Style Court

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


Connecting Lines: The Grafton Chair

[Please click to enlarge. Chair images via Anthropologie; Livre noir 1, page 1, design no. 6, gouache and ink on paper, private collection (book image) is from Color Moves: Art and Fashion by Sonia Delaunay.]

When I first saw Anthropologie's Louis XV-inspired Grafton chair in the store's April catalogue, I thought it was upholstered with a print. Since I'm reading Color Moves: Art and Fashion by Sonia Delaunay (and consequently doing multiple posts on Delaunay's textiles!), Anthro's choice of pattern reminded me of a design in the artist's livres noirs (black books) from the 1920s. In these linen-bound books, Delaunay kept detailed records of her original designs, the colors used, the date of printing and so on. The open livre noir, above, shows a circa 1924 zigzag with colors alternated strategically to create a sense of movement.

But Anthro actually used a patchwork denim. Although Delaunay experimented with patchwork, too, I'm guessing the Grafton chair's upholstery might be linked to patched indigo folk textiles from the East or classic American blue jeans. Either way, the use of patchwork as upholstery is also a little reminiscent of Sister Parish. It's not often I make a connection between Sister and Anthro's furniture (not sure I ever have). Still, the late decorator did love to use informal fabrics on refined chairs and she commissioned the Freedom Quilting Bee in Alabama to create a patchwork fabric for upholstery. More on that here.

Don't miss the Cooper-Hewitt's Delaunay microsite. Related programs for tweens, teens and kids can be found here. While I personally am very enthusiastic about the museum exhibition in NYC and the recent revamp of one of Anthropologie's Atlanta stores, I receive no compensation for Anthro product mentions or coverage of the exhibition.


Jamie Herzlinger said...

Great post. The chair albeit is very pretty, but the original idea is by Kyle Bunting and is really an interesting study.
Good information on the Cooper
I love that museum!
Have a great weekend!
Jamie Herzlinger

Emile de Bruijn said...

Feels quite Japanese, that sophisticated diagonal pattern in such a 'rough' material.

Style Court said...

Thanks Jamie!

Style Court said...

Emile --

My thoughts, too! It's that raw quality.

Style Court said...

For anyone just tuning in, I've been comparing 2011 offerings with some of the bold, colorful prints and patterns designed in the early 20th century by Sonia Delaunay. And I also like to bring in examples of ancient or centuries-old patterns and textiles from various cultures around the world.


Unknown said...

quite chic, with no anthropologie twee about it

Style Court said...


I like the lack of sweetness, too. Great point.

The Devoted Classicist said...

I always enjoy your links. Sister Parish encouraged the appreciation of American crafts, especially quilts, with countless clients including Sharon Percy Rockefeller who now supports handmade items in West Virginia.

Style Court said...

John --

Thank you. Appreciate the inclusion of Sharon Percy Rockefeller and W. VA in your comment -- always more to explore!

Kate Lewis said...

I'm learning so much through your blog. Can't wait to read more.

Style Court said...

Kate -- that makes me smile! Have a great day.


Alyssa said...

I like a lot of Anthropologie's housewares but can't afford any of it unfortunately. I'm hoping one day they will lower their prices without compromising their quality.