Exhibiting at Maison et Objet â€“ Paris Hall 7, 19th-23rd January 2018 www.deirdredyson.com
VINTAGE 1950 Pair of armchairs with green velvet, Paolo Buffa
GLUSTIN PA R I S
140 rue des Rosiers – 93400 Saint-Ouen (Paris) www.glustin.net – instagram – firstname.lastname@example.org Open on Saturday, Sunday, Monday and by appointment
CRÉATION D’ARTISTE Inlaid brass sideboard, lapis-lazuli stone, Erwan Boulloud 1/12
w w w. b a r t h a l p e r n . c o m SUN CLOTH HERRINGBONE COLLECTION - STAIN RESISTANT, FADE RESISTANT & BLEACH CLEANABLE
CONTENTS FEBRUARY 2018
ON THE DOT
Spotty, spattered and splodgy fabrics have Miranda Sinclair putting on her polka face
Artist Kitty North watches the world go by in Arncliffe, gaining inspiration for her oils and acrylics from the landscape beyond. Here, she’s ‘one step closer to God’, learns Grace McCloud
Merchandise and events worldwide
Suppliers in this issue
What’s new in style, decoration and design, chosen by Nathalie Wilson
How to recreate some of the design effects in this issue, by Augusta Pownall
Our selection of the best planters
Gursky goes large, our nation’s syncopation, plus Charlotte Edwards’s listings
Reading on art, architecture and design
ACOLYTE Art historian Stephen Bann recalls
JOURNAL OF A KETTLE’S YARD
the early years of Jim Ede’s ‘house museum’
INTERIORS SUBSCRIPTIONS AND BACK ISSUES Receive 12
issues delivered direct to your home address. Call 01858 438815 or fax 01858 461739. Alternatively, you can visit us at www.worldofinteriors.co.uk Periodicals postage paid at Rahway, NJ. Postmaster: Send address corrections to ‘The World of Interiors’ c/o Mercury Airfreight International Ltd Inc, 2323 Randolph Avenue, Avenel NJ 07001, ‘The World of Interiors’ (ISSN 0264-083X) is published monthly. Vol 38 no 2, total 425
QUEEN ANNE REVIVAL
Auctions, antique fairs and diverting activities
’Twas on a dim and foggy night when Max Egger lit up his lanterns, globes and stars
COVER Manor from heaven – the late salvagedealer Tony Walford gave salvation to a series of forgotten houses, including this 13th-century Umbrian casa padronale. Nourish the soul by turning to page 106. Photograph: Simon Upton
In a Cornish manor, Lyn Le Grice’s stencilling, natural pigment washes and other paint effects complement her late husband, Jeremy’s, brooding seascapes, as Ruth Guilding reports
At her Brooklyn brownstone, would-have-been lawyer, now decorator, Michelle Smith broke all her own rules – while maintaining her habit of enraging plumbers, as Augusta Pownall learns
LOVE AMID THE RUINS
Thanks to Pompeii, noble rot was in vogue in 18th-century Europe. This ‘ancient’, crumbling colonnade near Naples, built for a queen, was thus surfing the zeitgeist, says Aliette Boshier
A warren of attic rooms in Paris is the suitably surreal setting for Nicolas Lefebvre’s vertical assemblages, fertility symbols for the 21st century. Valérie Lapierre does a poll of poles
Leaving uproar behind them, Max Ernst and Leonora Carrington ran away to rural France, turning their house into a Surrealist canvas. Then, writes Joanna Moorhead, war intruded
The Good Life, self-sufficiency aided by hens, cattle and potager, is a reality chez Gaillard. The HQ is a classic oustau, with Pyrenean peaks looming beyond. Text: Catherine Ardouin
FROM THE ARCHIVE
Stagecraft played a big part in Tony Walford’s restoration of an ancient Umbrian manor. Get too precious and you’d kill it, he tells Elspeth Thompson. First published: October 1993
ACCESSORIES BATHROOMS BEDS CARPETS, RUGS & FLOORING CURTAIN POLES & FINIALS FABRICS FURNITURE HARDWARE KITCHENS
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Hand-knotted limited-edition rugs www.aiiostudio.com
antennae What’s in the air this month, edited by Nathalie Wilson
Laurence McGovern’s fascination with the history of lighting (he doubles as an antique dealer) radiates from his fittings for Lorfords Antiques’ contemporary ‘Created’ collection. Pictured: ‘Hoxton’ articulated desk lamp (£564) and ‘Mercer’ swing wall light (£432), which are available in various finishes. Ring 020 3434 3133, or visit lorfordsantiques.com.
2 Follow in a centuries-long tradition and surface your floors with endgrain wooden blocks. These ‘high-craft’, sustainable ‘Centrepiece Hex’ (top) and ‘Centrepiece Basic’ are made in Sweden from the heartwood of young birch and spruce respectively (meaning each block features a tree centre), and can be finished in various ways. From £96 per sq m. Ring Björg Form and Arkitektur on 00 46 70 509 2040, or visit bjorg.se.
Pierre Frey’s ‘Sunrise’ outdoor linen (£144 per m) comes in 12 appealing colours, is made from rot-proof fibres, has a high tolerance to UV light and is treated with a water-repellent, making it resistant to all manner of spoilers. So it should be at the top of your exterior-furnishings wish list. Ring 020 7376 5599, or visit pierrefrey.com.
Heerenhuis is a company of few words when it comes to describing its trade: ‘We make tables, that’s what we do.’ Very well they do it too. Shown: solid-oak ‘Farmer’, from £1,310 approx for a 1.6m-long version. Ring 00 32 3 238 66 03, or visit heerenhuis.be. 5
PHOTOGRAPHY: KRISTIN LINDELL (2); SIMON WITHAM (3, 4, 6, 8 RIGHT)
Since setting up workshop four years after completing an archaeology degree at Cambridge, potter Jonathan Garratt has used locally sourced clay and a self-made wood-burning kiln. It’s this that gives his earthenwares their antique quality and signature subtle variations in colour. It also guarantees that his ‘Long Toms’ (£22 each) are frost-proof. Discover his creations at the delightful East End emporium Town House. Ring 020 7247 4745, or visit townhousespitalfields.com.
Consisting of 15 standard items available in 30 colourways, Les Passementeries d’Ile de France’s ‘Frange Torse’ collection offers a multitude of means to trim your home. From £6.60 per m of cord edging. Ring Turnell & Gigon on 020 7259 7280, or visit turnellandgigon.com. 7
7 Robert Kime came to decorating ‘via antique dealing, textile collecting and a passion for putting rooms together’. His renowned style can be seen in microcosm in the form of this reproduction William IV buttoned-back carved mahogany and lightly gilded ‘Wessex’ armchair upholstered in vintage African Kente cloth. It can be yours for £15,000. Ring 020 7831 6066, or visit robertkime.com.
8 Maison Vervloet believes choosing hardware is ‘all about putting your home in a good mood, adding joy and beauty to it’. That’s eminently achievable with its latest artisan-made wares designed by Jean-François d’Or, which have a whiff of Magrittean Surrealism about them. Shown (top left): umbrella support (from £1,180 approx) and music-box doorbell (bottom left; £260 approx) from the ‘Welcome Home’ collection; and aluminium blue door furniture (right) from the ‘René’ collection, including a tobacco pipe-inspired handle (£280 approx; all also available in satin brass). Ring 00 32 2 410 61 50, or visit vervloet.com.
Jamb maintains the reputation it has carved out as a source for covetable reproduction stone fire surrounds with four more fabulous offerings. The marble ‘Abercorn’ (shown) is based on a design by Sir John Soane for Bentley Priory, c1788-98, and costs £5,040. Ring 020 7730 2122, or visit jamb.co.uk.
Rumour has it the Ninth Earl of Pembroke smuggled two carpet weavers out of France so they could pass on their skills to the weavers of Wilton, Wiltshire, thus changing the town’s history forever. There was nothing remotely furtive about the eponymous carpet company and Kit Kemp’s collaboration. Shown from top: ‘Domino’ and ‘Open Plan’, two of nine patterns by the interior designer; from £149 per sq m, all available in various colourways. Ring 01722 746000, or visit wiltoncarpets.com $ 10
REQUEST YOUR COLOUR CARD & WALLPAPER SAMPLES Nationwide Stockists +44 (0) 161 230 0882 paintandpaperlibrary.com email@example.com
London Showroom 3 Elystan St, Chelsea, London SW3 3NT +44 (0) 20 7823 7755
antennae roundup Greenery needs a little polish? Miranda Sinclair gilds the lily with these perfect planters
PHOTOGRAPHY: LIAM STEVENS (1)
1 ‘Carre’, £27, The Conran Shop. 2 Antique zinc ‘Miro Green House’, by Nkuku, from £35, Amara. 3 Ochre plant box, £179, Ferm Living. 4 From left: plant rack, by Serax, £595; plant trolley, by Serax, £275; both SCP. 5 Faux-lead basket-weave fibreglass planter, £129, Capital Garden Products. 6 ‘Minsk’, by Domani, £60, The Chelsea Gardener. 7 Clear table-top sphere, by Chive, £16, Goodhood. 8 ‘Adelphi’, £20, Urban Outfitters. All prices include VAT. For suppliers’ details see Address Book r
1 Tiered wooden plant stand, £48, Plant Theatre. 2 Rectangular flowerpot, £950, Paolo Moschino for Nicholas Haslam. 3 ‘Inverlussa’ palm box, £5,030, McKinnon & Harris. 4 Scalloped tole pots, from £30 each, Matilda Goad. 5 ‘Cesta Mezza’, by Louise Drayton, £365 each, Italian Terrace. 6 ‘No. 5’, $395, Frances Palmer. 7 Corner stand with three galvanised pots, £49.99, Crocus. 8 Planter, £1,650, The Brooke Pottery. All prices include VAT. For suppliers’ details see Address Book $
Collection : Le Chant du Kayapรณ
SHOWROOMS CASAMANCE PARIS - LONDRES - BRUXELLES www.misia-paris.com Fabrics and wallcoverings www.misia-paris.com
Based in Zurich, Switzerland, 4Spaces creates fabrics and wallcoverings that break the traditional mould of the textile industry and its trends. Simple and tactile, its products combine time-tested handicraft techniques with character, individuality and the latest technology. Shown here is a cape made of ‘Plastic Fantastic’, lined [MXL³&SLS´¯EVEJ½EPMOITEXGL[SVOJEFVMG¯ERH with a pocket of ‘Napoli’, which has an open-knit GSRWXVYGXMSR (IWMKRIH F] XLI ½VQ´W GVIEXMZI director, Michele Rondelli, all the above are available in double-width (300cm). For more information, ring 00 41 43 366 89 45, or visit 4spaces.ch.
TH E WO R L D O F IN TE R IO R S 쮿 PRO MOT I O N
THE GREATEST CAPES THIS SEASON’S FINE FABRICS ARE A TRIUMPH – WHETHER FEATURING BOLD AND BEAUTIFUL PRINTS, OR MADE USING BOUNDARY-PUSHING TECHNIQUES. HERE, WOI USHERS IN THE COLLECTIONS FORGING NEW FRONTIERS. PHOTOGRAPHY: NEIL MERSH
Originally launched as an interior-design company, Colony has specialised in luxury home fabrics and [EPPGSZIVMRKWWMRGI8LI½VQXEOIWMRWTMVEXMSR from classic French, Venetian, Piedmontese and Oriental interiors to create its elegant fabrics, reinterpreting traditional designs and archive docuQIRXW ERHYWMRKSRP]XLILMKLIWXUYEPMX]WMPOWERH cottons. Now the company has two showrooms – in Rome and at London’s prestigious Design Centre Chelsea Harbour. Shown (from left): nero ‘Ninfa Trellis’, £144 per m; and nero ‘Ninfa’, £264 per m, which are available in 11 and seven colours respectively. Both prices include VAT. For more information, ring 020 7351 3232, or visit colonyfabrics.com.
For its spring/summer 2018 collection, Casamance has been playing with colour and materials, executing new designs with its trademark French elegance. ‘Beauharnais’ (shown), £148.70 per m, is made of a blend of linen and cotton and has been embroidered with majestic tropical birds in joyful contrasting hues, becoming a sensory celebration of different textures and palettes. The company will be exhibiting its new collection at Paris Déco Off (18-22 Jan) and in its Paris, London and Brussels showrooms. Also shown: ‘Rose’ silk trim, £38.30 per m. Both prices include VAT. For more information, ring 0844 369 0104, or visit casamance.com.
TH E WO R L D O F IN TE R IO R S 쮿 PRO MOT I O N Evitavonni’s beautiful ranges of fabrics, bed linens, accessories and furniture are famous for their quiet luxury and ability to elegantly transform a space. All textiles are made using natural materials of the highest quality and are available in an extensive palette. Shown here on a background of ‘Lock Oak LOC01’, £94 per m, is a cape made of Evitavonni’s lavish textiles. Mantle: ‘Crawford Star CRA01’, £220 per m; trimmed with gold ‘Metallic Linen Trim TRM02’, £35 per m. Hood: rose gold ‘Frame FRA01’, £240 per m; trimmed with ‘Acacia Leaf ACA02’, £78 per m. All prices include VAT. Evitavonni, Design Centre Chelsea Harbour, London SW10 (0800 130 3180; evitavonnilondon.com).
Tissus dâ€™HĂŠlĂ¨ne celebrates textiles from across the world. Specialising in artisanal fabrics and wallcoverings, it is trusted and loved by designers and decorators, not least since so many of its ranges can be specially customised. Shown here on a background of viridian green â€˜Exotic Bloom EXB02â€™, by Carolina Irving, ÂŁ320 per m, are (from top): emerald â€˜Faille %RXSMRIXXIÂ´ TIVQGSVRÂžS[IVÂł8MFIVEREÂ´ F] *PIYVSRW HÂ´,qPrRI TIV Q GSVRÂžS[IV emerald â€˜Carnations CARN201â€™, by John Stefanidis,
TIVQ ERHFPYIKVIIRÂł-WJELER7*%Â´ F] Peter Dunham, ÂŁ248 per m. All prices include VAT. Tissus dâ€™HĂŠlĂ¨ne, Design Centre Chelsea Harbour, London SW10 (020 7352 9977; tissusdhelene.co.uk).
TH E WO R L D O F IN T ER IO R S 쮿 PRO MOT I O N Based in Paris, Houlès is known for its sumptuous fabrics, trimmings and hardware, and has been supplying designers and decorators for 90 years. The company will be launching new designs at Paris Déco Off (18-22 Jan), some of which are shown here. From top: ‘Jackie’, trimmed with ‘Océanie’ braid and ‘Onyx’ fringe; and ‘Jackson’. Both fabrics are available in nine colourways. For more information, ring 020 7352 7450, or visit houles.com $
Palette primer, deity domesticated, nominally Nordic
THE ANATOMY OF COLOUR: THE STORY OF HERITAGE PAINTS AND PIGMENTS
(by Patrick Baty; Thames and Hudson, rrp £35) In October 1892 Robert Louis Stevenson faced a colour conundrum. Writing from Samoa to a friend in London he just couldn’t quite describe the red wallpaper he coveted to replace a scheme of ‘topazy yellow’. ‘It’s not Turkish and it’s not Roman and it’s not Indian, but it seems to partake of the two last, and yet it can’t be either of them because it ought to be able to go with vermilion,’ he agonised. A few years later, in 1907, Arthur Seymour Jennings, a prolific author on decorating, mused: ‘If half-a-dozen practical painters, experienced in colour mixing, were asked separately to mix a given colour, say a sea green, it is almost certain that when the six colours were compared there would not be two alike.’ The problematically subjective nature of colour nomenclature, illustrated in a fine new study by these stories, spawned competing taxonomic systems. They ranged from the scientific – the Ostwald Colour System was devised by a Nobel prizewinning chemist – to humbler charts used as marketing tools by colour-men, such as Thomas Parsons’s A Tint Book of Historical Colours. First published in 1934 and still in use today, this is divided into groups derived from the decorative and fine arts, such as ‘Colours of Egypt’, which sourced its palette from mummy cases and murals, limiting itself to primaries of mineral origin, red from haematite, for example, or green from malachite. In the 18th century colour helped to define hierarchies of interior space, architectural decor-
um determining what was appropriate for different rooms, with crimson, for example, favoured for libraries. In the early 1770s Sir William Chambers recommended pea-green for the dining room of a London town house, though personal factors were also at play – Lady Caroline Fox painted her dressing room the same colour to match a favourite set of china. In 1771 the hall at Fawley Court was described as being a French grey, and this was identified as the fifth of the 20 different paint coats in analysis of the room’s stratigraphy. Paint colour could also cross social boundaries, however. French grey was also specified in the contract for painting the hall at Osterley Park in 1760 but was again deployed by Sir John Soane in the housekeeper’s room at Letton Hall. The book’s scope is wide, ranging effortlessly from self-help manuals like Practical Graining and Marbling (1902) to the quasi-mystical associative colour theories of Goethe. How ‘violet’ equates to ‘unnecessary’ is beyond me, but colour theory has long attracted farfetched speculation and Baty is a sane guide through its further reaches. He is equally at home discussing shades for 1930s kitchens and analysing the artistic explorations of Paul Klee (influenced by Goethe) and Josef Albers. The book is the culmination of a lifetime’s engagement with paint and pigment – indeed as suggested by the prominent acknowledgement given to his father, Robert Baty, who founded the family firm, Papers and Paints, in 1960, two lifetimes have been necessary to accumulate this wealth of colour lore $ WILLIAM LAFFAN is an architectural historian r
To order The Anatomy of Colour for £29.75 (plus £4.50 UK p&p), ring the World of Interiors Bookshop on 0871 911 1747
MADONNAS AND MIRACLES: THE HOLY HOME IN RENAISSANCE ITALY
www.heveningham.co.uk email:firstname.lastname@example.org Tel: + 44 (0) 1424 838483
(eds Deborah Howard and Mary Laven; Philip Wilson, rrp £25) Renaissance Italy was hazardous. At any time one might be struck down by disease, crushed by the effects of an earthquake or poisoned by a political rival. One’s children, too, were in constant danger; strangely, many seemed to fall to their deaths from great heights (all those Medieval towers, but still…). Preventing or recovering from such disasters required spiritual vigilance. Jewellery could double surprisingly comfortably as a signifier of both wealth and piety, and offer personal protection. One of many sumptuous objects in this book – produced for an exhibition at the Fitzwilliam Museum – is a gold ring set with a toadstone, supposed to warn the wearer of poison (its biblical inscriptions offered more orthodox protection). Most important was prayer, and domestic devotion seems to have been concentrated in the camera. Inventories from across the social spectrum reveal similar mises en scène: candlesticks (which might have come wrought in inlaid brass from Damascus, as one here from c1423), a crucifix, a holy-water stoup and a kneeling stool; near the bed, an image of the Virgin and Child – here are beautiful examples by the likes of Botticelli, Pinturicchio, Lippi – often with other smaller depictions of saints. The real miracle, you feel, is how any children were conceived at all under all those pious gazes. But spiritual aids were by no means relegated to the bedroom. One of the book’s full-pagers is occupied by a set of ivory- and ebony-handled knives, their steel blades inscribed with musical notation so that diners could sing a benediction or grace in polyphony. We can’t know how often these objects were actually used, but wear and tear elsewhere is more revealing: a strikingly beautiful, meditative drawing of The Dead Christ by Fra Angelico is particularly marked around certain areas – Christ’s feet, for example – which were likely repeatedly kissed by its owner. Wholly different in spirit and execution are the cheaply produced ‘ex-voto’ panel paintings that were commissioned and dedicated in thanks for a perceived miracle granted. Charming images in themselves, they provide wonderful glimpses of Renaissance life, and many do involve ‘miraculously’ non-fatal falls: a girl into a vat of wine; a boy from a Florentine tower as he’s watching the palio; multiple adults in the Veneto from mulberry trees, whose leaves they’ve been picking to feed silkworms. The would-be reformers and sceptics are here too. For one former bishop, the miracles depicted on the ex-voto tablets were nothing but the fantasies of ‘peasants, porters, innkeepers, laundresses or of some other kind of old woman’. I quite like the idea of ‘some old woman’ testing the efficacy of his toadstone ring… $ SOPHIE BARLING is a freelance writer r To order Madonnas and Miracles for the price listed above, ring Philip Wilson Publishers on 020 7243 1225, or visit ibtauris.com
collection INSERO patter n MIX
LONDON Showroom Second Floor, Design Centre East, Chelsea Harbour email@example.com 0800 500 3335
www.ar te-inter national.com
MODERN SCANDINAVIAN DESIGN (by Charlotte and Peter Fiell and Magnus Englund; Laurence King, rrp £60) Nothing epitomises the Mid-century Modern style more than its manifestations in Scandinavia – Sweden, Denmark and Finland in particular. This weighty new tome offers a glossy overview of the phenomenon. Strictly speaking, ‘Scandinavian design’ was a construct that only emerged in the 1950s when an exhibition of that name was sent across to the USA to open up a new market. It was a clever branding exercise that worked. The look came to be defined by its elegant forms, manifested in sculptural wooden furniture and other decorative items destined for the home. Each Nordic nation evolved a modern design aesthetic that was rooted in indigenous craft traditions – but all aspired to transform the quality of everyday life. The giants of the movement – the Finns, architectdesigner Alvar Aalto and glass craftsman Tapio Wirkkala; the Danish furniture designers Hans Wegner, Børge Mogensen and Poul Kjaerholm; and the Swedes, ceramist Wilhelm Kåge and fabric maestro Josef Frank, among many others, are well known to us. Their work is endlessly reproduced. Swedish design was introduced to the rest of the world at the 1925 Paris Exposition and again at Stockholm’s equivalent in 1930. It represented a world in which modernity, democracy, domesticity, humanism and nature came together. ‘More beautiful everyday things’ was the clarion call issued by Gregor Paulsson, in 1919. An emphasis on social housing and on home wares, designed by artists but targeted at the masses, made that a reality. (Today, Ikea continues to carry that torch.) Denmark followed suit with its modern furniture movement, spearheaded by Kaare Klint, which focused, unlike its German equivalents, on ensuring that it fitted the human body. Finland burst on to the world in the postwar years with its sensational glass designs, while Norway came to the fore later, when it became wealthy through oil and could support a modern design culture. The authors have largely built on previous accounts, adding architecture and graphics to the mix, and updating the story to include many young 21st-century designers who are less familiar to us. They also present some fascinating products from Iceland, the last nation on the scene. One small regret is the paucity of archive photographs. The depiction from the Jean Heiberg archive of a woman using her newly designed telephone, and that of John F. Kennedy seated on a Hans Wegner chair have a potency that the (albeit very beautiful) colour images of objects, presented alone and out of context, fail to fully deliver on their own. That said, the book deserves to find a place on many a coffee table, Danish probably $ PENNY SPARKE is director of the Modern Interiors Research Centre, Kingston University
To order Modern Scandinavian Design for £51 (plus £8 UK p&p), ring the World of Interiors Bookshop on 0871 911 1747
Made in England since 1860
The Beardmore Collection est. 1860 beardmore.co.uk
SWATCH Ochre ‘Dandaloo’, by Rapture and Wright, £90, Lorfords. 2 Mustard ‘Open Seed’, £189, Tobias and the Angel. 3 ‘Boris Sol’, by Raoul Textiles, £307.20, Turnell & Gigon. 4 Lemon ‘Pollen’, by Kate Blee, £90, Christopher Farr Cloth. 5 Jaune ‘Reflex 33411922’, £73.90, Casamance. 6 ‘Lepic 19444-815’, by Etamine, £163, Zimmer & Rohde. 7 Gold ‘Emilie 131Y’, by Mary Bergtold Mulcahy, £75, Les Indiennes. 8 Saffron/logan ‘Candy Stripe’, by Galbraith & Paul, £272, Tissus d’Hélène. 9 Gold ‘Reverse Dot 30R-Y’, by Mary Bergtold Mulcahy, £75, Les Indiennes. 10 ‘Conga Line 2100-30’, by China Seas, £254, Tissus d’Hélène. 11 ‘Chana 2096-02’, by No. 9 Thompson, £74, Fox Linton. Prices are per m and include VAT. For suppliers’ details see Address Book r 1
ON THE DOT Whether splattered, stippled or speckled, a spotty fabric is just the thing to bring a bit of jollity into your home. Go small and silky or large and linen-y, says Miranda Sinclair, picking a palette of confetti colours that hit the sweet splodge. Photography: Anders Gramer
11 10 9
F A B R I C
C O L L E C T I O N
020 7368 7700
fo x lin to n .c o m
1 ‘Hop T14030-002’, £188, Dedar. 2 ‘Les Emeraudes L4227 C39’, by Le Manach, £220.80, Pierre Frey. 3 ‘Tika TKA11’, by Lisa Fine Textiles, £272; 4 ‘Mojave AC709-07’, by Alan Campbell, £238; both Tissus d’Hélène. 5 Blue ‘Paw Print’, £90, Soane Britain. 6 Navy/blue ‘Dot Dash’, by Rebecca Atwood, £310.60, George Spencer Designs. 7 Navy ‘Georgette Dot’, £79, Ralph Lauren Home. Prices are per m and include VAT. For suppliers’ details see Address Book r
© archi media
Tekna presents Nautic • Stokkelaar 13 • B-9160 Lokeren • T + 32 9 348 08 02 • www.tekna.be • firstname.lastname@example.org
1 ‘Madera 04831-06’, by Manuel Canovas, £118, Colefax & Fowler. 2 ‘Stone Pine R0704’, £225, Robert Kime. 3 ‘Charade
2120-04’, by China Seas, £238, Tissus d’Hélène. 4 ‘Kinesi 147-01’, by Hannah Watchorn, £107, Nicholas Herbert. 5 ‘Backgammon 30161-003’, £206, Rubelli/Donghia. 6 ‘Wilde F3927-02’, £99, Colefax & Fowler. 7 ‘Wicklewood
3940-05’, by Blithfield, £72, Lewis & Wood. Prices are per m and include VAT. For suppliers’ details see Address Book r
STEPHEN CAVALLO / MIRROR FAIR NEW YORK CITY w w w. m i r ror f a i r. c om
1 ‘Olinda Velvet J859F-01’, by Jane Churchill, £98, Colefax & Fowler. 2 ‘Atom K5114-03’, by Kirkby Design, £31.50, Romo. 3 ‘Dot SPL 4100-28’, by Sister Parish Design, £256; 4 ‘Ola 1701-05’, by Alexandra Palmowski for Virginia White, £174; both Tissus d’Hélène. 5 ‘Mashiko NF0038-RGP, £80.40, Vaughan. 6 Multi ‘Polka Dot 223444’, by Emma Bridgewater for Sanderson, £40, Style Library. Prices are per m and include VAT. For suppliers’ details see Address Book r
1 ‘Fandango 00’, £222, Lizzo. 2 ‘Larabee Dot 4099-816’, by Kravet, £63, GP& J Baker. 3 Curry ‘Pienza Polline 178332’, $189, C&C Milano. 4 ‘Morley 5400-03’, by Gastón & Daniela, £137.80, Abbott & Boyd. 5 ‘Sunrise 10470-953’, £120, Zimmer & Rohde. 6 ‘Orwell L9050-01’, by Larsen, £83, Colefax & Fowler. 7 ‘Splatterwear 01’, by Pollock, £158, Altfield. Prices are per m and include VAT. For suppliers’ details see Address Book $
J U L I A N JULIANCHICHEST ER.COM
C H I C H E S T E R FURNITURE • LIGHTING • ACCESSORIES
LONDON Design Centre, Chelsea Harbour, Lots Road, SW10 0XE 1-4 Queen’s Elm Parade, Chelsea, SW3 6EJ +44(0) 20 7622 2928 email@example.com NEW YORK NYDC, 200 Lexington Ave, Suite 604, NY 10016 +1(646) 293 6622 firstname.lastname@example.org PICTURED, L-R: E-Table, Diego Chest, Countess Tall Mirror, Harlow Lamp, Sugar Chair
pursuits Auctions, antique fairs and diverting activities, chosen by Grace McCloud
1 1 Davd Bomberg, Barges, 1919, Pallant House Gallery, 18 Jan. 2 Maiolica statue of a pointer, early 20th-century, Adam Calvert Bentley at The Decorative Antiques and Textiles Fair, 23-28 Jan
In 1912, David Bomberg was set to become one of the most brilliant painters of his generation. Trained by Sickert and toasted by Sargent, the hot-headed young gun had enrolled at the Slade and was taking tradition to task. Just 45 years later, he was dead, penniless and forgotten, unable to recover from the trauma of World War I. These themes of talent and tragedy loom large in Andrew Graham-Dixon’s excellent 2014 BBC documentary, David Bomberg: Prophet in No Man’s Land, which on 18 JANUARY, is being shown at PALLANT HOUSE GALLERY to celebrate its exhibition on the Modern master. And Bomberg’s not the only iconoclast to be found at the Chichester gallery. Running concurrently is a very different, though equally emotional display of Paula Rego’s sketchbooks, which open a window on to the working methods behind her visionary art. Feel like delving further into her drawings? Tickets for National Gallery curator Colin Wiggins’s talk, on 25 JANUARY, are still on sale. Details: 01243 774557; pallant.org.uk. BRITAIN 17-21 JANUARY BUSINESS DESIGN CENTRE, UPPER ST, LONDON N1 LONDON ART FAIR. What a melon! A fruity woodcut by Picasso is on show at Gilden’s Art Gallery’s stand. Details: 020 7288 6736; londonartfair.co.uk. 23-28 JANUARY BATTERSEA EVOLUTION, BATTERSEA PARK, LONDON SW11 THE DECORATIVE ANTIQUES AND TEXTILES FAIR. Bow wow: a yellow maiolica
dog, selling at Adam Calvert Bentley, is brilliant and barking in equal measure. Details: 020 7616 9327; decorativefair.com. 1-4 FEBRUARY ROYAL GEOGRAPHICAL SOCIETY, EXHIBITION RD, LONDON SW7 WORKS ON PAPER FAIR. Grayson Perry headlines a stellar talk series (on gardens, Augustus John, the nonsense of Lear). Then there’s the pictures… Details: 01798 215007; worksonpaperfair.com. OUTSIDE BRITAIN BELGIUM 27 JANUARY-4 FEBRUARY TOUR ET TAXIS, AVE DU PORT, BRUSSELS BRAFA. Guest of honour Christo dis-
plays his and Jeanne-Claude’s Three Store Fronts (1965-66). Details: 00 32 2 513 48 31; brafa.art. USA 19-28 JANUARY PARK AVENUE ARMORY, PARK AVE, NEW YORK, NY WINTER ANTIQUES SHOW. Mask in the glory: a Teotihuacán face, at Throckmorton Fine Art, steals the show. Details: winterantiquesshow.com. 31 JANUARY SOTHEBY’S, YORK AVE, NEW YORK, NY THE LINE OF BEAUTY. A miniature, mesmerising sale of just 27 drawings, spanning centuries and styles. Details: 001 212 606 7000; sothebys.com $
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1 ‘Bamboo’, £756, Vaughan. 2 Antique-brass ‘New English Hall’, £2,754, Hector Finch. 3 Hexagonal lantern, £2,495, Lutyens Con temporary. 4 Ropework lantern, by Adrien Adoux and Frida Minet, £1,400, Howe. 5 ‘Wexford’, £1,260, Robert Kime. 6 Small distressed-gilt-lacquer pagoda globe lantern, £2,646, Charles Edwards. 7 Rattan ‘Birdcage’, £4,000, Soane Britain. 8 19th-century English openwork pendant, $374, Restoration Hardware. All prices include VAT. For suppliers’ details see Address Book r
Whether in a porch or a lonely passageway, keep the night at bay with one of these benign and beautiful beacons. Presenting everything from a brass star pendant to a rattan â€˜birdcageâ€™, Max Egger delivers his lantern lecture. Photography: Sean Myers
S C R I P T D E C O R AT I V E B Y
SALE SAV E U P TO 40% 0333 011 3333 I
1 Large Louis XV-style crystal-decorated pentagonal lantern, c1880, £9,000, Julia Boston Antiques. 2 Vintage French provincial wrought-iron foliate lantern, £2,600, Guinevere. 3 Large ‘Oak Branch’, £1,860, Richard Taylor Designs. 4 Toleware lantern with glazed bull’s-eye panels, c1820, £11,000, Max Rollitt. All prices include VAT. For suppliers’ details see Address Book r
1 Small ‘Pyramid’, £245, Jane Knapp. 2 Gilded-metal ‘Gothic’, £1,250, Westen holz Antiques. 3 ‘Chartres’ pendant, £511, Holloways of Ludlow. 4 US traffic light (Type 12 Raw), by LFE, £450, Skinflint. 5 Jar light, £48, Baileys. All prices include VAT. For suppliers’ details see Address Book r
by Louis De Poortere
Rug Collection romo.com
1 Small leaded lantern, £3,000, Rose Uniacke. 2 Polished-nickel ‘Heron’, £5,748, Remains Lighting. 3 ‘Bridgens’, £4,560, Jamb. 4 ‘Etch’ pendant, by Tom Dixon, £350, Heal’s. All prices include VAT. For suppliers’ details see Address Book r
1 Brass star pendant, £295, Graham & Green. 2 Large ‘Versailles’, £478, Tindle. 3 ‘Stafford’ pendant, £387, Jim Lawrence. 4 ‘Moor’ pendant, £45, Moroccan Bazaar. All prices include VAT. For suppliers’ details see Address Book $
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network Sophia Salaman chooses the best merchandise and events worldwide
Above left: wallpaper from the ‘Tresco’ collection by Paint and Paper Library. Above right: lamps from Porta Romana. Bottom: ‘Marquesse’ floor light from Nautic by Tekna $ Paint and Paper Library’s ‘Tresco’ wallpapers consist of a mixture of traditional and digital printing techniques. The collection, which has been drawn by artist Hugo Dalton, features eight designs printed in a variety of different colourways from the existing archive. The prints in the collection are inspired by the artist’s time spent on one of the Isles of Scilly. Paint and Paper Library, 3 Elystan St, London SW3 (020 7823 7755; paintandpaperlibrary.com). $ Twenty-eighteen sees lighting company Porta Romana celebrate its 30th
anniversary. To mark the occasion, the company has embarked on two cultural collaborations with quintessentially British institutions. The first is a donation to the Royal Academy in honour of its 250th anniversary; the second is a partnership with Grange Park Opera, a new woodland opera house in the grounds of West Horsley Place, a sprawling ancient manor, close to the company’s head offices in Surrey. Porta Romana, Design Centre Chelsea Harbour, London SW10 (01420 23005; portaromana.com).
GIVING YOUR HOME THE GARDEN IT DESERVES
$ British brand Drummonds has opened its first standalone showroom in the Big Apple, in Manhattan’s A&D building. The space will display the brand’s latest designs, from cast-iron baths to handmade brassware. Visitors will be able to see new products such as the ‘Wye’ bath in burnished copper, as well as classics such as the ‘Severn’ shower. Drummonds, which takes inspiration from the Victorian foundries, has a long-standing heritage in design and craft. Drummonds, 150 East 58th St, New York, NY 10155 (001 212 794 0157; drummonds-uk.com). $ Nautic by Tekna creates lighting and fittings that are custom-
ised especially for projects. The collection consists of authentic light fittings in materials such as copper, bronze, cast iron and brass. The company works with traditional craftsmen. Designer Erik Huysmans takes inspiration from old trains and ships to design light fittings in functional, organic shapes. Seen here is the ‘Marquesse’ floor lantern, which is available in three different finishes: 24ct-gold-plated brass, white and black. Ring 00 32 9 348 0802, or visit tekna.be. r
M a t k i E a u Z o n e P l u s R a d i u s - 2 0 We t R o o m Pa n e l Contemporary style, technical innovation. Beautifully engineered in the UK
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Above left: beach at the Sani Dunes hotel. Above right: carpet from the ‘Kelly Hoppen’ collection by Brintons. Bottom: Dan ritual mask, Ivory Coast, late 19th-century, from Yann Ferrandin at Brafa fair $ Sani Resort has added to its portfolio with the opening of an ex-
clusive new hotel on the shores of Greece’s beautiful Kassandra Peninsula. Sani Dunes, a new beachfront hotel, boasts the largest outdoor pool in Greece, as well as an exclusive spa, private beach, three restaurants, bar and an indoor pool. The hotel has 136 rooms with 80 suites and 56 double family rooms, all offering the utmost comfort and luxury. Furnished with Mediterranean touches, all boast peaceful views over the hotel’s lush gardens and lagoon pools. Some suites enjoy beachfront locations as well as terraces, balconies or private gardens. Ring 0800 949 6809, or visit sani-resort.com. $ The ‘Kelly Hoppen’ collection by Brintons brings the designer’s keen eye
to carpets. She challenges the look of traditional carpets with modern and contemporary patterns: 13 geometric designs in on-trend colourways that reflect her award-winning style and aesthetic. Hoppen looked to everything from geometric shapes to splashes of paint as sources of inspiration. The collection is suitable for any interiors, from hotels to airports, and each design is woven to order. Ring 0800 505055, or visit brintons.co.uk. $ Since 1860 Frette has been creating bedding and textiles of the highest quality. The company creates all its products from headquarters in Monza and Milan, with skilled artisans employing ageold craft techniques. Collaborations with current designers help keep the collections fresh. Its latest is with Paola Navone, part of the ‘Frette Creates’ programme, who has developed a capsule collection of sheets, pillowcases and a duvet cover all in delicate, white percale cotton, the firm’s traditional textile. Frette, 43 South Audley St, London W1 (020 7493 1333; frette.com). $ Brafa 2018, taking place in Brussels at the end
of January, brings together 134 galleries and art dealers from 16 countries. The fair prides itself on its core values of quality and eclecticism, covering every era from antiquity to today. The art fair brings together everything from jewellery, sculpture and
SHEARLING THROWS FOR BEDS, SOFAS AND CHALETS Contact Petra Kenyon 01428 707370 email@example.com
furniture to design, glassware and ceramics, as well as contemporary pieces. The fair takes place in the Tour et Taxis part of the city. Brafa, 27 Jan-4 Feb. Ring 00 32 2 513 48 31, or visit brafa.art $
10-12 BURLINGTON GARDENS, LONDON W1S 3EY 149 SLOANE STREET & SLOANE TERRACE, LONDON SW1X 9BZ +44 (0) 20 7493 8939
1 Cocoa ‘Particles 21304’, by Nile & York, £26.50, Lorfords. 2 Nero ‘Raku’, £156, Colony. Prices are per m and include VAT
Abbott & Boyd, Design Centre Chelsea Harbour, London SW10 (020 7351 9985; abbottandboyd.co.uk). Altfield, Design Centre Chelsea Harbour, London SW10 (020 7351 5893; altfield.com). Amara. Ring 01376 321100, or visit amara.com. Baileys, Whitecross Farm, Bridstow,
Design Centre, Chelsea Harbour samuel-heath.co.uk Made in England
Ross-on-Wye, Herefordshire HR9 6JU (01989 563015; baileyshome. com). The Brooke Pottery. Ring 01722 742811, or visit thebrookepottery. com. C&C Milano, Design Centre Chelsea Harbour, London SW10 (020 3583 3303; cec-milano.com). Capital Garden Products, Gibbs Reed Barn, Pashley Rd, Ticehurst, E. Sussex TN19 7RD (01580 201092; capitalgarden.com). Casamance. Ring 0844 369 0104, or visit casamance. com. Charles Edwards, 582 King’s Rd, London SW6 (020 7736 8490; charlesedwards.com). The Chelsea Gardener, 125 Sydney St, London SW3 (020 7352 5656; chelseagardener.com). Christopher Farr Cloth, 32-33 Chelsea Wharf, 15 Lots Rd, London SW10 (020 7349 0888; christopherfarrcloth.com). Colefax & Fowler. Ring 020 8874 6484, or visit colefax.com. Colony, Design Centre Chelsea Harbour, London SW10 (020 7351 3232; colonyuk.com). The Conran Shop, Michelin House, 81 Fulham Rd, London SW3 (0844 848 0000; conranshop. com). Crocus. Visit crocus.co.uk. Dedar, Design Centre Chelsea Harbour, London SW10 (020 7351 9939; dedar.com). Ferm Living. Ring 00 45 7022 7523, or visit fermliving.com. Fox Linton, Design Centre Chelsea Harbour, London SW10 (020 7368 7700; foxlinton.com). r
LIGHT SWITCHES & SOCKETS SINCE 1988
205A St John’s Hill, London, SW11 1TH
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Nicholas Herbert Ltd. Fabrics & Wallpapers
Fabric design: Strapwork
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Frances Palmer. Ring 001 203 227 7204, or visit francespalmerpottery. com. George Spencer Designs, Design Centre Chelsea Harbour, London SW10 (020 7584 3003; georgespencer.com). Goodhood, 151 Curtain Rd, London EC2 (020 7729 3600; goodhoodstore.com). GP&J Baker, Design
Centre Chelsea Harbour, London SW10 (01202 266700; gpjbaker.com). Graham & Green. Ring 020 8987 3752, or visit grahamandgreen.co.uk. Guinevere, 580 King’s Rd, London SW6 (020 7736 2917; guinevere.co. uk). Heal’s, 196 Tottenham Court Rd, London W1 (020 7636 1666; heals. com). Hector Finch, 90-92 Wandsworth Bridge Rd, London SW6 (020 7731 8886; hectorfinch.com). Holloways of Ludlow, 115 Shepherds Bush Rd, London W6 (020 7602 5757; hollowaysofludlow.com). Howe, 93 Pimlico Rd, London SW1 (020 7730 7987; howelondon.com). Italian Terrace. Ring 01284 789666, or visit italianterrace.co.uk. Jamb, 97 Pimlico Rd, London SW1 (020 7730 2122; jamb.co.uk). Jane Knapp. Ring 01225 463468, or visit janeknapp.com. Jim Lawrence, The Ironworks, Lady Lane, Hadleigh, Suffolk IP7 6BQ (01473 828989; jimlawrence.co.uk). Julia Boston Antiques, 588 King’s Rd, London SW6 (020 7610 6783; juliaboston.com). Les Indiennes, 444 Warren St, Hudson, NY 12534, USA (001 518 828 2811; lesindiennes.com). Lewis & Wood, Design Centre Chelsea Harbour, London SW10 (020 7460 6454; lewisandwood.co.uk). Lizzo, Design Centre Chelsea Harbour, London SW10 (020 7823 3456; lizzouk.co.uk). Lorfords, 9 Langton St, London SW10 (020 3434 3133; lorfords.com). Lutyens Contemporary. Ring 0845 838 6374, or visit lutyens-contemporary.com. Matilda Goad. Ring 07739 186703, or visit matildagoad.com. Max Rollitt, Yavington Barn, Lovington Lane, Avington, Hants SO21 1DA (01962 791124; maxrollitt.com). McKinnon & Harris, Design Centre Chelsea Harbour, London SW10 (020 7349 9085; mckinnonharris.com). Moroccan Bazaar, Unit 2B and 2C, Kelvin Industrial Estate, Long Drive, Greenford, Middx UB6 8WA (020 8575 1818; moroccanbazaar.com). Nicholas Herbert, 118 Lots Rd, London SW10 (020 7376 5596; nicholasherbert.com). Paolo Moschino for Nicholas Haslam, 10-14 Holbein Place, London SW1 (020 7730 8623; nicholashaslam.com). Pierre Frey, Design Centre Chelsea Harbour, London SW10 (020 7376 5599; pierrefrey.com). Plant Theatre. Ring 01206 215710, or visit plant-theatre.co.uk. Ralph Lauren Home, 1 New Bond St, London W1 (020 7535 4600; ralphlaurenhome.com). Remains Lighting, Design Centre Chelsea Harbour, London SW10 (020 3056 6547; remains.com). Restoration Hardware. Ring 0800 762 1005, or visit rh. com. Richard Taylor Designs, Design Centre Chelsea Harbour, London SW10 (020 7351 2567; richardtaylordesigns.co.uk). Robert Kime, 190192 Ebury St, London SW1 (020 7831 6066; robertkime.com). Romo, Design Centre Chelsea Harbour, London SW10 (01623 756699; romo. com). Rose Uniacke. Ring 020 7730 7050, or visit roseuniacke.com. Rubelli/Donghia, Design Centre Chelsea Harbour, London SW10 (020 7349 1590; rubelli.com). SCP, 135-159 Curtain Rd, London EC2 (020 7739 1869; scp.co.uk). Skinflint, The Warehouse, Commercial Rd, Penryn, Cornwall TR10 8AE (01326 565227; skinflintdesign.com). Soane Britain, 50-52 Pimlico Rd, London SW1 (020 7730 6400; soane. co.uk). Style Library. Ring 020 3903 3700, or visit stylelibrary.com. Tindle. Ring 020 7384 1485, or visit tindle-lighting.co.uk. Tissus d’Hélène, Design Centre Chelsea Harbour, London SW10 (020 7352 9977; tissusdhelene.co.uk). Tobias and the Angel, 66-68 White Hart Lane, London SW13 (020 8878 8902; tobiasandtheangel.com). Turnell & Gigon, Design Centre Chelsea Harbour, London SW10 (020 7259 7280; turnellandgigon.com). Urban Outfitters. Visit urbanoutfitters.com. Vaughan, Design Centre Chelsea Harbour, London SW10 (020 7349 4600; vaughandesigns.com). Westenholz Antiques. Ring 01279 842545, or visit westenholz.co.uk. Zimmer & Rohde, Design Centre Chelsea Harbour, London SW10 (020 7351 7115; zimmer-rohde.com) $
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THE WORLD OF INTERIORS MAGAZINE. THE NUMBER ONE TITLE FOR INSPIRING AND UNCOMPROMISING STYLE. THE INTERNATIONAL AUTHORITY ON ORIGINAL DESIGN
P R I M E VOCATION Despite her love of helping do up houses as a hobby, Michelle Smith was set on being a lawyer. Yet, while training at a New York firm, she found herself more drawn to fabrics and furniture than criminals and court cases. Quitting the bar, she started her own decorating firm, before falling for a Brooklyn brownstone with peeling ceilings and the perfect pantry. Here she tells Augusta Pownall how she found her calling. Photography: Simon Upton
Like the rest of the house, Michelleâ€™s living room is very narrow, and none of her existing furniture fitted when she moved in. She custom-designed the small side tables beside the sofas. The white tubular light fitting, which is made of macramĂŠ, came from Wyeth, a specialist in mid-century pieces
Left: sconces by Barovier & Toso, made of smoked Murano glass, flank the door into the kitchen, while a Plexiglas coffee table by Alessandro Guerriero stands between the seating. Top: toy cars are arranged on a glass-topped Italian table (which Michelle thinks was probably made in the 1940s or 50s), near the door into the hall. She found it on a buying trip to Atlanta with a client. The newel post was specially made to replace a chunky Arts and Crafts one. Above: arranged on the mantelpiece are pots by Nancy Waterhouse-Fisher
MICHELLE SMITH claims to be better with
Top: Michelle’s dream pantry was previously a cupboard – all she did was paint it blue. ‘I’ve never seen anything with that kind of potential.’ Above: the chairs at either end of her dining-room table are vintage, reupholstered in two leathers, while along the sides are slip-covered seats bought for a client, who thought them too ‘granny’. Opposite: the decorator left the kitchen ceiling as it was, with flaking paint, after much debate. From it hangs a Charles Edwards pendant light, which Michelle also has in her Long Island home
Italians than Brits. ‘It always takes a minute for a British person to think I’m funny. They take a while to relax.’ This makes perfect sense, not least when you learn she lives in her 1890s Clinton Hill brownstone in the heart of Brooklyn’s farm-to-table food scene with her Italian boyfriend. And yet the photographer and I – both British – were quickly charmed by her Southern openness and wit. She’s soon riffing on a friend’s break-up during a recent holiday in Greece – ‘Too much information, but then I’m always TMI’ – and is wide-eyed that the photographer needs no assistance and will eat anything. One gets the impression that this hard-grafter has little truck with the faddy food issues of her adopted city, as she blithely carves out a career as one of its promising new interior decorators. If there’s one thing that New York has more of than decorators, it’s lawyers. Michelle first moved to the city to study law and was soon practising at a corporate firm. Since she was the first in her family to go to college, her father was keen for her to get a ‘proper’ education, so she plumped for law. She bought her first ‘tiny, shitty apartment, which had never been touched’ and sold it well, buying another in a prewar building still with its original casement windows on East 10th Street at the beginning of the recession, ‘when they were literally giving it away’. While working long hours on cases, she did it up and helped friends do the same. Initially she thought interior decorating might be a second career, but a partner at the firm saw pictures of her place and commissioned Michelle to renovate his own apartment in her refined but comfortable style. Spotting that her talents lay in trimmings rather than tribunals, he pushed her to take up decorating professionally. As luck would have it, this first client was able to help her secure an internship at Daniel Romualdez Architects, so she quit law and never looked back. Two years training was enough to give her the confidence to branch out on her own. ‘I learned how you do the job, how you run a business. Now I’m not embarrassed to send an invoice, or to go to the showroom and choose fabric.’ Suddenly she was in charge of all components of a fledgling firm and couldn’t have been happier. Daniel Romualdez had been a well-oiled machine, with project managers and an architecture arm. In such a big company, she’d concentrated solely on decorating, but now she was knocking down walls as well (within reason). ‘If you’re building something from the ground up you might need an architect,’ she says, ‘but I have to pick out the plumbing fixtures!’ Michelle loves details that whip a space together, such as a neat valance, always raised off the floor. A cool palette and precise pleats in quietly luxurious fabrics crop up across her work. As with an Italian recipe, she opts for a few very good ingredients and doesn’t muck them about. This approach would come in handy for her own home. She bought the Brooklyn house in 2014 and renovated for a year while installing a huge project in Albany and planning schemes in Chelsea and New Jersey.
Left: the master bedroomâ€™s yellow curtains are made of Pierre Frey fabric, while the canopy that tops the Ironware International four-poster is a Rose Tarlow textile. Above: Michelle has reupholstered these slipper chairs, now in a corner of her room, three times. The lamp between them, which has a crochet shade, came from a flea market in Florence. Top: the hall table is topped by an Isamu Noguchi lamp. The penwork box on its shelf was made by Sharon Cavagnolo, the mother of one of the designers at Michelleâ€™s company
Opposite: all the master-bathroom fittings, from Barber Wilsons & Co, are unlacquered copper, while the Charles Edwards pendant is unlacquered silver, which ages quickly and beautifully. Top: Michelle likes the rich terracotta tone of Rojo Alicante marble. The tub came from Hastings Tile and Bath. Above: the porch is situated below the dining room, forming part of an extension added in the early 1900s. Michelle replaced the existing outside walls with screens to bring a little bit of bayou country to Brooklyn
Despite thinking she would ‘never, ever move to Brooklyn’, the house swung it. Most properties in the neighbourhood are gutted and flipped. This was ‘totally untouched, a little bit creepy’, she says. ‘Someone had scratched “I hate you” on the back of the door – that kind of thing.’ Add to that no central heating, peeling floral wallpaper and an asbestos problem – so far, so unappealing. But there were good omens too: a large ‘cupboard’ that could be painted pale blue and masquerade as a longed-for pantry; an extension she realised could be transformed into a screened porch straight out of the Deep South; and perhaps most of all, square mantels, some of which had an ‘M’ for Michelle carved into them: ‘That felt like a sign.’ She ripped up her own rulebook and didn’t plan at all. ‘I left the house just to become what it was going to be.’ Unlike the studio’s projects, she did it all herself, with only a little help from her mum. The girls in her office were already up against it, so she didn’t feel she could ask for help on her own home. Michelle even kept her boyfriend in the dark. He didn’t want it to be ‘full of grandma stuff’ like her old flat. ‘He’s from Florence, so terracotta floors, lots of antique furniture… All the stuff I would die for. He must have said: “White and clean, white and clean” a million times. I figured if I never show him what I’m doing, he can’t say no!’ The resulting effect is grown-up, but not grandmotherly. Everybody has their own rules and hang-ups – one recent client bewildered Michelle by saying she wanted everything to be invisible – but for her own home, she followed her instincts, painting the walls with her favourite ‘non-colour colours’ and sticking to Barber Wilsons & Co fittings in the bathrooms. ‘There’s not a plumber in the Tri-State area who doesn’t hate me. Something about those fixtures is really complicated to fit, but I always use them.’ The light above the kitchen table is the same as the one in her fisherman’s cottage in Sag Harbor, Long Island. ‘I feel like I will always put the same light in wherever I end up living. It’s like cilantro [coriander], some people love it and some hate it.’ She’s anxious to avoid the house looking overdone. The peeling plaster on the kitchen ceiling has stayed, for a deliberate shift in tone. ‘The kitchen just feels like a room. Otherwise I get tired of things.’ She grew up in Louisiana’s bayou country with equally restless parents, who moved every few years from one Walmart town to another. Mother and daughter renovated houses as they went to stave off boredom, making curtains with rings and clips, and driving for miles for a superior doorknob. Smith Jr experimented with borders and purple walls straight out of the sitcom Friends. The kernel of her future business was undoubtedly there. ‘My dad still calls me his lawyer daughter from New York,’ she says. ‘I let him have that one.’ The legal profession’s loss is her ever-increasing roster of clients’ gain. And with projects in the West Village, Lake George and Europe on the horizon, it won’t be long before her father is calling her his decorator daughter from New York $ Studio MRS. Ring 001 646 596 7678, or visit studiomrs.com
Queen Anne Revival In 1985 Jeremy Le Grice and his family returned to the Cornish coast and later a flat in the early 18th-century manor house of his childhood, inspiring him to resume painting after 14 landlocked (and creatively blocked) years. His widow, Lyn, who gained renown for leading the 1970s stencilling trend, lives on in the elegant L-shaped suite of rooms. Here, as Ruth Guilding reports, she has put together grand statement furniture, St Ives paintings and rustic local pottery with a casual informality â€“ and a designerâ€™s skill. Photography: Huntley Hedworth
In the hall room, once a flower loft, the panelled room divider designed by Lyn incorporates china cupboards. A head of the Madonna, bought by Jeremy after a painting sale in Cork Street, is mounted on one side of the right-hand door. On the other, black silk brocade curtains too beautiful to cut down hang doubled over a pole
This page, clockwise from top: in the book room, Lyn made up a pair of blinds using tree-of-life panels bought at the Calico Museum in Ahmedabad, when she led a textile group to India; a naive ship made by Horace Kennedy for Lyn’s book The Stencilled House (1988) sits on a flame-veneered walnut tallboy; the wing chair is upholstered with an old padded quilt bought in the market at L’Isle sur la Sorgue in Provence, a favourite hunting ground. Opposite: Jeremy’s painting of boats in a harbour entrance hangs over a painted tool chest (subsequently stencilled with oranges and wreaths by Lyn)
THE GURNARD’S HEAD
– the coaching inn where back roads from Penzance, St Ives and St Just all converge – is the mecca for this western tip of Cornwall. During the 1950s and 60s wild poets, painters and their cronies all arrived to swell the ranks of the local farmers and tin miners who drank there, and among this mêlée on New Year’s Eve 1970 Lyn Le Grice met her future husband, Jeremy. Jeremy, who died in 2012, was a painter from a local gentry family whose marriage to fellow Slade student Mary Stork had just ended. Lyn’s former husband had studied at the Slade too. The pair married and took their six children to live in the Cotswolds, but after 14 years, during which Jeremy felt landlocked and unable to paint, they came back. As a youth, the budding artist had attended the local painting school run by Peter Lanyon. Indeed, the pupil’s tip-tilted skylines and stark thick planes of black, blue and green impasto carry something of the intensity and breadth of Lanyon’s aerial landscapes. Jeremy’s pictures were often – like the man himself – large and expansive, making grand demands of the rooms in which they were hung. This was something Lyn perfectly understood. After studying design at Hornsey School of Art she had established a career as a designer, leading the 1970s trend for pattern and stencil work with a series of books on the technique. Vogue Living wrote her up in its pages and as she became more and more in demand, she built a list of private and commercial clients that included John le Carré, Ken Howard, Shanghai Tang, Anouska Hempel, Rod Stewart, and Prince and Princess Michael of Kent. About 20 years ago, with their children grown up, the Le Grices moved into a suite of rooms at the garden end of Trereife, the glorious Queen Anne house near Penzance belonging to his cousin where Jeremy had spent much of his childhood. The older Elizabethan farmhouse had been largely rebuilt early in the 18th century by a successful Chancery barrister, John Nicholls. Using blocky Cornish granite, he copied the style of the fine four-square houses just then going up in London, and Italian journeymen working in Cornwall crafted the fine plasterwork ceilings. Then in 1798 a clever country parson’s son named Charles Valentine Le Grice (who had befriended Samuel Taylor Coleridge as a fellow pupil at Christ’s Hospital) arrived here to tutor the son and heir. He stayed on and married his widowed employer Mrs Nicholls; the premature death of his stepson meant that the property passed instead to his heirs. Now their great-great-grandson Timothy Le Grice lives in the main house. When they moved in, Jeremy took a studio nearby in Newlyn, where his career as a painter had first begun, and reconnected with the daily life of boat and harbour and fishing there. All Lyn’s skills were brought to bear on redesigning their new living spaces. The apartment is L-shaped and level with This page: in the double-height kitchen the portrait, after Van Dyck’s Cornelis van der Geest in the National Gallery, was painted by Jeremy as an Eton schoolboy in 1954. Opposite: by the kitchen table hangs a huge tapa barkcloth, painted with symbolic patterning, a gift from Lyn’s brother during his time in the New Hebrides, now Vanuatu, in the south Pacific. The drawers came from a grocer’s shop in Stow-on-the-Wold, bought when the family lived nearby
Top: in the utility room, the chair-back stencilled with a fox and, on the black dresser, a box likewise decorated with a sheep date from Cotswold days, as do the Garland pottery pieces. Above: Jeremyâ€™s Morandi-like still life of two white pitchers (c1963) hangs above a pair of Canadian sock driers â€“ a Christmas present from his daughter Louise. The earthenware crocks are typically Cornish and were once used for preserving eggs in waterglass. Opposite: above the baskets and cheeseboard brought back from Jeremyâ€™s time in Germany are a pair of zinc bottles and three woven zinc lanterns
the piano nobile, consisting of a short spine corridor and three exquisite 18th-century rooms at the garden end of the big house, joined at right angles to a more vernacular space above the mid-Georgian stables. The classically proportioned early rooms with their shallow panelling, chimney pieces and plasterwork have a cool formal grace of their own. The large drawing room, bathroom and bedroom all overlook the garden front and a parterre of box and vivid blue Ceanothus that Lyn designed to mark the new millennium. Quilted white drawing-room curtains are ‘a bedspread, bought from a local shop that was closing down, split in half’; the lovely chevron-pattern wool upholstery on some upright Georgian chairs was ‘picked up somewhere, I can’t remember where, I knew it would come in useful’. Paintings by her talented children are mixed up with others by Roger Hilton, Bryan Pearce, Karl Weschke and assorted St Ives artists, whether gifts or studio purchases. In the bedroom corridor hangs the precociously gifted self-portrait with which Jeremy Le Grice won the art prize as an Eton schoolboy, the work that confirmed him in his vocation. The other half of this suite of rooms – the former flower loft, where early daffodils were once bunched and boxed – was long and raw when they came here, subdivided by flimsy partitions with limewashed walls, ancient bleached floorboards and a high pitched roof spanned by exposed trusses. Lyn recast this as an enfilade, with a large kitchen and dining space giving onto a book room and two guest bedrooms, a washroom and a utility room at the farthest, more private end. Salvaged materials – a section of linenfold wainscoting, a pair of outsized panelled doors (truffled from a local scrapyard where I have never found anything more exotic than a Belfast sink) form the room dividers; printed Indian-cotton panels or bedspreads hang across windows or curtain alcoves. The jumble of good furniture, rugs and paintings throughout has a casual informality, but the overall result is sumptuous to look at and luxuriously comfortable. Smaller rooms at the guest-bedroom end are painted in a palette of ochre pink or bird’s-egg blue. They have the distinctly rustic feel of some Tuscan or Provençal farmhouse, whereas the kitchen and dining room are baronial double-height spaces with appropriately grand statement furniture. Ceiling-high china cabinets form the dining room’s end wall; the bookcases constructed back to back with them furnish the library-cum-sitting room beyond. The drab blue of the paintwork at this end of the house creates a sympathetic aqueous light in which Jeremy’s large sea and landscape works can be seen to best advantage. At the recent retrospective exhibition of his work at Tremenheere Sculpture Gardens, a new audience discovered the breadth and forcefulness of his recording eye, summoning up the spirit of these local Cornish places that he loved most of all $ Top: in the bedroom of Jude, the Le Grices’ adult son, the toile-de-jouy bedhead is backed by a large linenfold panel found in a local salvage yard. The wooden horse was bought in boyhood. Opposite: in this small spare room the tester and red gingham curtain and hangings (which conceal a meter cupboard) were designed by Lyn. Jeremy’s teddy is well travelled – he made two Atlantic crossings during the war, surviving the torpedoes
V I L L AG E PE E P HOL E Overlooking the green, artist Kitty North has a wonderful sense of life unfolding in Arncliffe in the Yorkshire Dales. What can also be glimpsed from her c1840 house is the wild landscape of these parts – one that informs the oils and acrylics she paints in her ‘mess hole’ and new purpose-built studio. But it’s community life in this small settlement that sustains her. As she explains to Grace McCloud: ‘It’s like Rear Window’. Photography: Christopher Simon Sykes
Opposite: a man in the village laid the cobbles in the small courtyard (beside the oil studio) for the previous owners, Bishop John Robinson and his wife. On warmer days Kitty will paint here, or wheel out her easel on to the village green. The stone garden statue, which the owner calls Mary Magdalene, was here when she moved in. This page: Kitty, in her finery, stands in her oil studio (or ‘mess hole’). An oil landscape hangs on the left, but the brighter canvases stacked against the wall are from her latest exhibition, Daring to Dream, which was completed entirely in acrylic
Top: facing the village green, the c1840 Prospect House was named for its magnificent views. Above left: the Chinese cabinet at the top of the stairs belonged to Kitty’s great-grandmother. Above right: one of Beatrix Potter’s helpers was a family friend, which was how this charming handmade Christmas card by the author, showing two mice nibbling at a coconut, came into Kitty’s possession. Opposite: the library shelves are stacked with signed art books and first editions (among them Harry Potter). On the mantelpiece is a small work by Craigie Aitchison, a friend of Kitty’s
Top: a view into the sitting room past a Yorkshire landscape by the artist. A Bigger Book (Taschen) – Hockney’s limited-edition leviathan, which comes with its own stand – perches next to a sofa upholstered by Peter Paley. The glass-topped table was made specially by Terry Makin. Above: works by Kitty frame a sliding door: a (very thin) oil on the left, and a gouache of a lonely cottage. Opposite: surrounding the kitchen’s bespoke oak table are Wegner ‘Wishbone’ chairs – Kitty was introduced to them by the architect John Pawson, with whom she has worked on previous projects
THERE IS A
woman, Kitty North tells me, who has lived in her village for 84 years. Born in a house on the green, she has spent nine decades observing the comings and goings in Arncliffe, this small settlement deep in the Yorkshire Dales. One gets the sense that Kitty, given the opportunity, would happily do the same. Sitting in her library, which overlooks the morning-misted green – virtually unchanged for a century at least – she says she feels as though she’s permanently watching a film. ‘It’s like Rear Window,’ she explains (though without the heatwave, mystery and sticky ends). ‘Everywhere you look the whole village is unravelling itself.’ Others before her have noticed its cinematic charm – Emmerdale Farm (today’s precursor) was originally filmed here from 1972 to 1976, with the Woolpack pub taking the shape of the real-life Falcon. It is, by her own account, a remarkable place. And Kitty, an artist, is in good company with such a thought. In 1816 Turner toured Yorkshire and stopped off in the Dales, his eye for drama falling on nearby Kilnsey Crag three miles down the road. And just over the way is Malham Cove. Immortalised as Lewthwaite in The Water-Babies, it’s the screeching sheer face of limestone down which brave Tom clambers. The novel’s charming pools and babbling streams were inspired by those around Arncliffe, which the author and priest Charles Kingsley often visited. Kitty has been painting this wild country as a full-time artist for 28 years. She was born in Kirkby Lonsdale, not far away on the edge of the national park. At 13, having made her first landscape (of the Ingleborough peak from her bedroom win-
dow), she knew she was going to be an artist. Stints training in London, Brighton and Manchester followed, as did many years spent living in nearby Skipton, but when she found a house in Arncliffe – remote and without a single streetlight – up for sale five years ago, she couldn’t resist the pull. Viewed from the village green it is, she says, ‘the “perfect house” house’, its bonny symmetry like that of a child’s drawing. The previous owner was another clergyman, Bishop John Robinson of Woolwich, a liberal Anglican theologian known for his controversial 1963 book, Honest to God, and for his defence of Lady Chatterley’s Lover, which he daringly declared something ‘every Christian should read’. The retired Robinson had lived in this house from the late 1970s until his death in 1983, after which his wife had stayed until hers. When Kitty bought it, it hadn’t been lived in for three years. Now, very little remains of the old (and rather dated) interior. Only the banister stripped of its limewash (‘the bishop must have done it on a day off’), the bell-shaped glass pendants that hang from most of the ceilings, and the library bookshelves survived a near-total renovation that took place over seven months, during which she rented in the village. The finished house is a picture of cool, calm comfort. Colour is, for the most part, either muted (the loudest walls a pearly blue) or contained – a mustard-yellow trunk here, an Edwardian chair covered in mossy velvet there. Yet despite the restraint, one could hardly call it ascetic – not like the gallery/living space in London (WoI April 1997) that Kitty and her then husband transformed from a former tannery with the help of architect John Pawson – a white knight
The studio/gallery was designed by Native Architects, who reserved the ‘foot’ as Kitty’s office, while the conservatory beside it is the work of Digby Harris of Francis Johnson & Partners – the path between leads to the cobbled courtyard. Both overlook her ‘very low-maintenance’ garden
in more ways than one. In contrast, this comfortable home, with its deep sofas expertly upholstered by Peter Paley and cosy fireplace set-ups, is a minimalist’s nightmare. So what made her max it up? ‘I couldn’t live totally [like that] all the time, to be really frank,’ explains the painter. ‘But I do love minimalism, I love the idea of it. I think John Pawson is fantastic… he’s an artist’s dream. Because really as an artist what you want is nice white spaces to hang work on. And he’s very good at that!’ Kitty is very good at it too, and has left just the right amount of white to do it. At least one of her canvases hangs in every room, ranging from swirled abstracts to huge stormy landscapes with oil as thick as an Auerbach. The latter look particularly sensational – and all the more poetic if you manage to simultaneously glimpse an echo in the imposing landscape behind the windowpane. She paints her oils in what she calls her ‘mess hole’ – a freezing outbuilding leading off from the garden. Canvases here are hitched up on makeshift rails, and the table is so caked with years of paint you feel a cross-section might reveal an undiscovered Yorkshire fossil. ‘If it gets too messy I just put one more coat of white paint on it.’ Yet something strange has happened to this artist who, for nearly 30 years, has revelled in the rich depths and smells of oil. Her latest show, Daring to Dream, celebrating nearby Salts Mill – a Victorian textile factory built by Sir Titus Salt – was completed entirely in acrylic. ‘I’ve been trying for a long time to crack it,’ she admits. ‘And I would do commissions… But I’d only get so far and then I’d go back [to oil].’ This series
of two-metre canvases tells in unmixed shades of teal, midnight blue and an aptly pea-souper yellow the industrial, human and animal histories of the mill, which was bought by the late Jonathan Silver 30 years ago and has been turned into a thriving centre of technology, art and commerce. One wonders if her other studio, a long low oak-andglass pavilion running along one side of the lawn, looking towards the brooding brow of a hill, might have something to do with embracing a more manageable medium. It was designed as both a separate work space and a sometime gallery by York-based practice Native Architects and the construction was done by the ‘fantastic’ Keith Blades. The remit was brief but stringent – make it warm. Eight months after Kitty moved in, her ‘art piece’ as she calls it now was finished. And? ‘It’s like being under a duvet,’ she says with palpable relief – unsurprising when you learn she spends all day and most of the night in here. Asked if she’ll ever go back to linseed and turps, Kitty looks thoughtful. ‘I don’t know… I think it’s the start of something new. I really do.’ But for all the mixing and messing in medium, it’s clear that her love of this place, steadfast since she painted from her window as a girl, will remain unchanged. ‘There’s something about this village,’ she sighs. ‘You’re one step closer to God. There’s always a light shining over it in a way that there isn’t anywhere else’ $ ‘Daring to Dream’ runs at Salts Mill, Victoria Rd, Saltaire, Bradford, W. Yorks BD18 3LA, until 15 April. For opening times, ring 01274 531163, or visit saltsmill.org.uk. To contact Kitty North, ring 07894 797300, or visit kittynorth.com
‘I found it really problematic working out what kind of light to have,’ says Kitty of her acrylic studio/gallery. The solution was non-reflective lighting above her worktables (custom-designed by Terry Makin), and track lighting under which to display finished work (both by Erco)
LOVE AMID THE RUINS
A statue of Venus at her bath is the centrepiece of an ‘ancient’ grotto-cum-colonnade in southern Italy, commissioned in the 1780s by Queen Maria Carolina. Inspired by the recent discovery of Pompeii, architect Carlo Vanvitelli built the curved structure with fractures in the roof, broken floor tiles and trompe-l’oeil plaster pared back to reveal the reticulated ‘Roman’ brickwork beneath. Aliette Boshier investigates the artifice of disrepair. Photography: Ricardo Labougle
Ancient marble statues occupy niches in the gently curving walls of the cryptoporticus, as if urging the visitor on to what lies just out of sight
This page, clockwise from top left: the artifice of Vanvitelli is at work in the damaged tiles of the grotto floor that flow in harmony with the mottled paintwork of its lacunar ceiling; the Roman marble claw-foot bath that occupies the central recess recalls themes of bathing and renewal at play in this part of the garden; painted plaster walls stand in for marble panels â€“ theyâ€™re broken in places to reveal the opus reticulatum (diamond-shaped tufa bricks) of an ancient Roman structure; this marble statue of Venus stands as if untouched for millennia; one of three openings in the thick stone walls reveals a basaltcolumned recess replete with its ancient statue. Opposite: what Sybilline prophecies might these leaves foretell as nature gains ground in the eastern corner of the grotto/colonnade?
‘OF ITS MANY jewels, we are wont to recall
above all that cool and solitary retreat called the Bagno.’ In the fan-fluttering torpor of a Neapolitan summer, no sound could be more welcome than the gentle burbling of water over rocks. To Count Carlo Castone della Torre di Rezzonico, the quiet Arcadian corner of the newly created English Garden at Caserta seen here entranced the senses when he visited it in 1789. Though the scene was not yet graced by its statue of Venus, he described with breathless delight a hidden pool along whose banks thronged weeping willows, holm oaks, maidenhair ferns, succulents, peonies and dog roses. As if to complete the enchantment, here too was the ruin of an ancient nymphaeum, its fractured roof letting light and the elements onto the carved statues in its walls. Campania felix was the Roman epithet for the region of Naples, a land warmed by the sun from above and the caldera below. If ever a garden were to flourish, it would be here. Queen Maria Carolina (wife of Ferdinand IV/ III) must have thought the same when, in 1785, she summoned the British ambassador to the kingdom, Sir William Hamilton, on a matter of horticultural importance. On surveying the endless grounds at Caserta, some 30km away from the tumult of the city, he understood what it was that it lacked. Thirty years earlier Ferdinand’s father, Charles of Bourbon, conceived his new royal capital as a monumental site in the spirit of Versailles. Through the far-reaching vision of architect Luigi Vanvitelli and, later, his son Carlo, the Reggia di Caserta became the dazzling swansong of the Italian Baroque: a palace of 1,200 rooms set in 300 acres of rolling parkland, with over three kilometres of decorative cascades that unfurled beneath its northern façade. What the queen must build, said Hamilton, was a giardino all’inglese, the first of its kind in Italy. That her sister Marie Antoinette had remodelled the gardens of the Petit Trianon in the English style exemplified its growing popularity in Europe. It was a question of good taste as much as sibling rivalry. Hamilton wasted little time in petitioning Sir Joseph Banks for advice and by April of the following year, 1786, the brilliant Anglo-German botanist John Andrew Graefer had arrived from London. What evolved from Graefer’s sometimes fraught collaboration with Carlo Vanvitelli was both a glorious antidote to the mannered Italian garden and an important centre of botanical research, brimming with rare and exotic species from the peninsula and beyond. Situated at the northeastern extremity of the vast site, its dense woodland, rolling meadows, hidden ruins and rock-hewn paths were the magical synthesis of sublime, unfettered nature and a yearning for the picturesque. This was a vale of delights, a place for the king to disport with the dame di corte, and the queen to imagine herself the discoverer of lost civilisations. Deep at the heart of the garden, concealed from view by banks of Monterey cypress, laurel and cedar, in the basin of an old tuff quarry, Vanvitelli built the queen a semicircular structure of ancient bearing imbued with an air of mystery and cult. From the path, the cryptoporticus (a covered passageway built as a ‘ruin’)
suggests the craggy aspect of the Sibyl’s grotto at Cumae, but concealed within is the elegant curve of a Roman colonnade adorned with figures of antiquity. It is a painted capriccio come to life. At each end of the barrel-vaulted ceiling and throughout are artificial fissures hung with vines, with strawberry trees, Jerusalem thorn and amarella beyond. The floor is inlaid with an interlocking pattern of marble and Calabrian greenstone flowing east to west between walls of mottled trompe-l’oeil plaster, pared back in places to reveal the reticulated brickwork beneath. Three openings along the inside of the curve throw light onto columned aedicule recesses in the back wall; the central one holds a Roman bath. This picture of classical harmony is complemented by the presence of 11 statues arranged in the niches along its walls. A partial inheritance from the Farnese collection, their subjects include a Venus Pudica and the Emperor Augustus. Here, in this small pantheon of gods and rulers, one senses the existence of another, more intangible legacy: that of mankind’s eternal quest to make sense of his surroundings. While some scholars have advocated an esoteric reading of its iconology, the cryptoporticus is better understood in the context of the wider garden as a place of rich and varied sensory experience. Just beyond its walls is perhaps the greatest wonder of all, the solitary statue of Venus that gives its name to this part of the garden – il Bagno di Venere. Carved in 1762 by Tommaso Solari, she was placed here by Vanvitelli in the early 19th century, close to the site of a great yew from whose roots appears to bubble the source of the pool and lake beyond. As though surprised in the moment of emerging from her ritual bath, the goddess adopts a crouching, fugitive pose. ‘Here, one comes to understand how 18th-century thought has made a science of the senses,’ explains Fabio Mangone, professor of architectural history at the University of Naples. ‘The swaying fronds and running water form a countermelody to the constant play between sunlight and shade; just as the perfect form of Venus dazzles against the gloom in quiet opposition to ever-moving nature.’ Nature itself has not always been kind to this garden, with earthquakes and autumn gales the primary threat to its preservation in recent years. October 1997 saw the vegetation around Venus’s pool decimated by the loss of a magnificent centennial pine. The vicissitudes of man have played their part as well, with the heyday of the 19th century giving way to a steady decline in its fortunes, until a complete restructuring by the Soprintendenza di Caserta in 1982 restored the English Garden to its former glory. Nevertheless, time and the elements have only served to heighten its air of quiet inscrutability. The creeping damp of the cryptoporticus and the broken hands of Venus signal a decline inherent in its creation. For, beyond the artifice of disrepair is a sense of its remoteness in both space and time, of a literal seclusion from the world around it as the peaceful setting for the relics of a distant age $ Reggia di Caserta, 2a Viale Douhet, 81100 Caserta CE, Italy. For opening times, ring 00 39 0823 448084, or visit reggiadicaserta.beniculturali.it
Opposite: beyond this doorway carved in volcanic rock stands a Venus Pudica in her niche. This page: the dense
foliage in this part of the English Garden grants some protection to Venus as she emerges from her ritual bath
This page: in the artistâ€™s exhibition space, a Louis-Philippe dressing table serves as a plinth for small Dada-inspired assemblages. To the left is LibertĂŠ Cherie, a sculpture composed of a birdcage with its door left open. Inside is a heap of feathers. Opposite: large totems symbolising mother-goddesses populate the storage room. Against the back wall, two beehives are perched upon piles of boxes. Between them is a 2.5m Burmese drum topped by a huge black Amazonian seed
TOT EM R ECA L L Artist Nicolas Lefebvre makes his spiritual assemblages in memory of his mother, balancing disparate natural treasures with modern objects or tribal artefacts to create potent symbols of femininity. His studio in a Hausmannian building in Paris is similarly surreal: a maze of corridors and attic rooms, most without electricity, in which he makes and displays his mystical creations. Here he tells Valérie Lapierre how he celebrates ‘the roots common to us all’. Photography: Deidi von Schaewen
Top: the workroom, with its 1950s wallpaper, looks into the kitchen through the right-hand door, next to which is a white cabinet used to store tools, nails and pigments. Displayed upon it is a gypsy accordion. Above left: facing a wall of instruments is a metal stool fitted with a leather seat from southern Morocco, on which the artist sits to work. Above right: an unfurnished room gives Nicolas space to look at his pieces, some of which are laid on the floor here, with some perspective
Top: the small kitchen is the atticâ€™s only source of water. Above left: an 18th-century chair-turned-artwork. A Surrealist face, with a seed and a shell for eyes, a stick nose and a model of a Peruvian boat from Lake Titicaca standing in for a smile, has been composed on the seat. The backrest appears to hover. Above right: the storage room houses a linen-covered table â€“ an altar to the artistâ€™s mother. The pink object in the foreground is a 1920s Cameroonian hat made of flamingo feathers
total labyrinth,’ warns artist Nicolas Lefebvre as he shows visitors round his studios under the eaves of a Haussmann building in Paris’s ninth arrondissement. The building, which has remained in the family since it was built by an ancestor on his mother’s side, a relative of the chemist Gay-Lussac, comprises three structures connected on the top floor by a maze of corridors leading to some ten former servants’ rooms. Nicolas has taken over this attic space, with its fine views over the Parisian rooftops towards the Panthéon in the distance, and now uses it as his office, studio, storeroom and showroom. He sometimes even sleeps here, curling up on a chaise longue. Aged 35 and with a stylish hippy-chic look, he sports a mane of long, artfully straggly hair that frames a luxuriant beard and eyes that twinkle as he explains: ‘Since I couldn’t convert this floor into an open space, because of fire regulations, I decided to keep everything as it was, with its aging paintwork and original tomette floor tiles. Most of the rooms don’t even have electricity; it’s like being in the 19th century. I love that feeling.’ It is hard to find your way about in these endless corridors, full of twists and turns and populated by large enigmatic totems. These assemblages by the artist represent mother-goddesses, symbols of femininity, life and fertility, which have fascinated him and fed into the art he has been making since his mother’s death ten years ago. Whether tiny or monumental, all his goddesses feature a vertical silhouette topped by a circle. It is the shape of an Egyptian cross of life, his favourite symbol, which he also wears as a ring. According to the artist: ‘The circle represents the universal, and the cross, the intersection of worlds.’ Nicolas is keen ‘to celebrate the roots common to us all’ in his mother-goddesses. His process consists of assembling three elements, ‘a trinity of objects’, always old and of all different kinds – minerals, plants, pieces of industrial scrap or precious objects, all from diverse periods and cultures – ‘to open up a dialogue between them’. He does this by assembling disparate items – an old piece of jewellery from Zaire, for instance, with a billiard ball on top of an Art Deco plinth. The result is a new object that looks like it has always existed – and something that will no doubt drive ethnologists of the future crazy. ‘I love to transform objects, do away with their original function and give them another meaning. It is not enough to merely turn something upside-down; you have to put it together with objects from another culture.’ Half shaman, half jack-of-all-trades, this lover of outsider art and Arte Povera also summons up the spirit of Surrealism and Dada in his work – just look at the face he’s arranged on an 18thcentury armchair. Elsewhere, he’s used boxes made in 1853, bought from the Muséum National d’Histoire Naturelle in the Jardin des Plantes (WoI Aug 2016), to frame and display other compositions. ‘At the age of 12 I was already amassing boxes and old objects that I spotted with my grandfather at the Drouot auction house, or in some far-flung corner of the globe with my parents.’ A grad-
uate in art history and a great traveller, he developed his experienced eye by visiting antique dealers Jacques Lacoste, Jacques Delbos and Axel Vervoordt, and auctioneer Jean-Claude Binoche. ‘Before my mother died, I was planning to be more of a collector or broker than an artist, but in the end I integrated into my work all these objects that I’d picked up all over the world.’ Today his creations appear in several collections and have been shown at major expositions, among them the 2017 Art Paris fair at the Grand Palais. He calls his work ‘anthropocene’, and in doing so references art that takes nature as its source of inspiration. He feels close to the ideas of farmer/philosopher Pierre Rabhi, who champions the cause of environmentalism in agriculture, and in whose honour he has just made a giant sculpture. Of the rooms he inhabits in the attic, half are used as storage space for raw materials – hundreds, possibly thousands, of objects for future assemblages. A list of them reads like a simple yet surreal poem: shell, pebble, piece of wood, glass, seed, Napoléon III lamp base, elephant’s shoulder blade, Egyptian pottery, Mayan vase, Burmese drum, Native American headdress, pre-Columbian axe… It is not, however, chaos, with everything stored in an orderly fashion. You might think you were in the storerooms of a colonial museum, or in the home of a particularly tidy dealer of stolen goods, so neat and diverse is the array. ‘Burglars broke down all the doors but they left empty-handed,’ the artist says with a smile. One can easily imagine their disappointment on discovering that the treasures here are the vertebrae of a whale and some rusty spears. The room in which Nicolas transforms these items into artworks has a tiny balcony with just enough room for a tub chair so he can sit in the sunshine. Covered with objects, the wall facing his workbench is a masterpiece in itself: interspersed with a clever arrangement of pliers, hammers, chisels, screwdrivers and other tools are photos of the artist’s daughter and mother. Apart from the small adjoining kitchen, with its blueand-white checked curtains ‘inspired by Madeleine Castaing’s country house’, this is the only room to have a wooden floor and electricity. Further down the corridor, a room with 1950s wallpaper houses pieces awaiting assembly, while a larger one serves as a showroom for imposing totems that surround a Louis-Philippe dressing table decorated with shells. He uses another, entirely unfurnished, space to look at pieces with a bit of perspective. For the last few months, Nicolas has been feeling inspired by obelisks. ‘It might be the male counterpart to the mother-goddess. Perhaps there will be children?’ he muses, laughing. ‘I have a project for an obelisk 20m high, with a round marble plinth, a trunk made from a giant palm and a pyramidion of bronze. I dream of installing it in the gardens of the Villa Medici in Rome. Just imagine!’ he cries, his eyes shining with excitement. ‘It would be the first obelisk made from the trunk of a palm tree!’ $ Nicolas Lefebvre. Visit nicolaslefebvre.fr
This page: the artist in front of his workbench. Opposite, top: Nicolas has taken over the entire top floor of the Hausmannian building and uses its warren of corridors to display and store yet more of his art. On the left, an antique cabinet contains a small sculpture. The black basin in the opposite corner is original, installed in c1880
Above left: hanging from the ceiling is an installation comprising a 1950s chandelier made of perforated metal connected to a 19th-century dollâ€™s swing. Beneath it stands a display cabinet housing a piece of Mediterranean coral. The plinth was once a circus prop. Above right: in the main room, the studio, Nicolas has hung a small striped silk curtain to brighten up a section of wall. In front of it stands La Femme Ă la Toilette, composed of a mirror, a small wheel and a walking stick from Zaire
Raspberry trompe-l’oeil drapery and patterned light switches? Hardly a predictable restoration of a 700-year-old Umbrian manor. Yet for its late owner, Tony Walford, a serial rescuer of forgotten houses, such atmosphere was paramount to authenticity – and impossible without ‘understated surprises’. It explains why fading frescoes and walls painted with colours from quattrocento canvases are here balanced with cheery chintzes and his own découpage creations. Text: Elspeth Thompson. Photography: Simon Upton. First published: October 1993
The first-floor salon is the largest room. Its canvas wall panels used to fit between the ceiling beams. Walford painted the trompe-l’oeil dado drapery using Cornelissen’s ‘Alizarin Crimson’ pigment
Walford rescues houses for a living. So when three years ago he was among dinner-party guests taken on a stroll to a ruined hilltop village near the host’s home in Umbria, he found it hard to resist the charm of the roofless stone walls covered in dark ivy that gleamed under a full moon. In particular, his imagination was caught by the hamlet’s principal house in the shadow of the church, its windows bound shut with creeper, nightingales singing in the garden. Walford returned in the less poetic light of day with Andrea lo Bue di Lemos, his partner in the architecturalrestoration business he runs from Catania in Sicily. To their delight they found that elegantly proportioned rooms, painted ceilings and intriguing traces of frescoes more than made up for the mice nests, damp and general decay. Within a few days they had negotiated a deal with the absent owner, and the house – all ten rooms and seven centuries of it – was theirs. Walford has strong opinions about restoration. Not for him the slipping-in of a new Conran kitchen beneath ancient rafters, or carving-up of rooms to make space for the washing machines, Jacuzzis and extra bedrooms deemed essential by so much of converted Chiantishire. ‘The idea is not to mess around with the structure of a house like this; to keep the arrangement of rooms as close as possible to the original,’ he says firmly. ‘If a building has survived for 700 years, it is for us to adapt ourselves to fit the house, rather than to adapt the house to accommodate our horrid 20th-century habits.’ Drawing the line at relying on candlelight and keeping a loo on the balcony, he installed electricity and a couple of simple bathrooms. But for that and an unfussy and decidedly unfitted kitchen, the house remains structurally unaltered since its days as the local casa padronale, or manor house, presiding over 46 neighbouring farms whose fields of grain and sunflowers once stretched almost all the way to Arezzo. When it comes to decoration, however, Walford is certainly no purist. The spirit rather than the letter of the original is his guide; a vibrant atmosphere rather than museum-like authenticity his aim. ‘Houses can look dead and depressing if you religiously restore every last detail,’ he says. ‘To get it right, a house must always be warm and welcoming, full of understated surprises.’ The first of this house’s surprises is the bright palette Walford has used. There are pinks from just-dried plaster to the deep raspberry of the dado-height drapes he’s painted around the salon walls; blues from powdery sky to cobalt; and yellows that range from buttermilk to ochre through the zingiest of lemons. It is perhaps no coincidence that these are the colours of the early Renaissance paintings with which the area is identified – the pink of rosy cherub cheeks, the blue of angel’s wings
Top: Walford transformed a light switch – a clear Forbes & Lomax panel – by backing it with Italian paper. Above: he also painted this table to resemble coloured marble. On it stands one of his many découpage lamps. Opposite: the 1930s chairs – replicas of 18th-century Genoese originals – and the stool are covered in a copy of a 19th-century French pattern that Walford hand-printed on to cord velvet
Right: the master bedroomâ€™s painted drapes frame views of Italyâ€™s sea ports. Their confident but unsophisticated style suggests the work of local theatrical set decorators. Top: the room opens into the salon. Walford stencilled the credenza with Neoclassical designs and replaced its glass door panels with fabric. Above: Walford painted this vase, transformed from a Sicilian sieve, with flowers inspired by some 1835 Ridgway ironware plates
Left: in another bedroom leading off from the salon, Walford found faint remains of a fresco frieze. The instruments of geometry and the half-human, half-mythological heads may have Masonic origins. American colonial striped chintz cheers up the room. Top: another of the owner’s painted tables stands at the top of the stairs. The wall is hung with verre églomisé plates (above) – Walford’s handiwork – which he decorated with classical etchings
and Madonna robes. ‘I didn’t choose them consciously for that reason,’ says Walford, acknowledging the parallel, ‘but I think there is something in the austere Umbrian landscape that draws one to these soft, vivacious hues.’ Practical rather than aesthetic concerns were uppermost in his mind, he says; the colour scheme was intended to counterbalance extreme seasonal swings in temperature – a wash of cool blue for the heat of summer, with rich pink and red details to warm things up in the winter. The other main surprise is the 19th-century wall paintings – in one bedroom, maritime scenes of ships and distant islands are framed by theatrically swagged and tasselled curtains; in another is a frieze of flowers, fruit and figures – part-human, part-mythological. These were discovered under layers of whitewash and wallpaper. The former, its endearingly unsophisticated bravura still intact, is set off against simple furniture in the master bedroom. The latter, in delicate pinks and blues so faded it’s hard to make out the designs, forms a backdrop to an unexpected outbreak of striped yellow chintz on the beds. ‘The frescoes are exquisite,’ says Walford, ‘but they needed the crisp freshness of the chintz to cheer them up. I like rooms to look cared for. Anything remotely faded would have made it look as if it had been forgotten.’ He’s right, but it was a very brave move. And as with many of Walford’s surprises, necessity played as large a part in its creation as intention. Not one metre of fabric or piece of furniture was bought specifically for the house; the roll of yellow American chintz, like many of the other fabrics and objects that have come to roost here, was bought from a market stall long ago and had spent many years in storage, awaiting its moment. A limited budget meant that problems were solved by imagination and hard work rather than visits to antique shops. What looks like a series of vaguely Surrealist paintings on the salon walls turns out to be 19th-century canvas panels that originally formed a trompe-l’oeil perspective ceiling in the room, their irregular shapes dictated by the spaces between the beams. Walford jokes that he hung the panels on the walls because he had no paintings, but in fact four of the 12 were so badly mouse-bitten they had to come down anyway. ‘I don’t believe one needs to spend a lot of money to make a house beautiful,’ says Walford. ‘Once you’ve restored the original structure it becomes a stage set on which you can play around with colours and your imagination to create the right atmosphere. Get too precious and you’ll kill the house’s spirits.’ As the late sun slants in through the salon windows and lights up the room’s colours like a touchpaper, one feels the spirit of this house is very much alive, rejoicing at having been given a new lease of life. And the nightingales still sing all night long $
Top: the kitchen is painted creamy buttermilk and greyish green. Above: the upstairs bathroom features a ziggurat of 19th-century Sicilian geometric tiles. Opposite: the garden room offers shelter from the Umbrian summer sun. A large wooden divan, which Walford originally had made for his house in Sicily and then painted with a leaf motif, is set behind a 19th-century folding metal table
LOVE’S LABOURS In 1938 Leonora Carrington and Max Ernst, in the throes of an affair, eloped to rural France. Buying a farmhouse they spent a sultry summer decorating it with murals and bas-reliefs – Surrealist symbols of their partnership. Though war tore them apart, evidence of their efforts – and short-lived liaison – remains, left happily alone by the current owner, as Joanna Moorhead learns. Photography: Tim Beddow Top: the first view visitors see of the farmhouse. Large wooden doors open into a small courtyard with a stone staircase that leads up to a terrace. Above: horses abound in the work of both Max Ernst and Leonora Carrington, for whom the creature was an alter-ego of sorts. It’s possible Ernst created this stone horse head in tribute to his young lover. Opposite: he also sculpted these outsized creatures on the outside of the house. Art historians have speculated that the left-hand (male) figure is self-representative, while the willowy female at right, holding a cat-like totem, may symbolise Carrington
Top: there are no golf courses near the farmhouse, yet Carrington bought her clubs with her when she ran away with her lover â€“ as the initials on this bag attest. Above: a magnificent mosaic bat by Ernst, an extraordinarily versatile and inventive artist, was covered in dust until this photograph was taken
The terrace has a roof to protect it from the sun, and a window to let in the breeze. At the top of the staircase leading up from the courtyard hovers an artwork that’s part frieze, part bas-relief. It depicts a monstrous and unruly giant in the style of Ernst’s L’Ange du Foyer, a painting of 1937
IT WAS 1938,
and the storm clouds of war were blotting out the sun across Europe. But in a remote corner of southern France, the Surrealist artist Max Ernst and his young lover, Leonora Carrington, were painting their way through the happiest summer of their lives. The hub of the couple’s idyll was a tumbledown farmhouse on a hillside in the Ardèche. They were on the run from Ernst’s wife of ten years, Marie-Berthe, who was understandably unhappy that her husband had replaced her with a 20-year-old English debutante whom he had brought to live with him in Paris. Carrington had arrived in the French capital in the autumn of 1937, having met Ernst at a dinner party in London a few months earlier hosted by the architect Ern˝o Goldfinger and his wife, Ursula, in their Highpoint flat; despite the 26-year age gap, the attraction between the pair was instantaneous. Carrington later recalled that they became lovers ‘almost immediately’. Deciding to join Ernst in Paris was not a difficult call for her; she felt stifled by her bourgeois family (a later painting, Green Tea, or La Dame Ovale, of 1942, attested to this), and she was only too delighted to skip away from their mansion in grey Lancashire and wrap herself in the sunshine and intellectual energy of Paris. It was the mature period of Surrealism: within days of her arrival, she was making friends with artists like Picasso, Miró, Duchamp and Dalí. But then one fateful day Marie-Berthe tracked the couple down to a café, and several broken glasses and teacups later Ernst had decided it was time to move on.
They journeyed south by train from the Gare du Lyon to Orange, where they left their suitcases to be sent on later and bought bicycles on which they rode further south until they reached a village beside a river, with a white, stony shore. The weather was warm, the people were few and Paris seemed a long way off. Carrington wired home to her mother, Maurie, asking for some money; though she had left Britain in disgrace, the funds were forthcoming and the couple bought an old and decrepit stone farmhouse just outside the village, halfway up a hillside and with wonderful views across the vineyards and the valley. The house became their haven. A few friends motored down to see them from time to time, Roland Penrose and Lee Miller among them, but mostly they were undisturbed, with plenty of time to talk and make love, to laugh and to tease one another, to walk in the fields and to have picnics. And there was time, too, to work: Ernst painted Carrington, Carrington painted Ernst, and she also created the self-portrait that today hangs in the Metropolitan Museum in New York. And they painted the house, too, quite literally: the terrace, the kitchen, the cupboards, the walls – everywhere had the potential to become a Surrealist artwork. Behind the wooden frame of a small kitchen cupboard door, captured as though it was passing by a window that very second, is a blood-red unicorn with a fierce orange mane and a wispy beard. This is by Carrington; and so too is a she-figure with a horse’s head, sheathed in a purple dress, on another cupboard door. Ernst, meanwhile,
Top left: in the terrace room, ghostly faces of fantastical beasts loom out of the whitewashed walls. Like much of Carrington’s work, they seem both human and animal. Top right: a close-up suggests the artists used farm tools in the creation of their bas-reliefs. Above: a diabolical-looking unicorn with a mane of flickering flames, most likely by Carrington, peers in through a faux window surrounded by mustard-coloured tiles in the farmhouse’s kitchen
worked on bas-reliefs on the outside and inside of the house and created a superb mosaic on the basement floor. The idyllic interlude ended abruptly in June 1940: France was now at war with Germany; Ernst had been interned as an enemy alien; and Carrington had a breakdown and was spirited away to Spain by a visiting friend. She sold the house in haste the day before she fled, to settle debts she and Ernst had in the town; and what is remarkable is how untouched the house has been over the eight decades since. It has not changed hands for almost 80 years; and since it is not open to the public and is unlikely ever to be, it stands today as a hidden treasure trove of Surrealist art. The owner usually turns down requests to look round the property; but because I am a relative of Carrington’s and have been researching her biography, he very kindly granted me – and The World of Interiors – access. And what an extraordinary privilege it was to be there; in many ways, it feels as though Carrington and Ernst had only just closed the door and would perhaps be back later to cook a meal together or to continue work on some of the paintings. Because Carrington moved out in such a hurry, she left many of her possessions behind, and most of them remain. On the shelves in the kitchen are pieces of crockery originally from Crookhey Hall, the Carrington family seat; on one wall is an old map of Europe, the continent into whose war the couple was then plunged. Rather more unlikely is the dusty set of golf clubs in the basement, with the initials ‘LC’ embossed on their bag.
The large bookcase in the sitting room is packed with volumes that represent a potted history of Carrington’s life. A Century of Ghost Stories and Grimms’ Fairy Tales both bear witness to the rich stories of her childhood; two volumes of novels by the progressive Regency writer Maria Edgeworth, sometimes called Ireland’s Jane Austen and a distant relative of Carrington’s on her mother’s side, hint at her feminist spirit, which perhaps she inherited from her famous forebear. And there’s a catalogue from the International Surrealist Exhibition of 1936 in London, at which she saw Ernst’s work for the first time, commenting later that she fell in love with the art before she fell in love with the man. Most poignant of all, in the bedroom Carrington once shared with Ernst is a writing desk containing copies of letters from her mother, lamenting her departure from the family; and a letter from Ernst’s prison cell, in which he describes the jail’s courtyard and says that at night, for a few minutes, he can see a couple of stars, which make him think of lost horizons and the great love he still has for her. Sadly, though, their stay in this house was the lifespan of their time together; although they were later reunited in Portugal, they didn’t rekindle their affair. This house remains its tangible relic: a tribute to two artists, the summer they shared together and their boundless creativity $ ‘The Surreal Life of Leonora Carrington’, by Joanna Moorhead, is published by Virago, rrp £20. ‘Leonora Carrington: Magic Tales’ is at the Museo de Arte Moderno, Mexico City, 21 April23 Sept. For opening times, ring 00 52 55 8647 5530, or visit museoartemoderno.com
Top left: another corner of the spacious kitchen is populated by composite creatures on cupboards. It’s possible the British artist didn’t have time to finish the upper one before abandoning the house in 1940. Top right: the caryatid-like figure below the beams is typical of Carrington – its triangular head reappears often in her oeuvre. Above: the bathroom door features another crossbreed with a human’s face and breasts, a horse’s mane, legs and hooves, and a fish’s tail
BEARNAISE SOURCE Abandoning their old existence, the Gaillards resolved to embrace selfsufficiency in rural BĂŠarn. Here, in the shadow of the Pyrenees, the couple raise hens, graze cattle and grow vegetables, using as a base their restored oustau, or farmstead, of 1796. Catherine Ardouin finds out how they reinvented their lives. Photography: Ivan Terestchenko
The square house is topped with a mansard roof, under which a jasmine proliferates. The dormer window frames are painted,
like the shutters, in the famous BĂŠarnais red. Hydrangeas, Lagerstroemia indica, echium and old-fashioned roses complete the scene
In the kitchen, above a floor of flagstones dug up from the Gave river and cut to size, metal light fittings unearthed in a silo illuminate a NapolĂŠon III folding military
table surrounded by vintage garden chairs. Caricatures of German generals from World War I in glass frames line up above an oak kitchen cabinet. Over the mantel sit 1920s decoys of lapwings
Opposite: in the entrance area, one partition wall of the former corridor has been removed to provide light for the adjacent kitchen and the old oak staircase. The large numbered limestone flagstones were pulled up from a nearby château. The snake’s-head banister (to ward off evil spirits), the wooden door frames and the glazed entrance with floral lunette are all typical of Béarnaise houses. This page, top: in the hall, a 19thcentury cabinet has become home for seeds from the vegetable garden. Next to it sits an industrial wash tub recycled as a laundry bin. Middle left: 1930s Bakelite mushrooms spotted in an Hermès shop window line up in front of a glass dome containing stuffed birds and beneath Transylvanian reverse-glass paintings. Middle right: in the living room, with its limewashed walls, cushions are covered in hemp, by Tissage Moutet in Orthez, a fabric traditionally used to dress cows at local village festivals. Bottom: the red armchairs are from JeanFrançois’s family, and the miniature boat, between windows, is a 19th-century eel tank
The bathroom, its walls painted in Farrow & Ball’s ‘Cinder Rose’, is lit by a 1970 Danish ceiling light. Carol’s cat Lulu sits on the
oak-clad bathtub facing a 1940s armchair bought in a local garage sale. So too was the pedestal washbasin, about a decade older
AN IRISH WOMAN
whose dream was to have a vegetable garden, and a salmon fishing enthusiast from the Massif Central, have taken up a life of self-sufficiency in Sauveterre-de-Béarn. Here, at the foot of the Pyrenees, Carol and JeanFrançois Gaillard grow their own fruit and vegetables and raise their own chickens, cows and bees. An old local saying goes ‘In Sauveterre, good land, good people’. An essential stopping place for pilgrims on the way to Santiago de Compostela, this small village was originally built as a place of refuge in the 11th century. Once Sauvatèrra, ‘safe land’ in Occitan, the fortified village overlooks the Gave d’Oloron, ‘the enchanted river’ as Jean-François calls it, where salmon and sea trout hatch. These migratory fish return to their place of birth after a long ocean journey to Greenland and the Faroe Islands, finding their way by the stars and their sense of smell. Jean-François brought Carol here one day to camp out and swim beneath the mountains. But her own fantasy was to have a vegetable garden; she came to realise that the secret of good cooking was highquality wholesome ingredients. Jean-François’s mother set the bar high when it came to food, because according to Carol she cooked ‘like a goddess’. The couple regularly spent their holidays in this land of poule au pot, a dish associated with Henri IV, the Protestant who converted to Catholicism in order to become king of France. They rented houses in the Salies area, which claims to be the place of origin of the first air-dried ham, the famous jambon de Bayonne, thanks to its salt springs, ten times
saltier than seawater. Legend has it that in the 12th century a wild boar killed by hunters was found many days later well preserved in the springwater… One day the couple decided to get away from it all. They ruled out Ireland, Carol’s country of origin, for its too short summers, and California where Jean-François had lived, for being too far from the Europe they love. So they chose the Béarn region, 800km or so from the capital, for its ‘sun, rain, salmon, grasslands, mountains, sea and very rich soil’. This was the first house they inspected. Surrounded by 50 acres of good land and lush forest with a silhouette of peaks in the background, the estate had everything the couple were looking for, and they immediately decided to take the plunge. Overlooking the landscape, this classic Béarn oustau, or farmstead, consists of various buildings organised around a courtyard. The main dwelling is a square, symmetrical 18th-century building that spans three floors. Its mansard roof, with scalloped terracotta Picon tiles, is in two sections: the upper part pointed at the apex with four pitches that descend to become a broad vertical band pierced with dormer windows. Built for a local bourgeois family in 1796, it was later inhabited by farmers with scant comfort. ‘We arrived here one Saturday morning, to find a house with no water or electricity, in which the wind howled up the stairs, shaking the doors and the 17th-century oak panels and scaring the wits out of us until well into the small hours’. This is how Carol describes her first days in this house in her book La Vie d’un Potager (Sud Ouest);
In a bedroom with walls painted in Farrow & Ball’s ‘Elephant’s Breath’, the 1940s leather couch comes from a gymnasium in Prague. A photo by Serge Korniloff stands on the typically Béarnaise 18th-century fireplace. The armchair was found at a car-boot sale
The old hen house has been opened out into an airy summer room populated by a wrought-iron Napoléon I folding bed, a table made in situ from old oak boards, 1920s copper ceiling lights from the warehouse at the port of Bayonne and, on the wall, a pair of wickerwork triangles for drying ceps
she also blogs about her vegetables and favourite animals. The house is now comfortable and welcoming. The Gaillards have not carried out any major work, preferring to consolidate rather than restore, apart from taking down some partition walls to create a large living room. Floors, doors and windows are still original, while the walls have been painted in attractive subtle colours. The furniture has come from their families or from local second-hand markets. All in different styles, they have slipped naturally into the house as though having arrived here one by one over a long time. The most striking room is the kitchen, with its adjacent scullery, which has its practical functions carefully hidden away. The floor is laid with flagstones from the Gave river, and the metal light fittings were unearthed in a silo. They illuminate a Napoléon III folding army table surrounded by 1920s garden chairs. Caricatures of German generals from the 1914-18 war set in glass are lined up with military precision on an oak kitchen cabinet. The legendary cream cast-iron Aga has replaced the fireplace while retaining the original hood. This central room is separated from the living room by the entrance corridor and is bounded by the staircase that leads to the bedroom. In the garden is a pond built with stones from a former wine storehouse and fed by a local spring; they use it as a swimming pool. In the barn is a sauna that is greatly appreciated in cold weather. The rest of the space is used for storing wood, tools and beekeeping equipment. The former farm buildings have been done
up as accommodation for their children or friends. Determined to be independent, Carol and JeanFrançois keep themselves warm with wood from their forest and with the solar panels concealed in the double roof. When they arrived in the Béarn more than a decade ago, these young neophytes had to reinvent their daily lives. From one sometimes difficult experience to the next, Carol and Jean-François had the soil analysed, devoured books on gardening and learned about biodiversity and the benefits of compost and earthworms. They thought about, drew and organised each plant. Their vegetable plot, a square kilometre, today contains more than a hundred different varieties of heritage vegetables, which they prepare for friends with aplomb. The potager has won two prizes, in 2008 and 2009, at the competition for the best vegetable gardens in France. In the last decade they have planted 90 fruit trees, requesting help from the Conservatoire Végétal Régional d’Aquitaine to ensure they had only local varieties; installed 50 beehives; and raised hens solely for their eggs. And their fields are populated by seven cows that turned up one after another: Béarnaise cattle only, grass-fed and treated exclusively with homoeopathy and plantderived medicines. The couple will soon be making their own cheese. The latest plantings are two local white grape varieties: Petit Manseng and Courbu. While they wait a year or two before making their first wine, they will be able to drink the grape juice, eat the fruit and feed the wild birds $ Carol Reid-Gaillard’s blog is at mailhos.info
inspiration Some of the design effects in this issue, recreated by Augusta Pownall
Are you a master of the decorative arts, like Tony Walford (page 106)? If not, turn to Pentreath & Hall for your découpage needs. This yellow glass and brass ‘Urn’ lamp costs £510, and the orange ‘French Shell’ lampshade, like that in the bedroom (page 111), is £145. Ring 020 7430 2526, or visit pentreath-hall.com.
2 Though his house is in Umbria, Tony Wal1 3
ford had an eye for fabrics from further afield. His traditional Alcobaça fabrics from Portugal stand out (pages 106 and 110) and can be found at Armazém dos Linhos for £4.75 approx for 50 × 150cm. Ring 00 351 222 004 750, or visit armazemdoslinhos.myshopify.com.
3 Can’t decide between clean white and pastel blue for the tiles around your fireplace? Go for both together, like Tony Walford did (page 106). Bert & May’s Alalpardo tiles cost £7.06 each. Ring 020 3744 0776, or visit bertandmay.com.
4 Tony Walford was no minimalist. Even light switches were backed with dazzling handmade paper – yours for £3 per sheet from Shepherds (page 108). The designs, such as ‘Italian 211’, are based on motifs from Renaissance Italy and traditional woodblock-printed papers. Ring 020 7233 9999, or visit store.bookbinding.co.uk.
‘stone’ (in fact a mix of clay, terracotta, silicates and glass) around 1770. The recipes and techniques were rediscovered by Coade Ltd, which makes pieces from the virtually weatherproof material at its workshops in Wiltshire. This ‘Autumn’ (£42,000) could be a cousin of the ladies in the Caserta colonnade (page 95). Ring 01722 744499, or visit coade.co.uk.
6 A quick dip wouldn’t do for
Queen Maria Carolina in her garden at Caserta. Rather, a leisurely soak in the deep bath at the heart of its curving cryptoporticus (page 96). Lapicida’s ‘Alberto Iniano’ marble tub, from £15,000, is similarly fit for royalty. Ring 01423 400100, or visit lapicida.com.
PHOTOGRAPHY: LIAM STEVENS (2,3,4,7,8,9)
5 Eleanor Coade first created her eponymous
Cornwall is famed for its light, but direct sunshine can damage the paintings in Lyn Le Grice’s kitchen (page 80). There’s no need for boring blinds, however, and bright linen works well. Designers Guild’s lemongrass ‘Brera Lino’ (top; £59 per m) and kiwi ‘Coutil’ (by Christian Lacroix Maison; £68 per m) are our choice shades. Ring 020 7893 7400, or visit designersguild.com.
8 A patchwork quilt keeps things cosy, while a
floral pillowcase brightens the bedding on the canopied child’s bed in Cornwall (page 85). ‘Vintage Alderney’ bed linen by Cabbages and Roses, available at John Lewis, costs from £18 for an Oxford pillowcase. Visit johnlewis.com.
9 Perhaps inspired by the sea nearby, much of the woodwork in Lyn Le Grice’s hall and book rooms is decorated with a mottled blue paint effect (pages 76 and 78). Annie Sloan suggests mixing ‘Aubusson Blue’ (top) and ‘Florence’ (both £18.95 per litre), then waxing the wall before sanding back to reveal some grain beneath. Ring 01865 713089, or visit anniesloan.com.
Decorator Michelle Smith opts for elegant symmetry in her New York living room (page 66), with both sofas flanked by Galerie des Lampes’ floor lamp with neat pleated fabric shade (£1,250 approx). Ring 00 33 1 40 20 14 14, or visit galeriedeslampes.com.
11 There’s no shortage of places to sit in the Brooklyn brownstone (page 66) – no doubt down to the owner’s obsession with picking upholstery fabrics. We think she’d fall for this ‘Chippendale’ sofa, £4,765 from George Smith. Ring 020 7384 1004, or visit georgesmith.com.
12 The delicate hues of the Arts and Crafts rug in Kitty North’s sitting room (page 89) are echoed in this hand-spun Turkish carpet, which costs £4,850 from Robert Stephenson. Ring 020 7225 2343, or visit robertstephenson.co.uk $ 12
Swirsky on Gursky, Britain in the Jazz Age, plus Charlotte Edwards’s listings
ALL IMAGES: © ANDREAS GURSKY/DACS, 2017. COURTESY: SPRUETH MAGERS
Andreas Gursky HAYWARD GALLERY Southbank Centre, Belvedere Rd, London SE1 As a child, German photographer Andreas Gursky was given the run of his parents’ Düsseldorf advertising studio. Beginning by creating landscapes with his father’s cumbersome Hasselblad, Linhof and Plaubel cameras, Gursky later studied the dispassionate, coolly conceptual photography of tutors Bernd and Hilla Becher at the Düsseldorf Kunstakademie. These formative influences paid off. On its sale in 2011, his three-metre-wide print Rhine II (1999), a steely, bravura composition of colour and geometry, became the world’s most expensive photograph, while 99 Cent II Diptychon (2001), an image of a Los Angeles discount store, had held the same record four years earlier. Catapulting contemporary photography to the top of the art market is the side effect of a career that has redefined the genre and anticipated the post-truth era. Working from his studio, an industrial substation converted by Tate Modern’s architects, Gursky’s deep fascination with globalism, commerce and the sublime have led him to capture Vietnamese factory lines, Chicago stock exchanges, Mexican landfills, Niagara Falls, the Tour de France and techno music festivals (he is himself a keen reveller). Launching the Hayward’s 50th anniversary year, the first exhibition in the gallery after its two-year refurbishment features 60 of Gursky’s large-scale architectural and landscape images from the 1980s to the present day. His compositional template prizes a centred perspective, well-balanced light without shadows, distance and a careful crop, a style learnt from the Düsseldorf School. An early adopter of digital art, Gursky uses software manipulation to achieve what he terms ‘fictional photography’ or ‘assisted real-
ism’. To create the crisp, undulating portrait of Bahrain’s International Circuit, for instance, he took shots for two hours from a helicopter. These multiple viewpoints of the motorsports venue were then digitally fused to form a single, democratic composition created from dozens and dozens of images painstakingly stitched together. Surrounded by arid desert landscape, the fraught black curves seen from above are devoid of cars or people, and the result verges strikingly on the abstract. Our changing globalised economy has proved fertile ground for Gursky. In a recent indoor landscape of an Amazon warehouse in Phoenix, Arizona, packages jostle together in a dizzying display of commerce, while Prada II (1997) exposes our hollow cultural fantasies about consumer goods through the emptiness of green and pink store shelves. Gleaming recesses present the calculated theatre of commercial display, of staging and soliciting desire, while evoking the work of Minimalist light artists. Two recent photographs eschew his usual elevated viewpoint and uncannily precise focus. Inspired by images taken on the artist’s iPhone from a train and a car, Tokyo (2017) and Utah (2017) are seemingly spontaneous yet deliberately constructed. Returning to both locations, Gursky reshot the same point of view with a largescale camera. With their variable focus, the works acknowledge the phenomenon of the mobile-phone picture – an image meant to serve a single moment of living – while aspiring to the grandeur of works of art. At 63, Gursky continues to rewrite his own rules. ANDREAS GURSKY runs 25 Jan-22 April, Mon, Wed, Fri-Sun 11-6, Thurs 11-8 $ REBECCA SWIRSKY is an arts critic and fiction writer
Opposite: Bahrain I, 2005, C-print, 302.2 x 219.6 x 6.2cm. Top left: Ratingen, Swimming Pool, 1987, inkjet print, 60-70cm max. Top right: Nha Trang, 2004, C-print, Diasec, 295.5 x 207 x 6.2cm
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TOP: © ESTATE OF THE ARTIST, COURTESY LEFEVRE FINE ART LTD, LONDON AND BRITISH COUNCIL COLLECTION. BOTTOM: NORTHAMPTON MUSEUM AND ART GALLERY
Rhythm and Reaction TWO TEMPLE PLACE Temple Place, London WC2 The decades bracketed by the two world wars – and, arguably, much of the hedonism of that time derived from a grim perception that it was an interwar rather than a postwar era – saw what was surely the greatest social and cultural upheaval of the entire 20th century. Women cast off their hobble skirts, bobbed their hair and climbed into fringed frocks that exposed parts of the body that had been hidden away for centuries. The world became faster, louder and more mechanised: motor cars and aeroplanes, gramophones and talkies, factories roaring with what actor Jack Buchanan termed a ‘boom-a-lacka, zoom-a-lacka, wee’. And the savage rhythm that ran through it all was the sound of jazz. It might be an uncomfortable thought for a 21st-century mindset, but it seems highly likely that the Bright Young Things’ taste for ragtime was a variant strain of the contemporary vogue for primitivism, which led artists from Picasso to Modigliani to incorporate aspects of African tribal art into their paintings. In the Britain of Wodehouse, Coward and Waugh, the music of Louisiana flophouses and Harlem juke joints became the soundtrack for high society – an enthusiasm for black American culture was something exotic, subversive, even dangerous, with which to shock staid maiden aunts and censorious clergymen. Unlike its anthropological counterparts, however, jazz was defiantly modern, an urban art form in which trumpets blared like motor horns and clarinets soared like skyscrapers.
This show examines how this wild noise became somehow tamed during its transatlantic crossing. The syncopations of American jazz were fused with the British traditions of music hall and the café orchestra; a form founded on the principle of improvisation was transcribed on to sheet music and arranged for tea dances. Its heroes were pasty-faced dance-band figures such as the limpid pianist Lew Stone, the peppy trumpeter Nat Gonella and the mournful crooner Al Bowlly. The uniquely refined sound they created is attributable in part to the fact that they were attempting to recreate a version of jazz based entirely on scratchy recordings played on primitive equipment. Many of them had not experienced American jazz as it was intended – raw and live. That’s not true of every artist featured in Rhythm and Reaction. The Sussex painter Edward Burra, for instance, tracked the music to its source – it is said that he told his mother he was going for a walk in the garden only to vanish to the USA for six months, where he chronicled clubland as a kind of Otto Dix of the Harlem Renaissance. Other visual artists interpreted the essence of jazz in more abstract fashion, as seen in the gaudy ornamental vases of Enoch Boulton – although, in truth, their kaleidoscopic palettes and jagged diagonals owe more to Vorticism than the music of Bechet and Armstrong. But that’s a quibble – it is, above all, the curious fusion of sources that makes the interwar period so compelling. RHYTHM AND REACTION: THE AGE OF JAZZ IN BRITAIN runs 27 Jan-22 April, Mon, Thurs-Sat 10-4.30, Wed 10-9, Sun 11-4.30 $ STEPHEN PATIENCE is a freelance writer
Top: Edward Burra, The Band, 1934, watercolour, 55.5 x 76cm. Above: Co-operative Wholesale Society shoes, 1920-25
2 1 Natural selection – still life by Jacob van Hulsdonck, c1615, in Bruton. 2 It’s a cover-up – Arnulf Rainer, Orange on White, 1960, at Thaddaeus Ropac. 3 Tutu much – Edgar Degas, The Red Ballet Skirts, c1900, at the National Gallery. 4 Slightly a jar – Phillip King, Eye Vessel, 1995, at Thomas Dane.
Until 28 Feb. Mon, Wed-Fri 9.30-6, Tues 9.30-8, Sat 9.30-5, Sun 11-5. This spellbinding history of magic ties
BRUTON HAUSER & WIRTH SOMERSET 20 Jan-7 May. Tues-Sun 10-4. Down on the farm, this bizarre
BRITISH LIBRARY EUSTON RD, NW1
in with the 20th anniversary of JK Rowling’s first novel, but there’s much more to it than Harry: celestial globes, ancient manuscripts, the famous Chinese Oracle bones and the origins of ‘abracadabra’. Until 13 May, rare recordings from the library’s sound archives. FRITH STREET GALLERY GOLDEN SQUARE, W1 Until 2
Feb. Tues-Fri 10-6, Sat 11-5. Going to extremities:
New York artist Polly Apfelbaum shows four sandy-coloured carpets woven with giant feet (based on a 1948 Dubuffet sketch of footprints on the beach), and glazed ceramic sculptures modelled on her own hand. LLEWELLYN ALEXANDER THE CUT, SE1 9 Jan-7 Feb.
Tues-Sat 10-7.30. A passage to India – and Cuba, Spain, Cyprus – via Jenny Wheatley’s paintings of interiors and architectural façades in a palette of hot pinks and oranges. NATIONAL GALLERY TRAFALGAR SQUARE, WC2 Until
4 Feb. Mon-Thurs, Sat, Sun 10-6, Fri 10-9. The big Finnish: a last chance to lose yourself in Gallen-Kallela’s lake landscapes. Until 18 Feb, art in black and white – and yellow (Olafur Eliasson’s Room for One Colour, 1997). Until 2 April, Van Eyck’s influence on the PreRaphaelites. Until 7 May, luminous Degas pastels from Glasgow’s Burrell Collection. PEER HOXTON ST, N1
Until 3 Feb. Wed-Sat 12-6.
Catherine Story’s installation – part painting, part sculpture, inspired by Cubism, 1930s films and African architecture – is carefully lit so that it’s thrown into relief as dusk falls.
ROYAL ACADEMY OF ARTS PICCADILLY, W1 Until 11
March. Mon-Thurs, Sat, Sun 10-6, Fri 10-10. A history of life drawing, from the beginnings of the RA 250 years ago to new work using VR technologies and art software. 27 Jan-15 April, riding high: Van Dyck’s monumental equestrian portraits are at the heart of a once-in-alifetime show reuniting Charles I’s collection. THADDAEUS ROPAC DOVER ST, W1 Until 10 Feb. Tues-
Sat 10-6. The subject of Rodin’s ‘wild admiration’, Medardo Rosso (1858-1928) was a radical sculptor of protean forms in plaster and wax; he cast his bronzes in public, as a kind of performance. Plus, Lee Bul’s suspended sculptures. Plus, paintings by Arnulf Rainer, pioneer of the Austrian Informel movement.
5 5 The only way is Essex – Edward Bawden, Audley End, 1973, in Saffron Walden. 6 Shadow play – Lucien Her vé, Le Corbusier and the Modulor Man at the Unité d’Habitation, Marseille, 1952, in Tours. 7 Sittow comfortably – Portrait of the Danish King Christian II, 151415, in Washington
COLCHESTER FIRSTSITE Until 18 Feb. Mon-Sun 10-5.
Grayson Perry tapestries, woodcuts, ceramics and tiles conceived for his 2015 House for Essex. Until 4 March, key conceptual works by Rose Finn-Kelcey (1945-2014). EAST WINTERSLOW NEW ART CENTRE, ROCHE COURT
Until 11 Feb. Mon-Sun 11-4. Dorothy Cross is known for hybrid sculptures incorporating seashore debris; here, she shows a bed carved in Carrara marble, and body parts cast in gold or bronze. Plus, Marit Tingleff’s monumental platters are press-moulded with her feet and doused with coloured slips poured from a ladder. KENDAL ABBOT HALL ART GALLERY Until 17 Feb. Mon-
Sat 10.30-4. Modern British land, sea and figure studies from the Ingram Collection. OXFORD MODERN ART OXFORD Until 18 Feb. TuesSat 10-5. Based in a remote Norwegian farm-
ing community, Swedish-born self-taught weaver Hannah Ryggen (1894-1970) used tapestry to respond to events in the outside world: the rise of fascism, nuclear power, the Vietnam War. Plus, the great and the good: giant painted heads of pioneering Oxford women by Nicolas Party (WoI Dec 2013). SAFFRON WALDEN FRY ART GALLERY TOO Until 25 March. Sat 11-5, Sun 2.15-5. While the main gal-
lery is closed until April, an old schoolroom nearby is showing works by artists based in this town from the 1960s to 80s. WEST BRETTON YORKSHIRE SCULPTURE PARK Until 25 Feb. Mon-Sun 10-6 (grounds), 10-5 (Bothy Gallery), 11-4 (Longside Gallery). Follies, temples and tow-
ers reconstructed in paper collages, paintings and prints by Ed Kluz. Until 8 April, encounter sinister steel cells in a sylvan grove as part of Alfredo Jaar’s arresting solo show. FRANCE TOURS JEU DE PAUME Until 27 May. TuesSun 2-6. Rigorous geometric compositions
by the great photographer of architecture Lucien Hervé (1910-2007). USA WASHINGTON, DC NATIONAL GALLERY OF ART Until 1 April. Mon-Sat
THOMAS DANE GALLERY DUKE ST,
10-5, Sun 11-6. Anne Truitt’s ele-
ST JAMES’S, SW1 Until 3 Feb. Tues-
gant, hand-painted wooden monoliths. 28 Jan-13 May, fringe benefits: a 300-work survey of American art outside the mainstream. Plus, twenty paintings – pretty much all there is, in fact – by Estonian-born, Memlingtrained Michel Sittow $
Fri 10-6, Sat 12-6. Phillip King
has sliced through or added windows to his ceramics, turning utilitarian vessels into mysterious totems; a brightly coloured new geometric sculpture is similarly punched full of holes. 6
but brilliant-sounding show will explore ideas of rural life past and present, with cheese- and bread-making workshops, philosopher-poet Edward Carpenter’s sandals, paintings by Arcimboldo, John Martin and Holman Hunt – and real goats.
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JOURNAL OF A KETTLE’S YARD ACOLYTE
‘THE LOUVRE OF THE PEBBLE’ I was in Cambridge during the autumn of 2017, delivering lectures as the Slade professor of fine art. Many of the postgraduate students were new to the town, and since Kettle’s Yard was still closed for refurbishment, it seemed important to explain what a unique institution it is. My own recollections of the place and its founder, Jim Ede, go back to the early 1960s. It was thanks to word of mouth that I found my way along the backs from King’s to Northampton Street. Jim never ‘advertised’. In my case, it was a college friend’s grandmother who provided the link. All we needed to know was that there was a converted cottage, and an art collection, which was open to visitors in afternoons throughout full term. For more than a decade, it remained so, a private house full of art, books, carefully selected objects and antique furniture, whose genial owner was always on hand. The home remains the kernel of the present institution. Jim’s persistent efforts resulted in house and collection being accepted by the university in the 1970s, and he moved to Edinburgh for good. Visiting Kettle’s Yard in Jim’s time followed a familiar pattern. He was always ready to talk, engaging with visitors in a quiet but intense manner, but frequently bursting into laughter as he spoke of the works on display and the many artists he had known throughout his life. As the shadows lengthened, we’d repair to the long table in the alcove to chat and drink tea from the Queen Anne silver bullet teapot. If it became late, Jim left briefly to ring the Angelus at the nearby church of St Paul’s. You met many fellow Cambridge students there, but also artist friends of Jim (I recall Cecil Collins and Elisabeth Vellacott). Sometimes he took a contemporary artist under his wing and showed their work for sale. That’s how I acquired my first painting, a watercolour by the Indian artist Avinash Chandra (Jim mischievously called it ‘School of Braque’). Jim himself was still adding to the collection, often by trading in surplus works of his own. He needed a recent Nicholson to complement the works of the 1930s, but blenched at the price of the beautiful Argos relief of 1962. Having acquired the estate of Gaudier-Brzeska, and parcels full of paintings from the Cornish fisherman Alfred Wallis, he was glad to lend works to Cambridge undergraduates to hang in their rooms. This generosity was appreciated, though I was once alarmed to see a stack of them abandoned in the public passageway by his door. Jim marked my 21st birthday by giving me a small self-portrait by Gaudier, showing his head in profile in a medallion. It had an interesting future history, being illustrated on the cover of a new edition of Jim’s biography of the artist, Savage Messiah, and providing the design for SW Hayter to follow in the French medal of 1965, commemorating the 50th anniversary of Gaudier’s death. By then, I was a postgraduate student, studying in Paris, and welcomed Jim on a visit to the city. The wealthy family with whom he was staying wanted an English tutor for their daughter. Jim suggested me. ‘Is he poor?’ asked the hostess. ‘Yes, he is very poor,’ replied Jim. ‘That’s our chance!’ came the reply. So my standard of living in Paris was distinctly enhanced. We were also invited to visit the beautiful farmhouse in the Loire Valley that the Edes had renovated, but sold before moving to Cambridge. In the dining room, Jim whispered to me that this had been the dark spot where the elderly farmer who lived there previously was wont to proposition his housekeeper. Jim scolded me twice for referring to Kettle’s Yard as a ‘museum’. He was firm about that, but could not easily decide on a more suitable term. A Way of Life was the title he chose for the splendid book of 1984 that documented the house and the collection. In a letter sent to me, he determined that it was simply ‘a place’. It is indeed a ‘place’, unlike any other $ Kettle’s Yard reopens on 10 Feb. For details, ring 01223 748100, or visit kettlesyard.co.uk
ILLUSTRATION: MARC ASPINALL
IAN HAMILTON FINLAY’S BON MOT BRILLIANTLY CAPTURES THE BLEND OF FOUND OBJECTS AND CONTEMPORARY ART AT THE HOUSE-CUM-GALLERY IN CAMBRIDGE FOUNDED BY JIM EDE. ONE PROTEGE, STEPHEN BANN (NOW HIMSELF AN ART EDUCATOR), REMEMBERS HIS TIME THERE IN THE 1960S
The World of Interiors - February 2018