Sculptor Ann Christopher invites us into her favourite room

ann christopher ra studio
A room of one’s own: Ann Christopher, sculptorAnn Christopher

From 18 June to 18 August, the Royal Academy will open the 256th annual Summer Exhibition, a unique celebration of contemporary art and architecture which, this year, is coordinated by British sculptor Ann Christopher RA. Ann’s own practice draws on decades of visual enquiry, producing elegant and powerful sculpture and works on paper – she’s known for her almost architectural creations. This year, Ann was also selected to create a limited-edition sculpture called The Charlotte for the winner of the inaugural ‘Women’s Prize for Non-Fiction’, who will be announced on 13 June. Here, in the first of a new online-only franchise for ELLE Decoration, she takes us inside the room that means the most to her…

ann christopher ra in her studio
Steve Russell Studio

My favourite room is in my house – I am fortunate to have two external studios for sculpture and two workspaces within my house. One for drawing and this one, which is the largest, and has a wonderful feeling of space and light.

It is basically an eight-metre cube and open to the apex; a wonderful open space within a converted barn with a strip of windows in the roof and various original openings – now windows – at odd heights. It is predictably painted white, with a repurposed gymnasium floor with now random coloured lines.

It’s very much a live/work space with four plan chests, numerous sculpture plinths, framed drawings and packed up sculptures. The domestic bit is a 4.5-metre dining table given to us by Elisabeth Frink – because, she said, ‘you are the only friends with a house big enough for it’. Most of this table is covered with art books, catalogues and working drawings – currently some provisional layouts for the two rooms that I am curating in the RA’s Summer Exhibition this year.

ann christopher ra studio
Ann Christopher

There are many lights – a couple of classic modern Italian lights, a site light on a tripod, an Anglepoise, a 1950s auction purchase. I guess we collect lights but rarely have more than one or two on at any one time – they each serve a different purpose and create different moods. And on the walls there’s mainly my drawings and prints which change from time to time.

I was not conscious of creating a mood in here as such, just inhabiting and enjoying the space and trying not to fill it totally. The views are mainly of the sky, so I see birds and clouds apart from a glass door onto a courtyard with the view of a Magnolia stellata which has just flowered and a wonderful wisteria soon to flower, and at times the face of Django the cat asking to be let in.

It is a great space to think in and work things out – I guess it is more about work but then occasionally I clear the table and friends join me for informal lunches or supper. I love and need the feeling of space and light; I am lucky to have this room.