Favourite Things: Clare Grove

By Fiona Ralph

Illustrator Clare Grove has painted her favourite things for Viva — and shoes are just one of them.

Writer and illustrator Clare Grove. Photo / Babiche Martins.
Writer and illustrator Clare Grove. Photo / Babiche Martins.

It's not the most obvious subject matter for a children's book, but one that many mothers - and their children - will relate to. My Mummy Loves Shoes is Clare Grove's ode to an extensive shoe collection and her daughters' love for dressing up in them.

Her first book is beautifully illustrated, detailing the fantastical colours and textures of some of her 200 pairs of shoes, including designs by Christian Louboutin, Manolo Blahnik and Jimmy Choo.

"I wanted to create a special book with beautiful illustrations that children and parents, particularly mothers, could enjoy together," she says. "Finding the hidden little red shoe has been a huge success with the young ones," she adds about the Where's Wally-style shoe hunt that runs through the book.

She is currently working on her next two books, dedicated to some of her other passions: My Mummy Loves Bags and My Mummy Loves Hats.

Before having children, Grove worked as an illustrator in London, focusing on textile and stationery design. She also illustrates for a number of commissioned projects.

"Writing and illustrating my first children's book has been one of my greatest achievements - having my children tops the list," she says.

Grove lives in a villa in Herne Bay with her husband Daniel, three children Sienna, Annabel and Ben, and her extensive collections.


MY FAVOURITE THINGS

Helmut Newton print by Clare Grove.
Helmut Newton print by Clare Grove.


1. Helmut Newton print
This image, Le Smoking by Helmut
Newton, is from my favourite book, Sumo, which I was lucky enough to find on eBay. The book is so huge it comes with its own Perspex stand. I am particularly fond of the iconic black and white portrait and fashion images he took.


Antique pots by Clare Grove.
Antique pots by Clare Grove.


2. Antique pots
These were left to me by my granny, who passed away last year. She always had them displayed in her house and now whenever I look at them I think of her.


Vintage bag collection by Clare Grove.
Vintage bag collection by Clare Grove.


3. Vintage bag collection
My bag collection hangs on our bedroom wall. Each one has been given to me by family or friends, or found on my travels. I love anything with a sense of history or that tells a story.


Christian Louboutin shoes by Clare Grove.
Christian Louboutin shoes by Clare Grove.


4. Christian Louboutin shoes
I treated myself to these sparkling Pigalles by Christian Louboutin for my sister's wedding last year. They are the most gorgeous shade of midnight blue and provided me with the inspiration for the "sparkly ones" pages in my book.


Glass vases by Clare Grove.
Glass vases by Clare Grove.


5. Glass vases
I have a passion for glass and am especially drawn to jewel-coloured tones. While working in London I was fortunate enough to work for Tricia Guild at Designers Guild. She has an incredible eye for colour and attention to detail. There were always bud vases with elegant single stemmed flowers dotted throughout the office, even in the loos.


- VIVA

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