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Travel Award Plans

I will set out my plans for the travel award in more detail soon, but for now here's the text of the the National Portrait Gallery's press release which gives it you in summary:

This year the BP Travel Award has been awarded to Bristol-based Dutch Artist Sophie Ploeg. Having studied Art & Architectural History at universities in The Netherlands  Ploeg, 39, won for her proposal to explore how fashion and lace was represented in 17th century art, as well as in modern applications. She will visit famous lace-making centres such as Bruges in Belgium and Honiton in Devon, modern lace makers and artists, antique lace collections and 17th century art collections, as well as undertake  literary research. Sophie's final work will be inspired by her findings and will be displayed in the BP Portrait Award 2014 exhibition.

Of course I have already been working within my theme of lace and textiles extensively, but this award will give me the opportunity to move things into the fast lane and dig deeper.

I will be doing a lot of literary research (since I am no fashion historian - yet) and will visit art collections with a particular emphasis on early 17th Century portraiture. I will spend plenty of time at the National Portrait Gallery itself, the Tate Britain, the newly opened Rijksmuseum in Amsterdam, Frans Hals Museum in Haarlem but will also explore lace centres such as Bruges and Honiton. I will study current lace makers, textile artists and other people inspired by antique lace to help me fire my imagination and work towards my own interpretation of fabrics and lace within 17th century portraiture. An interpretation that, I hope, will have meaning for us today and touch upon topics of theatricality, womanhood, femininity and childhood. Those are big topics and I don't want to get expectations up too high, but they are topics that feature in my life and in my work already, or so I believe.

detail of a painting by Johannes Verspronck, Dutch 17th Century
Inspiring artist Belinda Durrant, Goldcrest Corset, made from papercut,
ribbon and gorgeous little pastel drawing at the bottom of the corset/cage.
Detail of a work in progress with Valenciennes Lace and a (Larkin-esque) rug
Sophie Ploeg

Snow Flake Children, Sophie Ploeg, oil. 


  1. Congratulations Sophie, I've signed up and will follow with interest. Hope you have a really enjoyable year

  2. Thank you Nigel! I am sure my year will be fabulous, stressfull, busy and amazing...;)

  3. Sounds really very interesting Sophie, you will absolutely thrive. Its such a great feeling to know that the work you put in will be exhibited on such a platform. Another textiles travel award! :)

  4. Great to hear from you Jo, and thank you! Yes...more textiles....loved your project. if you have any tips..;)

  5. Have you thought about coming up here? There is a long history of lace making in Ayrshire and there are still some going - - The Burrell Collection has quite a lot of the stuff (and a great Rembrandt self portrait with lace collar) and an exhibition on till december focusing on textiles - Can do a wee bit more research if you like . . .

  6. Jane, thank you so much for this. I did not reply earlier as I was in London and wanted to research your suggestions. Great idea. The textiles in the Burrell collection seem sumptuous, rare and gorgeous! Really lovely. Will definitely consider visiting, there's so much to choose from! Will try and find out what they have for lace besides these great embroidered pieces. Thanks again.

  7. Nae Prob as we say up here! If you do come up, remember Edinburgh pretty close. Also, there is a big warehouse at where you can make an appointment to look at whatever interests you - would imagine there is plenty there!


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