Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Back to the wall

Idling, glass in hand (an old-fashioned glass not quite brimming with Australian shiraz), through The Decorative Twenties by Martin Battersby I came across the image above and realized that I'd found another wall with a story to tell.  Battersby painted the mural as entrance to a dining room I seem to recognize but cannot for the life of me place.  The mural is credited with hanging in La Favorita, a mediterranean villa that belonged to Lady Kenmare, the mother of Roderick Cameron.  

The mural I thought it was is a fresco transferred to canvas for the dining room of La Fiorentina a house decorated by Billy Baldwin.  I've checked Billy Baldwin Decorates and Billy Baldwin Remembers but, whereas there may be a resemblance in style, it is after all in a different house. 

Thus, at a loss, but still on the subject of walls, let me quote Roderick Cameron talking about the house he built for himself in Provence: 

"I have never had any problems about colours and prefer them muted; the silver-green of the back of an olive leaf for the big room with off-white curtains, and beige for the hall and the shell-like stairs that curve down into the house.  White or off-white, a faded mustard yellow, moss green and the soft blues of porcelain seem to be the dominant colours.  As to materials, I like small patterned things, if patterned at all, and very often just color on colour, the motive being barely discernible."  

I look around my half-empty living room - chairs and a sofa are in the workroom being reupholstered - and think how I've remembered that description  "the silver-green of the back of an olive leaf" for more than twenty years and I know it has been been the touchstone of my aesthetic ever since I first read it. 

But, it is not an aesthetic that is totally appreciated by everyone in this house, and that is precisely how it should be.  

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