The Edit

Christian Furr’s artwork at The Dorchester

The Dorchester
Famed as the youngest artist commissioned to paint an official portrait of Queen Elizabeth II, we commissioned Christian Furr to create a striking painting to adorn our newly renovated lobby at The Dorchester – here’s what happened next.

When we decided a large artwork would be just the thing for our newly renovated lobby at The Dorchester, we turned to contemporary, British artist Christian Furr. His specially commissioned Hyde Park painting contains many themes and stories, celebrating the nature that surrounds the hotel. Hear all about the eye-catching artwork from the artist himself.

My latest grand-scale oil painting invites you into a timeless scene on the edge of the Serpentine, in London’s in Hyde Park. A longer glance, however, reveals a modern cast of characters that are distinctly in the here and now. My aim is to bring together elements of nature and human activity spanning the past, present and future. There are also numerous hidden elements to discover, including runners on the bank, rowers in the river, and the Serpentine Bridge in the distance. In the foreground, The Dorchester Rose, a unique variety created for the hotel, takes pride of place.

I’ve really enjoyed working with The Dorchester to create an oil-painting for the left-hand side of the lobby. I wanted this grand-scale piece to act as a contrast to its setting and bring the outside in.

Christian Furr, Artist

The Dorchester overlooks the majestic trees of Hyde Park, linking it with nature. In my composition, the overhanging sweet horse chestnut tree plays a prominent role, protectively sheltering everything else and suggesting strength and growth. The golden tones of the leaves balance with the pale blues and greys of the sky, giving a pleasing blend of both warm and cool colours, just as Mother Nature does.

I visited Hyde Park many times looking for inspiration, particularly in the early mornings and at twilight when the light is at its most beautiful. I strolled through every part of the park to discover all that it has to offer, taking photos along the way to act as reference points. I also visited The Dorchester’s Penthouse and Pavilion designed by Oliver Messel, where the colours and design elements inspired me.

I knew I wanted The Dorchester’s painting to encompass the joy of all the seasons in Hyde Park. Look and you’ll see spring flowers, summer activities on the lake, an autumnal tree and a wintery sky. As nature changes it offers different qualities, and it felt important for me to capture a flavour of all of them in this one image.

Another aspect I wanted for this painting was for it to have a dreamlike quality. Some paintings are like entering a dream and, like dreams, can have a powerful lasting effect. In The Tempest, Shakespeare writes about ‘Art to enchant’ and makes reference to bees, so I wrote my own Shakespeare-inspired verse, which you’ll find nestled in the roses pictured in the painting. The verse says, “Wherever the bee is, there I’ll be.”

This is the biggest artwork I’ve ever painted and it has provided me with a great opportunity for creating something quite different. I want this artwork to leave an impression on everyone who sees it. An after effect if you like, and then, when they see it a second time, find things they didn’t see before.

We warmly welcome you to come and experience the recent renovations at The Dorchester, including Christian Furr’s striking artwork in the lobby.