My Shop in Oxford

29 November 2011

Swedish Painted Furniture
Gustavian Neo-classical  Decoration

Gunnebo Slott - an 18th century Swedish country house
 Everything of course with loads of OLD WHITE!!
Scandinavian Pink and Old White
Paris Grey
Aubusson Blue
Country Grey
Château Grey and Old White
 King Gustav III of Sweden was heavily influenced by French politics and French decoration.
After seeing what happened to the French monarchy in the revolution Gustav established a very strong royal rule, curtailing his permissive parliament's reforms
Although in many ways quite autocratic, his interest in culture and intellectual freedom led to a hugely rich cultural heritage. 
He introduced French Neo-classical style to Sweden
 Gustavian interiors were light and elegant interpretations of the Louis XVI style, with echoes of English, German and Dutch influences

27 November 2011

Arles 
is one of my colours 
This is how to say the French say it  http://www.forvo.com/word/arles/#fr Quite difficult for our English tongues! 
I named it after a town in the south of France
in the area called the Luberon , famous for the vast deposits of yellow ochre pigments in the hills. 
All the houses are painted in various ochre pigments from bright yellows, earthy yellows, oranges to earth red. 
Famously it's where Van Gogh lived and painted becoming obsessed with yellow. His paintings have heightened concentrated colour 

Arles

 Château Grey

 
Old Ochre
To use Arles,  which is hot and intense, in our homes you need to use cooling quiet colours such as those above or Country Grey or a lightened version of Paris Grey 
Using any blue with it will only make Arles more yellow as blue is the complementary colour - great in a painting but not on a piece of furniture  

14 November 2011

Emperor's Silk 
So why do have a bright red and why do I call it such a funny name?

Because I saw this amazing piece of furniture at Uppark House in West Sussex in the south of England and was blown away by it 

It was the usual rather flat reddish brown I'd seen on other chinoiserie pieces on the outside 
but on the inside it was a vibrant rich red 
This is the colour the piece would have originally been. 
Stunning with a great deal of impact. 
The figures interest me much less than the colour. I sort of ignore them. I want to like them but it doesn't hit the spot for me. 
The colour is what makes it all work for me. 
Emperor's Silk 

 Inside and outside the Forbidden Palace, Beijing 
This bright clear rich red is the colour of China  
It signifies reunion, health, happiness, harmony, peace and prosperity
I now love to use it as often as I can; on chest of drawers, inside drawers, in dressers 
or on the inside of a bureau just as in the picture 
above where I am working now on my computer! 

Country Grey
Old Violet
Emperor's Silk

Annie 



13 November 2011

David Hicks 
one of my favourite interior decorators - 
making pink  & yellow work 

When I did my book 'Colour in Decoration' in 1988 I visited a lot of houses for photography.  One of the houses was David Hick's house in Oxfordshire and I was lucky enough to meet him there. He showed me the house and talked to me about how he had achieved the looks.
The drawing room, above was a huge shock! Here was a very adult, rather proper English gentleman, married to a great granddaughter of Queen Victoria .....with an outrageous pink and yellow room. 
It was wonderful and made me realise that colours have associations but that does not mean that they can't used in less obvious ways. 

Antoinette
Cream
 
French Linen
 There was lots of white in the room including white painted  French furniture, creamy white china dressed with pink curtains and his trademark geometric carpet  in a colour not unlike my French Linen. 
It all worked because of the very grounding French Linen colours stopping it looking like a posh nursery.   
Of course the fabulous 18th century paintings were helpful too!

9 November 2011

More on Antibes Green
- And Neo-Classicism 

Karl Friedrich Schinkel is one of my heroes !! 
Look at one of his rooms done about 1826 for the Charlottenhof Palace, Potsdam, Germany

Look at that green!!! 
 Neo-Classical Colours and inspiration - taken from my book 'Creating the French Look' 
This style of decoration takes the classical themes from ancient Greece and Rome. 
It is simple and symmetrical 
( as against the pastel coloured, romantic, sometimes flowery  twiddly asymmetry of the rococo style) 

This is a room by David Hicks the English interior decorator from a room that was probably done in the 1960s or 70s yet it is timeless - could have been yesterday as could have the Schinkel bedroom.  
Neo-classical is the way to go



Graphite and Antibes Green

6 November 2011

Antibes Green 
If you want to know how to say like a real frenchie  then listen to this - http://www.forvo.com/word/antibes    

Early 20th century art is where I constantly return to  for sustenance 

Antibes is one of the towns between Nice and Cannes in the  French Riviera .  Now there are billionaires yachts  moored in the harbour but it still retains a certain magic and when I visited there a few years ago I cried when I had to leave. .... 
                                       The light is incredible......  colours do seem to glow and shimmer 
Two paintings by Raoul Dufy 

No wonder  Antibes was favoured by so many really famous artists in the late 19th & early 20th century. 
Picasso, Matisse, Renoir, Bonnard, Derain, and many others worked and lived there. 

Picasso on the left and  Cap d'Antibes by  Monet on the right
This is what made me want to call my brilliant green Antibes.




Aubusson Blue


How the Annie Sloan Chalk Paint colour got its name!

Aubusson is a town in central France where weaving has been done since the 14th century.  The style for which it is associated can be seen in the two pieces above both from circa 1750. 

 When I first started decorating in the late 1970s, I used to work in the some pretty wonderful places in London and in country houses.  I'd often heard reference to  'taking care of the Aubusson carpet' so I investigated and discovered these  fabulous beauties and the incredible blue. All these colours were natural probably indigo dyes so the colour varies with  intensity.  The piece above looks a little more turquoise than it is really. The top fragment is more accurate.

Look how well it goes with Country Grey & Scandinavian Pink - Coco and French Linen too with Versailles!

Aubusson Blue 

 Country Grey
Scandinavian Pink with Old White

Louis XV chairs with Aubusson tapestry upholstery

3 November 2011

Spots and Dots

?...........Spots or Dots ..........?

 Well in fact it's meant to be bamboo but I just see it as a dotty chair

and quite modern and rather cool too

But in fact t
his chair was one of a set made by Thomas Chippendale 

       in about 
1768 for 
the famous actor of the time David Garrick 

The eighteenth century is full of surprises. 

I like the painted rush seat 



2 November 2011

     Boho Chic


Short for Bohemian Chic and meaning a bit arty -  suggesting perhaps it is a style which is maybe a little edgy, unconventional and perhaps adventurous with colour. Picture above is a London house - Marie Antoinette goes to Art School I'd say!
Boho Chic is what people say of me and I am rather happy with that.........but don't pigeon hole me....I am many things!
 This is the mantelpiece at Charleston Farmhouse ( see previous posting) - another sort of Boho Chic

1 November 2011


For many decorative painters Charleston Farmhouse http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Charleston_Farmhouse in Sussex will probably be one of the most inspirational places they will ever visit. Duncan Grant and Vanessa Bell painted there from about 1916 onwards painting not only canvases but also the furniture and the walls in all manner of delightful inspiring and inventive ways. Look at the walls and the fireplace surround above in studio.
Part of a door painted in 1917 by Vanessa Bell ( sister of Virginia Woolf)
The colours and the immediacy of the paintwork is something I aspire too.