Wednesday, April 22, 2009


Lady Louis Mountbatten's boudoir walls painted grisaille on canvas by Rex Whistler. The panels survive but the ceiling does not. To see the modern incarnation click here. See, too, how without the ceiling and original crown molding the murals seem incomplete. The chic of the original interior somehow has been domesticated, even in the hands of David Hicks, the son-in-law of Lady Louis Mountbatten. 

According to John Cornforth in London Interiors "one of its themes is houses that Lady Louis knew: Broadlands, which she inherited from her father, Lord Mount Temple, over the chimney-piece; Asdean over the door, balanced by old Brook House. "

Laurence Whistler of his brother's work, said "it was near as mural painting could be brought to book illustration, and being drawn with such finish - twice over in some areas, for his preliminary drawings are not rough - must have been laborious." 

Where do the borders between so-called fine art, illustration and decorative art lie? In these works by Rex Whistler?  It is hard to say. 

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