Friday, 21 August 2009

Eye for the rich and the splendid

The Christie's catalogue for the Geoffrey Bennison sale.

Bennison's Malabar, and its companion Malabar Stripe, used fearlessly and lavishly just as Geoffrey Bennison had intended.

There, under low ceilings, he created rooms that felt more like an Irish-Georgian country house than Mayfair. Pictures were massed between groaning, untidy bookshelves. His own deliciously faded-looking fabrics and old crewelwork draperies were mixed with Moroccan textiles, and all these elements were held together by his favorite Red Riding Hood red, a beautifully subtle scarlet described by Bennison’s friend and fellow antiquarian Christopher Gibbs as the color that lines the insides of old Moroccan chests.

This interior, with its Caravaggesque light, its perfectly judged drama and easy comfort, was in many ways the culmination of the designer’s ideas concerning decoration. His sense of color was unfailingly sure: He would sit for hours in a room just watching the play of light, and he mixed his paints himself. “Never,” he said, “trust a painter or a color chart.” When it came to objects, his philosophy could be summed up in another of his memorable phrases: Always put “something mad on top of something very good, or something very good on top of something mad.” On Geoffrey Bennison’s death, as all dealers perhaps ultimately wish, his things—the very good and the very mad—were dispersed in a great sale

Stephen Calloway
Geoffrey Bennison: Extravagant Patterns and Remarkable Objects Define Exotic English Rooms
Architectural Digest, January 2000

Now playing: Paolo Nutini - New Shoes
via FoxyTunes


An Aesthete's Lament said...

Thank you for coming back!

An Aesthete's Lament said...

I think Geoffrey Bennison was the first time I became aware of the beauty of interior design, the sheer opulence possible. Frankly I used to drool over the fabrics whenever I saw them. I haven't looked at them in ages though.

Pamela Terry and Edward said...

Quite simply the best.

Lisa Borgnes Giramonti said...

Oh my goodness, welcome back! You were missed. I just watched a few minutes of the John Richardson interview and have moved around my schedule for today so I can watch the rest of it. :) He's beyond fascinating and that living room makes me want to fall to my knees.

Did I say welcome back?! xxx

The Blushing Hostess said...

I am not even sure what I just read.

Just so glad you are back. I wish I had tolg you sooner.

Thank you and be well.

home before dark said...

Over and over again, I am drawn to these rooms filled to the brim with pattern, objects, a bit hodgepodge, like living in someone's whole life museum. Wonderful!

Cote de Texas said...

you know what? I ordered this catalogue to scan the pictures! great minds think alike!!!!! too funny!!!! isn't it wonderful?


I second what Cote de Texas said: great minds must think alike. I love Geoffrey Bennison, just ordered this catalog today!

X Lauren