Wednesday, 1 July 2015

Round up beautiful objects seen at Masterpiece London and Alesund, Norway

Sometimes I am like the blogger version of a wedding DJ and I take requests.
Jill from Everything Just So asked me to go to Masterpiece London and I did try and take a picture of those ballerina brooches but they said pictures had to preapproved with communications so I couldn't...Sorry but I did try!

Let me start at the small city of Alesund in Norway.
I went to a small antique store that had the most astonishing and sophisticated selection of objets d'art that could parallel any major art capitol.

Look at these
guilloche ( there is an accent over the e but I am borrowing Mr CSW's PC) enamel teacups!

This Danish art deco tea set had me doing foreign exchange calculations from Kroner to sterling.
These enamel salt shakers were divine.
In certain circles, it was considered poor manners not to have several salt shakers on the dinner table and it was seen gauche to ask to pass the salt.
He had competitive prices because the same shakers but as a set of two sold for the same price as the set of 6 in London.

Objects like this is what made Tiffany a world class name and it should go back to its roots before it loses its brand credibility for good.

Faberge never hurt nobody.
If only the translucent nature of the cup could be translated properly in the picture.

Only because a dear friend was holding her masters show at Central Saint Martins did I manage to get the energy to go and see it the day after I arrived from my trip.

These ceramic lights took my interest because they were fragile yet moveable from the rubber bands.

These are my friend's water filter project and her ceramic jugs.
She has made some inserts that you can place in your own pouring and drinking vessels.
So clever.
Not that she's anti Brita but she is a true boho and has one of the most sophistsicated palates around and she wants to bring some panache and good design to water filters.
Watch this space.

There was also the usual art student stuff and believe it or not this top made out of fake finger nails was the best thing in the MA Fashion department...

I went to an auction preview to see what cheeky bids I could put in.
I didn't put it on this...
This was Eva Braun's calling card.
Yes. That one!

I didn't even other putting a bid on this set of Herend but in the end I don't have the space but it ended up going for about £300 for the lot.

I didn't get this bergere chair because I put in as always a cheeky bid.
 I had to because of the cost of upholstery in this country.
Although I do like the trim.

Paintings like this don't exist in Asia.

If you have the space you can still get bargains on big brown furniture.
This armoire had great details for half the cost of IKEA.

Went to Masterpiece today which was held in the same grounds as the Chelsea Flower show.
Can you feel the heat?
Boiling today.

It's a lovely event and like being in a museum where everything is available for purchase.
A bit of a downer for an oligarch who loves the chase.

They had these huge flower arrangements dotted around everywhere!

There were some never publicly seen pastels by Monet.

I know they are a bit old fashioned but I love a Fantin-Latour and they look good with all sorts of furniture which is handy!

This folding screen was supposedly painted by a Napoleonic prisoner of war who was held in Sissinghurst. How gorgeous is the chinoiserie cabinet?

Wednesday, 10 June 2015

Shoes - Pleasure and Pain Exhibition at the V&A

This exhibit is being held at the Fashion Rotonda at the V&A which is strengthening its role in fashion exhibitions to rival the MET.
Even though it is aimed at the fashion crowd I think it would also be enjoyed by anyone with an interest in history and sociology.

There are very few items that apply to both men and women and has expressed so much about one's status or desired place in society as the seemingly simple shoe.

I was invited to the preview and nearly didn't go because 
I have so many errands to do before I go away 
but thought I would just drop in a few minutes and 
ended up staying 40 minutes making me late the rest of the day...

As this is a quick last minute edited post for your viewing
 please excuse the cursory pictures taken on my iphone but just wanted to share the pictures for those who may not be able to attend the exhibit held from June 13 until January 31, 2016.
 Please click here for better photos and more insight.

The most famous fable with a shoe as the a character almost its own was Cinderella.

It turns out that the most commonly known version of a lost shoe fitting its rightful owner dates back to 1st century Egypt.

This shoe is one of the oldest shoes molded in the modern known style and dates back to the Egyptian glory days.

They also had the famous glass slipper that was used in the most recent Cinderella movie, the original black Manolos that Carrie Bradshaw wore in Sex and the City, and the very same red ballerina shoes that were in the 1948 film "The Red Shoes".

Monday, 8 June 2015

Del Boy's Flat Reflects Our Taste Changes in Decor

I was watching a rerun of the iocnic British TV show called
 Only Fools and Horses.

It's one of those shows that is so entrenched in the British mentality that there are references in conversation that allude back to this show even to this day.


So much so that the first few years I lived here I did wonder who this Del Boy character was that everyone seemed to know...
I still don't find it that funny but I watch it just to familiarize myself with pop cultural references and see what my husband laughs at.

I was watching an episode the other day and found myself ignoring the dialogue and concentrating for once on the wallpaper.

The flat is meant to be in a high rise public housing building but looking at the wallpaper and decor it could be a modern day flat in a gentrified part of London.
To be fair I am not sure how the viewing audience would have viewed the wallpaper in that time...

Okay the carpet is definitely not current and would be ripped out on the day after purchasing the flat but the rest of it would not be so alien to decor aficionados.
The animal print throw on the sofa, 

the strong colors and graphic walls and fabrics, and the brass accented dining chairs that I would buy off Del Boy but perhaps reupholster are surprisingly bang on trend. 
( which means past its sell by for some!)

Forget that Peckham is now referred to as Peck Jambon
but isn't that something Del Boy should have referred to Peckham as back in the day with his penchant for Frenchifying everything!

Love Peckjambon it should say.

The closest I could find to recreate that bamboo wallpaper was the following.  
In terms of shape of the leaves
 this Florence Broadhurst was rather similar.
In terms of color and copying almost exactly is the black and white version from Farrow and Ball.


This Timorous beasties rendition is nice althought the planting is a bit clumped or am I getting to Chelsea flower show judgey?

An old print from Cole and Son is another option.
But isn't it funny how standards of taste and trend can vary?
Who would have thought that the wallpaper in Del Boy's flat in public housing is now a motif that is sought after and stocked in such stores like Farrow and Ball and Cole and Son.
A good reminder in the fluidity of trends!
I might start watching Eastenders to see any future design trends...

Just a quick note to say I am going away for a couple of weeks in a few days so will be quiet on the blogging front and may or may not be on Instagram wifi depending! 
Stay safe and see you in July xx

Monday, 1 June 2015

Potatoes at Chelsea flower show, Peonies, and the Duchesse of Roxburghe at Sotheby's

I have been all things floral the month of May.
I celebrated with peonies.
The first batch of the season's flowers always seem to be the best crop.
These lasted 8 days and every stage was glorious.
My second batch were lovely but didn't last as long.

But unlike other flowers, peonies go through such a transformation of bloom and fade out their color.

After two days they were blush and then another two they turned white.
Chelsea flower show was fun although I wonder who would maintain this garden with mirrored inserts in its water feature.

Wednesday, 27 May 2015

What Constance Spry said about flowers in 1934 still works

Spring fever has got the better of me and I have been Druid like in my reverence of all the blooms that herald my new favorite season.

Add caption

Simply said, I have gotten the garden bug but without the garden.
 But I am fortunate because I still have the lackadaisical bug as well so am doing a lot of backseat gardening and buying flowers as those who see my Instagram feed are well aware.

Long time readers may remember I collect vintage books so this afternoon
I chose to read this edition of Constance Spry. ( click on link for more info)

For those who are not familiar with her, the only facile example of her modern day counterpart would be a mix of Carolyne Roehm and Martha Stewart - 
she was a florist /floral decorator/ designer / teacher.  
She had some famous commissions such as doing the flowers for the coronation of our present queen but also got to do the flowers for the Duke of Windsor's wedding.

She also has a rose named after her.

The edition I have of this book must be at least from 1936 
but one of the earlier trustees of this book marked 
their custodianship with the year 1938.

I must confess that I originally bought this book in my twenties and the main draw was the author herself and the patina of the book.
( as shown in the first picture )

Today was the second time I read this book and with all things I appreciate aspects of this that passed me by when I first got it.
I love the categories of the books.
The chapter I found a bit boring was the yellow, gold, cream and brown one because those colors in flowers apart from yellow remind me of disease.

This as you will see was a book to be read and not viewed and flipped through.

At first it seems stern until one realizes that printing pictures was a difficult process and that Madame Spry does show a sense of humour and is not at all strict in her views.

What surprised me is that she had no pretensions and was inclusive in this art of floral design because she didn't include expensive or fiddly flowers or rather accentuate the importance of them.

She was quite an egalitarian florist and not at all a snob even though
she was considered THE society florist.
Lady Montagu Scott's wedding to Duke of Gloucester Via

Below was one of my favorite paragraphs of the whole book and 
in fact I read this several times because this is how I feel when 
I write but just not about flowers.

There were snippets that made me laugh 
due to its anachronistic nature.

And then other points on cultural floral design were so avant-garde and showed critical thinking which 
showed how she set her mark in this niche world.

So much of what she wrote about floral design could have been applied to any category of design be it furniture or architecture.

There are stereotypes and prejudices I had to fight when reading her words because I kept thinking she would be so conservative 
but she showed her sense of humour.
In the chapter about table decorations, 
she says that perhaps one should break the rule of low decoration in certain family gatherings!

There were times when an explanation of every flower of a bouquet she once did was not successful for many reasons: 
my lack of knowledge of flowers and visualization.

And yet sometimes she would be succinct and state her point.
Luncheon tables should have blue flowers.
Don't stress, just go blue.

In modern gardening and flower books, 
most of the editorial layout are pictures and yet here all the pictures were grouped at the back for reference.

Frankly, this looks like a bad Instagram filter but 
am sure this was much appreciated and peered over by 
most British people who bought the book.

I must say that one type of vase that I still have strong opinions are about mixed bunches and
I prefer them in Dutch still lifes and in real life tend to go purist with a few exceptions.

They look black but the caption says red so just go with it.

I liked what she said about red flowers and while I did say 
I don't like mixed bunches, if it is a lack of options then 
I also don't think green should be a supporting act in a bouquet of red otherwise it ends up being too Christmas-y.

A true testament to a classic book is when the writer captures an age old problem -
the little vase with one weak stem on a restaurant table!

I agree with her and would concentrate the flower in one area rather than a feeble flower on every single table only to be removed.

I leave you with some more pictures for you to enjoy and now am off to reread one of her old cookbooks I have of hers!

Here are some more examples of her work.

The caption got cut - it is camellias.

This Christmas tree is one of the oddest ones I have seen.

Have a lovely weekend!