[Unless noted otherwise, photos are my own.]
Let's start up close, with our faces practically touching Lisa Fine's new handprinted linen, then slowly back away to appreciate the large-scale design of Lahore.
Its delicate leafy branches warrant attention.
These myriad little botanical forms come together to create larger, scroll-y, teardrop or leaf-like shapes known as "boteh" or "buta" in Kashmir, India, and more commonly called paisley in the West.
In his book, The Kashmir Shawl, textile scholar John Irwin charts the evolution of boteh from relatively crisp motifs regimented on a clean, open ground to wilder, exaggerated forms often comprised of countless densely-packed blossoms or leaves (essentially like Fine's design, above). Just as unrestricted ivy overtakes a brick wall, paisley can dominate a design to the point that we only see a hint of the ground color.
[Illustrations from Irwin's early-1970s book, The Kashmir Shawl. Click to read descriptions.]
[John Singer Sargent, Nonchaloir (Repose), 1911. Gift of Curt H. Reisinger to the NGA in Washington, D.C.]
If you had time to glance at last week's post, you know Lahore was inspired by a pashmina Fine noticed in a painting. It was, in fact, a Sargent portrait discovered in a book in India. But not the one shown here. The piece that attracted Fine includes a shawl rendered in sharper focus. Although the botehs were big, elongated, and arranged in a similar style. This early-20th-century Sargent painting, Nonchaloir, belongs to the NGA. It represents the period in the artist's career when he'd grown weary of accepting commissions for formal portraits and was painting to please himself.
For her fabric, Fine chose four coloways: Monsoon, pictured multiple times above, Apricot, shown below, Rose, and Calico.
Fine also has a new print, Cairo, inspired by an ancient Egyptian textile but she told me that it really reminds her of ceramic tiles found in the Islamic world. "The colors, Candy, Jungle and Iznik, are vibrant jewel tones," she added. And BTW, since Fine is such an animal lover, it seems fitting that she will offer dog mattresses in Cairo for her upcoming One Kings Lane sale on December 15.
Related past post: Matisse's Egyptian Textile.