October 19 2010
Imagine a design-savvy curator visiting 150 museum and gallery shops, plus numerous small, design-led boutiques, to gather up their high-quality wares on your behalf, and you’ll get an idea of the depth and breadth of The Culture Label’s lively collection.
Some, such as the shops at Tate, the V&A, Saatchi Gallery and British Museum, are well established, while others, such as Matt’s Gallery or Cabaret Mechanical Theatre, are less well known. Either way, it’s unlikely you’ll find many of these gifts in the high street. And the great thing is that there’s no need to head to Oxford, say, to stock up on the Bodleian Library’s art deco leather journals (£35), or to travel to Colette in Paris to buy the latest eco-friendly Baggu (£12.99). And there is plenty for all tastes, from The Royal Parks Foundation’s “Leaves” decorated deckchair (£86), to the V&A’s eye-popping Bow Brooch by Cilea in fuchsia (£90).
Functionality is frequently combined with fun – as in the Courtauld Gallery’s Torso tea towel (£5) – and there’s often a fresh take on old themes such as Michelle Mason’s felt Christmas-tree decorations shaped like London buses and taxis (second picture, £12; available from November). Quirky new ideas include leopard-skin helmet covers (third picture, £27.50), a Cheryl Cole paper-doll kit (£16) and a Pimpernel porcelain milk carton-shaped jug (first picture, £45). Even adults might be tempted by the diverse gifts for children with a Retro Space Hopper (£20), V2 Robot bank (£25), Kitchen Chemistry Set (£20) and New Scotland Yard Forensic Kit (£35), all from the Science Museum.
The site’s occasional exclusives currently include chic, silk-screened cushions decorated with graphic pineapple designs (fourth picture, from £45), while limited editions are also available, such as the charming Mr Fox linocut (£75) by illustrator Christopher Brown. A new initiative this month offers cost-spreading, interest-free loans under the Own Art scheme for purchases from The Art Store’s selection of contemporary art, jewellery, crafts and furniture from 25 UK galleries.
Orders are dispatched direct from the museum shops, so don’t be surprised to receive items separately with a multiple checkout purchase.