Rodney Archer’s Scraps
Rodney & his Scrap Books
This is Rodney Archer sitting in his artfully shambolic house in Fournier St with one of his beloved scrapbooks, which he compiled growing up the fifties in Toronto. Collecting cuttings of Hollywood movies was an expression of Rodney’s love of acting that eventually brought him back to London, where he had been born, to go to drama school in 1962.
“We went twice a week, my sister and I, we had to persuade an adult in the queue to take us in because we were underage,” Rodney confessed to me with a gleam in his eye, shuffling through the yellowed pages of an album fondly. “At eleven years old, I knew I was different from other boys because they all had pictures of John Wayne on their walls while I had Hollywood Goddesses on mine,” he confided with a grin,“but then, at fourteen years old, we swapped and they had the screen goddesses and I had John Wayne.”
Rodney has lived in his old house in Spitalfields since 1980 and been collecting omnivorously through the decades, taking advantage of all the trifles to be discovered in East End markets. It is a compulsion that led to his return to making scrapbooks again in recent years and, now that he has started opening his house as a gallery in collaboration with Trevor Newton, the Topographical Artist & Dealer in Decorative Arts, they are planning to let the scraps spread, meld and mingle across the panelling of the first floor drawing room, where Oscar Wilde’s fireplace is the centrepiece.
All are invited to visit one of London’s most atmospheric eighteenth century houses and explore Rodney & Trevor’s extravagant assemblage of Georgian, Victorian and Edwardian prints, advertisements and ephemera arranged in surreal groupings. They promise a plethora of hand-tinted mid-Victorian fashion plates, intricate eighteenth century engravings of toads and walruses, and decorative Art Nouveau menu cards, all arranged create a visual journey through time.
And, although Rodney will never part with his beloved albums, the scraps on the wall will be for sale at modest prices, which gives you the chance to create a little space for Rodney to go out and acquire new wonders…
In Rodney’s library
Rodney’s screen goddesses
Rodney’s teenage scrapbook
Rodney Archer’s first pay cheque as an actor in 1973, preserved uncashed in his scrapbook
Victorian hand-coloured scrapbook
Edwardian photographic collage in an album
Illustrations of the natural world
Trevor Newton & Rodney Archer with Oscar Wilde’s fireplace
Rodney’s house will be open for visitors on Tuesday 9th, Thursday 11th, Tuesday 16th & Thursday 18th December from 10am until 8pm. Numbers are limited and visits are by appointment only.
To receive an invitation, please email 31Fournierstreet@gmail.com saying when exactly you would like to visit and how many will be in your party.
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