduced a really fun element of competition to proceedings.  These two factors conspired to compel me into purchasing a gym membership

that is statistically unlikely to see me blossom into the lean, tanned and rippling man I imagine such memberships inevitably lead to.  However, it is a great charity to support and, who knows, maybe this time I'll be more diligent?

The evening raised over £120,000 for Childline, which I think is an incredible effort by all those involved and something we shall certainly continue to support.

Matthew Tomkinson's Spiced diver-caught scallops

If you would like to do likewise then you can learn more about their great projects, make charitable donations or put forward charity lots from your own company for future events via their website at:


Oliver - Director.

Michael Smith's Highland Red Deer Saddle & Haunch, Crowdie, Mulled Blackberries & Gingerbread

Josh Eggleton's Hazelnut cake, with caramel sesame mousse and malt ice cream