Eltham Palace In order to help me to gain a be1er understanding of the rooms in Eltham Palace and their designs, features and stories I went on one of the house’s art deco tours which alongside informa;on from the guidebook gave me more insight into the house and the designs within it, here I have given a summery of the rooms in the house which I found most inspira;onal, my impressions and areas which might inﬂuence my designs, I have also highlighted some interes;ng facts and informa;on which could help inspire my designs.
The Entrance Hall
The entrance The house as a whole was an incredible place that combines both a sense of simplicity and luxury. The entrance alone contains plenty of interes8ng designs and ideas, which could be used to inspire my collec8on, you walk into a large circular room which is clearly the centre of the house, a recep8on area which very much made me think I was on an ocean liner with curved walls clad in Australian blackbean veneer inlaid with stunning marquetry of scenes from various places the Courtauld’s had visited guarded on one side by a Viking and on the other by a Roman soldier which the guidebook suggests ‘represent the southern and northern limits of European civilisa8on’ (p5) but which to me also represent a show of their wealth and power with travel and knowledge being something very important to the upper classes of the 8me. The beau8ful The stunning concrete and glass dome which ﬂoods the room with light is features hundreds of small glass cylinders and create a simple but drama8c paJern on the ceiling. Underneath it the circular rug by Marion Dorn is designed to appear to create paths into the ground ﬂoor rooms, poin8ng to the entrance, the dining room and the Italian drawing room. The whole room, which is said to be ‘probably the ﬁrst example in this country of modern Swedish decora8on’ (p5), is all about curves and clean lines, a simple modernist concept that is s8ll widely used in modern designs. Around the hallway and into the stairways there are several porthole style openings in the walls, adding to the emphasis of curves in the room but also adding to ocean liner feel, there are also a line of windows along the top of the walls above the main doors which resemble the windows seen on the bridge of a ship. Inspira8ons • The marquetry on the veneer could be used as inspira8on for a toile design, I like the idea of a design inspired by travel, and toile’s are classic designs and are on trend at the moment. • The paJern and texture of the dome could be an inspira8on; I par8cularly like the idea of using it to create a design on a sheer fabric in order to incorporate the idea of light. • The designs of the rug could be used, as a star8ng point-‐ looking into Marian Dorn’s designs may be a useful source of inspira8on. • I think it will be important to incorporate curved into the designs and a sense of ﬂow.
The Boudoir The boudoir to me feels a liJle more dated then the entrance hall but at the 8me of its decora8on the room would have been ahead of its 8me with the minimal furniture and limited amount of paJern and texture giving it the art deco look. The sycamore veneer, ribbed, mirrored ceiling and arched doorway carryon the ocean liner feel from the entrance with the beau8ful leather map of the area which features around the ﬁreplace and the shelves and cupboards full of books again impressing the couples interest in travel and knowledge. The arched doorway leads to the secretary’s oﬃce which apparently used to be called the map room and was covered in maps to ‘help the Courthauld’s plan their travels’ (p10), although it has more recently been covered by a modern wallpaper. Inspira8on • Maps-‐ I like the idea of crea8ng a paJern based on maps following on from the idea of travel, which is reﬂected around the whole house. • Leather panels-‐ it would be interes8ng to create a design made from leather, it is a material I have never worked with and one that would be a challenge but could create some interes8ng eﬀects. • The ceiling-‐ I love the ribbed shape of the ceiling and the way the mirrored surfaces work with the concealed ligh8ng to create soW reﬂec8ons and light up the whole ceiling as if the sun is shining into the room. • There is a very subtle simple print on the sofa upholstery which gives a deco feel but in a much more feminine way using a series of curved, ﬂowing lines, this kind of more elegant print would never go out of fashion, however as it is it is a liJle bland.
As had been tradi8on for upper class couples at the 8me the Courtaulds’ had separate bedrooms, each one is very diﬀerent with Virginias being the biggest and seemingly having no expense spared, where as Stephens, although beau8ful was much more simple. Stephens room The most standout thing in Stephens bedroom is the wallpaper depic8ng Kew gardens, it’s a beau8ful block printed design in a grey/blue colour scheme which keeps the bedroom looking masculine and stops it standing out too much against the soW colour of the wood making it almost appear that you are looking at the scene through a window. The colour scheme and the composi8on of the design again bring toile to mind, this design could easily be adapted into a toile design. Virginia’s room This room is far larger and far more luxurious then Stephens indica8ng that she was the one that came ﬁrst and bearing in mind the style of the room compared to Stephens, it was probably Virginia who got the ﬁnal say in most of the decisions when it came to the décor of the house. The room is very light and had a feel of simplicity but it is one of the most luxurious rooms in the house, with the circular ribbed dome ceiling and feminine marquetry on the wood panels and on the bed, however I personally feel it is a bit too plain and empty, there is very liJle that I felt I could take inspira8on from in this room, even the marquetry feels a liJle too dated to use as inspira8on. Inspira8ons • The wallpaper depic8ng Kew gardens in Stephens’s room-‐ I like the idea of crea8ng a toile inspired by this. • The ribbed dome ceiling-‐ the ribbed eﬀect alongside the concealed ligh8ng created a soW yet interes8ng and dynamic eﬀect with light and shadow.
Virginias bathroom can easily be described as the most luxurious room in the house with its stunning gold mosaic behind the large bath set in marbled stone, onyx panels on the walls and archways in the ceiling which give the rooms the feeling of being in a roman bath, the room would have made anyone bathing in it feel like a goddess. There are plenty of sources of inspira8on in this room from the gold plated lion waterfall tap to the texture created by the gold mosaic, the paJerns materials and colours are all quite natural which could be used to inspire the colour paleJe Inspira8on • The roman theme-‐ the room has a modern take on the idea of classic roman architecture that could poten8ally be reﬂected in a paJern. • The texture of the gold mosaic behind the bath-‐ it would be interes8ng to try and create a textural metallic fabric inspired by this, especially as I have never worked with metallic materials before. • The gold lion design on the tap could be used as part of a paJern.
The Dining Room
The dining room probably has the most stereotypical art deco look of the whole house with the bold black of the doors and ﬁreplace contras8ng against the light maple coated walls and the heavy geometric designs contras8ng against the light pink leather on the chairs to create a room that is both a bold, modern statement and a light hearted atmosphere for entertaining, the room again ins8ls the couples love for travel, with the two ancient Greek amphorae jars on either end of the sideboard framed by the doors which are decorated with exo8c animals. The centre of the ceiling above the dining room table has a recessed area which was covered in aluminium leaf which the concealed ligh8ng reﬂected oﬀ of, reinsta8ng the feeling of luxury, and around the recess were squared with roses in the centre again covered in aluminium, the space as a whole combines a well balanced mix of feminine and masculine elements to create a beau8ful space built for entertaining. Inspira8ons • The Greek key paJern on the doors and ﬁreplace is a simple geometric paJern common in art deco designs which would s8ll look modern today and could be played with • The exo8c animals and birds could be used as inspira8on for a paJern, I like the idea of using birds as a star8ng point, perhaps looking into feathers as inspira8on for paJern and texture-‐ feathers were commonly used in headdresses to match ladies eveningwear at the 8me and the associa8on with par8es and entertaining would be very much appropriate for a project based around Eltham. • The aluminium leaf on the ceiling-‐ I had already men8oned the idea of playing with metallic textures inspired by the mosaic in Virginias bathroom, from this I could perhaps create more then one metallic fabric within the range. • The colour scheme-‐ I quite like the rose pink of the chairs against the natural wood colours, highlighted by the silver in the decora8on, this could create the basis for quite a classic colour scheme, which would not easily date.