Sian Phillips, Customer Service Adviser

 

Sian Phillips, Customer Service Adviser - London
Sian Phillips, Customer Service Adviser

What's your role at Bridgeman Images?

I've been at Bridgeman for over a decade. In that time I've worked in finance, admin, cataloguing - you name it! I now work in Customer service for the London sales team. I look after all the academic and 'one-off' clients. These are mostly authors researching and licensing images for their next book. I also supply admin and picture research support to the team.

What do you love most about your job? 

My clients are the best part of the job. Most of them have never licensed images before. I really enjoy helping them through the process. They are clearly passionate about the subjects they write about, which extends to the pictures they use. Because of them, I get to see a new picture every day. Even after all my years at Bridgeman Images, it's amazing to think of how much of the archive I haven't yet seen. 

What misconceptions do people most commonly have about the archive?

That the images we have on the website are all we can supply. When a client has been searching high and low for an image without success, it's very satisfying to tell them we can source it from our suppliers. 

 

Sian's top picks from our archive

Shiva Nataraja

This beautiful sculpture could be credited with changing my life. After seeing it, I decided to pack myself off to India for two months. So began one of the most significant experiences of my life.

That's the power of art. It can open your eyes to a world and a way of thinking that up until that moment you've been entirely ignorant of. The sensual grace of the Chola bronzes were a revelation to me. The fact that people of the 10th century could render their gods and goddesses in such an earthy and expressive way was beyond anything I had seen before. 

The Bridgeman Images archive has such a wealth of South Asian art in all its forms, I don't have to go to India to feed my appetite for it. Although…

 Nataraja, Shiva as the Lord of Dance, 1000s. South India, Tamil Nadu, Chola period (bronze), Indian School / Cleveland Museum of Art, OH, USA / Bridgeman Images
 Nataraja, Shiva as the Lord of Dance, 1000s. South India, Tamil Nadu, Chola period (bronze), Indian School / Cleveland Museum of Art, OH, USA / Bridgeman Images

 

Portrait of a Gentleman in his Study

This image reminds me of a lovely email exchange with one of my clients. They were investigating if the rose petals symbolised a cure for melancholy, as listed in Robert Burton's book 'The Anatomy of Melancholy' (dated 1621). This made me look at the painting with fresh eyes. The rich symbolism in art is endlessly fascinating. Hearing a client's ideas is one of the great perks of the job. 

Portrait of a Gentleman in his Study, 1528-30 (oil on canvas) (post restoration), Lorenzo Lotto / Galleria dell' Accademia, Venice, Italy / Bridgeman Images
Portrait of a Gentleman in his Study, 1528-30 (oil on canvas) (post restoration), Lorenzo Lotto / Galleria dell' Accademia, Venice, Italy / Bridgeman Images

 

T'ai Chi class in East Malaysia

Anyone who knows me would not be surprised I've chosen this clip! As a T'ai Chi practitioner, I'm always boring people about the transformative power of this ancient martial art. This clip of a T'ai Chi master and his students shows a grace and elegance of movement I can only dream of. They make it look so easy. Believe me, it isn't!

 

One of the great things about the Bridgeman Images archive is there really is something for everyone. Whatever your passion, there's bound to be something of interest to you.

T'ai chi class in East Malaysia, Borneo - wide shot, rainforest in background / Courtesy of Creation Company Films Ltd / Bridgeman Footage
T'ai chi class in East Malaysia, Borneo - wide shot, rainforest in background / Courtesy of Creation Company Films Ltd / Bridgeman Footage

 

Nine Dragons

These two dragons are actually part of a much longer scroll painting. Seeing the whole thing was a revelatory moment. The energy and vibrancy of the nine roiling, writhing dragons is certainly something to behold.

The refinement and beauty of Chinese painting never ceases to amaze me. This is particularly true of the work of the Southern Song dynasty, from which this scroll dates. I love how you can see the creatures' expressive faces so clearly. Each definitely has their own distinct personality.

Nine Dragons, Southern Song dynasty, China, 1244 (detail) (ink & touches of red on paper), Chen Rong / Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, Massachusetts, USA / Francis Gardner Curtis Fund / Bridgeman Images
Nine Dragons, Southern Song dynasty, China, 1244 (detail) (ink & touches of red on paper), Chen Rong / Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, Massachusetts, USA / Francis Gardner Curtis Fund / Bridgeman Images

 

Caper, Salmon to White

If I had to choose a favourite contemporary artist, James Turrell would probably be my choice. His hypnotic work with light transports you to another dimension. This work is from the Museum of Fine Arts in Houston, whom we represent. Their collection is outstanding and the photography is excellent. You can feel the pulsating power of this work even through the high-resolution file!

Caper, Salmon to White: Wedgework, 2000 (LED and fluorescent light), James Turrell / Museum of Fine Arts, Houston, Texas, USA / Museum purchase funded by the estate of Isabel B. Wilson in memory of Peter C. Marzio / Bridgeman Images
Caper, Salmon to White: Wedgework, 2000 (LED and fluorescent light), James Turrell / Museum of Fine Arts, Houston, Texas, USA / Museum purchase funded by the estate of Isabel B. Wilson in memory of Peter C. Marzio / Bridgeman Images 
 

#Untitled 20

Agnes Martin is another favourite artist of mine. Her work, seemingly so simple, actually speaks to me of infinite complexity. Given that she suffered from schizophrenia, you have to admire the calming, meditative quality of her work. What would have become of her if she hadn't learnt to express herself in that way? I know it's a cliché, but we would all be a lot poorer without art in our lives.

Untitled #20, 1974, Agnes Martin / Private Collection / Bridgeman Images
Untitled #20, 1974, Agnes Martin / Private Collection / Bridgeman Images

 

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