01, December 2011

National Portrait Gallery Collection

Timorous Beasties

For the refurbishment of the iconic National Portrait Gallery in Edinburgh, we were commissioned to design a range of home accessories.  The portraits themselves provided the inspiration for a collection featuring Scottish monarchs and other famous Scottish figureheads.  Rather than re-produce the various portraits ‘straight-up’, parts of the paintings were cropped and enlarged, revealing only sections of the portraits and in some cases only hinting at the famous identity.

“A friend of mine once said she recognised someone on the London Underground from seeing their hand holding onto the carriage rail, and I liked the idea of not being able to see the whole portrait, but being able to guess who it was from a small section.” Paul Simmons, Designer.

Within the beautifully, quirky collection is ‘Well Spotted’ - a contemporary spot design with portrait details contained within random spots that give classic paintings a mid-century design twist.  Other designs have an irreverent touch – a portrait of Mary Queen of Scots with a red serrated edge along her neckline, and a ‘Bonnie’-fied, Bonnie Prince Charlie portrait using his medals and medallions as borders and details within the design.