BOOK REVIEW: How They Decorated

How They Decorated: Inspiration from Great Women of the Twentieth Century

Written by P. Gaye Tapp,

Foreword by Charlotte Moss

£40
Rizzoli
ISBN: 978-0-8478-4741-9

Congratulations are certainly due to P. Gaye Tapp for this wonderful, well-researched journey into the homes and style of these 20th Century trendsetting icons. One knows from the cover alone – the Harrison Williams depicted in their Syrie Maugham drawing room by Cecil Beaton – that it is going to be special.

The four sections of the book – “The Fashionably Chic”, “The Unconventional Eye”, “In the Grand Manner”, and “Legacy Style” – reveal the differing styles favoured by women such as Evangeline Bruce, Georgia O’ Keeffe, Pauline de Rothschild, Lesley Blanch, Louise de Vilmorin and Babe Paley. Some of them worked with leading decorators, often more than one, while others created their own interior worlds.

The end results, beautifully illustrated here, are rooms and homes that have enduring appeal and may well inspire you to a new look in your own homes. I particularly liked the Evangeline Bruce comment about the paintings and antiques in her homes – “I don’t mind mended things’ – as to me it emphasises her love and appreciation of the fine pieces that adorned her homes. True style!

 

www.rizzoliusa.com

BOOK REVIEW: Gilded Interiors: Parisian Luxury and the Antique

Gilded Interiors: Parisian Luxury and the Antique

Helen Jacobsen

Imprint: Philip Wilson Publishers Ltd
Publisher: Philip Wilson Publishers Ltd

£19.95

ISBN: 9781781300589

 

This book is far more than just a souvenir of the recent seriously good exhibition at The Wallace Collection which focused on their gilt-bronze as it includes even more of the wonderful bronzes d’ameublement that are an important part of The Wallace’s justly famous collections of French eighteenth-century art.

Dr Jacobsen introduces us to the late 18th century Parisian interiors and the taste for the Antique setting the stage for these superbly designed and executed objects.  You will find clocks, firedogs, candelabra, mounted porcelain and even tables – which are then individually discussed in detail. It is beautifully illustrated with a combination of new photography and copies of original designs and proposals for both objects and interiors.  The book is a great celebration of 18th century connoisseurship and taste revealing the world of figures such as Marie Antoinette and the comte d’Artois and their circles. It is an absolute must for all interested in the interiors and the ‘douceur de vivre’ of the Ancien Régime.

 

www.ibtauris.com

BOOK REVIEW: Villa Astor

VILLA ASTOR Paradise Restored on the Amalfi Coast

Introduction by The Right Honourable the Lord Astor of Hever

Text by Curt DiCamillo, Suzanne Tise-Isoré, Alexandra Campbell and Rita Vessichelli Pane Photography by Eric Sander

£40
Flammarion 
ISBN 978-2-08-137592-5

The Villa Astor has, as the cover illustration suggests, rather a splendid location in the town of Sorrento overlooking the Bay of Naples. A former American ambassador to Italy William Waldorf Astor (1848-1919) acquired the Villa and its surrounding properties in 1905 and then went on to transform it. He was certainly well practiced in such matters for in the United Kingdom he had an office at 2, Temple Place, and also homes at Hever Castle and Cliveden (he gave the latter to his son as a wedding present in 1906). As well as building up a large collection of classical sculpture at the Villa Astor he also had a Pompeian-style villa built on the east side of the gardens. Following Astor’s death the Italian government stepped in and said the sculpture collections and gardens should be protected and remain part of the villa.

 

It is a great survival having withstood different owners and World War II – and now following a restoration by the new owners, with the help of the famous French decorator Jacques Garcia. this extensively illustrated book celebrates the Villa in its full glory while telling the tale of its intriguing history. Can’t ask for much more really.

editions.flammarion.com

BOOK REVIEW: Robert Adam’s London

Robert Adam’s London

Frances Sands

£25

Archaeopress

Printed ISBN 9781784914622.

Epublication ISBN 9781784914639. 

This book is a delight and has wide appeal for devotees of Robert Adam’s architecture and interiors and lovers of London. Written by Dr Frances Sands (Curator of Drawings and Books at Sir John Soane’s Museum) to mark the exhibition held earlier there at the turn of the year it is a very much stand-alone volume too.  The starting point is Richard Horwood’s map of London (1792-99) and through this each of Adam’s projects can be discovered. It takes us on a fascinating stroll through the areas of London, both north and south of the river, where Adam worked and reveals that some buildings and interiors survive albeit much altered but certainly more than I had expected while others totally lost. So whether in the comfort of an armchair or in hand while searching the streets where Adam worked it is very much a book to savour and enjoy.

http://www.archaeopress.com

Plywood Triumphant!

PLYWOOD: MATERIAL OF THE MODERN WORLD, Victoria and Albert Museum, Cromwell Road, London SW7, until 12th November 2017

 

I am grateful to John Kirkwood to visiting and writing about this exhibition:

 

© John Kirkwood

Perhaps not surprisingly this is a world-first exhibition featuring as it does the many uses to which plywood has been put.

 

Like me, I’m sure you thought it was a twentieth century invention but apparently fragments of layered board have been found in Egyptian tombs – perhaps they thought if the mummies came back to life they might fancy a bit of DIY to amuse themselves – but it really came into its own in the late nineteenth century with the advent of mass production.

 

Plywood’s ubiquity has been embraced by furniture makers, manufacturers of surfboards and skateboards, designers, architects and engineers and this very interesting exhibition takes visitors through plywood’s many transformations from a cheap product to material prized by mid-century modernists and by today’s flourishing maker movement.

©John Kirkwood

I so enjoyed the exhibition that I left feeling that ‘plywood is my wood!’

 

http://www.vam.ac.uk

Alma-Tadema – a footnote

Alma-Tadema – a footnote

 

Johnstone, Jupe & Co., London
“Jupe’s Patent” Extending Dining Table
c. 1839
Mahogany
Apter–Fredericks Ltd., London

There is an exhibition at the Clark Institute in Williamstown, Massachusetts entitled “Orchestrating Elegance: Alma-Tadema and the Marquand Music Room.” The American industrialist Henry Gurdon Marquand asked Alma-Tadema in 1884 to design a Music Room for his Madison Avenue mansion in New York. The favoured style was Greco-Pompeian and Alma-Tadema skill’s as a designer were well displayed in the room. The furniture he designed, including a grand piano with matching stools, were made in London by Johnstone, Norman & Co.

Johnstone, Jupe & Co., London
“Jupe’s Patent” Extending Dining Table
c. 1839
Mahogany
Apter–Fredericks Ltd., London

The celebrated London antique furniture firm Apter-Fredericks were approached by the Clark’s decorative arts curator and acting senior curator Kathleen Morris who asked whether they had an example of the expanding telescoping patented dining tables which Johnstone’s, in their various business partnerships, were renowned for making? Fortunately Apter -Fredericks were able to help and the table is on loan until the exhibition ends on 4th September 2017.

Johnstone, Jupe & Co., London
“Jupe’s Patent” Extending Dining Table
c. 1839
Mahogany
Apter–Fredericks Ltd., London

 

clarkart.edu

https://apter-fredericks.com/

 

Designer Spotlight: Garrow Kedigian of Garrow Kedigian Designs — The Source

I thought I would share this interesting blog with you:

 

It is impossible to walk in a room designed by Garrow Kedigian and not be blown away immediately by his clear enthusiasm and passion for what he does. Born in Montreal, Garrow attended the McGill School of Architecture and trained with renowned designer William Hodgins in Boston before moving to New York to start his […]

via Designer Spotlight: Garrow Kedigian of Garrow Kedigian Designs — The Source