Dora House in South Kensington is home to the Royal Society of Sculptors. It is also, despite its Victorian front, one of the few remaining Georgian houses in the area, in a state that is virtually untouched since the early 1900s.
In October, we’ll be invited there for a private view of a brand new exhibition of work by two important Japanese sculptors – and meet the president, Clare Burnett, and director, Caroline Worthington, of the society. They will also tell us the history of the house and the society, and their plans to save this historic building for a new future.
The house was originally built in the 1820s, when the street was known as Gloucester Terrace, but the ornate red brick front dates from 1885, when the house was remodelled by Scottish architect William Flockhart to provide an imposing additional studio for the society photography studio Elliott & Fry of Baker Street. It was probably the purpose-built studio at the back which appealed to sculptor Cecil Thomas when he moved in a hundred years ago, in 1919. Thomas lived and worked there until he died in 1976, establishing the Dora Charitable Trust, named after his wife, and leaving it to the society as its permanent headquarters. It has at times been home to architects, painters and designers and looks set to continue as a home to art and sculpture.
The Japanese exhibition marks the UK-Japanese season of culture. It showcases the work of two Japanese sculptors who, at first, glance, seem to have nothing in common. Yet their work represents the essence of modern Japanese sculpture. Jiro Takamatsu (1936-1998) became one of the most influential and important artists in Japan during the 1960s and 1970s, while Keiji Uematsu (born 1947) has lived in Europe since the 1970s, creating work that seeks to make visible the invisible relationships between objects and the spaces they inhabit.
This promises to be an interesting exhibition – and the house is fascinating!
Drinks from 6.30.