Wednesday, 30 July 2008

Tuesday, 29 July 2008

Southern Belles

These beauties hail from Vicksburg, Mississippi.

There is a time for departure even when there's no certain place to go. - Tennessee Williams

The Magnolias, circa 1877.

1022 Crawford Street

4103 Highway 80

View of the courtyard garden from the veranda.

Belle Fleur, circa 1874.

All properties from Broker South.

Now playing: Little Big Town - Boondocks
via FoxyTunes

Sunday, 27 July 2008

In Search of Sweetness

Honey and Dust: Travels in Search of Sweetness by Piers Moore Ede

Piers Moore Ede is a writer and a photographer. He is also a recipient of the DH Lawrence Prize for travel writing. All Kinds of Magic, his second book due in 2009, is about the journey in search of a mystical experience.

His photographs are available through Robin Moore Ede Art.


After the mela

Painted Saddhu

Now playing: Chris Rea - Red
via FoxyTunes

Saturday, 26 July 2008

Going, going...

August 2nd and 3rd, 2008
New Orleans Auction Galleries, Inc.
801 Magazine Street
New Orleans, La 70130

Lot 36

Lot 37

In Chinese mythology, the Earth was borne by three elephants
which stood on the back of a giant turtle, symbol of the primitive oceans.

Now playing: This Mortal Coil - Song to the Siren
via FoxyTunes

Thursday, 24 July 2008


Anna May Wong: Frosted Yellow Willows
Her Life, Times and Legend

Directed by Elaine Mae Woo

With disarming sensuality and commanding screen presence, Anna May Wong defined the role of the 'Dragon Lady'. She defied cultural and legal barriers to achieve success in silent and talking pictures. She was the firstAsian American woman to reach international stardom and no other actress has yet to rival her acclaim.

Interview with Graham Russel Gao Hodges author of Anna May Wong: From Laundryman's Daughter to Hollywood Legend.

Now playing: Billie Holiday and her Orchestra - These Foolish Things
via FoxyTunes

Wednesday, 23 July 2008

All that ham and cheese...

and nary a Croque-monsieur in sight.

Now playing: The Smiths - Girlfriend in a Coma
via FoxyTunes

Tuesday, 22 July 2008

If it isn't on Amazon...

or ebay, it must be on You Tube.

Mr. Carleton Varney on the Duchess of Windsor, change, and memories.

Now playing: Living Colour - Cult of Personality
via FoxyTunes

Monday, 21 July 2008

Requisites for a Dragon Lady

Evidently the term , Dragon Lady , is now seen as de trop. What a shame. Personally, I cannot think of a better way to describe this type of woman. And I have known many, including my own mother.

Gale Sondergaard as Mrs. Hammond in The Letter.

For the walls, a Robert Crowder printed paper.

A near pair of Chinese hardwood tables, of octagonal form, with carved edges raised on a folding stands.

A Chinese side cabinet, c. 1900, having a pagoda shaped cornice over a single panelled door carved with figures, boats, a bridge, buildings and prunus foliage.

A carved padouk wood envelope games table, 20th Century.

A Chinese hardwood stand with a pierced apron.

A La Barge gilt-brass-framed eglomise looking glass, in the chinoiserie taste, the vertical plate broadly beveled throughout, the reverse with a printed paper La Barge label.

18th Century English Chippendale mahogany and beechwood camel back sofa.

A Ch'ien-Lung carved jade group, fourth quarter 18th century, depicting a female Foo dog with her young atop her back.

For the curtains and sofa, Lee Jofa's Portiere Weave

For the upholstered chairs, Lee Jofa's Chennai Weave

For the accent pieces and cushions, Lee Jofa's Holland Flamestich

Now playing: Kitaro - Silk Road
via FoxyTunes

Friday, 18 July 2008

Annie, get your gun

English Gun Cabinet
By The Sterling Collection
Top: Two Plain Glass Doors W/Locks; Bottom: Raised Panel Doors With Locks, & Three Interior Drawers

Contentious? Perhaps. And yet, vaguely comforting. However, I do draw the line at pickup trucks.

Now playing: Ethel Merman - You Can't Get a Man With a Gun
via FoxyTunes

Thursday, 17 July 2008

Something is missing...

The difference between what is pretty and pleasing and what is beautiful and more difficult to bear. - from The Scented Salamander

And this didn't really hit me until I started looking for a new scent. The new seems to be synonymous with the facile. Easily understood and easily acquired.

Wednesday, 16 July 2008

Lick it and see

Whilst one is happy enough to give a definition of an abstract concept such as elegance, it becomes trickier with something so personal as taste. Especially without sounding cunty. Everyone, rightly or wrongly, likes to believe that they have good taste and are tasteful. In fact, most people are. They are too afraid not to be. Afraid of what or whom I am not entirely sure.

Good taste is nothing more than an accepted paradigm. No one is born with it; it is something that is learnt.

In spite of all that I know, I neither have good taste nor am I elegant. It simply is not in my nature. For me, either something is fabulous or it is not. There is no in between. As Nietzsche said, The grand style follows suit with all great passion. It disdains to please, it forgets to persuade. It commands. It wills.

Here is an overview of what could be described as my paradigm as prescribed by the previous generations.

First there was the thesis: Classic French furniture and decoration.

Elsie de Wolf's Villa Trianon

Then there was the antithesis: Sparse modernity.

Mies van der Rohe's Barcelona Pavilion

And Finally the synthesis: An informed eclecticism.

The living room of Henri Samuel

Donna Marella Agnelli, nee Caracciolo di Castegneto, the epitome of patrician beauty.
Of her endeavors, Agnelli was to say in an interview with Joan Juliet Buck for Vogue in 1971: One applies a certain technical know-how, some culture, and a certain amount of taste—which I hope I have. It is my little soufflé.

Marella Agnelli by Avedon

Expressionist painting by the likes of Emil Nolde,

I had an infinite number of visions at this time, for wherever I turned my eyes nature, the sky, the clouds were alive, in each stone and in the branches of each tree, everywhere, my figures stirred and lived their still or wildly animated life, and they aroused my enthusiasm as well as tormented me with demands that I paint them.

Autumn Sea VII by Emil Nolde

Sculpture for some unknown reason was deemed important. Perhaps it harks back to some reminiscence of, or desire to recreate, the Grand Tour. To this day I have an affinity to the work of Aristide Maillol.

The Mediterranean by Aristide Maillol

Music consisted of singers such as The Divine One, classical, or opera.

Sarah Vaughan in Berlin 1969

This film, Diva, changed everything. It opened my mind to the possibilities of a world outside of what were very clearly defined boundaries. It is still one of my favourites.

Now playing: A Taste of Honey - Boogie Oogie Oogie
via FoxyTunes

Monday, 14 July 2008

Chris & Don. A love story

A documentary by Asphalt Stars Productions on the life of artist Don Bachardy and his relationship with the British writer Christopher Isherwood.

Now in theatres.

We live in stirring times - tea-stirring times. - Christopher Isherwood

Now playing: The Cure - Lovesong
via FoxyTunes

Sunday, 13 July 2008

More tales from the Road

Ouiser, you sound almost chipper. What happened today, you run over a small child or something?

Something better. No one dipped into my bucket. Love days like this.

Now playing: Van Morrison - These Are the Days
via FoxyTunes

Thursday, 10 July 2008

Like stray dogs, I just can't seem to resist them

Odd chairs. Regardless of how little space we may have or the need for restoration, I never give it a second thought. I just love the odd chair in need of a little attention.

A White Painted "Memento Mori" Fantasy Armchair, seated human skeleton form with framed seat and stretchers, height 52 in., width 22 in., depth 17 in. Note: The inspiration for this distinctive chair is perhaps a known Russian example signed and dated in Cyrillic, "Ivanovia Cheschcevi to Nickolai Ivanovic Kolemin, Chair from Masonic Lodge 1938" which sold as lot 278 at Christie's, New York, January 25, 1992 and was illustrated in Payne, 19th c. European Furniture, p. 484, pl. 1423. Vincent Price had a notable suite of chairs of this design furnishing his dining room.
From the New Orleans auctioneers Neal.

A Victorian nursing chair having a waisted, padded back over the bow-fronted sprung seat, raised on turned front supports terminating in brass caps and castors.

A 19th Century aesthetic movement design ebonised nursing chair, with turned and painted spindles above and below an ebonised and painted frieze in the Moorish style.

An English drum chair designed by Cecil Beaton, unsigned.

Now playing: Tears for Fears - The Big Chair
via FoxyTunes

Wednesday, 9 July 2008

Have looked absolutely everywhere for this

This »Armenian paper« neutralises unpleasant smells from used ashtrays, frying fat, cat litter and such like. It is made by soaking the paper in a solution of incense resin and alcohol. This paper comes from a factory near Paris, belonging to the descendants of Auguste Ponsot - who first brought the idea from Armenia in 1885.
To use: Fold a strip of the paper concertina fashion, light it and then extinguish it immediately. It will slowly burn out and fill the room with the fragrance of incense. One book contains 36 strips.

Infinitely chicer than all those blasted candles. None of which seem to live up to (what are undoubtedly unrealistic) expectations.

Now playing: Bryan Ferry - Smoke Gets In Your Eyes
via FoxyTunes

Tuesday, 8 July 2008

How to turn a Moscow mafioso into a robber baron

Maison 21 liked this overblown, grandiose monstrosity in his What's wrong with me? post. And so did I.

These are some of the elements I would choose to make it work for a rather grand drawing room. Who says one can't make a silk purse out of a sow's ear?

Lee Jofa's Pondicherry Silk for the walls as well as the massive Hutton sofas.
The carpet would have to be an antique aubergine Donegal.

Lee Jofa's Crescent Damask for the curtains and the other upholstered pieces in the room.

A pair of 19th Century Ebonised, Red Boulle and Brass-Mounted Display Cabinets, the stepped plinth top over a frieze with applied gilt-brass putti, vines etc., over two clear-glazed doors enclosing shelves, between plain pilasters headed by gilt brass trusses, all on a conforming plinth. Perfect for either side of a Breche Violette bolection fireplace.

A Regency mahogany breakfront side cabinet, circa 1810, the ebony banded lip above four doors with re-entrant panels, on a plinth. In desperate need of restoration, but this would be fantastic when done.

A Regency Mahogany Secretaire, the moulded top over a panelled fall enclosing cupboards, small drawers, and a leather-lined slope with lidded tills, ink and sand pots, and a pen tray, the base having two panelled doors between scrolled, moulded and leaf-carved trusses, on a moulded base with lyre- shaped feet. Again, just in need of a little attention.

Pair of massive sofas by Gary Hutton .

A Regency Rosewood and Brass Inlaid Chaise Longue, covered in gold cotton velvet, with two bolsters, the shaped back and scrolled ends over a loose squab on straight rails and sabre feet with brass paw caps and castors.

An ebonised and parcel gilt window seat, in Regency style, early 20th century.

Now playing: Henry Mancini - Michael's Theme (from 'The Godfather')
via FoxyTunes

Sunday, 6 July 2008

The 80s through a rose tinted lens

The Line of Beauty (2006), the three part adaptation of Alan Hollinghurst's Booker Prize winning novel.
Oh, if it had only really looked like that. So pristine and perfect.

My Beautiful Laundrette (1985), directed by Stephen Frears and written by Hanif Kureshi.
Lest we forget what it was really like.

Now playing: Kate Bush - Running Up That Hill
via FoxyTunes

Friday, 4 July 2008

Nature or nurture?

The Three Graces by Antonio Canova, 1817.

Like The Three Graces, so too exist taste, flair, and elegance.
Where does it all stem from? Is it merely a manifestation of, or in some cases a reaction to, one's background ? Or, is it something more ?

An Aesthete' Lament regarding Hubert de Givenchy,
Something to ponder: Would he have been as elegant if he was a selfmade man and learned about taste on his own? Or does his elegance come from being a baron, ie having grown up in an aristocratic milieu?

Whilst taste can be taught, the same cannot be said of elegance. After all, good taste is nothing more than an accepted paradigm. Elegance is like flair, either one has it or one doesn't. Elegance is akin to the attainment of a state of grace. It is unshakable and immutable. Monsieur de Givenchy is one of the rare few who seem to have been born with it. One suspects, had he been born a peasant and been a pig farmer, undoubtedly he would have been the most elegant pig farmer the world had ever known.

In spite of her mysterious background, Gloria Guinness, dubbed La Ultima, was one of the most flawlessly elegant women of the XX Century.

Now playing: Sarah Vaughan - I'm Glad There's You
via FoxyTunes

Thursday, 3 July 2008

Part of a decorator's repertoire

is knowing of gifted decorative artists. If his online portfolio is anything to go by, Los Angeles based Scott Waterman is one such artist.

Now playing: Seals & Crofts - Summer Breeze
via FoxyTunes