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In the Picture with Octavia Dickinson

In the Picture with Octavia Dickinson
What was the first piece of art you bought and what made you buy it?

I am very lucky to have a father who is an art dealer, who encouraged our collecting habits from a young age, so for birthdays and Christmases, once we had grown out of wanting fisher price kitchens and dolls, would give us artwork.  But the first piece that I bought myself was a David Hockney print of the artist’s dachshunds Boogie and Stanley. I am a dachshund lover and had always admired Hockney’s drawings and prints of his dogs, owning the book about them – he used to leave paper all around his house so when the dogs decided to have a lie down, he could rush to the nearest piece of paper and draw them; dachshunds are notorious for not doing what an owner asks!  

Art for Charity Collective | Octavia Dickinson

How would you advise someone who would like to start collecting art or furniture and what do they need to look out for?

Firstly, buy things that you love, now what you think you should. If you love it, then even if it “goes out of fashion”, you will still be happy to have it in your house. If you can, try and always see the item you want to buy in real life, and if you can’t, ask for lots of photos and a condition report.  And always check the size, images can be deceiving! 

Top 3 things you can’t live without?

My little pillow which I have had since birth. I had hundreds of different pillow cases that I have collected over the years. I take the pillow everywhere with me.

A bath. I am and will always be a bath girl. I like to have one in the morning and one in the evening if I can, even if it is a quick one. 

Tangerines. I have an addiction. There always seems to be at least one in my handbag. They make the winter months bearable.

Traditional frames or contemporary frames?

I like a mixture of both. More important, is how the item is framed in the sense that a frame can make or break a picture. You need to consider the framing as hard as you consider the artwork. 

Top 3 ACC artists to watch and why?

Beatrice Hasell Mccosh – has such a wonderful sense of colour and line, her work is incredibly emotionally satisfying and aesthetically pleasing. There is a slight, more English and feminine, nod to the American Abstractionists about her work. 

You lose yourself in the magical work of Milicent Straker’s prints. They depict a dreamlike world, of colour and texture. Her works are incredibly versatile as they have some sort of old worldliness about them but presented in a modern, fresh way. 

Art for Charity Collective | Octavia Dickinson - Millicent Straker

My sister Phoebe Dickinson – I know that I am biased, but she is amazing. She has such talent, she can depict a feeling or mood in a brushstroke, and her recent large-scale portraits show her incredible ability to paint textiles which obviously I am a big fan of. 

Art for Charity Collective | Octavia Dickinson - Phoebe Dickinson

What's your favourite interior design hack?

I was told recently by a brilliant architect that I am working with, that when you don’t have the money to add a cornice, getting some round wooden mop handles and applying them to where the walls meet the ceilings, gives a wonderfully cheap way to soften the corners. 

Do you use photography a lot in your interiors, and what makes it such a brilliant medium?

I love using photographs in my interiors. Photographs have this immediacy about them and a sharpness which gives a bit of modernity to my often quite traditional interiors.  I think the best interiors are the ones where the eye is made to jump, to be constantly entertained, being pulled in different directions by different things of interest, a feast for the eyes. I do this in my projects by juxtaposing materials, textures, colours, patterns, and art.  I have a lot of clients who own inherited art which they see as unfashionable, but mixing this with photographs can bring them alive.  I also love that you can play with size with photographs, and this comes in especially handy when you need a work for a particular space. 

Can you share your 4 favourite photographs and why?

Anouska BeckwithDo not be lonely  - this is magical and dreamlike. I could look at this for hours. I would hang it in my bathroom.

Art for Charity Collective | Anouska Beckwith - Do Not be Lonely

Jamie WrightThe Hands of Jodhpur Flower Market – This photograph is full of life, the colours burst from the page. The flowers look so tactile.

Art for Charity Collective | Octavia Dickinson on Jamie Wright

Tommy Clarke - Pink II – I find this work incredibly peaceful, as well as intriguing.

Art for Charity Collective | Tommy Clarke Pink II

All of Claudia Legge’s photographs! - I’ve used her work a lot

Art for Charity Collective | Claudia Legge

What makes you love Claudia’s work, and can you tell us why you chose it in this scheme?

Claudia’s work brings such joy – the colours are so vivid and I think the works exude fun and happiness.  I bought this small one at one of her first exhibitions in Holland Park. I fell in love with it instantaneously, and I also thought that the paper she printed them on was so lovely – it has a wonderful watercolour paper-like quality. I think the colours work so well in this scheme, and it is the perfect work to wake up to.

I placed the 'Oranges' in my kitchen as again I loved the play of colours against the blue grass cloth walls and orangey red leather sofa.

Art for Charity Collective | Phoebe Dickinson
Can you suggest some different ways to style Claudia’s photographs?

Claudia’s photographs are incredibly versatile, and there is such variety in her work at the same time as being incredibly coherent. You could take a selection of her works and frame them differently to make a collage on one wall, but also pick three works and frame them in matching frames and create a triptych.  Her photographs work well on both a large and small scale. I like using a box frame with the photo floating on a mount, as it really lets the work and paper speak. They can also hold their own amongst older art. I think rooms look so much more alive and lived in when there is a juxtaposition of styles and ages of artworks and furniture. Place one of Claudia’s photographs next to an old master oil painting, or a black and white etching and see how they compliment each other in their differences. 

Art for Charity Collective | Octavia Dickinson on Claudia Legge

Massive thanks to Octavia for taking the time to chat to us! You can follow her on Instagram here and her new Collection here.



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