and I were lucky to have Peter Blake show us around his studio.
It was a treasure trove. He told us stories as we walked around his collection of found objects. He's currently working on more museum series, like this one.
Every corner of his studio-museum holds a story.
We cannot remember all we saw. Glimpses of our afternoon hold: a shelf full of elephants. Miniature chairs. Beatles signatures. Chee Chee the monkey's drawings. Damien Hirst's drawings. A ceramic conker. William Morris chairs in his library (that he wanted to look like a shed.) The boxer from Sergeant Pepper. Jack Potter's glorious taxidermy collection (that Hirst wanted to buy in its entirety for £1.000.000.) Tom Thumb's boots, clown shoes and Robin Hood's cap.
He showed us his work in progress, past prints, his early sculptures and stunning outsider art collection.
We were particularly captivated by the pornographic embroideries. Blake told us that he bought these in the 1950s from an ex-RAF fighter. After the war, embroidery was part of his therapy. He started off with a depiction of the Queen and quickly moved on to pin-ups. We were later shown 3 pieces commissioned by Blake, of Alice in Wonderland. They were ace.
Why does he like Alice in Wonderland so much? Someone asked that. He said: because, like the Wizard of Oz (his favourite film,) it's about a journey: you're not sure if it's a dream or if it's real. A tale about that transient journey into womanhood.
We left wanting to stay. At least for the night, hidden in a corner emulating a waxwork, of which he has a few. I could crouch behind Marilyn Monroe, I thought. A thoroughly rich archive, truly Victorian in spirit, and not an Ebay purchase in sight (Blake chooses to stay away from computers.)