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.