The Guild’s Bystander – A celebration of our Freemen at social events in the city

By Spirit de la Mare

Martin Parr – Only Human supported by Gucci

The glitterati and arts enthusiasts were out in full force on Monday night at The National Portrait Gallery for the private viewing of celebrated photographer Martin Parr’s ‘Only Human’ retrospective exhibition. Described by the Telegraph as ‘arguably Britain’s greatest living photographer’, Parr explores one of his most engaging subjects; people.

This major exhibition unites his widely celebrated, iconic images as well as photographs that have never been exhibited before. There are dynamic images from all over the world with a special focus on Parr’s ‘wry’ observations of Britishness. The ‘Brit’s Abroad’ room caused a fair amount of head hanging and was tinged with the good humour so often prevalent in Parr’s photography..

One of Parr’s most Iconic images of the Queen visiting the Hall of The Drapers Livery Company for their 650th Anniversary was also a highlight of the exhibition and caused quite a crowd and thus imminent ‘selfies’ being take of HRH and that fabulous hat.

Guild Gathers

Freemen Rachel Wang and Spirit de la Mare

The Guild’s very own Freeman Rachel Wang was there who is also a Trustee of the National Portrait Gallery, together with her husband Mark Currie. This dynamic couple will also be hosting film screenings at the gallery for their  sparkling new series of 1000 Londoners. The new season: Goodbye Europe the brand new series celebrating European Londoners. This series and much of the work Chocolate Films do is very much in keeping with the Mayor’s ‘London is Open campaign and focuses on inclusivity and celebrates diversity.

Court Assistant Mark Huxley and his wife Jo of the Woolmen explored Parr’s retrospective with gusto and walked away with a fabulous signed book from the artist himself.

Rounding up the Guild’s Freeman gathering, I was naturally drawn to the fabulous Perry family and chatted to them for some time. Artist Grayson Perry, Author Philippa Perry and Illustrator and Author Florence Perry were also featured in one of Parr’s enormous prints hanging against a bright pink backdrop with Tracey Emin, Zadie Smith, Vivienne Westwood and Zandra Rhodes for company

This was a truly excellent, diverse and exciting exhibition and it was wonderful to see the Draper’s Hall and Livery companies represented in some way within Parr’s work as well as in person. It is always a special evening when seeing fellow Freeman out and about. Fellowship is a key part of our Guild life and as such we actively encourage networking at both Guild events and other exciting occasions around the City

Next stop – The Guild Spring Breakfast, where we will be welcoming the Belgian Ambassador matter of days after the Brexit deadline has passed. That will no doubt make for some interesting debate. Have you got your ticket yet? BOOK HERE

The Guild’s Bystander Series: Have you been out at an event with fellow Guild Freemen? Then we’d love to hear about it. Feel free to write your own blog and send it and any pictures you would like to include to Mark Huxley at

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