The Stanley Picker Trust
Born in New York in 1913, Stanley Picker arrived in England after completing his studies at Harvard University, to take over his father’s cosmetics business. The beauty brands developed by the company – among them Gala, Miners, Mary Quant and Outdoor Girl – each epitomised their era and created a wealth that permitted Stanley Picker to indulge his greatest love, the arts.
His impeccable late-modernist house in Kingston upon Thames was designed in 1968 by architect Kenneth Wood, for Stanley to live amongst his growing collection of art and design objects. When he retired in 1976 he devoted more time to his interest in art, and built a private gallery in his garden dedicated to the more important items of his growing collection. In 1977 he established the Stanley Picker Trust to support the education and careers of young arts practitioners. Stanley died in 1982 leaving in the Trust, the House and its collection, an enduring legacy that ensures his passion for the arts lives on to this day.
In 1997 the Stanley Picker Gallery at Kingston University was established with the generous financial support of the Trust and the ambitious vision of Professor Bruce Russell. Two Stanley Picker Fellowships are appointed by the Gallery each year to innovative practitioners in the fields of Fine Art and Design.
In recent years, Stanley Picker Fellows Elizabeth Price and Ab Rogers Design have both taken the Picker House and its collection as a direct point of inspiration for their respective Fellowship commissions, images and information about which can be found in the Exhibitions archive of this site.
A fully illustrated book The Picker House and Collection: A Late 1960s Home for Modern Art and Design - with essays by Jonathan Black, David Falkner, Fiona Fisher, Fran Lloyd, Rebecca Preston and Penny Sparke – was published by Philip Wilson Publishers in 2012, marking thirty years since the death of Stanley Picker in 1982. Architect Kenneth Wood is also the subject of an extensive research project on his wider practice, funded by the Arts & Humanities Research Council.
The Picker House and its collection, the Stanley Picker Gallery and Fellowships at Kingston University, and the Trust’s continued support for the careers of young arts practitioners, all stand as a living memorial to a unique and generous man.
A Modernist in Suburbia (below) is a short film by Fiona Fisher and Gilly Booth/hijack which examines architect Kenneth Wood’s wider career, created to accompany The Occupants exhibition at the Stanley Picker Gallery in 2012.
Visiting The Picker House & Collection
Stanley Picker’s house and private gallery is open for a limited number of pre-arranged group visits on weekdays from April to October, with visiting parties no larger than 12 people at any one time. For further information please contact Stanley Picker Trust Administrator on 020 8942 4542 (part time) or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Please note, the house which was designed for it’s location on the side of a hill, is split level and there is no lift. The garden, the main areas of the house and the gallery can be accessed only by a series of steep stairs. For visitors with limited mobility it is therefore regrettable that no access can be given beyond the entrance level of the house and due to the nature of the property, we very much regret there are no disabled facilities on site. Unfortunately, children under the age of 10 cannot be admitted to the house, gallery or garden.
Above image: Elizabeth Price (Stanley Picker Fellow Fine Art) At The House of Mr X (video still) 2005. Filmed on location at the Picker House Kingston upon Thames. Courtesy the Artist and MOT International