Style Court

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

9.04.2008

Adventurous Spirit: Olivia Tonge

For some reason the sketchbooks of Edwardian-era Olivia Tonge make me think of something that would fascinate designer Charlotte Moss. (Moss is known for her passion for history and her interest in adventurous women.) Born in the UK, the amateur artist Tonge traveled twice to India during the early 20th century and recorded what she saw in an unexpected way.
Like many naturalists she depicted fruit, botanicals, and animals, but she also added to her mix opulent Indian jewelry and other objects found in everyday Darjeeling life. And she juxtaposed all of these things together. It's the rich metal or jeweled pieces that especially make me think of Moss. For example, above, a page from Tonge's album shows a heavy 30-linked battle belt with a double peacock design. This belt could inspire a piece of jewelry sold today at Moss' Townhouse.

Be sure to see Annabelle Freyberg's story about Olivia Tonge in the September issue of World of Interiors. The images shown here are from the magazine. For more visit the Natural History Museum.

15 comments:

Cote de Texas said...

beautiful images - as always!!!
Joni

Pigtown-Design said...

Wow. I had never heard of her. Thanks for the introduction.

The Antiques Diva™ said...

Hi Style Court Writers -

I just wanted to write a quick note to thank you. I am an American living in Europe for the last decade. While I love the international life, I so miss access to American decorating magazines. I do subscribe to a few but the international postage rates are so expensive that it is cost prohibitive to get as many as I would like. I stumbled upon your site a few months ago, and feel that you give me, as a reader, all I could hope to find if I subscribed to 20 American magazines, but it comes all tied up in a perfect Style Court package! Your individual touch is the perfect bow on the box! You have great tips, great images, and you're helping me to reconnect with the interior design world in the USA (as well as making me aware of some international designers closer to my side of the pond). I recommend you to all my friends as the best "go to" source on the internet.

You're the best,
The Antiques Diva

http://www.antiquesdiva.blogspot.com/

Style Court said...

Antiques Diva -- my goodness, thanks for the positive comments. You've made my day! I so appreciate it.

Courtney

Style Court said...

Joni and Meg -- as always, I'm glad you enjoyed the post!

katiedid said...

I love this post! Her illustrations are wonderful. Thanks for the tip. I will be buying this issue for this alone. I always have so much fun going through all of your posts...like the Charlotte Moss wall. Have a great weekend!
Katie

Style Court said...

Oh thanks Katie! I think you will like the issue.

Mrs. Blandings said...

I'm bouncing up and down. I was just looking at these last night and thinking it would be so lame to just post them and say, "Cool, huh?" and then, here you post them with the most wonderful perspective. There was a hint of a marketing agreement; I would love to have these to frame - they are amazing.

Style Court said...

Patricia -- thanks for the feedback. I was afraid the connection might seem to loose but the first thing i thought was "Charlotte Moss would buy these journals if they were up for auction." At least that's my take :)

Mrs. Blandings said...

Spot on, as usual.

pve design said...

Tweet tweet, sweet illustrations. Inspirational indeed.

Esra said...

Thank you for this post! I love the way she adds the indian jewellery, truly brilliant.

Style Court said...

Ersa, PVE,

glad it inspires :)

Janet said...

I LOVED this feature...the paintings are whimsical. I also loved the piece on Sissinghurst.

Style Court said...

Janet -- the feature reminded me of you too.