Thursday, April 1, 2010

Lamentations for Holy Saturday

I rarely listen to music in the car, or the radio for that matter, despite driving 130 miles a day, preferring when on my own to listen to the world around me and what's going on in my own head. When I do listen to music, Palestrina is my first choice for solitary journeys and seemingly I don't tire of Missa Papae Marcelli, or what I listened to today Lamentations for Holy Saturday - brief, but just enough for a few minutes of not thinking - and for reminding me, lamentably too late, that I had intended to make hot-cross buns for Saturday, I had not posted today, I had not replied to an email, that .... well, the road to hell ..... etc.

However, musing on my grandmother's favorite phrase, (always so miserably unhelpful, that sort of expression) isn't going to get me far when really I want to talk, but really am too tired, about Denning and Fourcade's creation of an interior for Oscar de la Renta and his first wife, one of the most densely layered and stylish accretions of le goût Rothschild loot from the 17th century to the 19th centuries.

le goût Rothschild is such an appealing phrase. I said last week it would be interesting to compare Denning and Fourcade's version to Geoffrey Bennison's who actually did work for the Rothschilds and for whom he had to buy very little. All are terribly impressive, but of them Bennison's most tender Rothschild's interiors were created for Baron and Baroness David de Rothschild in Normandy, but more of that tomorrow.

These rooms speak for themselves. I could say that they are so very far removed from the reserved interiors by Shelton and Mindel where nothing is superfluous, but that would be redundant. I could catalogue the contents, discuss the styles, the mix, from the Boulle cabinets, the Orientalist paintings, copies in miniature of the Colonne Vendôme, Empire Egyptian Revival chairs, Regency mirrors, Adam Weisweiler console and Russian neoclassical dining chairs in the stenciled faux bois dining room, the snow on the muntins of the windows ... I could, but there's that road to hell again ...

Photos by Oberto Gili from House and Garden, December 1985.


  1. The de la Renta apartment has always felt like a series of elegant paintings. I know you must break out in hives over this Too Done look. Makes me happy.

  2. home before dark, whilst it is not to my taste and certainly to my eye appears to be more than a little suffocating, the de la Renta apartment is one of the, for me, better examples of Denning and Fourcade decorating. My taste lies in another direction.

    Anonymous, it is not my taste but as an example of 1980s riche taste it is pretty fab.

  3. more is more....absolutely gorgeous interiors....