[Fabric image courtesy Carolina Irving]
Last month I mentioned that I'd ordered Naveen Patnaik's A Second Paradise: Indian Courtly Life 1590-1947. Patnaik, now the Chief Minister of Odisha, India, wrote it in the 1980s and credits his editor, Jacqueline Onassis, for inspiring the book and bringing it to life. Pointing this out probably seems like I'm going straight for the celeb angle, but in this case the high profile collaboration behind the beautifully illustrated book is pretty interesting.
In his twenty page introduction, the late curator, collector and Indian art specialist, Stuart Cary Welch, sets the scene: he and his wife, costume connoisseur Edith Welch, are riding in a car with Jackie O and Patnaik en route to visit the famous Indian artist Bannu Ved Pal Sharma at home in Jaipur. While brainstorming exhibition ideas for the Met's Costume Institute, the group dreams up A Second Paradise as a companion to Diana Vreeland's 1985 exhibition, Costumes of Royal India.
Welch's enthusiasm for Indian art and design is infectious. He writes that the intangible "living arts" like conversation, cookery, massage, perfumery, horsemanship, elephantmanship, and the making and wearing of clothes contribute to the fine arts -- specifically India's traditional, incredibly detailed miniature paintings. An appreciation for textiles, dress, furniture and ritual really comes across in these old works.
[Film stills ©Kate Headley. posted with permission from the photographer.]
Just about the time my copy of Patnaik's book arrived in the mail, photographer Kate Headley came back from India. I love so many of the details she chose to capture, particularly her tent made of printed fabric.
When I saw Carolina Irving's new print, Lucknow, in green, I thought of a fantasy application: a small party tent pitched in a garden.
[Please click to enlarge. Flower via Swan Island. All other credits below.]
Key elements would include: one long welcoming rustic table covered with Irving's Patmos Stripe Reverse in parsley; outdoorsy chairs like the antique campaign one, above, from Christopher Clarke; peach flowers in Indian silver or tinned Turkish copper; and antique dhurries with stripes faded to a sandy pink. I'd bring my white ceramic elephant candle-holder outside, too. But since I'm thinking of a daytime event, little flowers would be tucked on top in place of candles.
copper field canteen, also from Christopher Clarke, on the portable sideboard -- it's just such a cool set.
Folding table for bar, again, Christopher Clarke. Now I need Kate's thoughts on a possible playlist (if you've watched her repertoire of films you know she has good taste in music) and Janet's input for the menu.
You might also enjoy: Sunday Brunch, A Little Post-Holiday Splendour, and Courtly Lucknow.