John Wesley Hardrick
G. Bruce Boyer
I give London art tours of St. James’s galleries, history tours about British monarchs in St. James’s, and men’s fashion heritage tours of Jermyn Street and Savile Row. I also give theatre talks.
To support my work at Jermyn Street Theatre, I began giving the tour called the Jermyn Street Experience in April 2014. The tour so stimulated my interest in the history of men’s fashion that I decided to research the history of Savile Row — its houses, traditional shops, its royal and Hollywood celebrities and, most importantly, what those celebrities wore and why they wore it. Since January 2015, I have offered the Savile Row Tour, which looks deeply into the craft of fine tailoring.
But there is much more to London’s St. James’s, and for years I have longed to put together tours of the art and antique galleries on Duke, Ryder, Bury and King streets, and likewise tell the 18th-century story of how the great British public finally gained access to the masterworks of European art and learned — awkwardly at times — to love their own painters. The Pall Mall Art Tour takes small groups around galleries displaying 16th-century armour, 17th-century Italian paintings, 18th-century porcelain and fine furniture, 19th-century French paintings and British maps, plus modern installations, abstract and pop art, political cartoons and children’s book illustrations.
The latest tour is the Royal St. James’s Tour, dedicated to fleshing out the most colourful and surprising bits of history about British Royal Family members’ various doings in St. James’s, from Henry VIII to the present day. With this tour, I am blessed by the fact that local galleries and shops have been supportive, their royal portraits and royal warrants providing concrete items that give a sense of a certain kind of grandeur.
Mastering the deep history of a few streets plus the individual shop and gallery histories and the histories of the exquisite products on offer is proving an exciting, ongoing challenge. I very much hope that the opportunity my tours provide to learn more about the St. James’s area.
Regarding my past theatre work, I have given talks and written articles and programme notes on dozens of plays, all of which are listed here under Theatre Talks. My programme notes are published here in full as well. I would love to hold casual introductory discussions on plays currently produced at any theatre in London with private groups (as few as one or two people even). Simply contact me and ask.