Palisades: Pop goes the easel

Largely forgotten these days, Palisades was notable among Swinging London boutiques because its roots lay not only in style and music but more significantly in the British pop art explosion of the early 60s.

As featured in THE LOOK, Palisades was opened by Pauline Fordham in the spring of 1965 with backing from theatrical impresario Michael White, artist David Hockney and actor/writer/literary agent Clive Goodwin.

//The Evening Standard May 3 1965//

Fordham promised  “all the usual way out designers (including Quorum, Caroline Charles and Tuffin & Foale, for whom she had previously worked), and the Palisades sign and interior was the creation of Derek Boshier, one of Britain’s foremost artists who had featured in Ken Russell’s groundbreaking BBC documentary Pop Goes The Easel alongside Peter PhillipsPeter Blake and Pauline Boty.

//Stills from Pop Goes The Easel//

Broadcast on March 25 1962, Pop Goes The Easel is both a delicious period piece and an important document of the British pop art movement. The lives and interests of the gang of four are examined with trademark Russell flourishes:  the gifted Boty (who was to die of leukemia in 1966) is seen in a dream sequence, while others enjoy a typical Saturday, looking through American comics in Portobello market, watching a wrestling match and twisting to Chubby Checker at their friend Dick Smith’s new warehouse studio in Old Street (also frugging furiously are Celia BirtwellMo McDermottRoddy Maude-Roxby, and the newly-blond David Hockney).

//From the invite to Boshier’s 1966 show at the Robert Fraser Gallery//

According to interior designer David Mlinaric “Palisades had incredibly beautiful things, but didn’t last very long. Pauline Fordham was a colourful character. The journalist Erica Crome used to refer to that kind of thing as fancy dress.”At Palisades, Fordham also sold jewellery while Moya Bowler – the woman some credit with reviving the platform sole – designed “some very hip shoes – mauve and yellow suede and all that”.

Fordham  features in Time magazine’s Swinging London special of April 1966 spotted wearing a silver metallic coat at a cocktail party at Robert Fraser‘s Duke Street  gallery for  the opening of Boshier’s show at Groovy Bob’s that year, just one of the stepping stones on the path to the international recognition he enjoys today.

//Boshier set designs for David Bowie’s 1978 world tour//

Along the way he has worked with David Bowie, collaborating with photographer Duffy on the sleeve for 1979 album Lodger and also designing sets for the singer’s 1978 tour. The Let’s Dance album also includes a Boshier projection and line drawings.

In 1979 Boshier bumped into a former student, The Clash frontman Joe Strummer. A week later the band’s manager Caroline Coon – another former student of Boshier’s – called and commissioned a songbook which remains one of the group’s greatest visual documents.

//Pages from The Clash 2nd Songbook//

Californian resident Boshier is a visiting member of UCLA’s Department of Art and is currently preparing an exhibition of new work at Flowers Central in London’s Cork Street this autumn.

Some time after Palisades closed Pauline Fordham was to feature among the names on Malcolm McLaren’s SEX shop manifesto t-shirt You’re Gonna Wake Up One Morning And Know What Side Of The Bed You’ve Been Lying On.

Steve Thornton said,

April 4, 2010 @ 6:29 am

Some time after Palisades closed Pauline Fordham was to feature among the names on Malcolm McLaren’s SEX shop manifesto t-shirt You’re Gonna Wake Up One Morning And Know What Side Of The Bed You’ve Been Lying On.

Do you know of a contact for Pauline Fordham?

She was a good friend of mine in Positano, Italy, where I worked as a DJ

The last time I saw her was in London in ’71

I have been in Australia since ’72

Hope you can help,



[…] Moped, Callow’s hands channeled the creative energy source in Barney’s design for the Derek Boshier-curated group exhibition Lives at The Hayward in […]

Joey Steele 1962 said,

March 1, 2013 @ 10:01 pm

Would like to find Pauline now. Haven’t seen her since 1963/4

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