Style Court

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


Visionaries and Illusions

Jim Thompson's "Illusion" zebra-stripe silk seems to be the coveted fabric of the moment. So I thought I'd draw attention, again, to an interesting blog post written by the legendary Thai-silk purveyor's great-great niece, Frances Merrill.

In the late 1950s and 60s, Thompson -- a Western expatriate living elegantly in Thailand -- was renowned as Bangkok's leading host. His guests included Somerset Maugham and Doris Duke. About Thompson's home and vast Southeast Asian art collection, Maugham said "You have not only beautiful things, but what is rare you have arranged them with faultless taste."

Many scholars see Duke and Thompson as visionary kindred spirits because both seriously collected Southeast Asian antiques at a time when their Western peers had little interest in the area.

Above, Duke is pictured in Bangkok, 1957, at the home of Francois Duhau de Berenx. Image copyright, The Doris Duke Charitable Foundation. For more information specifically about Thompson silks available today, visit Pillow image courtesy Jen West.

These images of Kelly Wearstler and her home, as seen in Domicilium Decoratus, (first two) and Modern Glamour: The Art of Unexpected Style, (third) remind me of Duke and Thompson.

Trina Turk's Burmese silk from her summer 2008 collection.


Pigtown*Design said...

A friend just bought me back a beautiful piece of JT silk in a mauve and pale pink with stunning embroidery. I also have some JT raw silk picture frames. Great post (as always!)

Style Court said...

How wonderful Meg!

The Peak of Chic said...

Fascinating person! I have a JT scarf (rather small) with an elephant on it- my father brought it back from a business trip to Thailand. As you love elephants, I'll see if I can find it and take a photo for you.

Style Court said...

thanks jennifer!!