Style Court

Nine Years of Textiles, Art History, Gardens, and a Little Mental Traveling with Courtney Barnes


Saving Face III

Regular Southern Accents readers know that the photo on Karen Carroll's Editor's Note page rarely changes. She does not enjoy having her picture taken and says the thought of having her portrait painted for posterity sends shivers up her spine. But Karen does treasure a portrait of her mother -- a pastel done when her parents were newly married and visiting New Orleans. Today it hangs in the magazine editor's own dressing room. (As you can see above, Carolina Herrera also thinks dressing rooms are a suitable spot for portraits.)

Although Karen knows many people who live happily with family portraits in their dining or living rooms, she prefers to keep newer sketches or formal paintings in private spaces.

She remembers a designer once saying, "Unless you're the Queen of England or your child is destined to be the future King, no portraits of your family in the living room." Bedrooms, intimate libraries, and dressing areas are great alternatives.

Many portrait styles are a little too sweet for Karen's personal taste, however, she is a fan of antique oil portraits and doesn't mind seeing those in any room. It could be an old painting of a real ancestor or an "instant ancestor." She knows another designer who describes a collection of antique portraits (of unknown people) as her "instant ancestors," and this designer has a great time making up wild tales of their pursuits and antics.

This large portrait has been in Julia Reed's family for years and she's mentioned it when writing for both Vogue and Southern Accents. It seems that no one knew what the boy in the painting was holding (maybe an oar or a butter churner?) until Julia dated a cricket player and she discovered the object is in fact a cricket bat.

The drawing of Carolina Herrera at age 15 (image two) is by Boris Smirnoff; both Herrera images are from
the Assouline book, Carolina Herrera: Portrait of a Fashion Icon.

Images three and four show Lynn von Kersting's library as seen in Getaways: Carefree Retreats for All Seasons.

The detail image from Reed's apartment is courtesy Southern Accents; photo by William Waldron.


Anonymous said...

I've got a beautiful portrait of my daughter in the living room. It is a copy of "Girl with a Pearl Earring" except done with my daughter's face. Antique -- but not.

Style Court said...

Anon --

It's been so much fun to hear from everyone as this portrait series has taken shape. I'm intrigued by all the different styles and approaches. So, thanks for sharing!