Style Court

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


Iron Man

[Photo by Peter Frank Edwards for Charleston Magazine]

The recent passing of master blacksmith Philip Simmons has received good coverage in Charleston and I don't want the month to end without sharing some of the interesting links. If you are not familiar with his work, you might enjoy exploring these:

Charleston Magazine's tribute by Stephanie Hunt

Philip Simmons Foundation

Remembering a Master on the Drayton Hall blog

The Post and Courier coverage

Daily Pairing

Anthropologie's latest Bertram chair sports menswear stripes from British fashion designer, Paul Smith. To accompany it, here is a previously posted link: the V & A video with Sir Paul Smith exploring the museum's collection, including a Cecil Beaton chair. (Click here if you have trouble with the first link.)



After looking at Tim Hussey's photographs of Jill Hooper's studio with all of its handsome, well-worn art supplies, I started daydreaming about antique and vintage tools that could be used today, either as originally intended or in an entirely new way.

Paintboxes came to mind first. Old Reeves paintboxes ranging from vintage metal examples to one of the company's distinguished 18th-century boxes with original watercolors given by General George Washington to Nelly Custis* may turn up at Christies or on eBay. The detail images at the top show an eBay find, and pictured third is Turner's 19th-century box from the Tate archives. On its site, Winsor & Newton has other examples along with paint history.

*Christies auction highlight reported in Maine Antique Digest, March 2004.


Wall of the Day: Jill Hooper

Tim Hussey photographed artist Jill Hooper in her home for Charleston Magazine, September 2008. Hooper is among the younger classically trained realist painters represented by Ann Long Fine Art, and her work is included in the preview for the upcoming Young Collectors' Show. You can also see Hooper's work in the permanent collection of the Gibbes Museum of Art. Private collectors who are fans include Charleston tastemaker Tara Guerard.

Reminder: Young Collectors' Sale

The annual Young Collectors' Sale at Ann Long Fine Art takes place Friday, July 10th in Charleston, SC. All works will be priced between $300 and $3,000.

Both paintings shown here are by Jura Bedic. From the top, Bloody Mary, oil on panel, 9¾" x 9¾", followed by Apricote, oil on panel, 6" x 10". Contact the gallery for details.

BTW: I noticed that Mario Robinson's work will be featured in the show. Robinson is very skilled in working with pastels, and Amelia Handegan appreciates his style.

Images © 2009 Ann Long Fine Art


Enjoy Your Weekend

One of my goals for the weekend is to finish reading some exhibition catalogs from The Morris Museum of Art, in particular the essays that accompanied the Will Henry Stevens show. Curator Estill Curtis Pennington says that Stevens' works on paper, such as the abstract 1938 pastel above, suggest he was much more than a "mildly accomplished artist with some mystical relationship to nature," as certain critics may have thought in the past. Pennington observes that Stevens was "inspired to subtle experimentation with a rather delicate, indeed somewhat illusive medium." If you find yourself in or around Augusta, Georgia this summer, be sure to explore The Morris' mid-century holdings. Below, Stevens is shown in his Newcomb College studio, 1941.

And of course I also have more art to hang. For an unframed Molinelli print that I purchased from Coleen and Co., I was inspired by the simple masculine frames on Mallory Mathison's wall. I took my cues from the wooden beams in the picture and juxtaposed very dark brown with the candy-pink, but a gilt frame would have been another striking option. The second piece is a modest vintage store find that I reinvented with a burnished gold frame.

I hope this weekend you find something interesting in your corner of the world, too.

Images one and two are from The Morris' publication, Will Henry Stevens: An Eye Transformed, A Hand Transforming (July 15–December 31, 1993).

BTW: Some of the reading I've already done has led me to artist Josephine Marien Crawford, a Southerner who studied cubism with André Lhote in Paris in the late 1920s. Click here to learn about a free related exhibition on view in NOLA through August 29. A book by North Carolinian Louise C. Hoffman accompanies the show. Crawford's work is also included in Women Artists in Louisiana, 1825–1965: A Place of Their Own, on view through September 13 at NOMA.


Find of the Day

In stock at the moment at Binders' Buckhead location are large sheets of luscious marbleized paper. Shot through the pretty sorbet shades is a rich grown-up gold. When I saw the huge roll, several DIY projects came to mind.

One was Nick Olsen's oft-blogged IKEA coffee table covered with similar glued-on marbleized paper, shown above in Paul Costello's photo for domino, November 2006. But on a smaller scale there was Charlotte Moss' idea to line old boxes with decorative papers, as told to Southern Accents here. Lining a child's chest of drawers or a medicine cabinet, or covering the exterior of a box are other possibilities that I'm sure you've already thought of.

The simplest option, though, would be to wrap summer birthday or shower presents with it. A cluster of marbled packages on a sideboard and swirled ice cream in clear glasses would equal instant decoration. Here's a favorite related past post with a great database suggested by Janet Blyberg. There is a detailed essay, too.

Ice cream courtesy Yuichi Sakuraba.

Not edible, but similar and fun: recycled crayons via Ellen Baker and Make and Takes.

On a more scholarly note, antiquarian dealer, The Veatchs Arts of the Book, offers rare titles on marbling and papermaking such as the 19th-century book, On Improvements in Marbling the Edges of Books and Paper, and James Sumner's The Mysterious Marbler.

Marbleized balloons via Zesmerelda.

And Even More Spade

Not every print, drawing or painting in the Spade apartment is framed with cream matting. When Eric Morin photographed the kitchen several years ago, butterflies surrounded by punchy spring-green mats were displayed in the kitchen.

To learn about Séguy butterflies and prints available through The New York Public Library archives see this related past post.

Image via NYPL Digital.


Buying Local (and a Little More Spade)

If it seems that I've been mentioning Emily Amy Gallery a lot lately, it is because the gallery's calendar currently features so many events of interest to beginning collectors. For example, the upcoming opening reception for the group show, Buy Local, is scheduled for Friday, July 10th from 7 to 10 p.m. On view will be works from emerging artists including Zuzka Vaclavik, Kristina Bailey, Holly Golson Bryan, Whitney Stansell, Meta Gary, and Will Kay. Shown at top is Vaclavik's watercolor, Delicious Rhythms. Stansell will be participating as a guest artist; learn more about her over at Timothy Tew.

Contact EAG to RSVP for the reception.

Haskell, aka Belle Decor, just jogged my memory about some older images I had on file. This is the Spade weekend house as seen on Oprah a few years ago. Sadly, I don't think I have the staircase that Haskell remembers from H & G, but it's still great to see the art here.

I do see Goodbye Picasso on the coffee table.

Keeping it Simple

Kate and Andy Spade have a really terrific art collection. Nothing needs any extra embellishment, and in keeping with their personal style all of the works are framed in an understated way. I thought it would be interesting to zoom in on some of the pieces, to contrast with the approaches shown in the previous post. That said, as long as matting doesn't detract from the art, it's hard to say one way is better than another.

Click pictures to better see the details. All images cropped from Eric Morin photographs.

Just to further illustrate all the options out there, below are two exceptional modern pieces purposely framed by an Atlanta woman in a traditional style to mingle with her Continental antiques. A bit more embellishment has been added, but the framing is still very reserved and the art is not overshadowed.


Fillet v. Double Matting

The term "fillet," as it is used by framers, may not crop up in most people's casual conversations but everyone has probably seen quite a few of these decorative elements without thinking much about them. Their point, after all, is to draw the eye in and sharpen the focus on a work of art. Basically a fillet is a thin strip of molding commonly placed between the art and the matting, as shown above and below. It's like a second "inner frame."

Typically made of wood, a fillet may be gilded,

painted, or stained depending on the style of frame chosen.

Classically fillets are used with watercolors to bring a bit of weight to something delicate, or to literally add depth. But the decision to use one is rather subjective; some eyes prefer to rest on a cleaner, more minimal picture. In the example of Hollyhock's framed Regency-era needlework shown at the top, a decision was made to go all out. The diminutive piece is anchored with a gilt fillet, hand-painted matting, and a gilt frame.

Double matting, in contrast, is the layering of two mats commonly made with paper, linen, or silk. Some drawings, documents, paintings, and prints are triple matted.

Credits: image one via Hollyhock and 1stdibs; photo four was taken by Amanda Talley, and all others are mine. Painting in image two by Vicky Molinelli.


Made in the Shade

If you were reading this blog last summer, you've already seen my snapshot of the Italianate steps on the grounds of Cator Woolford Gardens. Perhaps less iconic than the steps that lead to architect Philip Trammell Shutze's 1920s Swan House, these are nonetheless a lovely and welcoming site on a steamy day. Today CW gardens are rented for private parties and weddings to help support The Frazer Center, but in the early 20th century this was home to Cator and Charlotte Woolford. (Cator Woolford was one of the principle founders of Retail Credit, which became Equifax Credit Services.)

Apart from days when events are scheduled, the extensive Druid Hills gardens are open to the public and the steps in particular are a popular site for photography. With the moss that has grown on them over time, and the leafy green canopy, the steps do feel like something out of the movie A Midsummer Night's Dream -- at least a Georgia version.

Photo my own

BTW: Landscape architect Frederick Law Olmsted designed the park-like neighborhood Druid Hills. To learn more about Olmsted, click here.

Sweet Home Alabama

Would you guess that the Birmingham Museum of Art is home to one of the most respected and comprehensive collections of Asian art in the United States, including the finest collection of Vietnamese ceramics in the country? It is, and the Museum's galleries of Japanese and Chinese works are scheduled to reopen on June 28. Additionally, new installations are planned for the Indian sculpture gallery and the Southeast Asian ceramic gallery.

Image: Detail, Sakyamuni as an Ascetic, Circa 1300, China, Yuan dynasty (1279-1368), wood, lacquer, hemp, pigment, Gift of Mr. and Mrs. William M. Spencer III, 1979.316. Courtesy the Birmingham Museum of Art.

Artist of the Day: Amy Dixon

I first became acquainted with Amy Dixon's work at an Atlanta gallery about seven years ago. Why it's taken me so long to mention her here, I don't know. Anyone with a penchant for paintings of interiors will appreciate Dixon's style and enjoy looking at rooms through her eyes. You'll notice that chairs are often a focal point for her.

A graduate of Newcomb College, Dixon grew up in Monroe, Louisiana and currently resides in Colorado. Gallerist Ann Connelly represents her in Baton Rouge.

Credits from the top:

Modifications, Mixed Media on Canvas

Cocktail Mood, Mixed Media on Canvas
Seduction of French Sunlight, Mixed Media on Canvas
Petite Salon, Acrylic on Canvas

Amy Dixon, all courtesy Ann Connelly

Related reading: Jeremiah: A Romantic Vision

Above, Classically Luculus. Click here to visit Dixon's site.

Gerrie B's, Amy Dixon© 2009

BTW: In Atlanta, Dixon is represented by Huff Harrington.