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Behind the scenes at Oxford Literary Festival

Posted By Tom on October 25, 2012

Gallery Director Aidan Meller meets Andrew Marr

Meller Merceux’s recent exhibition of Royal Art was organised in collaboration with London’s Belgravia Gallery, sponsor of the visual arts strand of Oxford Literary Festival. Over the course of the festival this partnership saw Belgravia Director Anna Hunter and Meller Merceux Director Aidan Meller exploring links between the visual arts and
literature as they introduced talks by some of the publishing world’s
leading lights.

One such event featured Professor Martin Kemp, launching his new book Christ to Coke: How Image Becomes Icon. Logos and branding are two of the most noticeable obsessions in our intensely visual culture, but Kemp shows how much the phenomenon has in common with the lasting power of art historical images such as the Mona Lisa. Supported by the engrossing and surprising tales which lay behind the endurance of icons like Che Guevara, this is a penetrating enquiry into the images which make their mark on the collective imagination.

With Anna Hunter, Director of the Belgravia Gallery

Also author of Leonardo, Professor Kemp proved the ideal interlocutor for Lucille Turner at the launch of Giaconda, also introduced by Aidan Meller. Gioconda is the first novel to recount the development of polymath Leonardo da Vinci from isolated only child to servant of the controlling Duke of Milan. The conversation shed new light on Leonardo’s early life and explored the personal significance to him of the Mona Lisa. Meller also introduced Merlin Waterson, formerly of the National Trust, as he presented A Noble Thing, an account of the motives of those who donate their property to that revered institution.

The highly popular Royal Art exhibition at Meller Merceux took on particular resonance as Andrew Marr launched The Diamond Queen: Elizabeth II and Her People at the festival’s closing dinner. Here he tells the story of our indefatigable monarch as she celebrates the sixtieth anniversary of her coronation. Aidan Meller was in attendance at Christ Church’s Great Hall to enjoy a menu which included Mock Turtle Soup and Hedgehog-shaped bread. This was a fine way to pay tribute to one of Christ Church’s greatest alumni, Lewis Carroll, and indeed to round off what was a stunningly successful literary festival.

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