Every single golden-framed piece of art called my eye back for a second, third and even fourth time. Every time I looked it was as though it had something else to tell me, some deep stirring of nostalgia within my own childhood; I saw my sons and my daughter in every painting, as well as myself and my own brother and sister, and I could recall the stories from my mother's and grandfather's childhood too.
The 100 paintings of the artist’s children, including all 52 originals from Every Girl’s and Every Boy’s Alphabets were on display at their private book launch in London. Characterised by a limited palette, bold colour, strong tone and a deep sense of love for their subject matter, these Christopher Robin-esq pictures are both intimate and universal in their themes and appeal. What Luke has achieved is to capture every part of childhood that is relatable to everyone, regardless of their age, and his pictures are astoundingly timeless and entirely ageless.
The affection visible in each of Luke’s characteristically fluid figures is matched by Kate Bingham’s tender and witty single lines, written to appeal to adults as much as to the puzzling younger mind. Although they treat the theme of childhood, Every Girl’s and Every Boy’s Alphabet are for all of us, capturing as they do so much that is true of boys and girls of any age. This organic collaboration between poet and artist has spanned an entire childhood, and with Luke's children now grown up, Kate Bingham told me there was a sense of well-timed completion about the whole thing, ending with their exhibition at Panter & Hall on Pall Mall.
Luke Martineau is a painter of landscapes, portraits and still life. He is much in demand for his conversation pieces of families and children in particular. He is perhaps best known for his atmospheric oils of the River Thames, as well as for his travel pieces from such destinations as Venice, USA, Cambodia, Hong Kong and India, where, in 2010, he was official tour artist with HRH The Prince of Wales.
Kate Bingham is the author of two novels, several screenplays and three collections of poetry. Quicksand Beach was short-listed for the Forward Prize Best Collection in 2006, and in 2010 On Highgate Hill was short-listed for the Forward Prize Best Single Poem. Her third collection is Infragreen (Seren 2015) and her most recent work can be found in Five Poems, a leaflet available from Clutag Press.
Book binder extraordinaire, Kate Holland, has moved in as the final piece to this skillful unity of creatives to leave you with the most wonderful, tactile keepsake; her leather bound, limited editions with perfectly cut leather lettering and tiny golden painted elements are a joy to behold.
Kate is a multi-award-winning bookbinder specialising in contemporary fine binding to commission. She is a Fellow of Designer Bookbinders and has books in public and private collections around the world including the British and Bodleian Libraries. She has been commissioned again to bind one of this year’s Booker Prize shortlisted titles for presentation to the author.
These three uniquely talented designer-makers have shared with us what happens when the greats combine, and they leave Every Girl’s and Every Boy’s Alphabet destined to be collectable classics.
The perfect gift, these hand-bound books in full Harmatan fine goatskin and signed by artist, poet and book binder, are a must for any collector of Luke’s and the two Kate's work.