Style Court

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

5.10.2011

A Pleasant Thing

 [Suzanne Rheinstein's garden designed in collaboration with Judy Horton, photographed by Tim Street-Porter and published in Veranda, July-August 2003.]

In the previous post I admitted that, while I consider myself a true garden enthusiast, I'm lacking when it comes to actual knowledge.  What I am a little more familiar with is the evolution of garden furniture, including iconic pieces like architect Sir Edwin Lutyens' bench. Of course, it's pretty easy to be aware of this classic camel-back bench. More than a century-old, various interpretations are abundant in botanical gardens and, well, everywhere. But I never tire of it.

Recently, I spotted a pair of symmetrically placed Lutyens benches in a video tour of David Hicks' place, The Grove, and in the blogosphere Ruthie Chapman Sommers' fun turquoise-painted Lutyens chair (seen in 2005 in the premiere issue of domino) is very well known. Another 21st century sighting, by Suzanne Rheinstein's L.A. pool, is shown above. I'm guessing Getrude Jekyll might have approved of this image.

In Gertrude Jekyll and the Country House Garden, Judith Tankard quotes the landscape designer:

"It is a pleasant thing to catch sight of a comfortable bench at the end of some flower border or garden picture, [but] the seat should not be unduly evident."

Jekyll championed Lutyens' designs, and did not care for the stark contrast of white-painted furniture against evergreens. For English settings she especially preferred natural weathered wood, and muted greys and greens.

I love an array of gardens and styles of furniture. If you're interested in doing some exploring, here are a few suggestions:

Landscape designer Art Luna's reading list, encompassing gardens from the world of fashion, modern gardens and Asian-style gardens.

Highgrove on Flickr.

And a Lutyens reading list.

8 comments:

Pigtown-Design said...

great minds... i just posted an image of one of these iconic benches, too!

Here.

A.J.Barnes said...

I'm all about those benches. Two of them on my front porch would be quite nice! Glad I found your blog and I'll enjoy catching up.

www.ajbarnesonline.blogspot.com

VictoriaArt said...

It must be the weather...
Yesterday I saw one of these at Home Goods and contemplated to buy one. The color was lime green and it would not go with the rest of the garden design. To much blue and red on chairs and umbrellas, but, gosh I love these!
Will be on the lookout for a natural stained one! I have the perfect spot!

Style Court said...

A.J. --

Your porch sounds inviting. Glad you stopped by.

Meg --

Funny! I'll go back and add a link to your post.

Victoria --

The weather is definitely putting us all in the gardening mood...or at least in the mood to enjoy them!

Laura Casey Interiors said...

Love the Highgrove link- what gorgeous photos. Agree on the Lutyens bench, never tire of it either.

sandrajonas.com said...

The Lutyens bench is always stunning. He really did capture a "Breaking Wave"
And Jekyll would NOT aprrove of a tourquise pool liner. Black would reflect the sky, tree canopy and clouds It would not call so much attention to itself.

I posted about Jekyll and Garden rooms several months ago.

Love your blog,

Ms. Wis./Each Little World said...

i like the Wave Hill chair which is a simplified version of a Rietveld chair; it's more modern and stark. You can buy the plans via Wave Hill. In rustic cabins in Wisconsin you often see a Leopold bench, which was designed by the great environmentalist Aldo Leopold and used at his cabin. Plans are widely available for that one as well. Excellent job of reviewing of the Jekyll book.

Style Court said...

Linda -- thank you!