November 24 2011
Mark C O’Flaherty
At some point in the not too distant future, the Museum of British Folklore will open its doors in an as yet unconfirmed location. The project, currently engaged in a two-year exhibition programme while searching for a home, is a labour of love for the Museum’s director and founder, Simon Costin, an esteemed art director and set designer in the world of fashion. Celebrated for creating lavish events for the likes of Lanvin and Hermès, he has also been raising the profile of his Museum over the past two years with roaming exhibitions and attention-grabbing “happenings”, the latest of which is the opening of a very unique kind of festive pop-up shop in London, from November 26, named The Paper Hare.
Costin’s pagan-chic store is taking over what was once a Chinese restaurant close to the V&A. He has created a series of white spaces, including a screening room, that will act as part exhibition venue for artefacts and curios related to yule and British folklore, and part exclusive store for art and craftwork.
The festive season is ideal for the venture: “The festival of Yule is a very ancient, pre-Christian one,” Costin says. “Folklorists believe that the burning of the yule log was imported from Flanders in Belgium and is derived from sixth-century German paganism. And Father Christmas has been known in Britain as far back as the late 1300s.”
As well as Museum of British Folklore memorabilia, among the items on sale will be prints (priced £75-£320), by Mark Hearld, Clare Curtis, Jonny Hannah and Hannah Firmin (daughter of Peter Firmin, co-creator of the Clangers and Bagpuss), vivid, pictorial stained-glass panels by Tamsin Abbott (third picture, £160-£290), papier-mâché animal heads by Emily Warren (first picture, £145-£220) and assemblages by Contemporary British Vernacular (second picture, £65-£1,500).