Shop Archive

It’s Christmas-a-go at The Courtauld Shop  



Christmas is fast approaching so it’s time to start planning your festive shopping. This year we have teamed up with Nick Grossman Associates to decorate our shop This year. Their creative approach is based on the belief in objects being timeless, beautiful and practical. Our shop team have been inspired by Nick Grossman Associates approach and when brainstorming for the Christmas display.

We ask our Assistant Retail and Visitor Services Manager, Neil Taylor, a few questions about Christmas in The Courtauld Shop

At what point in the year do you start thinking about planning the Christmas display?

Very early, the Calendar for example is organised around October/November the previous year, the decorations are viewed at trade shows early in the year and ordered around late spring/early summer to make sure we can stock them on time.

Where do you find the inspiration each year?

Depending on the ranges available from suppliers, we draw a theme or story form whats new that year. We have a good idea of what our customers buy and expect to see, we try and stick with traditional decorations but sometimes throw in a bit of novelty, this year its Christmas dogs! New for 2016 we are introducing a small range of decorations based on The Courtauld Gallery collection as well as some relating to the  popular Somerset House ice skating rink.

Could you describe the process that you go through in getting the displays ready?

It’s a case of seeing what works well together, and then we plan set the shop, its always being tweaked up until the last minute to make sure it looks perfect.

How long did the actual installation take?

This year we stretched it out over a couple of weeks, but normally we can have it all set up within a week.

What will you be gifting from The Courtauld Shop this year?

There too much choice this year … I’m sill deciding!

 This year The Courtauld Shop is bursting with everything you need for a stylish Yuletide; find original gift ideas, beautiful baubles and the most spectacular decorations!

Open daily 10am-6pm

The Courtauld Shop, Somerset House,  Strand, London WC2R 0RN


Evince Your Inner Colourway at The Courtauld Shop: Getting to Know Jan Allison Jewellery

Founded in 2005, and based in the picturesque Cornish seaside town of St Ives, Jan Allison Jewellery is a partnership between Janet Stevens and Alison Carter.  Janet and Allison have been the closest of friends since childhood. Their unique, hand-crafted pieces of jewellery reflect the vibrant, colourful watercolours of  our latest exhibition Georgiana Houghton: Spirit Drawings . They are available for purchase at The Courtauld Gallery Shop and online . Jan Allison Jewellery is exhibited in galleries across the UK and has been purchased by clients from all over the world.

We met up with Allison to find out a little bit more:

Janet Stevens and Allison Carter

Janet Stevens and Allison Carter

Q: Allison, you and Janet have been the closest of friends since childhood, do you have a favourite childhood memory you’d like to share with us?

We were bridesmaids together when our siblings got married. It was my sister and her brother. We were teenagers at the time and the relationship may not have survived but our friendship certainly did.

Q: Is there anything else from your long-standing friendship that you’d like to share?

In school, we were on the same hockey team and netball team. Janet was absolutely brilliant at sewing and embroidery, whereas I went to Art College at Birmingham Polytechnic and did fabric and textiles. Years later, I actually had my own business where I decorated glass wear. I did that for quite some time. Then when I started working at the jeweller’s, that’s when I started making my jewellery.

Q: Allison, throughout your worldwide travels as an air stewardess, was there a place or event that made you realise you wanted to create colourful, unique pieces of jewellery?

It has to be Sri Lanka. It was my favourite place. There were so many colours and so much beauty. My idea of paradise. I actually purchased my first natural stones on a market stall. Janet actually went to Sri Lanka herself years later and she enjoyed it just as much as me.

Q: Janet, was there something specific that prompted you to enrol in your jewellery course at Penzance College?

The love of jewellery inspired me. My intention was to create personal pieces of jewellery for my friends and family. At that stage, a business was far from my mind, we just sort of fell into it.

Q: How did you start the business?

We were working together in a jewellery gallery, Pebbles Jewellery Gallery in St.Ives. It has recently closed. I worked there for twenty years out of the thirty-four years they were in business. The owner of the business and I had been going to trade shows. While she was buying jewellery to supply the shop, she was picking up necklaces and I was saying ‘I could make that.’ I had said it so many times that she ended up buying some stones and giving them to me, telling me to give it a try.

Our first batch of jewellery was sold through the owner of the business. We probably made about twenty. Now we’ve probably made thousands. We are still making every piece ourselves. We don’t make every day at the moment. We normally make stuff very regularly. We probably work a few hours a week now. When we start a new collection that’s when we spend a lot of time together.

Q: Does the natural semi-precious stone hold a special meaning for you?

Semi-precious stones have great healing properties that appeal to both. We both love colour and mix different colours together because we like the combinations.

Q: We noticed that you use very colourful stones; does something inspire the choice in design and colour of your work?

Not really. We both have different ideas which when we put together seem to work. We like asymmetric patterns and our work often portrays that.

Q: Is there an art period, style or movement that has majorly influenced your work?

I am a big lover of Art Deco and Art Nouveau.

Q: How long does it take to create one piece?

I cannot commit to how long it takes to design one piece, because each piece is very different. Each strand of stones is laid out and sort of played around with until we get the look that we want. Then, the silver components are added before we start the threading.

Q: We know that lapis, sodalite and Andean opal are among the semi-precious stones used in your designs, how do you source the stones?

We’ve been making jewellery for over 11 years, over that time we have sourced many different stones. We’ve become great friends with our suppliers. One of which actually mines the stones himself in South America, an amazing man and his wife. They bought a mine in South America. My sister lives in Egypt and gets our lapis lazuli from there.

Q: You live in a beautiful place, does it inspire you?

Oh yes, sometimes it inspires us a great deal. The natural light here has made it one of the UK’s major art havens. We are surrounded by a wealth of incredibly talented artists, sculptors and potters. Many of which are friends of ours so we’ve grown up with amazing creativity around us.

Q: Finally, looking forward, what are your plans for your next collection?

We will probably start sourcing for our next collection in September. We’re thinking of turquoise, carnelian, and lapis lazuli. We’re thinking to go with gold-plated accents. A bit of an Egyptian influence will be present.

Q: Do you know what the future holds for Jan Allison Jewellery?

Who knows what the future holds for anyone. We can be assured ours will include lots of colour, creativity, and laughter.

Jan Allison Jewellery



Visit the Courtauld Gallery Shop online

The Courtauld Gallery Shop
Somerset House
London WC2R 0RN

10am – 6pm

Capture the Scottish Skies at The Courtauld Shop

Capture the Movements of the Scottish Sky at The Courtauld Gallery Shop: Behind the scenes with Scottish designer, Kirsteen Stewart.

Kirsteen Stewart opened her boutique and studio in her hometown of Kirkwall in 2009.  Her designs are inspired by her native surroundings and convey the strong relationship she has with her upbringing.  The Nimbus Scarf and Nimbus Bag are reflective of the powerful influence nature can have on artistic realisation, and are currently available in shop or online

Kirsteen_2DSC04625880859 Kirsteen Stewart Nimbus Scarf

Q&A with Kirsteen Stewart

CL: Do you feel a strong connection with your Scottish heritage and how does it reflect in your work?

KS: For me, Scotland is a fundamental inspiration for my work and print designs: Having grown up in Orkney and now with my studio and shop here, the weather, our landscape, skies and nature surround and inspire me.  I see the unpredictable and wild aspects of these themes and respond in terms of movement, scale and bold colours.  I don’t think the world around me is gentle and sweet – if you’ve experienced a storm in Orkney you will understand!  As for heritage I come from a long line of makers and these traditions have been passed down to me.  I use these traditions and my heritage but in a contemporary way.

CL: What is the inspiration behind the Nimbus Scarf and Nimbus Bag?

KS: This is part of the Scottish Skies series.  A study of the land, the sea, the sky, the vastness and the ever-changing colours.  I am in awe of the ephemeral nature of the light, colours and formations.

CL: Do you ever dream of living in a place with a sunnier climate? If so, why? If not, why?

KS: Oh yes, every January!  No, to be honest I love the heat but there is something magical about our summers; how it barely gets dark, the everlasting days, the light and the calm. This makes up for the wildness and harshness of our winters. The seasons are in such direct and fundamental opposition.

CL: I know you enjoy traveling very much, do you have a favourite past destination that particularly influenced your work?

KS: I love travelling from my home, which is very rural, to the city lights; flying over cities is breath taking.  I am just back from Japan and spent most of my time on the night flight looking down over the interlocked cities of China.  The lights make such an intricate pattern like lace over the landscape.  I love imaging what’s going on down below.

CL: What fashion houses did you work at in New York and what was it like? Was there any particular experience that made a lasting impression on you affecting your approach to fashion design?

KS: I love New York, it was such a great place to live and a wonderful experience.  I worked for Elizabeth Powell Leather a small independent company, and for GAP.  It was great to work at companies at opposite ends of the scale. I loved the American can-do attitude, which is very different from the more cautious conservative attitude I see around me in the North of Scotland.  I definitely embraced that!

CL: Can you tell me a little about the print line that is produced in Britain and Italy? Why did you choose those places for production sites?

KS: The fabrics I wanted to work with for the collection sadly weren’t available in Scotland, so I sourced the best possible in Italy and the wider UK. My suppliers have been brilliant to work with and the quality is just perfect.

CL: How do you spend your free time?  Any particular interests?

KS: Like most Orcadians I spend as much time outside in the summer as possible, I surf, I horse ride and I walk.  Total freedom.

CL: What are your plans for the future?

KS: 2016 is going to be exciting.  At the start of the year I am going to Boston, London and Japan.  So lots of travelling, meeting and working with new people, making new connections and of course furthering my collections.  I can’t wait to get started

Feel Uplifted in The Courtauld Gallery Shop. Interview with Artist Jonathan Fuller

Inspired by our fantastic Soaring Flight: Peter Lanyon’s Gliding Paintings exhibition the shop team have been exploring all things Cornish!

Jonathan Fuller Wall Sculpture

Currently featured at The Courtauld Shop, is a lovely sculpture by the Cornish artist, Jonathan Fuller. We’ve had a chance to speak with the artist to discover more about his unique and stunning works.

Q&A with Jonathan Fuller

Q: What attracted you to using sea glass as a medium?

JF: I grew up in Cornwall, in North Cornwall, and it was something that I always collected as a child. Whenever we traveled to the coast we would collect it and it began mounting up around me.  Upon moving back to Cornwall I decided to put it to use.  It was something I started initially in my textile career that was different from the normal day job.  My first sculpture took about a year to make and everyone who came to see it just loved it.  Galleries became interested as well and it’s something I do whenever I can now.  Even though it’s waste, the sea transforms it into something lovely and smooth and I wanted to use a recycled waste material to make artworks.

Q: Do you spend time everyday looking for glass?

JF: Not every day as I make the frames and mounts that go along with the sculptures and that can take a very long time.  I often take a beach or coastal walk so I will be looking.  It’s really just luck of the draw and depends what you find.

Q: How long does it take you to collect enough sea glass to create a work?

JF: It varies.  The main colours I find are white, brown and green.  It’s the aquamarines and blues that are harder to find.  I’ve got a lot of the more obvious colours but it is the special tones that make the pieces unique.  It’s very difficult to put a time on it.

Q: What do you draw inspiration for your works from?

JF: It’s about colour and form and texture.  It comes from my textile background.  It’s the simplicity of the shapes, whether it’s the ring or the circle and the linear pieces.  What I find interesting about what I find is that with the changing of the tides, four times a day, it’s a circular movement.  It’s always a motion of change.

Q: Do you have a favorite coastal line you have visited throughout your travels? And what was so special about it?

JF: I traveled a lot with my textile career but when you’re working and doing trade it is always difficult to visit the coast.  We lived in London for ten years my wife and I.  I always missed the Cornish coast.  I do not believe you can get much better than the Cornish coast.  There are real differences in the Cornwall coast alone that are fascinating.  If I had to pick a coast I would have to pick the one I live on.  There is a beach in America (Fort Bragg) that I would love to visit as it is made entirely of glass and there are a few beaches in Hawaii that are spectacular.  But if I had to be honest, I think my little piece of coast is just fine.

Q: Is there a specific artist or genre that influences your work?

JF: I’m very fond of the St.Ives school.  One of my favorite is Peter Lanyon who is in your gallery at the moment.  I think Lanyon is definitely one of my favorites as well.  I wanted to see the exhibition when I came up to drop the sculptures off.  I couldn’t actually find parking when I was there.  But I’ll be up very soon to see it.

Q: Does sea glass hold a specific meaning for you?  Is it representative of something you could share with us?

It’s something I’ve always been attracted to.  I spend my time looking at the sand and not the view.  It can be quite compulsive and you keep hoping you’ll find another bit. I also really like the fact that it’s recycled and that it’s had a life cycle; some may be two years old or two hundred years hold.  They all have a history.  Sometimes they have words on them.  You can tell where they’ve come from sometimes.

Q: I know you have a whippet dog, Nell, and that you were hoping to train her to retrieve sea glass.  Has that come to fruition?

She’s a lovely dog but she is more of a chasing dog.  So to answer your question, I would have loved to but I am afraid the answer is no.

Q: I know you own a Will Eastham Surfboards red long board.  Is that going well?

I’m doing pretty good.  I’m not as good as him because he is incredible.  But it’s a lovely thing just to look at let alone ride.  I was in recently since it’s been pretty mild so it’s been going very well.

Q: What does the future hold for you and your work?

I found a beach recently with very white wood on it.  There are all kinds of twigs and branches that the sea has basically stripped the bark off and the sun has bleached.  They appear almost like bones.  I am currently making a piece made from these sticks and branches.  I also look at different forms of marine debris such as plastics.  There are so many human things that have been discarded that have ended up in the ocean.  It saddens me the amount of wildlife that is negatively affected by it.  I would like to make more pieces to highlight the impact we are having on our oceans.

Own a piece of Jonathan Fuller work for yourself from our Shop.

Book now to see Soaring Flight: Peter Lanyon’s Gliding Paintings 

Discover Christmas at The Courtauld Shop

With mistletoe and tinsel in hand, the Courtauld Shop Team have been extensively preparing for the Festive season. We invite you to discover an array of festive and gallery-inspired gifts we have to offer this year. Explore a variety of hand-glazed ceramics, ornaments and trimmings, art prints, jewellery and gourmet treats. Hand-crafted decorations are available from top UK designers such as Je Vous En Prie and Amica. We also have Farrah’s of Harrogate gourmet biscuits, Turkish delights and Schlünder Stollen Fruit Cake.

We are situated in the elegant surroundings of Somerset House in the heart of Covent Garden. Our staff are knowledgeable and are eager to help you find that special gift.

The shop is open from 10:00 to 18:00 and extended hours will coincide with the November Peter Lanyon Late Event.

You can also find us online