Tuesday, 8 July 2014
Tuesday, 3 June 2014
Tuesday, 6 May 2014
|A small edit of photographs from a recent shoot at Haroldston House - Photography ©siobhandoran.com - enquiries please contact firstname.lastname@example.org|
Nourishment for the Body, Brain and Biosphere is offered by Art & Accommodation at Haroldston House. This stylish new B&B on Pembrokeshire’s St David’s Peninsula offers the best of local produce, artwork and a carbon-neutral footprint – with electric car-charging point and discounts for those arriving by public transport. The owners, architects Maria Jones and Ian McDonald, hope that it is a B&B with a difference in this stunning corner of west Wales.
Ian explains: “We started from the point that we actually tend not to like B&Bs: the rigid times for a no-choice ‘full English’ breakfast, basic tea & coffee making facilities, polycotton bed linen ... so we decided to make ours the kind of B&B we’d like to stay in.”
As well as putting guests up for the night, it also puts art on the walls: the best of local work – in a county that prides itself on having more artists than any other in Wales – and pieces collected from the owners’ work-related sojourns in India and central Europe. The result is an eclectic mix of the local and the international: from Brangwyn to Banksy; from Pembrokeshire photographer Chris Neale, to conceptual artist Christo, whose wrapped Reichstag print is a memento of Ian and Maria’s time working in newly reunified Berlin, where they met.
Haroldston House, in the picturesque harbour village of Solva, also showcases Ian’s own artwork: architecture-influenced black-and-white images, and brightly coloured Indian influenced hand-printed screenprints of the Pembrokeshire coast. Both proprietors were instrumental in setting up the website ARTists Pembrokeshire (www.artpembrokeshire.co.uk), which shows the work of almost 100 local artists – many of whom do not have the luxury of gallery outlets in this remote part of the UK.
Using their Asian experience – as well as Maria’s background in designing luxury family hotels – they have furnished the modest but well-proportioned Georgian house in “contemporary Indo-Celtic” style, with simple, dark-wood bedroom furnishings, jalousie shutters and floors in a mixture of original timber and golden seagrass in deference to the traditional Japanese tatami mat.
To achieve all this, the house had first to be cleared of its inappropriate decor and accretions – but not everything went the way of the 1970s’ wall-to-wall carpeting and storage heaters. The Master Bedroom boasts an enormous en-suite bathroom with retained, generous cast-iron bath and its glimpse of the harbour mouth when you shower. The bedroom itself is replete with south Indian tribal hangings and the Celtic tree-calendar prints of northern Irish artist, Gail Kelly; its indulgent latex-topped sprung mattress is adorned with a sparkling Gujarati antique-mirror throw.
The other room – a through-suite – offers the best of both aspects of the original property: the road frontage of this former merchant’s townhouse retains its large Georgian windows (even for the “tropical” En-suite shower room), while the rear of The Suite keeps its smaller, cottage-like sashes. This is doubly appropriate to this south-facing garden elevation, which catches the strong spring-to-autumn sunshine that characterises the St Davids Peninsula, even amidst west Wales’ characteristic summer showers.
The Suite offers a dark-wood East Asian fusion aesthetic, with futon-style beds – handmade in Sheffield(!) – with memory-foam mattresses. There’s a king size in the bedroom, with an adjoining lounge with banquettes that double as twin beds for families. Artwork here includes contemporary Japanese prints and Vietnamese calligraphy – along with John Piper’s evocative sketches of the Pembrokeshire coast, as a foil to the large, richly coloured Graham Sutherland Firebird II print gracing the deep pink walls of the entrance hall.
So much for the Bed ... what about the Breakfast? Here again, the proprietors hope that their past experience has produced results. Both non-meat eaters, they unsurprisingly avoid the cooked British Breakfast – but carnivores are well catered for at Haroldston House. Each day offers a selection of seasonal, imaginative cooked options, as well as a choice of platters ranging from meat and cheese to seafood, vegetarian and vegan. All aim to showcase local produce – from west Wales’ coastal speciality, laverbread (seaweed to the uninitiated) baked into muffins, to Carmarthenshire ‘Parma ham’, a speciality that the natives of Pembrokeshire’s neighbouring county swear the Romans pinched from them when they retreated from this westernmost province of their Empire in the 5th century.
House specialities such as Solva Lobster Benedict, with the main ingredient most likely caught and dressed the day before, and Huevos Rancheros – ranch-style Mexican eggs and salsa – feature when available (as do many actual breakfasts and practice dishes on Twitter @HaroldstonHouse). Maria and Ian advertise “bespoke breakfasts”, the aim being to offer any guest with special dietary requirements the same amount of choice as the most carefree eater. Maria’s signature flourless chocolate cake often features on the welcome tea tray, whether you are vegetarian, gluten- and dairy-intolerant – or just love chocolate cake.
Although the proprietors encourage leisurely breakfasts until noon (a Berlin tradition), the time naturally comes when all this needs to be walked off. Fortunately, Solva sits astride the Pembrokeshire Coastal Path, which lies just a few minutes’ walk from the door and leads in an easy stretch to historic St Davids in one direction and the dramatic storm-beach of Newgale via a more strenuous trek in the other. If that isn’t challenging enough, then St Davids Head boasts rock-climbing and coasteering as well as boat trips to the nearby islands – havens for Pembrokeshire’s stunning collection of birdlife, as well as seals and dolphins.
Haroldston House doesn’t offer evening meals, but the St Davids Peninsula is well on its way to reaching a critical mass of impressive eateries. For keeping it local, the hosts recommend Solva’s harbourside No. 35 cafe for fish & chips on a Friday (the fish caught by the same fisherman who catches HH’s lobster), and the village’s Cambrian Inn, which often keeps guests out late with its generous portions as well as local ales. The latter is a feature offered by most local hostelries, with Lower Solva’s Ship Inn and the Royal George (conveniently positioned up the hill) both boasting summer real ale festivals. Three miles away in St Davids, Katie at the Cafe at Oriel y Parc (the new visitor centre/world-class gallery showcasing Graham Sutherland’s renowned work) specialises in gluten-free and coeliac-friendly cuisine, alongside fresh local produce and cakes; and award-winning cwtch* on the High Street is the peninsula’s premier eatery.
To contact Ian and Maria, details are below. For information on Pembrokeshire’s art scene, visit ARTists Pembrokeshire’s website: www.artpembrokeshire.co.uk
Ian McDonald & Maria Jones
29 High Street
Pembrokeshire SA62 6TE
follow us on Twitter @HaroldstonHouse
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Wednesday, 2 April 2014
Wednesday, 26 March 2014
Just sharing some photographs and some London History from my weekend shoot at The Apollo Theatre London - its also featured in todays Evening Standard - Enjoy!
Nimax Theatres commissioned me to photograph the newly refurbished Apollo Theatre London. It was a great privilege to spend time exploring this fabulous theatre - probably one of the most authentic interiors I have photographed recently. Nimax Theatres have successfully completed a magnificent and sensitive refurbishment. After the collapse of the ceiling in December, it is especially great to see the theatre re-opening tonight 26th March 2014 with the show Let the Right One In
For Photography usage please contact me at email@example.com
The Apollo Theatre: History and Information (text taken from the Apollo Website)
The West End's Apollo Theatre is a Grade II listed theatre, on Shaftesbury Avenue in the City of Westminster, London. Designed by architect Lewin Sharp for owner Henry Lowenfield, it was the fourth legitimate theatre to be constructed on the street. The Apollo's doors opened on 21 February 1901 with the American musical comedy The Belle of Bohemia. The production was followed by John Martin-Harvey's season, including A Cigarette Maker's Romance and The Only Way, an adaptation of Charles Dickens' A Tale of Two Cities.
The Apollo Theatre was the first in London to be built in the Edwardian period, it was renovated by Schaufelberg in 1932, and a private foyer and ante room were installed to the Royal Box. The sculpted work on the stone fascia is by T. Simpson, the building is of plain brick to the neighbouring streets. The Apollo Theater has a first floor central loggia, inside there is a three galleried auditorium with elaborate plasterwork.The theatre seats 796, and the balcony on the 3rd tier is considered the steepest in London.
The Stoll Moss Group purchased the Apollo Theatre in 1975 and sold it to Andrew Lloyd-Webber's Really Useful Group and Bridgepoint Capital in 2000. Nica Burns and Max Weitzenhoffer purchased the theatre and several others in 2005, creating Nimax Theatres, which still owns the venue.
The Apollo Theatre has played host to a number of different types of theatre and a range of world-famous acting talent throughout its history, stretching back to its origins in the early 20th century when it opened with a selection of Edwardian musical comedies and light operas such as Kitty Grey (1901) and Véronique(1904). After these early beginnings a parade of plays and novel adaptations from the best of British and international writers graced the stage of the Apollo, with productions of Ivor Novello’s A Symphony in Two Flats (1929), Robert Sherwood’s Pulitzer Prize-winningIdiot’s Delight (1938), Terrence Rattigan’s Flare Path(1942) and Noël Coward’s Private Lives (1944) all winning popular and critical acclaim.
From the 1970s through to the 1990s the theatre continued to be a showcase for fantastic writing and acting talent, seeing performances from names like John Mills, Vanessa Redgrave, Zoe Wanamaker, Peter O’Toole and Penelope Keith over the decades. Since 2005 the theatre has been owned by the Nimax Theatres chain, and in more recent years there have been successful productions of both new and classic plays with star actors in the leading roles, such as Rosamund Pike in Summer and Smoke (2006), Jessica Lange in The Glass Menagerie (2007), Josh Hartnett in Rain Man (2008) and James McAvoy in Three Days of Rain (2009). The Apollo Theatre recently hosted David Suchet in Eugene O’Neill’s Long Day’s Journey into Night and productions of Twelfth Night and Richard the III starring Mark Rylance. The National Theatre’s highly acclaimed production of The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time ran at the theatre from March 2013 – December 2013.
Let the Right One In, an onstage adaption of John Ajvide Lindqvist’s Swedish Horror Novel, opens at the Apollo Theatre on 26th March 2014.