The Wonders of Sir John Soane's Museum

We find Sir John Soane's Museum in Lincoln’s Inn Fields one of the inspiring places in London. Aside from being filled with fascinating artefacts, the architectural details are exquisite. Sir John Soane was a famed Neoclassical architect and his home reflects his remarkable talents. His best known public work was the Bank of England and Dulwich Picture Gallery where top-lit gallery design would go on to be a major influence on museum planning. 

In 1792 Soane bought three houses on the site, which he demolished and rebuilt entirely. The distinctive facade of white Norfolk brick still dazzles today. Inside is a beautiful array of eclectic objects and artworks, among them are his many plaster casts and Roman marbles. It's interesting to note the unusual way in which objects are displayed - rather than curating them in a chronological or geographic order, Soane instead opted for a creative display based purely on aesthetics. 

Since 2011 there has been a major restoration project to improve the museum to both develop the existing space and open up lost spaces which weren't seen before. If you haven't yet discovered Sir John Soane's Museum, now is the perfect time to explore the building and the exciting collection of artefacts.

Jane Wilkinson, head of conservation at the museum, said “we view the actual spaces as works of art” - an approach which has a powerful resonance with the way we approach the spaces we work with.

Culture Trip: Barcelona

Travel remains a leading source of inspiration for Devas Designs and we are always excited to explore and discover cultural hotspots across the world. Recently one of our team visited Barcelona, a city bursting with colour and culture.

Here's a guide to our must-visit cultural sights in Barcelona:

1/ Museu Picasso

The Picasso Museum houses one of the most extensive collection’s of Picasso’s work with over 4,000 exhibited pieces. Comprising five medieval stone mansions, the museum is itself a beauty to behold with beautiful courtyards and winding staircases. Much of the collection focuses on Picasso’s formative years and the masterpieces he painted during his early teens - while not his most iconic works, they set him up as an artist of immense character and skill and it’s interesting to see his continual stylistic changes. A particular highlight was the room dedicated to his famous Blue period as well as a collection of Cubist paintings. A staggering collection in a stunning setting, one of our must-see Barcelona sights.

2/ Gaudi in Barcelona: Sagrada Familia, Park Guell and Casa Batllo

Sagrada Familia - It would be impossible not to mention Antoni Gaudi’s architectural masterpieces, his most distinctive creations are in Barcelona. The city’s shining glory is the Sagrada Familia, the giant basilica famously known for its continued construction which commenced in 1882. It’s a wild combination of Gothic and Art Nouveau forms and once inside, the stained glass windows cast a myriad of rainbow colours across the space.

 

Park Guell - Perhaps our favourite of Gaudi’s creations due to its natural outdoor elements. It sits on Carmel Hill with views across the city, and provides a beautiful interplay of natural forms and mosaic decorated structures. The main section is ticketed, but the beautiful gardens remain to free to visit, their tall trees provide calm and shade above the bustling hot city in the distance.

Casa Batllo - A smaller but no less impressive construction by Gaudi in the centre of Barcelona. It encapsulates Gaudi’s unique take on Art Nouveau design with its elaborate facade covered in broken mosaic tiles. The skeletal-like balcony details and curved patterned roof again call on organic forms and fluidity. Inside the tiled room and stained glass windows are just as beautiful and arresting as its exterior.

3/ Barcelona Museum of Contemporary Art (MACBA)

For those looking for a more contemporary experience, Barcelona’s Museum of Contemporary Art, aka MACBA, is the place to go. MACBA’s collection dates from mid-20th Century to the present day and is known for its hard-hitting modern displays - when we visited there was a riotous exhibition about the influence of Punk on modern art.

Inspired by Palma's Rialto Living

Today’s blog comes from Palma de Mallorca and is inspired by our visit to the fabulous Rialto Living and their Mallorcan fabrics and colours.

The Rialto Living building is itself a beauty to behold with its own interesting history; it originated as an 18th Century palace and in the 1920s became Palma’s legendary Rialto Cinema. In 2007 it re-opened as an interiors and lifestyle shop which now focusses on carefully-sourced local and European design pieces. They also have a relaxing cafe which is situated on the old theatre stage.

While their fabrics and furniture are sourced from across Europe, they blend beautifully with Mallorcan designs and colours and we love their current sea-blue inspired themes. The details below like the rug, ceramics and lampshade, are key items that can both inspire an interior and tie together a room's colour schemes.

There is a sewing workshop within the shop, where their in-house seamstress can tailor any of the fabrics or furnishings to suit your interior. We love this personalised approach as we often recommend that our clients go for bespoke options to make sure they get the perfect look and feel for their interior.

A little history of Mallorcan fabrics …

The Ikat cloth designs you see across Mallorca have their roots in the East. It is thought that travellers on the Silk Route stayed in Mallorca along their journey, where the Ikat fabrics they were transporting were seen by locals. There are now a handful of Mallorcan companies who still produce these designs, supplying them to the island to continue this heritage. One of these is Teixits Vicens - we love their blue designs below as they are reminiscent of the seaside setting.

Matisse: Drawing with Scissors

Today’s blog is inspired by the work of Matisse and the touring exhibition ‘Matisse: Drawing with Scissors’ which is currently on display at the London Print Studio until June 11th.

The exhibition lithographic showcases prints of Matisse’s famous cut-outs which he produced in the last years of his life. He produced these works in his eighties, using paper that had been hand-painted with gouache, cut out then laid back down in abstract or figurative patterns. Matisse said ‘the paper cut-out allows me to draw in the colour… Instead of drawing the outline and putting the colour inside it… I draw straight into the colour’.

We also loved these images of Matisse’s studio in Nice c. 1952 and have been inspired by his bright and bold colours.

The exhibition is well worth a visit and we were inspired by the colours we saw to source a few items inspired by Matisse. Take a look at our picks below to find out how you can introduce some colour into your home, subtly, for the Summer months.

We found this beautiful removable wallpaper on Etsy by Kate Zaremba Company. Designer Kate Zaremba works as an illustrator and surface designer in Washington, she’s inspired by her childhood career in film and theatre as well as her trips to art galleries. We love the sense of play and creative imagination in her designs that comes from these influences. Take a look at the wallpapers below which have been inspired by Matisse’s cut-outs. Her wallpapers are self-adhesive, so easy to apply and remove. This is great if you’re looking to add some Summer colour and brighten up a room temporarily! 

The cushion below comes from Coverture & The Garbstore, who have a lovely shop in Notting Hill. They chose not to stock big brands and instead focus on independent and unique labels. This cotton cushion with a Matisse inspired print is designer by Bobo Choses and would add instant creative colour to your sofa or bed. They’ve also designed this fun beach towel, shown bottom right, if you fancy taking something colourful on your travels this Summer!

Sotheby's Collections & Collectors Auction

You can count on Devas Designs to bring you regular updates and best buys from London’s auction houses! This week we bring you our favourite items from Sotheby’s ‘Collections and Collectors’ auction, taking place on April 28th.

This sale is truly eclectic, bringing together a wonderful variety of objects in varying styles and tastes - Sotheby’s told us ‘there is something for everyone’ and we certainly agree.

We have also been drawn to works by Paul Cesar Helleu when it crops up in auctions. Helleu is known for his drawings of beautiful society women of the Belle Époque era. He has a real sensitivity of style in both his drawings and engravings and although his female subjects typify the French culture of the time, their beauty and elegance become timeless. His son and grandson both became artistic directors of Chanel, so his style certainly had an influence on them! Bow works below are portraits of Helleu's own daughter, Ellen, there is a beautiful and touching sensitivity in the way he has delicately modelled her lips and hair. 

The French marble topped gueridon table below features a beautiful veined white marble top. In its centre is a marble roundel within a Sienna marble border and grey marble concentric rings - we love this amount of detail on an item that at first-hand appears simple in its design. The geometry and minimal tones give it a real elegance which would work wonderfully in a classic interior.

This pair of Regency ebonisded and parcel gilt daybeds also caught our eye. They have a beautiful colouring and texture, having been upholstered in a reddy-orange velvet. These would look elegant and grand in a classic sitting room and compliment a rich, earthy colour scheme.

We source items for clients so we are always looking out for unique items that can add charm to a room without the need for an entire redecoration. The four Louis XV panels below are a brilliant example of how antique items can transform a room, by adding panels like these, colour, flair and character is instantly created.

Hilma af Klint: Painting the Unseen at The Serpentine Gallery

This weekend we visited an extraordinary exhibition at The Serpentine Gallery of a Swedish artist called Hilma af Klint. Who’s Hilma af Klint I hear you ask? … If you have heard of Hilma af Klint I am guessing it was only recently. While this exhibition has attracted a huge amount of press, prior to this show she was virtually unknown in the UK.

Being a woman, producing pioneering and unconventional artwork such as this, is probably the greatest reason for af Klint's exception from history. In some sense she was lucky to have grown up in Sweden, a country that allowed women to train as artists well before the rest of Europe and as a result, she studied at The Royal Academy of Arts in Stockholm between 1882-1887. She began her career by painting landscapes and portraits and gained some recognition at that time. It was her protestant upbringing and studies of Theosophy however that was the pivotal inspiration for her abstract works - this was also the first religious group in Europe to accept women in senior positions which must have empowered af Klint herself. Between 1906-07 she created her most revolutionary paintings which derived from automatic drawings she produced during seances - some encompass swirling abstract patterns, others follow geometric structured diagrams.

She painted the work below in 1907, years before Kandinsky or Mondrian or Malevich had ventured into abstraction. Looking into her colourful swirls, bold splatters and geometric shapes painted in the early 1900s it is undeniable that af Klint is a true pioneer of abstraction. 

Hilma af Klint was certainly a complex and creative character, drawing on spiritual experiences and unconscious thoughts. While her work and history remain a little mysterious there is no denying that she was a truly remarkable woman, painting abstract works well before the likes of Kandinsky and Malevich. This is an unmissable exhibition and an important step in making sure that she gains recognition - open until May 15th 2016 - see it to believe it.

Bonham's Home and Interiors Auction

Bonham’s new Home & Interiors auctions, which now happen monthly, are perfect sales for us to source items of furniture and works of art for our clients. They bring together truly one-off pieces from a variety of eras and styles. A diverse but trusted sale like this can also be a great place to start for first-time buyers if you are looking to start a collection or add an unique item to your home. We enjoyed the variety of April’s sale, particularly the mixture of antique and contemporary pieces - at Devas Designs we often enjoy incorporating a classic item of antique furniture into a contemporary interior or vice versa, blending styles can make your home unique and characterful.

Alongside the wonderful items of furniture, April’s sale features some exquisite works of art. We love this bronze sculpture by Sir Jacob Epstein. It is modelled from a cast of the hand of singer and actress Bracha Zefira. Zefira was born in Jerusalem and orphaned at a young age. She was raised by several families in Jerusalem and her singing reflected these various influences, covering Yemenite, Shepardic and Persian music. She is known for being one of the first female Yemenite super-stars of that time.

Although not much is known of Epstein’s and her friendship, Epstein was a patron of her concerts with the London Symphony Orchestra and has also created bronze sculptures of her head. As the son of Jewish refugees he was probably also interested in her heritage and early life. This sculpture caught our eye, it has a wonderful sense of conveying both boldness and elegance - the weightiness of the bronze material balances perfectly with the elegance of her pointed finger.

Estimate: £1,500-2,000

This watercolour depicting a young dancer in leotard by Ken Howard also intrigued us and we love its subtle, muted colour palette. The depiction of light is a strong aesthetic theme for Howard, and this work cleverly displays light streaming into the space using highlights of white chalk. This watercolour would look lovely in both a classic or contemporary interior and is a perfect example of the way works of art can often be incredibly versatile pieces for your home, adding charm and character without overpowering the interior details.

Estimate: £600-800

This next item is a slightly more unusual sculptural piece, it depicts a figure on bench with birds and leaf-less trees. It has been made in copper and brass, enabling a beautiful sense of delicacy with its finely modelled tree branches and fencing. It was made in the 1970s by Curtis Jere, the renowned metalwork studio. Curtis Freiler and Jerry Fels started C. Jere in the 20th Century, the company has since been sold and resold but their original designs such as this one are highly regarded in auction houses. A piece like this could look lovely displayed in a sitting room or as part of a collection in a study room and would be a wonderful talking point.

Estimate: £500-700

There are also some wonderful items of furniture that have caught our eye, in particular this French two-tier brass gueridon from the late 19th century. In the style of Louis XVI, the top is on three rams’ mask headed legs which are modelled with beautiful details. The legs terminate in hoof feet which are both elegant and lend a sense of stability.

Estimate: £1,200-1,800

Cornwell Manor

Last weekend we stayed in Cornwell Manor in Oxfordshire. The Manor house dates from the 16th or 17th Century and has a rich history as well as beautifully designed interiors. The Manor is surrounded by a stunning Hamlet and 2,000 acres of land, making it perfect for a weekend getaway if you fancy escaping the bustle of city life.

The Jacobean manor house was originally owned by Sit Thomas Penystone, 1st Baronet and his family and built using proceeds from his once prominent Cotswold would trade. The family continued to own the house until the 1930s when it was bought by American heiress Mrs Anthony Gillson who brought about substantial alterations. She enlisted the services of Welsh architect Clough Williams-Ellis, known for his Italianate village of Portmeirion.

The manor house is beautifully decorated inside in a true English country style. The main entrance hall has a lovely stone floor and welcoming 18th century fireplace. The drawing features an impressive Adam style chimneypiece with Rococo plasterwork which adds delightful character.

We stayed in the ‘blue bedroom’ which is dominated by a wonderful Regency carved bed and has a pretty pastel blue and cream colour scheme, seen below.

Williams-Ellis also created most of the formal gardens which are stunning in their designs. They are based on formal Italian gardens incredible Italian details including pools, cascades and classical bridges. A truly specular water idyll in the Cotswolds!

We were also delighted to see Cornwell Manor featured last week in Country Life Magazine and recently in House and Garden Magazine. You can visit Cornwell Manor's website to read more about this beautiful estate.

Bonhams: Britain Defining the Interior

This week Bonham’s is holding one of its regular ‘Britain Defining the Interior’ auctions. At Devas Designs, while we love sourcing a range of European and international items we also enjoy being able to triumph and support the work of British artists and craftsmen. The eclecticism of items on sale is a true testament to British skill and craft and in this blog post, we wanted to share some of our favourite items from this month’s sale.

First to catch our eye was this George III breakfront bookcase. Made from a dark mahogany it has a real sense of grandeur, owed instantly by its lofty stature. The upper part features a broken fret carved swan neck pediment with beautiful foliate scrolls. We loved its classical features, that extend throughout the upper part of the design, lending a traditional aesthetic that would look lovely in a classic interior. The bookcase also features a pair of astragal glazed panel doors and double panel doors on the lower part on a moulded plinth base. While a piece like this would need a well-thought out space to fit, it would be a wonderful addition to a library or study room.

Estimate: £30,000-40,000

This set of six George III mahogany armorial chairs were also a stand-out lot for us. Their shape is elegant and classic, each featuring a pierced lattice back headed by shaped and moulded tablets decorated with the arms of Stackhouse family. The serpentine dished seats on fluted legs perfectly perfectly balance with the latticed backs. The chairs were originally the property of Edward William Stackhouse (1775-1853) who was an MP for Lostwithiel in Cornwall, he assumed the name Pendarves in 1815 having inherited the Cornish Estate. It is thought that along with the estate and the many items inherited from his parents, these chairs were part of that inheritance and are most likely designed by either John Linnell or Thomas Chippendale, two of the most prominent London furniture makers of the time.

Estimate: £12,000-18,000

These charming late George III armchairs made in the style of John Gee also caught our attention. Made from beech, they are painted with beautiful pastel cream colours. They feature pierced top rails above caned backs which are flanked by moulded arms. The caned backs and ring turned tapering legs lend a classic quality that will remain elegant. We often enjoy mixing both classic and contemporary style and while these chairs would perfectly fit in a classic interior, their pastel tones and timeless design could bring character in a modern, white space.

£3,000-4,000

This wig comb and case was a rather more unusual piece for us to choose, but we couldn’t help be drawn in, it also comes with both a controversial history and a surprising price tag …

The wig comb and case were owned by Paul Bennett of Port Royal and are from the late 17th century, made from tortoiseshell. One side bears an engraving of a vase with flowers and the inscription ‘Jamaica 1678’. The reverse side features an engraving of a banana tree with a pair of cactus plants and a scrolling leaf border and the V&A has a similar designed comb.

Estimate: £15,000-20,000

Flower Power

For this week’s blog we were inspired by a recent article about contemporary art and floristry in the Financial Times magazine. This floral art sees artists working with flowers to create incredible, blossoming structures that blur the boundary between floristry and sculpture. Often vast in form, utilising this natural, delicate material creates a truly poetic balance.

Daniel Ost is perhaps the best known floral artist. He has been creating floral art for over forty years and continues to mould his craft to suit contemporary trends. His current work integrates elements of contemporary design, with custom built structures that allow flowers to be weaved, hung or displayed around.

We were struck by this orchid canopy structure, pictured below, which Ost created for King Baudouin of of Belgium’s 60th birthday. The canopy integrates both contemporary design and natural orchids.

Another inspiring floral artist is East London based Rebecca Louise Law. She trained in Fine Art but her interests in nature preservation led to create floral installations. Speaking about her work she says that the ‘physicality and sensuality of the site specific work plays with the relationship between man and nature’. She transforms public spaces bringing in her floral creations to create a stunning display of dazzling natural beauty.

If you’ve been inspired by these floral sculptures there are more permanent ways of integrating floral features in your home. Looking at the floral sculptures reminded us of de Gournay’s wallpapers. De Gournay specialise in hand painted wallpaper, fabrics, furniture and porcelain. Their wallpapers are based on 18th century Chinoiserie designs and always incorporate stunning floral designs. 

Bonham's Gentleman's Library Sale

This month Bonham’s held a fantastic and intriguing sale of rare items. As the title tells us this is a sale dedicated to ‘gentlemen’s’ pieces, which seems to cause both bemusement and irritation from reviewers. Nevertheless, the sale hosts an array of spectacular items of furniture, objets d’art and unique, rare items.

With love in the air and Valentine’s Day just around the corner we’ve selected a few of our favourite items which could be perfect gifts for your loved ones!

We loved these two heart-shaped silver mirrors. Both mirrors are Victorian pieces and they are embossed with leafy scrolls, large flower heads and cherubs and are delightfully romantic. We also loved this diamond-set Art Deco box by Van Cleef and Arpels, below centre. The lid features diamonds and rubies. These items would all make lovely Valentine’s Day presents

For people who like to entertain in style, these gorgeous Edwardian silver candlesticks would perfectly compliment an elegant table setting. They were designed by William Hutton & Sons Ltd in 1904 and feature bases with shell corners.

We were also drawn to these elegant silver Art Nouveau picture frames. They would look lovely grouped together to display your family photographs. The frame on the left features enamelled flowers, while the frame on the right has delightful details of twisting scrolls and flowers.

For the young at heart or anyone looking for retro inspiration, this vintage amusement machine could be a real conversation piece to brighten up your home. It is coin-operated and features a spiral ball-bearing track and eleven winning shoots … dig out those old one penny pieces!

This item below also makes for an interesting conversation piece and could be a great purchase for the sailor in the family. The set of marine signal flags and pendants can be displayed in their case on unfurled for greater decorative impact.

Finally we thought this painting would be perfect in a townhouse or holiday home with a neutral colour scheme. It was painted by a member of the English Primitive School in the 18th Century and shows a view of upper Mossley with Alderman’s Hill in the distance. It is a calm, rural scene with a beautiful, subtle and muted colour palette.

Alexander Calder: Performing Sculpture at Tate Modern

This week we visited the must-see new exhibition at Tate Modern, ‘Alexander Calder: Performing Sculpture’. It’s a truly beautiful and poetic exhibition showcasing Calder’s stunning kinetic sculptures.

Calder initially trained as an engineer before moving to Paris in the 1920s to start his artistic career. It was during his engineering education that he became fascinated with kinetics, physics and the nature of materials. In Paris he experimented with kinetic sculptures that brought to life the avant-garde interest in movement. His kinetic works blended movement with sculpture and in 1931 he invented the ‘mobile’ - Duchamp coined the term, having used it to describe Calder’s new sculptures. The poetry and beauty of his sculptures lay in their ability to move of their accord, simply catching the air in the space they hang.


We love pinning inspirational photos on Pinterest and Tate’s Pinterest board is always packed with great images. Their recent board ‘Art, Architecture and the Home’ show artworks in interiors, we liked this image below of Peggy Guggenheim alongside a Calder mobile - https://uk.pinterest.com/tategallery/art-architecture-and-the-home/

We also discovered this image of an Alexander Calder mobile in Georgia O’Keeffe’s house in Abiquiu, New Mexico. The blend of rustic design with the fluidity of his mobile is a perfect balance.

On the subject of artists’s home we were intrigued to find these images of Alexander Calder’s own living room. Having seen his mobiles in a white walled gallery space, it was quite the contrast seeing images of them amongst his colourful furnishings and belongings.

Christie's Interiors December Sale

Following our blog about Christie’s Interiors December sale and the stunning works of art included, we also wanted to share with you our favourite items of design and furniture from the sale.

This gold-painted model of a tree is an unusual addition and instantly caught our attention. It has been made from steel and wood, painted gold which imbues a real sense of glamour. Its design is in the style of Curtis Jere, the American metalwork company founded by Curtis Freiler and Jerry Fels.

Estimate: £1,200-1,800

While the work above is styled on Curtis Jere designs, these two bronze skiing sculptures are originals by metalwork company Curtis Jere, and both signed ‘C. Jere’. Each has been cast from a model, one of a slalom skier and one of a young boy pulling a sled. They sit on sloping onyx bases, and we love the use of this material to evoke their snowy landscape. Curtis Freiler and Jerry Fels started C. Jere in the 20th Century, the company has since been sold and resold but their original designs such as this one are highly regarded in auction houses.

Estimate: £1,200-1,800

This Chinese famille rose and gilt dish is a charming item. It is decorated with a pair of ducks and a lotus pond and also features a kingfisher perched on a peony branch. The gilt forward border adds an extra detailed feature which beautifully holds the design together. This dish is decorated in a typical Yongzheng Period manner and would be a wonderful addition to a collection.

Estimate: £500-800

This next lot comes in an impressive size, it features ten French stained-beech dining chairs. We love simple designs like this, they have a timeless elegance that can work in both classic and modern interiors. There is a lovely elegance in their colouring as well, the tones of the stained-beech and mahogany balance beautifully with their pale grey fabric covered seat.

Estimate: £700-1,000

Scottish Art at Sotheby's

You might have noticed how much we love attending auctions and sales in London. As well as antiques, we collect works of art for our clients. Some pieces are for their existing collections and some help us to tie together an interior through colours, theme and genre. We think it’s important to keep updated with trends in the market, particularly if you are starting what might become an investment collection.

This month Sotheby’s launched a dedicated Scottish art sale. ‘Highlights of Scottish Art’ features eighty works by Scottish artists from the 19th and 20th centuries, including photography.

The work of renowned Scottish colourist Francis Campbell Boileau Cadell is headlining the auction. His works for sale included this piece ‘The Cheval Glass’ from his much loved Reflections series. We love this series particularly as each work shows a subject in an elegant and stylish interior. Each subject stands before a mirror and their reflection completes the portrait.

Estimate: £250,000-350,000

Lot Sold: £269,000

This work, also by Francis Campbell Boileau Cadell is beautifully vibrant. It depicts Florian’s Cafe in Venice and was strongly influenced by French impressionist painters like Cezanne. Cadell’s loose brushstrokes and free handling of paint give this painting a wonderful sense of energy. A work like this could perfectly enliven an interior and look dashing in a room with a neutral colour scheme.

Estimate: £400,000-600,000

There were also some charming works for sale by Samuel John Peploe who experimented with manipulating colour and form. He loved using strong colours and even used gesso to prime his canvas so that his colours were as vibrant as he could get them. 

Estimate: £350,000-450,000 - Lot Sold: £485,000

Estimate: £250,000-350,000 - Lot Sold: £305,000

William Russell Flint is particularly known for his watercolours, so this work really stood out for us. He trained as a lithographer and was a prolific book illustrator. We loved the blue, green and grey tones of this watercolour, it would lovely in a classic interior of a similar colour scheme. This work has a romantic and wistful atmosphere that is beautify elegant, a sense of stillness pervades. A work with a subtle atmosphere and tone like this can perfectly blend into an interior, bringing a splash of colour and elegance without detracting from interior design and existing architectural details.

Estimate: £6,000-8,000

Lot Sold: £10,625

The Frick Collection // New York

As well as exploring New York’s incredible contemporary galleries, we visited The Frick Collection. The Frick is known for its outstanding collection of works of art from the Renaissance to the 19th century and includes artists such as Rembrandt, Van Dyck, Degas, Turner and El Greco. The museum also has a charming garden to relax in and was a serene environment to enjoy the collection.

Here are some of our favourite works of art on display at The Frick Collection ...

Giovanni Bellini is the most famous of the Bellini family of Venetian Renaissance painters. He revolutionised Venetian painting through his coloristic and sensuous style. This work below, St Francis in the Desert (c. 1476-78) shows St Francis receiving the stigmata. We loved the landscape which is painted with stunning detail and includes animals, birds, plants and objects like skulls.  

We couldn't help but be drawn to some of the more British works of art on display such as this portrait of Thomas Cromwell by Hans Holbein. German artist Holbein spent long periods in England where he painted the nobility of the Tudor Court.

This terracotta sculpture by Jean-Antoine Houdon also caught our eye. It represents Diana the Huntress and its life size-scale is incredible. Houdon called on classical sources such as the Apollo Belvedere which inspired her long limbed, elegant pose.

There were also some outstanding works by Titian on display. Titian is an artist who has always captivated us for his rich hues and alluring subjects. He is widely regarded as the greatest painter of 16th century Venice and when you face his paintings you can see why. The depiction of soft flesh and textures of fur is painted with extraordinary detail.

'Picasso Sculpture' at MoMA New York

You might have seen from our Twitter photos that we spent last week in New York, exploring the city and in particular its extraordinary art galleries. New York during the Autumn is a beautiful place, its colours and culture are truly inspiring.

For those of you who have been, it will be no surprise that one of our highlights was visiting MoMA. We were lucky enough to catch MoMA’s exhibition of Picasso’s sculptures. It’s been highly anticipated as there hasn’t been an exhibition of this scale of Picasso’s sculptural works since 1967.

 

Throughout his influential career, sculpture was a medium Picasso returned to time and again. He approached sculpture in an excitedly experimental way which we love. He blended both traditional and unconventional materials and methods, much like his paintings.

The exhibition itself had over one hundred works on display, complimented by photographs and works on paper which was a lovely story telling device.

Picasso’s ‘Still Life with Guitar’ (1912) really grabbed our attention. It has been formed in true Cubist style, with multiple angles modelled from cardboard.

It was fascinating to see an artist whose career is triumphed though works on canvas with such a vast collection of sculptural works. We also enjoyed seeing how his sculpture informed his painted works and vice versa. 

Christie's Interiors // November

Regular sales like Christie’s Interiors are excellent for finding pieces for your home.We make sure we keep track of London’s best auctions and regularly attend to pick out stand out pieces for our clients. Christie's have a guaranteed standard of quality with the finest hand selected items of furniture, works of art and decorative pieces. Their Interiors sale this November is no exception and there is a fine selection of pieces on sale.

We wanted to share with you a selection of our favourite pieces from this month's Interiors sale at Christie's ...

There was an impressive selection of antique carpets that would be stunning in a classic interior. We were particularly struck by the two designs below. The carpet on the left has a classic ziegler design, its dual tones could even provide inspiration for an interiors colour scheme. The carpet on the right is from Tabriz in Iran and its decorative design would add a real charm to a sitting or dining room.

This pair of bronze and gilt torches caught our eye. Complete with five light spaces, the touches are decorated with an orb supported by an eagle. Their five branches emanate from lion masks while the triform bases are decorated with dolphins. The details on these torches is exquisite and they would be beautiful centrepieces for a dinner table, truly lighting up the table.

Among the items of furniture on sale were two tables that particularly stood out to us for their classic designs and elegance. The table on the right is made from regency rosewood and tiger maple. It features charming ivory handles, and frieze edged in trellis parquetry.

We also loved this French brass-mounted mahogany bouillotte table on the right. It is in a classic Louis XVI style with a grey-veined white marble top and two ash lined drawers.

This pair of modern stools has been upholstered in floral cut-velvet and are a beautifully rich colour.


Collections Sale at Sotheby's

We love the items in this month’s Collections auction at Sotheby’s. It’s a real eclectic mix of antique, classic, unique and collectable items. We wanted to share with you a selection of the items that really stood out for us.

This exquisite piece instantly caught eye, it is a rare Vincennes group of Venus and Adonis (c.1750-52). L’Heure du Berger is represented by the reclining female figure in loose drapery, with a male youth balanced and twisting towards her. There is a real sense of elegance to this piece, aided by the white colouring. A smaller piece like this is easy to display and can add beautifully to an existing collection.

Estimate: £12,000-18,000

While we enjoy sourcing all types of items for our clients, we love finding precious artworks. A unique and sensitive work of art can make a big impact in your home. This work by old master Rembrandt instantly stood out to us. The etching, made in 1630, shows the bust of a man wearing a high cap, and the model is thought to be Rembrandt’s father.

Estimate: £800-1,200

The Italian 18th Century work below is a charming depiction of the temple of Clitumnus, near Spoleto. It has been drawn in pen and brown ink with a grey wash over traces of black chalk. Its limited colouring makes it versatile, and although it would perfectly suit a classic interior, it could bring character and charm to a contemporary living space.

Estimate: £800-1,200

These George III carved gilt wood and gesso wall lights (pair) from the late 18th Century are truly exquisite. Both elegant and grand, they are typically characteristic of the neo-classical taste of late 18th Century England. They feature the typical classical urn, ram’s head and bell-flower garlands.

Estimate: £4,000-6,000

This walnut dining table (c. 1970) is a real centre piece. Its simple design is both bold and elegant and it sits on six hexagonal shaped steel legs. This table comes from the collection of British filmmaker, Bryan Forbes, best known for directing ‘The Stepford Wives’.

Estimate: £3,000-5,000

Fabric Inspiration

For this week’s blog we want to focus on fabrics. We just visited Chelsea Harbour’s Design Centre to source fabrics and were inspired by the incredible selection we saw.

When we work on an interior design project, we often make use of high quality and beautifully printed or painted fabrics. High quality fabrics can be used for either furnishing or wall coverings and can really infuse charm, colour and elegance into your room. Whether you are choosing fabrics for furniture and small furnishings or larger wall coverings, it is crucial that the colour and design tie in with the look and feel of your interior - if you’re completely drawn to a fabric it can even inspire your overall colour scheme.

Elizabeth Eakins set up her rug and textile business in 1978, with a focus on making by hand. All of her fabrics are made from natural fibers and include linen, hemp and wool blends. We were particularly drawn to this natural hemp linen fabric, ‘Esther Young’ in azure and rose.

We also loved this fabric from Harlequin’s Amazilia collection. The fabric has been digitally printed for accuracy with botanical-style representations of hummingbirds in beautiful and crisp colours. The detail is exquisite and would add both a splash of colour and a real sense character to either a classic or contemporary interior.

Parisian company Pierre Frey has always been a favourite of ours. Founded in 1935, they remain a family owned company who design, create and manufacture fabrics, wallpapers, carpets and furniture. They are real ambassadors of french taste and integrate french craft and style into their work.

We loved the fabric below, from the Collection Braquenie, ‘Les Muses et Le Lion Rouges’. This Toile de Jouy fabric was based on classic designs from their archive. Our favourite colour was this rouge celadon, which is both bold and elegant.

Turnell and Gigon distribute beautiful fabrics which range from both classic and contemporary designs. The designs below, percale persan would add a real charm and character to a room. We loved these deigns in cream and blue colours, the coloured detail looks beautiful over these subtle backgrounds. 

'Made in Britain' // Sotheby's

This month’s ‘Made In Britain’ sale at Sotheby’s had an impressive collection of works from Britain’s leading artists, designers, photographers, ceramicists and printmakers. The sale aimed to celebrate the diversity and innovative spirit of these British artists and really succeeded. We had a difficult decision choosing just a few of our favourites, but take a look at some of our highlights and let us know what caught your eye!

Howard Hodgkin’s work always catches our eye for its expressive colouring. The work below, entitled Moonlight (1980) is a beautiful lithograph printed in colours with additional hand-colouring. Hodgkin is one of Britain’s most important printmakers and painters and his bold style is completely captivating. Since the 1970s expressive patterning has dominated his work, combining printmaking techniques, bold brushstrokes and bright daubs of paint to produce punchy abstract works that would instantly enliven a room.

There is a finely balanced tension that we find interesting in Victor Pasmore’s work; the balance of saturated colour and fine black strikes. We were drawn to this piece entitled Senza Titolo (1991) for its unified hue. A work like this can really inform a colour scheme if you are designing a new interior, or help to tie together an existing colour scheme. We are inspired by works of art and their expressive colours and often use them as starting points for a new project’s colour scheme.

There was also a fantastic selection of ceramics on sale. The four pouring vessels by Rupert Spira, below left, are beautifully elegant in their shape and blue glaze. We were also drawn to the ceramic pieces on sale by Lucie Rie. The footed bowl, below centre, has a beautiful matt blue glaze and bronzed rim. On sale were also ceramics from one of Britain’s most respected and influential potters, Bernard Leach. The fluted bowl, below right, is made from porcelain with a celadon glaze. Its size, form and neutral glaze give it a sense of timeless elegance that would sit beautifully in either a modern or classic home.

We were also struck by the painting on sale by Mary Fedden. Fedden’s work is characterised by her use of bold, often contrasting, expressive colours. The vivid colours in the painted still life, below, left, with reds, purples and greens would really bright a vibrant splash of colour to a neutral room. We often enjoy pairing vibrant works of art with interiors that have muted colour schemes, and tie it in with details like cushions that work with the colours.

With the Tate’s major retrospective on this month, we were also looking out for works by Barbara Hepworth. The lithograph printed in black and yellow, below left, is beautifully harmonious and would perfectly compliment an interior with a muted and subtle colour scheme. The screen print, below right, by Ben Nicholson has been printed on woven silk. The delicate quality of the material blends beautifully with his subtle and sensitive colour scheme. Whether your interior is modern or classic, works of art that are elegant and subtle like this piece can really add charm to your home.