Sunday, August 20, 2017

Ron Fuller RIP

Sad news has only just reached us of the death of long time RCA secret contributor Ron Fuller.  Ron was a wonderful toy maker whose hand made toys were very popular, fun and beautiful.  This obituary is worth a read.

I first became aware of Ron's postcards at RCA secret when in 2013 I saw this postcard at the show:

The card depicted a young group of people from yesteryear described as my "RCA friends" - one of them being "Dave".  Surely that was David Hockney?

Then I saw this card also at the show:

This said "Heligan Wedding 1961".  Yes that was definitely a young David Hockney sporting a Union Jack Waistcoat.  I thought this was a lovely piece of art history and was hoping it would be available to buy when I got to the front.  After queuing for 26 hours, lo and behold it was.  So I bought it, took it home and framed it.  But that wasn't the end of the matter.  I wrote to Ron Fuller telling him I had this card and asking for the story behind it.  To my delight he wrote back and I set out below what he said:

"dear perry - thank you for buying my card - there was a group of us at the RCA in 1960 that used to hang around together - fred scott, richard bawden, shane weare -trench, geoff reeve, till, dave hockney, john furnival,mike adams, and others - i had a share in a cottage (no water or electricity) in the direlect heligan estate with mike adams - rent £25 a year - he decided to get married there - the nearest church was st ewe (vicars name was rev. rham (believe it or not!)) - i took the photo of guests arriving for the reception in ivor and brenda's cottage in heligan - till had this old swift car decorated with plants from the heligan jungle - the magic is all gone now - heligan is now a tourist attraction - such is progress - i have a disc of all the wedding photos which i can send you if you are interested - yrs ron fuller"

Needless to say I jumped at the chance and lo and behold a few days later a disk arrived full of absolute treasures of time gone past.  Below are just a couple of the amazing photos on it.  

What a joy RCA secret is that it can reveal these things, and what an amazing man Ron Fuller was to send a disk to a complete stranger of all these wonders.  RIP Ron Fuller, the world is a less happy place without you.

Monday, August 14, 2017

Online raffle

So it looks like the rca are going to shake things up again this year by having an online raffle for the top places in the queue.  It's unclear so far as to how this will work but I assume this means that tickets can be bought by anyone anywhere in the world provided they can get to the college on sale day to buy.

I guess an online raffle was inevitable given that the viewing will not be open at all prior to the sale commencing.

I have to say I still haven't really got my mind around how it's all going to work.  Camping has apparently been banned but I presume that just means tents aren't allowed and that people can still queue (after all the college will want a queue in order to sell cards and get media interest).  Perhaps this will be clarified closer to the time.  

I guess in a way the sale is victim to its own success -  I can see why the college want to try and stop those hardened campers who camp out for a week beforehand (although in truth they did little harm and plenty of good in terms of promoting the sale and media interest in it).   Lots of other British institutions - Wimbledon, last night of the proms, Harrods sale etc so have queues and campers and seem to find a way to keep everyone interested.

Anyway it promises to be an interesting month as more information is released.  

Sunday, March 26, 2017

RIP Leonard Manasseh RA

 Leonard Manasseh was an architect.  He died earlier this month at the age of 100.  Even when into his 90's he was a regular contributor to RCA secret and I know many collectors who prized his quirky cards.  

RIP Leonard and thanks for give so many collectors such fun.  

Saturday, February 25, 2017

Wake me up when September comes


A definite date and some definite information from the colleges site   The dates are confirmed for 9th September to the 15th September with the unpopular collection day back on the 16th September. 

The sale will apparently commence on 9th September, the same day the exhibition opens.

The venue has moved back to battersea, presumably to avoid a clash with the last night of the proms at the Albert hall.  A pleasingly no price increase this years, the cards will be £55 each.  

Here is the info:

Stewarts RCA Secret 2017

9 September 2017 to 15 September 2017 | Exhibition & sales 9–15 September, opening times tbc. Collection day: Saturday 16 September

Battersea, Dyson Building

RCA Secret will return to the Royal College of Art in September 2017. The RCA's annual fundraising postcard sale will feature over 2,000 postcard-sized drawings, collages, photographs and sculptures by some of the world’s most celebrated artists and designers, as well as by promising students from the College.

RCA Secret attracts high-profile art collectors and passionate art lovers. Each of the postcards on display is sold anonymously for £55, with the identity of the maker revealed only when the purchase is complete. All profits from the sale go towards the RCA Student Award Fund, which helps emerging artists at a formative stage in their careers by funding scholarships to the College.

Stewarts Law LLP is proud to sponsor the RCA Secret Exhibition. Stewarts Law is one of the UK's leading litigation law firms. They have built a strong reputation for innovative and ground breaking dispute practice.

Saturday, January 21, 2017

RCA secret will be in September this year


The college have posted on twitter that this years sale will be in September.  No definite date yet, possibly around 9th to 16th.  A little longer to wait but it will be worth it!  And warmer in the queue.

Monday, December 12, 2016

When's it going to be?

So when is the 2017 sale going to be.  No idea.  However we might get a clue from Dubai art week which is in mid march (13-18th).  Of course last year the London sale didn't coincide with Dubai but the previous year it did.  So... who knows.

I check the RCA website every so often and will keep doing so.  When I hear something you will be the first to know.

Sunday, April 17, 2016

A few thoughts about the new sale process

Now the dust has settled I thought I might set out a few thoughts on the new sale process.

Firstly what worked.  I think having the sale open for longer was a definite winner.  I wasn't convinced about it all at the start but the fact is that more people got to come and see and buy.  I think I was won over when I popped in on the last day of the sale and talked to a mother and daughter who had just bought a card for the daughters bedroom and were so delighted with their purchase.

The one day bun fight just seems so far removed from this.

I think the college were brave to try some different things but some of them didn't work.  The main sale day was far too early.  I think that's the reason the queue was the shortest it's ever been.  There wasn't enough time for people to come to view.  No late night opening before the sale started, only 2 days within which to come.  The fact that the sale was on Sunday morning, with all the transport issues on a Sunday was a really bad idea as well.

To balance the good and the bad I would suggest next year the college open the exhibition earlier, say Monday or Tuesday, have the exhibition and raffle sales on all that week.  Start the sale on the Saturday morning and then keep the sale going for the next 4 or 5 days.

I'm also not convinced that collection day worked.  It felt very flat for me not getting the cards you bought there and then.  There was also no press because there was no opportunity to show pictures of people holding their cards.  Plus it must have been a lot of extra work for the college.

So what about the fewer cards?  I'm not sure why the college decided to send out fewer cards to each artist.  The gallery could easily have housed another 600 to 700 cards as it has in the past.  More cards means more choice and more funds raised.  

So a mixed bag really but I think some of the criticism directed at the college is a little unfair.  They tried something different and it didn't all work but fair play for trying it.