This year’s Connaught Christmas tree has been designed by the acclaimed British contemporary artist Tracey Emin CBE. The unveiling – by Tracey Emin herself, a longtime friend of the hotel – took place on Thursday 30 November in Carlos Place, marking the start of the festive season on Mount Street in Mayfair.
The tree sends London a message of love in the form of a poem, written by Tracey Emin exclusively for The Connaught. Her words are recreated in coloured lights (christened ‘Connaught purple’), shaped to represent her distinctive handwriting and carefully positioned so that passers-by can read the poem. At the top of the tree – a magnificent 30-foot Norway spruce – sits a glowing angel, a tribute to Tracey’s mother Pam who died last year.
Commenting on her vision for the tree, Tracey said, “I liked the idea of making the Christmas tree a love poem because words are free. The poem relates to the smile and a smile is free to give, it does not have to cost anything.”
The text of the poem is as follows:
What I give to you is all I have.
An Open wanting
Deep in The Layers of my heart
And in Return I catch
The Greatest Gift of All
Tracey Emin CBE
Paddy McKillen, co-owner of The Connaught, said: “We have a longstanding friendship with Tracey, and were honoured that she agreed to share her artistic vision with us at The Connaught this year to celebrate Christmas. I hope her tree will be enjoyed by our guests, our Mayfair neighbours and the whole of London.”
Mayfair is a long-established centre for London’s contemporary art scene, playing host to many prestigious international galleries. It is particularly fitting that The Connaught – which has amassed a significant art collection of its own throughout its 170-year history – should have invited one of Britain’s most significant living artists to create its Christmas tree, in the heart of this historical neighbourhood.
Of her relationship with The Connaught, Tracey Emin says, “The Connaught is one of my favourite hotels in the entire world. I have had wonderful times there, my favourite being when I stayed there with my mum before going to Buckingham Palace to receive my CBE. As my mum and I left the hotel, the staff at The Connaught lined up either side of the lobby to give us a right royal send off.”
With its prominent position in Carlos Place, the tree can be freely viewed by anyone passing The Connaught during the festive period.