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Thursday, 28 November 2013

LIVING BY DESIGN / BOOKS: Jacques Grange

Un décor de Jacques ne s’explique pas, on y est sensible - Pierre Passebon

Grange epitomises the sophistication of a great designer adept at juggling, matching and mismatching different styles.  He is, in his very essence, a civilised and articulate man...with a Developed Eye.  He has a quintessentially French understanding of opulence, understatement and comfort.







Tuesday, 26 November 2013

ARCHITECTURE: St. George's Church, Bloomsbury


The portico is modelled on the Temple of Jupiter at Baalbek, the tower influenced by the Mausoleum at Halicarnassus, with sculptures of lions and unicorns - the union of England & Scotland - a Hawskmoor (1661-1736) masterpiece.











Below: The Charles Grant Monument - Chairman of the East India Company [family famous for Grant's Whisky] - a friend of William Wilberforce, the abolitionist.


Sunday, 24 November 2013

POETRY: Extract from Alexander Pushkin: TO NATALYA

So it's come to me at last ---
Cupid's such a flighty chap;
Fevered heart, has it fast --
In a trice I'm in his trap!
Vanished is the joyful day
When, not knowing love's dismay
I could live and blithely sing
At the theatre and fête,
Promenade and masquerade,
As a zephyr light of wing;
When I'd laugh at Cupid's spite,
Scoffing satires I would write
On the charming female kind;
But alas, I laughed in vain,
Felt at last his arrow's pain,
Fell myself out of my mind.
Freedom, mirth, wiped of the slate --- oh,
I must take a break from Cato
And assume a lover's part:
Saw the beauty of Natalya,
Lovely votaress of Thalia;
Now --- here's Cupid in my heart! 

Friday, 22 November 2013

Wednesday, 20 November 2013

BOOKS: By Grand Central Station I Sat Down and Wept by Elisabeth Smart

Available from Amazon in paperback only
AWESOME - first published in 1945, it is three decades since I first read this extraordinary book and I was, once more, astonished.  A masterpiece of poetic prose.

To quote Brigid Brophy in her Foreword to the book 'Reading the book is like saying a tragic, pagan, erotic rosary'. 

Sunday, 17 November 2013

LIVING BY DESIGN: Art Deco is still with us



Cecil Beaton, Loelia, Duchess of Westminster.
She is wearing a diamond tiara by Lacloche, [1930]

Still from Grand Hotel, directed by Edmund Goulding (1932)




Bernard Boutet de Monvel The Maharaja of Indore in Occidental Dress [1929)

Jean Dunand, pair of vases (1931)

Wednesday, 13 November 2013

ART I ADMIRE: Robert Delaunay

 Robert and Sonia Delaunay were a great influence on design since the 1920s.




Sunday, 10 November 2013

POETRY: Derek Walcott: The Prodigal

The Syrian writer, historian and broadcaster Rana Kabbani, with oriental 'savoir vivre', comes loaded with presents whenever she comes to lunch or dinner. Amongst the presents last time was The Prodigal by Derek Walcott, a Nobel Prize winning poet I had never read.

Extract:
I had said goodbye to the beautiful plump soldier
whose hair, when she removed her forage cap,
was neatly parted as a blackbird's wings,
to the berry-red lipstick, goodbye to eyes
that held, I hoped, more than formal affection,
outside the hotel.  Desire flashed from my face
like a weapon caught in sunlight, then she mounted
her lucky motorcycle and glided off, gone
into the turning traffic out of our lives.

Friday, 8 November 2013

ARCHITECTURE: David Adajaye

Keep tabs on the Ghanaian/British architect David Adajaye who designed the new Smithsonian National Museum of African American History and Culture in Washington D.C.




Adajaye has also designed a chair for Knoll.

Monday, 4 November 2013

LIVING BY DESIGN: Tony Duquette, Californian designer

Verging on Kitsch - glitz with éclat - fearless invention... Duquette's 'green dining room' and garden at Dawnridge... 
Hollywood comes to Venice 'piano nobile' 
Palazzo Brandolini for Dodie Rosenkrans...
Right: When Elsie de Wolfe died, she willed her 'meuble' to Duquette who placed it in a prominent position in the ballroom of his studio.  

Sunday, 3 November 2013

ARCHITECTURE: Hot News

Thomas Heatherwick has conceived a garden bridge across the Thames. Google it and see how great it could be. According to the London Evening Standard: Private donors have pledged £150million, now the Chancellor should find the rest. IT MUST BE BUILT AND FAST, IT IS A GREAT IDEA.

Saturday, 2 November 2013

POETRY: Reason & Love by Alexander Pushkin

Young Daphnis, chasing Chloe, cried:
"My beauty, wait! Don't run away!
Just say: I love you - don't go hide,
I swear by Venus, I won't stay!"
"Be silent!  Reason coldly said;
"Say: I adore you!" Eros replied.

"Adore you!" sang the maiden sweet,
And love set both their hearts ablaze,
And Daphnis fell before her feet,
And Chloe dropped her flaming gaze,
"Oh flee! O flee!" cold Reason cried.
While crfaty Eros "Stay!" replied.

She stayed,  And, trembling with his love,
The happy shepherd made his plea:
"O look, he said, "that downy dove
Has kissed his mate beneath the tree!"
"Oh flee!" cried reason once again;
"They'll show you how!" said Eros then.