‘I love this place’ Sarah Hills, Brand Director of Porta Romana said smiling, ‘I am surrounded by my people’. It was late Autumn 2017 and we were in the bustling members cafe at the RA, having arrived early, before our meeting with The President, Christopher Le Brun later that afternoon.
Whilst 2018 marks a three decade history for Porta Romana, the RA were planning a much bigger birthday; 250 years of art and artists. They had recently announced their masterplan to design a transformative re-development uniting their two buildings Burlington House on Piccadilly, with Burlington Gardens. Sarah suggested making a donation, in the form of an exquisite one-off installation, created by Porta Romana.
Andrew Hills, our Chairman soon joined us, and we were introduced to Christopher Le Brun, who led us from the Cafe, up what felt like a secret staircase, through some mysterious corridors until we found ourselves at the Academicians Rooms, fittingly designed by Martin Brudnizki who we had just launched a collection with.
The President enthusiastically explained the RA’s plans to expand, creating new spaces for exhibitions and debate including a 260 – capacity lecture theatre. We spent a delightful afternoon, discussing the changes and influence the New RA would have on art and Britain, before we set off behind the scenes again, to explore the best possible location for our installation.
Among our choices was the Shaw Staircase, designed by the renowned Architect John Shaw, positioned outside The Presidents office. The grand double height space would provide the perfect backdrop for a collection of five Urchin Chandeliers, designed by Sarah Hills. Our devoted team of artists, pulled out all of the stops to decorate the sculptural tendrils of folded steel, dedicating twenty three hours, to each of the five Chandeliers in time for the opening of the 2018 Summer Exhibition.
Today we are extremely honoured, a piece of Porta Romana hangs in an institution of such importance continuing the Porta Romana legacy.