Style Court

Textiles, Art History, Gardens, and a Little Mental Traveling with Courtney Barnes 2006-2016


Icing on the Cake

Images from John Fowler: Prince of Decorators, published by Frances Lincoln, 2007. Shown top is Britain's Claydon House; below, Sudbury Hall.

I adore the color combinations John Fowler chose for his National Trust restoration projects. But everyone hasn't always been so enthused.

When houses are centuries old, they have often been modified quite a bit by various owners. Decorators and restoration committees of the 1950s didn't have today's technology available to them and tended to disagree on which look to go with. Fowler actually decorated Claydon House twice -- in the 50s and 70s.

Image above, Claydon House, copyright Britain's National Trust.

On the second go-round he painted the Chinese Room at Claydon House (the most intricate chinoiserie room surviving in Britain) a lush, deep blue. To use HGTV-speak, I think his choice makes Luke Lightfoot's elaborate 1769 white woodwork just pop. Fowler juxtaposed the blue with imperial yellow silk curtains. Time has proven that the legendary decorator's vibrant colors are rather spot-on for the 18th-century.

I couldn't resist pairing the contemporary, chinoiserie-inspired, cut-paper work of Melbourne artist, Emma van Leest, above, with that of Lightfoot and Fowler.


LallaLydia said...

You know, there are some really talented pastry and cake makers out there who could probably recreate the general scheme and decor of these pictures in frosting and buttercream if you were ever so inclined!

Style Court said...


That thought ran through my mind too :)

Mrs. Blandings said...

I cannot imagine how long it would take to paint one of those rooms - or the quality of the crastman you would need to find to do it. Amazing.

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