Five Good Things: what to do, visit, see and book this June
Midsummer’s imminence means many things – among them, all sorts of summery goings-on, from a philanthropic pop-up for collectors with a conscience to a secret cabin in the Somerset countryside, ripe for a sunny getaway
‘Jocasta’ collection, Sister by Studio Ashby
Some readers may have heard the late Jocasta Innes’ name. A journalist and best-selling author, she was beloved for her charming books on country cookery and interior decoration, with 1981’s Paint Magic encouraging daring DIYers in their droves to pick up their paintbrushes and start stippling, stencilling and sponging their walls.
Jocasta’s Georgian townhouse in Spitalfields was, by all accounts, similarly inspirational, not least to interior designer Sophie Ashby, who lived there until quite recently and has named her debut range of fabrics after the writer. The textiles are, she says, “a love letter of sorts to the woman who helped inspire its beginnings”.
Drawing on its namesake’s magpie-eye for treasures and trinkets, the ‘Jocasta’ collection, sold under Sophie’s Sister by Studio Ashby brand, also looks to crafts, flowers, foliage and ancient textile traditions – among them kilim rugs and Ghanaian kente cloths, a nod to her husband, Charlie Casely-Hayford’s, roots. Incorporating textural weaves and jacquards, bobbly bouclé and mohair, the five-strong range of patterns and plains has been produced by Yarn Collective, a company known for its natural and recycled textiles, and is available now. Prices start at £149 per m.
For details, visit Sister by Studio Ashby’s website.
The Scrumpling, Somerset, open now
You know those moments when you imagine what it might be like to disappear, just for a moment, into sun-dappled woods, phone off, book in hand? Of course you do.
Well, thanks to the clever handiwork of travel and food writer Rhiannon Batten, you can now do just that. The Scrumpling – named for the south-west’s cherished cider apples – is Rhiannon’s beautifully revamped caravan on a semi-secret site in Somerset and it’s open for stays between April and October. Sleeping two, it’s perfectly suited to solo travellers or couples (though a babe-in-arms could easily be accommodated too).
Campsite-dodgers can relax: this isn’t your average mobile home. Instead, it’s more shepherd’s hut in style, only larger: soft and romantic, with a heavenly king-sized bed, squishy sofa and separate kitchen and bathroom cabins. Out and about in the local landscape, there’s plenty to explore, but if the off-grid lifestyle begins to grate, the Scrumpling is less than 20 minutes’ drive from Bruton, while Babington House and the extraordinarily pretty village of Mells are even closer. At the time of writing, the caravan is available over Glastonbury Festival, only 15 minutes away. Just saying…
Wrenathon: Our City Sings, the Square Mile, London, 13-24 June
This year marks the tricentenary of the death of Sir Christopher Wren. An astronomer-mathematician, physicist, anatomist, architect and a founder of the Royal Society, Wren was a true renaissance man, whose mark on history is perhaps best felt in the extraordinary buildings he conceived in Oxford, Cambridge and – notably – London.
Wren designed libraries, palaces and monuments but, more than anything else, he designed churches: 52 of them in the capital alone after, aged just 33, he was charged with their rebuilding after the Great Fire of London. The crowning glory among them is of course St Paul’s Cathedral, but there are many others of similar merit, if not grandeur: St Bride’s, St Stephen Walbrook, St Mary-le-Bow…
What better way, then, to commemorate this master builder of towers, domes and spires than in their hallowed halls? Running 13-24 June, the Wrenathon: Our City Sings – part of the Wren 300 programme – is a two-week musical extravaganza of recitals and rehearsals in churches associated with the great architect. It culminates in a ‘Vocal Marathon’ in nine City churches on 24 June, which will see hundreds of singers from community choirs (gospel, a cappella, choral, folk and more) performing in various churches throughout the day. Starting in All Hallows by the Tower, each performance lasts 25 minutes and is followed by a 20-minute break, giving you time to make your way to the next church.
All recitals throughout the programme are free. For more information, visit the Wren 300 website.
Art for Charity Collective’s pop-up, nr Malmesbury, Wiltshire, 14-16 June
Good art that does good too? It’s more achievable than you might think – thanks in large part to Art for Charity Collective, an initiative set up by painter Lucy Kent. The platform brings together artists from across the world, selling their work through exhibitions and auctions, raising money for good causes in the process – nearly £300,000 since its foundation in 2020.
And now, for the first time, those interested in getting involved will be able to do so IRL, as from 14-16 June Lucy will be hosting a pop-up event at her home in Wiltshire. A ravishing array of the collective’s prints and paintings will be available for sale, joined by a swoon-worthy selection of other items alongside, from Kate Guinness’ hand-crafted furniture and Amy Kent’s rugs to Pooky’s lovely lamps and shades – and that’s just the half of it.
Best of all? No buyer’s remorse here; 10 per cent of all sales will be donated to Hands Up Foundation, which funds health and education programmes in Syria and neighbouring countries.
For details, visit Art for Charity Collective’s website.
Shown: Bayard Hollins, Lagoon, 2023
Modern and Contemporary Prints and Multiples, Chiswick Auctions, 28 June
We unapologetically interrupt this sun-drenched broadcast with news of a more hibernal nature. Summer it may be but, thanks to the recent Peter Doig show at the Courtauld, featuring the enchanting Alpinist, showing a ski-laden mountaineer in his harlequin suit (you know the one), we find ourselves dreaming of frostier climes. “I often paint scenes with snow,” the Scottish painter once said, “because snow somehow has this effect of drawing you inwards and is frequently used to suggest retrospection and nostalgia and make-believe.” That’ll be why, then.
It’s certainly the case in D1-4 Road to Zermatt, a beguiling work of blizzardy brilliance, an edition of which goes under the hammer on 28 June at Chiswick Auctions. It’s not the only high note hit in the Modern and Contemporary Prints and Multiples sale, however; listed alongside are works by Picasso, John Hoyland, Bridget Riley and David Hockney. Paddles at the ready (salopettes optional) .
For details, visit the auction house’s website.
Shown: Peter Doig, D1-4 Road to Zermatt, 2022
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