Saturday, 27 February 2010

Like Alice, through the looking glass

Boissiere House
Port of Spain, Trinidad

In Trinidad, a Painted Lady in Distress
The New York Times

Now playing: Sade - In Another Time
via FoxyTunes

Thursday, 25 February 2010

In the life

Jean and Dinah: Who Have Been Locked Away in a World Famous Calypso Since 1956 Speak Their Minds Publicly
By Tony Hall

Jean and Dinah, Rosita and Clementina
Round the Corner Posing,
Bet your life is something they selling . . .
- Mighty Sparrow, 1956

Based on the 1956 calypso by the Mighty Sparrow, the play is a tragi-comedy set in present-day Port-of Spain, Trinidad, in Act One, then in Act two, the characters take us some 40 years back to their theatre of the streets of Port of Spain.

It is Jouvay morning, the dawn of Carnival Monday and Jean comes to take her friend, Dinah, to play mas (masquerade) in the city as they have done for the past forty years. This year, however, Dinah is tired and ailing and does not want to go. Jean tries desperately to rally her into making their annual pilgrimage through the streets where they play sailor mas on Carnival Tuesday.

In the ensuing battle to get Dinah out of bed onto the streets of Port of Spain, both women discover things about themselves that shaped their lives. This play gives the women in Sparrow’s calypso a voice. Their stories take us on an emotional roller coaster of laughter, pain and sorrow.

Tuesday, 23 February 2010


La mémoire du rhinocéros
, 1980 by François-Xavier Lalanne

Life is all memory. - Flora Sissy Goforth

Now playing:
Hideaway - Georgie Fame
via FoxyTunes

Friday, 19 February 2010

Little girl blue

Princess Noire
The Tumultuous Reign of Nina Simone
By Nadine Cohodas

From Books of The New York Times
Under a Strange, Soulful Spell by Dwight Garner

Excess baggage...

Wardrobe by Bottega di Victor

and hang-ups.

Now playing: Etta James - Leave Your Hat On
via FoxyTunes

Thursday, 18 February 2010

More often than not

Source books for curtains and hangings (note the deliberate omission of the hateful phrase window treatments) are overwrought affairs full of fussy suburban interpretations of historical designs.

But not always, thanks to Caroline Cliffton-Mogg.

The Curtain Design Source Book

Curtains, A Design Source Book

Now playing: Bobby Darin - The Curtain Falls
via FoxyTunes

Wednesday, 17 February 2010


Lot No 252
With ink stamp to backing 'VAN INGEN & VAN INGEN, MYSORE 28835'
59 in. (150 cm.) long; 48 in. (122 cm.) wide

Lot No 242
Cased in a William IV mahogany cabinet with brass castors

Lot No 251
With ink stamp to backing 'VAN INGEN & VAN INGEN 26423'

Chreistie's Interiors - Style & Spirit
23 Februrary, 2010

Now playing: The Cramps - You Got Good Taste
via FoxyTunes

Tuesday, 16 February 2010

Dear Madam,

Please find the attached images of the pieces we discussed. They are truly wonderful. Not simply because each is unusual or particularly fine, but because each also contributes a specific and different note to a whole that could be...quite magical.

A satinwood and caned settee, late 18th century

Anglo Portuguese child`s chair, 18th century

Oak window seat with ebonised detail

Late collage by Sir Terry Frost

Walnut and brass bound jardiniere

George III mahogany tray top commode

Yours faithfully,

Now playing: Grace Jones - I'm Not Perfect
via FoxyTunes

Monday, 15 February 2010


By South African artist Maggie Oliver.

Now playing: New Order - Blue Monday
via FoxyTunes

Saturday, 13 February 2010

Le Nouvel An Chinois

Mussels in Black Bean Sauce

Chinese Broccoli with Oyster Sauce

Both served with steamed rice. Everything else, from the duck (which symbolises fidelity) to the Char siu, is ordered from a restaurant.

Now playing: Queen Latifah - Come Into My House
via FoxyTunes

Thursday, 11 February 2010

A dieu

Alexander McQueen CBE (1969-2010)

Now playing: Antony & The Johnsons - Another World
via FoxyTunes

Wednesday, 10 February 2010

Manfred, lord of the castle

The whole secret of life is to be interested in one thing profoundly and in a thousand things well. So said Horace Walpole, the 18th century English art historian, author, politician and, not least of all, arbiter of taste. Today he is most remembered for his Gothic revival villa, Strawberry Hill.

Strawberry Hill

The Long Gallery

Strawberry Hill
By Anna Chalcraft and Judith Viscardi

Walpole also said, Nine-tenths of the people were created so you would want to be with the other tenth.

Now playing: Barenaked Ladies - What a Good Boy
via FoxyTunes

Monday, 8 February 2010

The last relic of a beloved race

Gothic revival oak cabinet bookcase, circa 1880, the pair of glazed doors with stylised arch and trefoil applied detail, enclosing adjustable shelves, the lower section with a pair of doors and a pair of cupboard doors, flanked by engaged columns on a plinth base.

Nothing contributes so much to tranquilise the mind as a steady purpose - a point on which the soul may fix its intellectual eye. - Mary Wollstonecraft Shelley

Now playing: Sade - Bring Me Home
via FoxyTunes

Saturday, 6 February 2010


These two chairs are a prime example of what is known around here as the Lilie Road look. Which is always used in the pejorative as it represents a... for the lack of a better word... style that is completely lacking in substance.

Chairs like these are toshed out by the hundreds. They are either so crudely made or so far gone they are not worth restoring properly. Instead, they get a slap of cheap emulsion and a shoddy re-cover in calico or linen and presto... shabby masquerading as chic.

The chairs are first primed with a liquid sand solution, allowed to dry, and then repainted by dry brushing on two different shades of white. The recessed areas are roughly painted with a red oxide colour to approximate exposed bole, the base used in water gilding. The areas in high relief are then sanded back to expose some of the grey and some of the raw wood. Three coats of wax in two different shades are then applied.

To combat the expanse of Belgian linen that is the sofa in this particular project, a raspberry cotton/viscose strié velvet was chosen for the squabs and backs.

As there was no support under the padding, new wooden insets needed to be installed prior to the upholstery work being done. Had these chairs been of a superior quality I would have advised that the seats be re-caned as they would have been originally.

No silk purse these, but not quite the sow's ears they were either. Now, I can happily stand by them.

Now playing: Amy Winehouse - Rehab
via FoxyTunes