Style Court

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


British Cover Up

[Photo my own] 

Whenever I've pull Chester Jones' classic, Colefax and Fowler: The Best in English Interior Decoration, off the shelf to do some fact checking, the book's all-over chintz cover gives my desk a pop of British flair.
Similarly, the V & A's Hollyhock iPad skins and corresponding wallpaper offer fabric junkies a quick and easy iconic English floral fix. The original roller-printed glazed cotton was manufactured in the mid-19th century by A.H. Lee & Sons. Ironically, Museum curators note, this organic print was included in the Victorian exhibition False Principles in Design, because some Englishmen (notably Henry Cole) found it a bit too naturalistic. Nevertheless, its popularity endured.

 [Design for wallpaper, Silver Studio, 1890 (SD8791A). Museum of Domestic Design & Architecture. Via Victoria & Albert Museum.]

So many V & A prints would translate well to iPad skins. I think something by Arthur Silver would be a great candidate. And speaking of Silver, don't miss The Silvern Series: Photographs from the collections of the South Kensington Museum.

Related past post: Daisy Chain.


Emile de Bruijn said...

That Colefax & Fowler book is one of those rare cases where a large all-over pattern works really well on a cover.

Leafing through my own copy it struck me that it was originally published in 1989. That made me wonder whether the appreciation of 'English' style has changed since then. In some ways it probably has, inevitably, with emphasis on different aspects of the style (although it is difficult to pinpoint), but looking at Ros Byam Shaw's recent books (and in The World of Interiors etc etc) the concept of 'Englishness' is still a strong design trope today.

Style Court said...

Emile -- was it originally offered as hardcover? I think I found my paperback in a vintage bin around 2001.

I agree that the appreciation has evolved. Seems to me the fabrics, the approach to layering, and that comfortable, effortless chic have all endured but other elements -- for example, some of the dressmaker curtains -- have become less popular. On the catwalk at least (thinking of Stella McCartney's 2013 show) the florals are definitely back :)

Emile de Bruijn said...

Yes but interestingly it didn't have a dustwrapper, just a matt textured hardback cover referencing the feel of the reproduced fabric design.

Yes I agree with you that one doesn't see those 'couture' curtain treatments so much nowadays. They will probably be rediscovered in five or ten years' time :)

Style Court said...

Wish I had the hardcover!

Marisa/Stylebeat said...

The case is just adorable!

Style Court said...

Marisa -- would be fun to see a V & A archive paisley with corresponding wallpaper too!