Enchanting, don't you think? This country house in its dramatically romantic setting painted by Rex Whistler in the 1930s. For me, the silvery quality of the black and white photo only adds to the magical, lost-world feeling "borne like a vapor on the sweet summer air."
"This is the land of lost content,
I see it shining plain.
The happy highways where I went,
And cannot come again."
One of a set of eight pictures painted to fit the varyingly sized plaster panels on the 18th century staircase of 36 Hill Street, London. The client in 1927 was Mrs Ernest Porcelli originally from Long Island, New York. Rex Whistler's brother Laurence in his book The Laughter and the Urn "it was like opening eight windows into one romantic landscape, conceived as flowing around the room." After the Second World War the paintings were removed from Hill Street and hung at Parbold Hall, Lancashire.
If you wish to read more about the pictures and, indeed, the house refer to London Interiors by John Cornforth. This book is one of series from the archives of Country Life - a wonderful resource for any decorator, designer and architect.