Style Court

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

9.12.2008

More Portraits, More English

Kathryn Ireland prefers the unstudied look. Never too decorated. This comes across in her approach to grouping the portraits above. Other decorators might have stuck with one theme or one medium, but Ireland and her client/friend, Lady Annabel Goldsmith, opted to flank an elegant Birley portrait of a woman with a collection of drawings of dogs. Paintings of dogs are found throughout this sitting room too, with varied styles of art in the mix.

An interesting note about the Richmond Park residence pictured here is that in past decades John Fowler was involved with it. I hope the wall serves as inspiration for those of you who have been curious about breaking the picture hanging rules (click to enlarge).

Image is from Kathryn M. Ireland's Classic Country published by Gibbs Smith, 2007. Apart from Ireland's work, small snippets of Peter Dunham's and Windsor Smith's homes are featured in this book. Textiles are the focus.

Lady Annabel is known as the muse behind the legendary London nightclub named for her. Sir Oswald Birley, perhaps best known for his portraits of King George V and Queen Mary and other prominent figures, was her father-in-law. Click here to see a related past post.

26 comments:

MIMILEE said...

Love this look! I adore paintings of dogs! INSPIRING!

with regards,
mimilee<><

Style Court said...

Mimilee -- I was excited when I discovered a close-up of Windsor's pillows, Peter Dunham's bedroom and the showhouse tent. It is a good book.

Cote de Texas said...

you know she doesn't measure anything when she hangs pictures - she just nails them up - that's why you will notice they are never perfectly straight.

Style Court said...

yes -- especially this shows with those engravings of priests in her own home :)

GrannySmithGreen said...

The one thing that throws me off kilter are the dog prints. I find them a bit disconcerting. I think if just the tops were even with the painting, I may have been fine with it. I think they could even have been moved elsewhere. Thoughts?

Style Court said...

Hi Granny Smith -- well it's not a look for everyone. In most of her projects Ireland really prefers the sort of crooked look.

I think it was meant to feel rather random and assembled over time. This is a private room, very personal, I believe with portraits inherited over the years. So I'm sure Lady Annabel and Ireland wanted it to feel looser and not too stiff. But it's always great when readers say "hey, this is isn't for me." Thanks for your input :)

balsamfir said...

It does make me want to sort it out a bit. But I love the pillow mix and the shift in mediums on the wall. Does she identify the painter in the middle? It reminds me a little of John White Alexander but its too colorful. It also looks like it might be a print since its so floppy on the stretcher.

Visual Vamp said...

I love that she just hangs things by eye - but what girl doesn't?
I love the grand lady flanked by the dogs - and the pink sofa!
Have you ever seen a great old book called The English Dog At Home? I'm thinking about doing a posting about it.

stljoie said...

I have trouble with this random arrangement of pictures I am seeing every where. I doesn't dance before my eyes, I want to fix it. I think it's the crowding,toching thing that bothers me. This one is actually moderate compared to others I've seen. I've really tried to appreciate and analyze it but it's just lost on me.

pve design said...

Beauty is found in an eclectic wall....some of us appreciate the certain random chic and other need a more measured existence. It is very British to have dogs hanging or laying round. It does have an effortless quality which I appreciate.

Great Dame said...

I understand what stjolie means about some of the random picture groupings seen around, but personally, I like this one! For me, the black and white dog images are really pretty balanced on either side of the large portrait, and the portrait itself has a lot of black in it. I like the informality of the whole look, even with the slightly crooked pictures. And there's a Great Dane mixed in with the dog portraits - even better! ;)

Style Court said...

I'm loving the range of comments here.

Lady Goldsmith is related by marriage to society portrait painter Sir Oswald Birley, and her daughter India Jane is an artist. Although I don't want to incorrectly identify any of the works on the wall -- at this point I really don't know -- it is likely that some of her art is connected to Birley, the grandfather or the daughter,

Style Court said...

Visual Vamp -- I'm looking forward to your possible post. I have not seen that book yet.

Style Court said...

Everyone is making great points -- PVE notes that design is so subjective and personal.

And Great Dame has an excellent observation about how even though the arrangement feels totally random, the black and white dog pictures are balanced on either side of the large portrait, which appears to include black.

Be the change..... said...

I love this style of decorating ( i eyeball all my artwork as well -and i have a big gallery / art wall ). I think that for the things you love - they will always go together. This is what reflects the owners in a home - having all the things they love grouped together. This is personality. I love it.

Style Court said...

Change -- absolutely! I love how you articulated this. Somehow these things just work when we are passionate about each piece.

Pamela Terry and Edward said...

I can't believe Ms. Ireland sold her wonderful home in California. That place was a dream.

She's definitely got her own individual style!

Mrs. Blandings said...

This is what appeals to me about the English influence - that sort of feeling that you use what you have and it's evolved over time and it's yours and it doesn't really matter if anyone else gets it. I only regret that there is not a boxer in the bunch.

Style Court said...

At a glance i thought there was a boxer -- must be the great dane mentioned earlier.

robyn said...

Beautiful : )

balsamfir said...

You're right, its a Birley. I found it in the Charleston Manor archive online in the unnamed portrait section http://www.charleston-manor.org.uk/paintings/images/b127.jpg I like the idea that its a family piece, not purchased to go with the sofa, contrast with the dog portraits. I love the dog portraits by the way. Its a dog person thing.

Style Court said...

Wow Balsamfir, many thanks for doing the search! Birley was mentioned in a past post so I'll add some new links here.

I agree with your observations about the painting btw.

Ms. Wis. said...

I'm in the camp of those who think the dog don't work. Of course, that may just be because I am not a dog person. (I am a crow and duck person which I am sure sounds really strange).

My preference is to put a pair of embroidered bell pulls on either side of the painting (red and pink florals) and then a vertical row of animals outside of those. But I think Indian miniatures for the animals.

What bothers me most is that these are black and white and they are so strong they compete too much with the portraits. And that is one gorgeous portrait!

Another option would be some kind of Chinese scrolls that might have animals. They would provide a bit of color — even in the same tones of the painting would be a possibility.

Thanks for the link to the wonderful Birley site and this great room. Even though I am not keen on the dogs, the image took my breath away when I went to your site. You always have something wonderful to savor and think about.

Style Court said...

Ms. Wis -- thanks for your detailed perspective. So many ideas to think about1

s. said...

I love British style... for me, heads above fussy, prissy french stuff!

I'm not fond of so many pillows on the sofa, though. Not only does it distract from its fabulous lines - isn't it a gorgeous one!? - but every time one wanted to sit, all those pretty pillows would have to be tossed to the floor.

Style Court said...

S. -- good point. It's hard to tell from the image how deep the sofa is. But if it is too shallow to sit on without removing the pillows, I agree that can get to be a bit much :) It may be an ultra deep sofa.