Style Court

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


Different Strokes (But Similar Passions)

[Sanderson paints via Sanderson]

It's the summer of London.

[Photo my own]

I wanted to revisit that Chelsea painter's studio-turned-sitting room (an Indian-influenced, pink sitting room positioned in an English garden, to be specific) created by artist and jewelry maker Charlotte di Carcaci. In April, after I mentioned the studio, Charlotte told me that her wall color, Sanderson's pink allure, is her pick for top ready-mixed paint and also a favorite of her good friend, textile designer Lisa Fine.

[Above and below, Alexander and Charlotte di Carcaci's textile-and-art-filled London garden sitting room
 photographed by Andreas von Einsiedel, House & Garden, UK, May 2012.]   

"I had heard of Charlotte's pink walls long before we even met. I think subconsciously I was very influenced by the 'famous pink studio' on Cheyne Road. I thank her for sharing the color... it is my favorite pink outside of India," Lisa replied when I asked about the paint, pictured below on the walls of her Paris apartment.
[Photo by Ivan Terestchenko published in in Elle Decor, August 2000]

As it happens, on the other side of the Atlantic in Virginia, the summer of the Maharaja is well underway, too. Naturally I was curious about the friends' mutual passion for Indian arts, and how their tastes are similar but divergent. Happily, they took time to share some more.

Charlotte explained, "I have been passionate about India since I read Bamber Gascoigne's book The Great Moghuls as a teenager, and Indian miniatures have always been a great love. When I was very small, I wanted to live in a house that looked like the Royal Pavilion at Brighton without realizing its Indian influence. But I didn't actually go to India until I spent my honeymoon there. Since then, I have returned many times. Lisa has travelled there more frequently and extensively, and we plan to go there together next year."

[Royal Pavilion at Brighton] 

Lisa said, "We often shop together when I am in London and when I am not with Charlotte I send her images from my phone."

 [Simon Upton's photo from Elle Decor, November 2008]

And Charlotte added, "[Lisa] sent me some images of 19th-century colored-glass chandeliers from a palace in Lucknow that have inspired the palette of our next collection of rings for my jewelery company Legge and Braine. Both Lisa and I love a mix of ethnic and European pieces in a room and an element of fantasy and romance. We love similar colors, although Lisa is more keen on using aubergine as a decorating color than I am. She is one of the few people I know whose taste I completely trust whether it is in decorating, jewelery, food, or people. I love reading from her vast and extremely scholarly reference library of textile and design books.

 [Simon Upton's photo from Elle Decor, November 2008]

Lisa is much more forthright as a person and her decorative schemes have more cohesion. Her love of animals transmutes itself into textiles that incorporate animals and birds which I wouldn't necessarily use myself. I am a lot more haphazard in my decorating but we are both people who know what we like immediately."

 [Mid-19th-century Kashmir shawl from Simon Ray, above. Below, also from SR, 
a miniature circa 1770 Coromandel Coast palampore.]

Describing favorite haunts, Lisa said, "We share a love of many things. I love going to Simon Ray in London and looking at the Persian and Indian miniatures with Charlotte or to Joss Graham for the antique textiles. Charlotte has a true knowledge and appreciation for rare objects and antiquities and I always learn so much from her.

[Grey Horse, Rajasthan, 18th century, from Simon Ray]

Yes, we do have differences. Charlotte is very English and I am very American. I will always go for a slick new kitchen or bathroom. Sometimes I fall victim to fashion as much as I may regret those decisions later. Charlotte never falls victim to trends. Occasionally, she can go a little eccentric but it is never obvious, predictable or tacky...interestingly, despite her very refined and innate taste and elegance, she has an uncanny sense of what is commercial. Often the textile designs and the Irving & Fine tunics Charlotte chooses are our best sellers."

 [Charlotte's kitchen photographed by Andreas von Einsiedel, House & Garden, UK, May 2012. 
The earthenware plates are by her husband's uncle Brit artist Teddy Millington-Drake. ]

[Lisa Fine's guest apartment, photo by Miguel Flores-Vianna from Lonny, issue two.]

Many design junkies have admired Lisa's Paris digs in Lonny, The New York Times, and Elle Decor but Charlotte has enjoyed time there as a guest. She said, "Lisa introduced to me the pleasures of shopping in Paris. Staying with her there, and exploring the rue Jacob and the flea market and restaurants is one of my favourite things to do in the world."

BTW: The VMFA will host the first Samosa Saturday on June 9. During the event curators will share highlights of the Maharaja exhibition while Indian tea and pastries are served.


Carol Tate said...

Your posts only make me hunger for more! Enchanted with this one. will delve into all the links...and am re-considering my frown on PINK.

Style Court said...

Carol -- I'm glad!

I thought it was interesting that the two close friends have sitting rooms painted the exact same shade and of course also have so many overlapping interests. Personally I'm a big green wall enthusiast and, come to think of it, one of my good friends loves to live with a similar palette.

Tokyo Jinja said...

How did I miss this post? I feel like it was written just for me! I am going back to read it again and again and pull up all the photos. I am not at all surprised to discover the two are friends - but how wonderful to hear them muse on the nature of their friendship.
Have a wonderful summer Courtney! I am headed stateside in a few days too.

Style Court said...

Jacqueline -- enjoy your summer, too. I'm adding the Bamber book to my hope-to-read-in-July list :)

Angie said...

I have always loved Charlotte's rooms! All of that pink is to die!

My Dog-Eared Pages said...

What an inspired post full of so many good references!! I just bookmarked Simon Ray and Joss Graham. The Simon Upton room is just the best. I enjoyed reading both Lisa's and Charlotte's comments about each others aesthetics. I'd love to see more of Teddy Millington Drake's ceramics. All great. ;)

Kamini from Saffron Marigold said...

Fine art and samosas!!! Cannot think of a better combination. And I'll bet there will be hot chai to go with it. Yum!