Art Weekend in Richmond Celebrating Elizabeth Locke

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The welcome dinner at “Try Me,” Pam & Bill Royall’s private contemporary art collection for an Art Weekend in Richmond.

A couple of weeks ago, down in Richmond, Virginia, jeweler Elizabeth Locke invited close friends to join her in viewing her extraordinary collection of intricately crafted works of art — precious souvenirs designed for Grand Tour travelers of the mid-18th to late-19th centuries — on display in a new exhibition at the Virginia Museum of Fine Arts. “A Return to the Grand Tour: Micromosaic Jewels from the Collection of Elizabeth Locke” (running through September  2, 2019) perfectly captures Elizabeth’s lifelong passion for one-of-a-kind antiquities: 19th century micromosaics and pietra duras, 18th century Chinese gambling counters, Essex crystals, miniature paintings or antique Japanese porcelain buttons.

The celebratory “Art Weekend in Richmond” began on Friday evening with a dinner for out of town guests at Try-me, a private art and education space in Richmond’s Main Street gallery district housing Pam and Bill Royall’s fabulous private collection of contemporary art.  Wandering among the art displayed were friends of Elizabeth and her husband John Staelin from all over the United States.

L. to r.: Elizabeth Locke; Lucy Bamman.
Pam and Bill Royall.
Guests viewing the collection.
Laurie Volk takes a close look.
Rob Hancock and Courtney Freeman

Stewart Marr and Lucia Henderson.
L. to r.: Joe Henderson and Laurie Volk; Pam Royall wearing a sampling of Elizabeth’s jewels.
Ben Rawles, Susie Rawles, Alison Guilloud, Laura Baker, and Mark Guilloud.
Anne Strachan and Debe Lykes
Jamie Bowles’s necklace.
Jamie Bowles’s bracelet.
Anne Fitzpatrick, Angela Mack (Director of Charleston’s Gibbes Museum), and Jill Almeida.
Brian Shaw, Bill Royall, and Teddy Gottwald.
Jayne Shaw, director of development for VMFA.
Olivia Martin.
John Staelin makes a toast.
Angela Mack, Alex Nyerges, and Catherine Gray.
Lou Hammond and Anne Nitze.

On Saturday morning the same group met for a tour of the new Institute for Contemporary Art at Virginia Commonwealth University.  Designed by Stephen Holl and completed in 2018, the ICA is a  sleek, zinc-clad building near the center of the VCU campus. Director Dominic Willsdon led the group through the current exhibits and explained the concept behind this avant-garde space.

Institute for Contemporary Art at Virginia Commonwealth University, Richmond.
“Monument,” by Rashid Johnson.
Pam Royall.
Joe Henderson and Bill Nitze at the ICA.
Temporary exhibit at ICA.

It was then on to an outdoor picnic in the garden of Malou and Waite Rawles’ beautiful 19th century home on historic Church Hill.  Surrounded by iris and peonies in full bloom, guests were treated to a traditional ‘box lunch’ from Sally Bell’s, which has been producing the carefully packed lunches since 1924.  Parker Larson’s adorable 20-month-old daughter Palmer joined the group at this point and delighted everyone by blowing kisses.

Waite Rawles talking to group in front of his historic Church Hill home, built in 1850.
Parker Bowie Larson, with her daughter Palmer.
Parker Bowie Larson and Alison Katz.
Anne Strachan’s Locke micro mosaic brooch.
Elizabeth’s micro mosaic.

On Saturday afternoon the group divided in half with some guests visiting the Lewis Ginter Botanical Gardens and others visiting the about-to-open American Civil War Museum with Waite Rawles.

Lewis Ginter Botanical Garden conservatory.
One of myriad butterflies in the popular butterfly pavilion.

On Saturday night, Richmond friends of Elizabeth and John’s joined out-of-town guests for the official opening of Elizabeth’s exhibit “A Return to the Grand Tour: Micromosaic Jewels from the Collection of Elizabeth Locke” at the Virginia Museum of Fine Arts.  More than 92 micomosaics are shown in the exhibit, most in settings designed by the jeweler who has been collecting the rare and tiny works of art for more than 30 years.

Many guests were also wearing Elizabeth’s jewels at this festive dinner that took place in the Atrium of the museum.  Elizabeth herself was wearing a micromosaic necklace with matching earrings that she had designed for the evening.  Many guests made a beeline for the VMFA shop to purchase the special scarf that was commissioned by Elizabeth to commemorate the opening of the exhibit.  The exhibit will remain at VMFA until September 2.

John Staelin and Elizabeth Locke.
Exceptional collection of 18th c. micro mosaics.
Micromosaic jewel casket, charm bracelet and a KPM porcelain tea service painted to resemble micro mosaic work.
Locke display in VMFA gift shop.
Ljiljana Milosavlyvic in her new scarf.
Cleo and Michael Gewirz.
Barbara King-Harman and Suzette Denslow
L. to r.: Kitt Bruce; Lucy Bamman and Misha Belikov.
Pam Reynolds, Meg Clement, and Jeanie Gilpin.
Waite Rawles, Bill Royall, and Michael Taylor.
Tressa Reuling.
L. to r.: Elizabeth Locke and James Brayton Hall (Director of Garden Conservancy of America); Ron and Danielle Bradley.
Teddy Gottwald, Anne Fitzpatrick, and Ben Rawles.
Alex Nyerges, Michael Taylor, and Susie Rawles.
L. to r.: Jill Newman and Neil Seiter; Meg Clement and Jay Adams.
Richard and Jill Almeida with Elizabeth and John.

An added pleasure was staying at the Jefferson Hotel where the staff and the environment embodied  the epitome of Southern Hospitality.
Thomas Jefferson in the lobby of the venerable Jefferson Hotel.
Old Pompey, the last alligator to live in the hotel’s fountain pools.

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