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.

Decorex 2016

Decorex is always at the top of our list to visit during London Design Festival. This year, the organisers were keen to explore the roots of design and display the origins and processes behind beautiful design. Decorex is held in the stunning and historic Syon Park, a suitably luxurious setting. Inside is a wealth of design and craft, with over 400 both emerging and established designers. There is always a celebration of British, an important move for organisers like Decorex to keep our crafts alive.

Take a look at our ‘top 5’ highlights and designers from the fair ...

1/ PINCH

Since 2004 the Clapham-based husband and wife duo behind PINCH have been creating beautiful designs which have simplicity and purity at the heart of their form. They believe design can be poetic and being surrounded by beautiful things can be inspirational. It’s no surprise to hear their work has been nominated and won numerous design awards. We were excited to see their new collection, which launched at Decorex this week. The drinks cabinet and dresser particularly stood out. 

2/ Kew Home by Ivo Prints

If you’ve been keeping up to date with our latest blog posts, you’ll notice that we’ve been very inspired by botanical designs recently, particularly the displays at Kew Gardens. We were delighted to see Ivo Designs showcasing their Kew Textile range. Every design and pattern is based on original references from the library and archives at the Royal Botanical Gardens in Kew. Each design is hand silk screen printed using traditional processes - a labour intensive process they admit! Their emphasis on craft and process ties in perfectly with Decorex’s theme this year.

3/ Lumitrix

Our next addition is an unusual choice for Decorex; Lumitrix aren't designers but instead curators of photographic works. They represent a gallery of images from over 20 photographers from around the world. What we love about their ethos is their dedication to represent young talent alongside established names. Every photograph is available in four different sizing options and varying hand-painted frames, so your print can be tailored to your interior and space. We source works of art for clients and appreciate the attention given to each carefully selected image. Lumitrix is a great company to use if you’re looking to add some character and edge to your home but find the selection process challenging. A highlight for us is their range by Astrid Harrisson who photographed wild horses at dawn in the South of France (pictured above).

4/ William Holland

William Holland specialise in copper baths and basins - their dedication has paid off as they're considered the world's leading specialist manufacturer in their trade. A free standing baths would look wonderfully elegant in a country bathroom or add some warmth and luxury to a city space. The factory is based in a 17th-century Tithe barn in the Dorset countryside and we're sure this peaceful location is embedded within their product's experience. We also loved their display of miniatures to show examples of every finish. 

5/ Susie Watson Designs

Our favourite moments at Decorex are when we discover a new designer and Susie Watson's work really caught our eye. Her passion for colour and design shines through and we love her soft blends of colour. Her textile factory in Karur is at the heart of the South Indian cotton weaving area, while her wallpapers are printed at a famous and established factory in Lancashire. Her pastel pinks and blues would look lovely in a country cottage, particularly for a child's bedroom if you want a soft, subtle and calming atmosphere.

Painterly Interiors

Following last week's blog about the inspirational work of Etel Adnan currently on display at London’s Serpentine Sackler Gallery and her painterly tapestries, we sought out some bright designers who are creating painterly furnishings and objects for the home. These items are perfect pieces to add artistic charm to your home and lovely additions to an art-lovers room! We'll often take inspiration from works of art for our interior design projects and love the idea of introducing painted ceramics, rug designs based on paintings and art-inspired furnishings.

First up … Aino-Maija Metsola is an illustrator and print designer from Finland. She works as an in-house designer for print powerhouse Marimekko, designing prints for clothing and interior textiles. Metsola also created the ‘Weather Diary’ prints for their plates, tea bowls and cups. We love this collection as it was inspired by natural elements; the Finnish weather and shoreline. Metsola drew the designs in watercolour and ink, focussing on rain, clouds and grass fields. These bowls and cups would look lovely set against crisp, white linen and fresh cut white flowers, to create an elegant and charming table.

The collection is available to buy from a number of UK stores including Heal’s.

Kelly Wearstler’s collection for The Rug Company is another beautiful collaboration. Her hand-painted designs have been crafted into a series of rugs, each handmade by skilful specialist weavers in the Kathmandu area. ‘Wake’ shown below left draws inspiration from the free and fluid movements of water, creating an elegant and subtle design which would look lovely in a contemporary setting with a subtle colour scheme. Wearstler’s ‘Graffito’ design on the right is inspired by her love of graffiti and street art. The combination of a painterly, raw brush stroke design and pale blue colouring create a beautiful balance.

Wearstler's design below, named 'Flaunt' also draws on the fluid movements of water and includes bursts of sheeny blue to enliven the rug's surface.

London based, Australian designer Amy Sia creates beautiful hand-painted designs for textiles and clothing. For Amy, accessories act as a canvas, and and each design is an artwork. Her passion for colour is evident in her bright textiles, their boldness is offset with her sensitively drawn designs - Sia's floral-like patterns particularly caught our eye. Like Metsola, Amy Sia’s designs are first drawn in watercolour and then transferred digitally onto handmade cushions, seen below.

Visit Amy Sia's website to see more.

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.

Modern & Post-War British Art at Sotheby's

On 13 and 14 June Sotheby’s is hosting a sale of Modern and Post-War British Art which will showcase fresh-to-market works. For many works, it has been decades since they have been on display to the public. To celebrate the sale Sotheby’s is also hosting a weekend of talks, tours and events on 11 and 12 June. Visitors will have the chance to chat to Sotheby’s specialists, have tours of the sale and attend talks with art historians, there will even be children’s activity packs for those visiting with their families.

All places are free and you can find out more by visiting: sothebys.com/modbrit

In anticipation, we’ve chosen a selection of our favourite pieces from the sale, we’ll be looking out for them next week!

Ivon Hitchens has been a longtime favourite of ours as we are drawn to his interplay of bright and muted colours. His subtle colours makes his work easy to place within an interior, they are guaranteed to add charm and character to a room, blending with and not overpowering an existing colour scheme. British painter Hitchens flourished in England during the 1920s, working as part of the London Group alongside painters like Roger Fry. The landscape in West Sussex where he had his home and studio served as his greatest inspiration, and he focused on the light, trees and water that surrounded him. This work ‘Holbrook’ below is a wonderful example of this landscape influence.

Estimate: £50,000-80,000

There are also some wonderful works by Patrick Heron in the auction including 'Complicated Reds' and 'Indigo Round Umber and Venetian and Into Ultramarine' below. These are typical of his 60s style, when he painted in the cleverly described 'wobbly hard edge' manner. He would often draw the shapes quickly, in a matter of seconds, before starting to paint. For Heron, this was a way of returning to the immediacy of drawing and maintaining a sense of energy.

Estimates: (left) £50,000-80,000 and (right) £12,000-18,000

John Piper is one of Britain’s most celebrated war artists and is famed for his paintings and prints of British landscapes. The British landscape is a setting he returns to time and again and this work entitled ‘Beach IIl’ is a classic example of this. His paintings and prints of British towns have in many ways become archives of these sites. We were particularly intrigued by this work for its mixture of both figurative and abstract styles. He also incorporates mixed-media; collage, pencil, felt tip, watercolour and gouache have all been used.

Estimate: £20,000-30,000

We were pleased to see the inclusion of Pauline Boty, who was an important figure in British Pop Art. She sadly died in 1966 at the young age of 28 and has been largely excluded from recognition. The Tate Britain now has one of her keys works ‘The Only Blonde in the World’ on display and she is now gaining some attention. The work in Sotheby’s sale is a small painted and mixed media collage entitled ‘Light my Fire’.

Estimate: £5,000-7,000

Inspired by Chelsea in Bloom!

Last week Chelsea was in full bloom! Alongside the RHS Chelsea Flower Show were the annual local displays of floral creations from Chelsea retailers who compete for a winning display. We’re very lucky that our Chelsea location means we were surrounded by beauty last week.

We loved these displayed by Hackett and Links below. This year’s theme was ‘Carnival’ inspired by the Rio de Janeiro Carnival and Hackett embraced tropical flowers and colours, while Links opted to fly the British flag.

The White Company's window was our favourite, it's elephant creation was made by Larry Walshe and reminded us of the sculptures of Ganesh we've seen on our travels to India.

If you’ve been inspired by these floral sculptures and creations popping up around Chelsea, there are more permanent ways of integrating floral features in to your home. Looking at the floral windows 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. 

Fancy a beautiful flower display without the hassle of watering? We also love these faux flowers from Oka which look remarkably realistic, they also mean you aren't guided by the season and can chose exotic displays all year round. Oka recommend starting each arrangement with three flowers, building up by three each time until your display looks full enough. For a more realistic display chose a variety of sizes and shapes; include full flowers with an abundance of petals as well as greenery and branches like the display below on the right.

We've said it before, but we stand by the simple fact that changing cushions, linen, throws and small accessories is the easiest way to quickly transform a room. If you're looking for some temporary colour and pattern we love these floral-inspired cushions from bluebellgray. We love their signature painterly style and each cushion is painted and sewn by hand in bluebellgray's Glasgow studio, making them truly unique.

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.

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

Deborah, Duchess of Devonshire Auction at Sotheby's

This March Sotheby’s in London is auctioning the collection of furniture, objects, artworks and jewellery owned by Deborah, Duchess of Devonshire. Deborah (1920-2014) was the last of the Mitford sisters. The ‘Mitford Sisters’ were six sisters renowned for their social celebrity status and contentious political alignments.

Deborah was somewhat less politically controversial than some of her sisters and was a great patron of the arts. Her collection is a portrait of her interests and friends, most of whom were writers and artists and there are some charming pieces on sale. We’ve chosen a selection of our favourite items …

This portrait of Deborah, Duchess of Devonshire was painted by Duncan Grant. We loved the colour palette and post-impressionistic style. Grant was a member of the Bloomsbury Group and was influenced by both the work of French post-impressionists and his fellow Bloomsbury painter Roger Fry. Grant was co-director of the Omega Workshop with Vanessa Bell whom he shared both a personal and creative relationship with. We are often drawn to the colour tones of the Bloomsbury Group and even drew inspiration from their work for our previous project in Ireland - which you can read more about by clicking here.

Estimate: £2,000-3,000

We also liked these three pairs of George III armchairs (c. 1790). Each have a moulded square back with in swept arms and square tapering legs, and are all in pastel painted beech and cane. They are elegant in their simplicity of design and now have a more rustic feel with their antique paintwork. They were most likely designed by James Wyatt.

Estimate: £1,200-1,800 (per pair)

We were struck by this drypoint portrait of Consuelo Vanderbilt, Duchess of Marlborough by Paul-César Helleu whose work we greatly admire. 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. The balance between the subject’s detailed face and more impressionistic clothing create a beautiful harmony.

Estimate: £4,000-6,000

This next piece, a Regency black painted and cane settee was rather striking. Made after a design by Gallows the black frame has ebonised and gilt-line painted decoration. The back features three cane lunettes and segments painted with cherubs. There is a beautiful balance between the rich detail and geometric design which results in a an elegant piece of furniture which could be a real centrepiece in a sitting room.

Estimate: £2,000-3,000

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.

Bonham's Period Sale

Bonham’s Period Design and Period Art is a regular sale which is filled with treasures and inspiration. It includes a selection of 18th, 19th and 20th century furniture, works of art, mirrors and rugs from across the world. This month we’ve been busy sourcing items of furniture for various clients and Bonham’s Period Design sale was top on our list!

This blue john urn from the 19th century caught our eye immediately. We particularly like its design with its banded decoration and circular support atop a square marble base. The elegance of this design perfectly highlights and exhibits the beautiful material and its natural colouring. Blue-john began being exported during the 18th Century to France and was used for luxurious objets d’art which were adored by collectors including Marie Antoinette. This semi-precious mineral has retained its luxurious regard and its vivid colouring remains lucid.

Estimate: £2,000 - 3,000

We were also intrigued by this beautiful George III tub back bergere. Its body is made from a richly coloured mahogany with square section tapering legs. Its pastel upholstery balances perfectly with the richness of the wood and this chair would look lovely in either a sitting room or bedroom.

Estimate: £600 - 800

This pair of French 19th century mahogany fauteuils would be lovely in a classically decorated sitting room. Each one has lotus leafed clasped arm supports and square splayed legs, their design is a classic Restoration style from 19th century France. Their solid backs convert a real presence while their soft colouring and fluid arms create a beautiful sense of elegance.

Estimate: £1,000 - 1,500

As well as these wonderful items of furniture, there was a stunning selection of rugs on sale at this month’s Period Design sale.

The Khotan saph below is from East Turkestan. Khotan was an ancient Buddhist kingdom that was on a section of the silk road. It was the first place outside China to begin making silk and Khotanese carpets remain a highly prized export.

Estimate: £2,000 - 3,000

We also loved this Agra carpet, pictured below, which comes from North India. Agra rugs are highly sought after as their material and technique makes them highly durable. Their pattern, design and colours are beautifully detailed and vidid. In the past we have taken inspiration from textiles such as rugs and used this is a basis to form an interior’s colour scheme. If a piece like this really catches your eye it can become a centrepiece and dictate the look and feel of your interior.

Estimate: £3,000 - 5,000

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

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.

Christie's Interiors August 2015 // Part II

Did you see our recent blog post about the stunning works of art on auction at this month’s Interiors Sale at Christie’s – you can read it by clicking here.

Christie’s South Kensington is celebrating its 40th year with some brilliant talks and events, we recently attended a talk on The Art of Interior and had the chance to preview the Interiors sale.

As you’ll see from our post about the incredible works of art on sale, we were struck by the work of Polish painted Zdzislaw Ruszkowski and the chalk drawings by John Golding. The highlight of the Interiors sale was however the exquisite pieces of furniture on display. We source pieces of antique furniture for clients so we are always looking out for pieces that stand out and could work in a variety of both classic and contemporary homes.

Here are some of our favourite pieces from this month's Interiors sale ...

We were instantly drawn to this Swedish parcel-gilt and bronzed sofa. We liked its classic Gustavian style, a style marked by its subtle colours, clean simple designs and handpainted technique. The classic Gustavian design gives it a sense of simplicity and together with its white linen seat and beautifully lotus-carved legs has an overall elegance. This sofa appealed to us for its versatility, it could look beautiful and elegant in both a traditional or contemporary interior and add a classic touch.

Estimate: £1,200-1,800

Price Realised: £3,250

We also loved this set of English iron garden benches, pair of chairs and a table. They have been designed in a Gothic style with charming details. Their pale colour and the delicate sizing of the iron material gives them a feminine and graceful look. These would work perfectly in either a large or modest English garden, providing an elegant place to sit without dominating the space.

Estimate: £800-1,200

Price Realised: £4,750

Although this set of English Coronation chair might seem extravagant for their history, having a few historic and unique pieces in your home can add a real sense of charm and provide a great story! This set comprises two George VI chairs, a George VI stool, two Elizabeth II chairs and an Elizabeth II stool. They are all stamped with the Coronation crown and their makers details, dated 1932 and 1953.

Estimate: £800-1,200

Price Realised: £2,750

This gorgeous George III painted side table is decorated with bell-flowers, paterae and a border of palette and running scroll. It features small cupboards with transfer-printed oval vignettes. Its pastel tones, delicate details and graceful tapered legs give it a sense of chic elegance. It could fit perfectly into a classic interior or add a graceful charm to a contemporary room. At Devas Designs we enjoy blending classic and traditional styles with contemporary interiors.

Estimate: £1,000-1,500

Price Realised: £2,375