Westminster Abbey acquires royal portrait

A portrait of Her Majesty The Queen depicted standing on the Cosmati pavement in Westminster Abbey has been moved to Cheyneygates, one of the spaces at the Abbey available for hire, for day and evening events. Originally available to view as part of a temporary exhibition in the Chapter House, it is now possible to see this extraordinary painting by attending an event held in this space, which was originally part of the Dean’s home.

In a rare act of acquisition, supported by private donors, Westminster Abbey acquired the painting ‘The Coronation Theatre: Portrait of Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II’ by Australian-born, London-based artist Ralph Heimans, for its collection, last year, as part of the celebrations for the 60th anniversary of The Queen’s Coronation.

The ambitious and large-scale 9 x 11ft painting (oil on canvas) depicts The Queen in a unique and highly symbolic setting, the Sacrarium of Westminster Abbey, sometimes described as ‘The Coronation Theatre’.  It is an imagined scene set at night in Westminster Abbey showing The Queen in a moment of solitary reflection and is an exceptional interpretation of the intricate mosaic patterns of the 13th century Cosmati pavement.

The Queen is pictured wearing State Dress, including the crimson velvet Robe of State, which she wore to Her Coronation on 2nd June 1953.

Half day, and day delegate rates are available. For further information on booking Cheyneygates please contact bookings@westminster-abbey.org.

Three new directors join board of TWC to steer 2014 plans

Three talented events professionals join The Westminster Collection’s Board of Directors today as we, London’s only venue marketing consortium exclusively promoting the City of Westminster, ready our plans for investment into direct and digital marketing, face-to-face events and website development through 2014.

Tom Walsh, director of MICE sales at St Ermin’s Hotel, Anna Glazebrook, marketing manager at One Great George Street and Rob Chambers, head of event sales for London Film Museum (LFM), join the board with immediate effect. It’s an exciting trio of appointments for the collection, which has been eager to bring bright, new talent in to support the work of the existing directors, ready for the busy year ahead.

Walsh, Glazebrook and Chambers join existing board directors Robin Parker of Church House Conference Centre, Allyson Hargreaves of St Martin-in-the-Fields, Jonathan Morris of No.11 Cavendish Square, Wendy Greenhalgh and Karin Parkinson of Central Hall Westminster.

Commenting on the new appointments, Allyson Hargreaves, TWC board director and executive director at St Martin-in-the-Fields, said:

“Having the support of TWC members is vital to ensure we achieve our objectives as a collection. Anna, Tom and Rob each bring valuable skills and experience in sales and marketing which will be a great support to the board as we roll out our programme of developments and initiatives for 2014. Anna and Tom have already been instrumental in some of TWC’s successes to date, as active members of TWC’s marketing committee, assisting with projects including our new website launch, our presence at trade shows and our own Destination Westminster venue showcase last September. We are delighted to now welcome Anna, Tom and Rob to the board of directors.”

Click here for more information about The Westminster Collection or to explore the full collection of venues available for hire, click here.

Season’s threads: S/S uniform trends

What colours, prints and cuts are influencing uniform fashions this season and next? Will McCann reveals his tips

The event and fashion industries have been and will always be synonymous with extravagance. Both push boundaries, whether it’s the new must-have colour or print, or the latest delicacy to grace the canapé tray.

When it comes to how we dress our staff in the industry, uniform fashion should always remain a focus of an evening, but perfecting that look can be quite an investment. The visual presentation of staff is regularly overlooked, with standard all-black uniforms, or the white shirt, black tie combo rolled out en masse. How very drab, you might say, but actually, 75% of the time the white shirt, black tie ensemble is perfectly appropriate for an awards dinner, for example, or for a drinks and canapé reception.

Why shouldn’t the industry try and adopt more of the trends falling off our catwalks in the booming British fashion industry, though? One of our clients adopted a new style for all of their staff combining a waistcoat (black or tweed) with a pink knitted tie and a tailored white shirt – it’s on-trend and looks fantastic!

While this has meant giving out new uniform at an event and then monitoring stock, it does look truly brilliant and unique and it distinguishes this client’s staff from other event caterers.

A big trend in the Autumn/Winter 2013/14 season has been the use of checks, squares and my personal favourite, tartan. In fact I’ve just recently purchased the most splendid navy tartan suit for myself. As with all winning trends, tartan’s popularity shows no signs of waning and we can expect to see this edgy fabric continue on into the spring/summer season. Its widespread availability makes it a smart and relevant look for special events.

Forget garish red tartan; think of a more toned down, sartorial version. Navy, burgundy and green tartan fabrics are very smart and they look particularly striking in the form of a waistcoat teamed with a tailored white shirt, or as a tie paired with a tailored shirt. That sort of look exudes class.

Floral is another trend with legs for the summer months – a look we’ll see bloom in hospitality uniform fashions this coming spring season. For a summer wedding or other summer event, use the floral uniform trend to bring an event theme to life. Imagine female waiting staff in fitted white shirts or blouses paired with flowing, floral skirts or more figure-hugging pencil skirts adorned with floral prints. It’s professional, yet has a whimsical air of informality, in contrast with the severe look of a black shirt and black trousers.

And for the die-hard monochrome crew, you’re in luck, because this uniform fashion trend is a keeper, but you should make an active effort to keep it updated. A little alteration here and there to the custom event wardrobe can transform the look and feel of a brigade of event staff and the effectiveness of an event theme.

For a trendier event, consider a cropped or turned up trouser with a sockless shoe in the summer. Tailoring is a must – a fitted shirt and trousers always look splendid and exude elegance. Team with simple accessories, such as a monochrome flower tied around the wrist, a plain cravat or a different coloured tie or trousers, and you have easy and affordable techniques for elevating the look and feel of your all-important staff. Never underestimate their ability to make an event experience memorable.

Will McCann is operations manager for leading events industry staffing agency and training academy Off to Work.

Entries still being accepted for brand new Event Photography Awards 2014

Ever fancied yourself as the next David Bailey CBE? Now’s your chance to make that leap to professional acclaim with the brand new Event Photography Awards (EPAs), judged by such talents as internationally acclaimed photographer David Loftus and award-winning designer Paul Daly.

Inviting entries from amateur and professional photographers, across three categories – Amateur, Professional, Social Media – the EPAs are a celebration of the incredible and diverse nature of the events and hospitality industry, its personality and its influence.

Launched by energetic events staffing agency and training academy Off to Work, whose portfolio of clients includes award-winning catering companies, major sport, music and arts events, acclaimed UK venues and luxury hotels, the EPAs are an opportunity to capture the essence of what makes live events so special.

If you work in events or hospitality, in any discipline, the EPAs are for you, whether you pursue event photography as a professional, full-time career and are keen to scoop the acclaim and publicity opportunities this new award guarantees, or you’re a budding amateur, handy with your digital SLR and with a sharp eye for a stand-out photograph.

A particularly exciting category for bloggers, creative marketing and communications professionals and social wizards is the Social Media photography award. Storytelling with images accounts for reams of dialogue and social sharing on Twitter, Facebook, Pinterest and other sites. Submit your best smartphone or tablet photography, Instagram pictures and photos cleverly modified using editing apps to be in with a chance of winning this imaginative category.

Speaking of the EPAs, Philip Atkins, managing director of Off to Work, said: “I am delighted to call for entries to the Event Photography Awards 2014, which we hope will capture the dramatic settings, stunning occasions, memorable moments and emotive reaction that events deliver. With different categories for professional, amateur and those photos purely used for social media campaigns, we look forward to seeing the huge creativity in the events industry, captured by those who make it all come together.”

All category winners will receive the acclaim of being named Event Photographer of the Year in their respective category, coupled with a great selection of prizes, which include prominent exposure at the Event Photography Awards Exhibition, a gallery of the exceptional photos scooping the individual awards.

The Event Photography Awards Exhibition will run throughout April and May at the London Irish Centre (LIC) in Camden, north London, a charming meetings and events venue much loved by the Irish community for its role played in celebrating Irish culture and arts. The VIP exhibition launch party takes place at the LIC on 8th April 2014.

How to enter

Photographs can be from any event that has taken place between 1st January 2013 and 31st December 2013. To enter, send photographs (hi-res) as JPEGs or TIFs to enter@eventphotographyawards.com and include:

  • Clear indication of which category is being entered
  • Date and location of capture
  • Title and brief description of the venue / event / experience captured
  • Type of equipment used to capture photograph, plus any effects used etc.
  • Name, job title, company, email address and phone number

Entrants are allowed to submit up to THREE photographs in one single category.

Closing date for submissions is Saturday 8th March 2014. Entry to the competition is free.

For more information on the entry process and the criteria for taking part, visit http://www.offtowork.co.uk/event-photography-awards.html.