Friday, September 23, 2011

A man in uniform.

Most people who know me know that I have always loved British military uniforms . As such, I got an e-mail from an old friend with a number of images from a book called British Military Uniforms by James Laver (published 1948). This friend being somewhat terse all the e-mail said, in the subject line no less, was "Thought you might find these interesting."

Well, I did indeed find them interesting. So much so that I immediately found a copy online and quickly secured it for my very own. Here are the images because I "Thought you might find these interesting."

The hand drawn sketches are wonderful. You so rarely get to see this sort of thing.
The uniforms for mounted soldiers were the icing, I do love horses.

Uniforms like these emanate a strong sense of style and order that you just can't help but admire them. I've even used images like these a few times as inspiration for Interior Design projects.

Speaking of Interior Design, these would look amazing framed. I'm thinking cream matting with a gilt wood frame. How would you display them?


Thursday, September 22, 2011

The remains of my day.

Dyrham Park, Dryham, South Gloucestershire
While looking for something to watch last night I happily came across one of my all time favourite movies The Remains of the Day. Not only does it star Anthony Hopkins and Emma Thompson (both of whom I love) but it has absolutely stunning interiors. If you've seen the movie you already know what I'm talking about. If you haven't seen it yet...well, you really must. The basis of the movie is one of the saddest love stories I know.

The image above is the home that was used for the main house in the movie, Darlington Hall. The main interiors were from several mansions and estates throughout England. While there are surprisingly few images on the internet from the movie I was able to dig up some great shots, I hope you like them as much as I do.

The staircase is simply stunning. It is in Powderham Castle and dates from 1755, it is considered one of the finest surviving examples of Rococo plasterwork in the world.

This is one of the original sketches for the main dining hall...
..and here is the finished dresssed set, beautiful isn't it?
It may just be the servants dining area but I would be perfectly happy eating here (we all know how much I love antlers).
I'll be having my tea in the sunroom today Stevens, thank you.

So there you have it, a very brief sampling of the wonderful interiors in this movie. Trust me, there are some amazing spaces that I just couldn't find an image of that you really must see. If you've already seen it, or after you've inevitively rushed off to watch it after reading this, I'd love to hear what your favourite interior area(s) is in the movie.


Sunday, September 18, 2011

Sunday morning classics.

"The Great Composers"

It's rainy and cool this morning in Chicago. For some reason it has put me in a slightly introspective mood that had lead to thinking about the people in my life that have passed on. Adding to this the fact that my mother's passing is roughly a year ago now. As such I wanted to find a classic that would fit this mood yet not depress anyone.

After a fair amount of searching I remembered a Facebook posting that fellow interior designer and blogger Scot Meacham Wood (one of my favourites) did a couple weeks ago. It was Nimrod from Elgar's Enigma Variations, a truly touching piece of music that fits what I am feeling today perfectly. This work has become a staple of Remembrance Day, a memorial day observed in Commonwealth countries to remember the members of their armed forces who have died on duty since World War I.

I hadn't heard or thought about this piece since high school when I was in symphony orchestra (first chair trumpet thank you very much), we played it for a national competition. I hope you enjoy it.


Thursday, September 15, 2011

The Jaguar E-Type: Sex turns 50.

1st Mar. 1961 at the Geneva Auto Show (Switzerland) Jaguar debuts what would quickly become one of the most inspiring, most admired, sexiest cars of all time. Anyone who really knows me knows that I view Jaguar as the absolute height of automotive manufacturing, I view the E-Type as the pinnacle of automotive perfection...period. I have had the pleasure of riding in an E-Type only three times but I assure you every detail of those all to brief trips are forever etched into my mind. Obtaining one is one of my top life goals, as in I would possibly (definitely) beat family members with sticks to get one.

As this year marks the 50th Anniversary of one of the most stunning things on earth I wanted to share some of my favourite images of my favourite automobile. For this is indeed an automobile, Ford makes cars, Toyota makes cars, Jaguar makes automobiles.

Done in British Racing Green (my No.1 colour choice)...stunning.
Even the dashboard is a thing of beauty.
The blue colour on this hardtop is so sharp..
...and how cool is this boot?
The display, and model, from the 1961 unveiling.

I had wanted to give a bit more back story and info about the E-Type myself but then I remembered that Top Gear (truly one of the best shows ever) did a piece about it recently so it just makes more sense to leave it in the hands of the experts...well, in Jeremy's anyway. Enjoy.


Wednesday, September 14, 2011

The London Arcade's.

London’s Arcades date back to the early nineteenth century, and for generations were the most exclusive shops in town, but are now often forgone in favor of bigger, more populated shopping streets. I try to make it to at least one Arcade whenever I am there. The sights, sounds, and in many cases smells, are well worth a walk through, and I dare you to walk by Cleverley or Budd without stopping to take a look.

The Burlington Arcade

Probably the most famous of the Arcades, it connects Burlington Gardens with Piccadilly. The Beadles famously guard the gates, prevent tourists from smoking and acting unruly, and usher everyone out at closing time each day. Although this picture doesn’t show it to it’s best advantage, the Burlington Arcade is a sight to see. Lord Cavendish, fortunate enough to be living in what is now the Royal Academy, had the Arcade built in 1819 by architect Samuel Ware. It was extremely popular amongst the dandies and society beau of the day, and with Bond Street served as a popular route along which young bucks could promenade.

Your eyes will quickly drift from the beautiful storefronts and architecture to the goods behind the glass. Vintage Patek Phillipe watches, Dupont pens and lighters, and leathers of every color populate the displays.

The Royal Arcade

Originally just called “The Arcade,” the Royal Arcade is actually the smallest of the Mayfair arcades, and from a design point of view my favourite. Size matters for some things, but evidently this isn’t one of them. In the 1880s the Royal Arcade was home to James Smith and Sons (now on New Oxford Street) and Queen Victoria’s shirtmaker, May & Brettell. The later of these two caused it to be christened the Royal Arcade only a few years after its opening in 1879. It was originally built to connect Browns Hotel to the famous shopping of Bond Street, and still serves as a nice corridor between east and west Mayfair.

Now the Royal Arcade houses some of the finest shops in Mayfair. In only a few meters of one another you have GJ Cleverley, Ormonde Jayne (in what used to be May & Brettell), EB Meyrowitz, and a handful of fantastic watch shops. Surprisingly, until Ormonde Jayne moved in a few years ago, that famous storefront had remained vacant for quite some time.

The Piccadilly Arcade

Connecting Piccadilly to Jermyn Street is the Piccadilly Arcade. A stones throw across the street from the arch of the Burlington Arcade, it’s a perfect conduit from Savile Row to the other famous row. Facing you as the stroll through is Beau Brummell, who a few times a year is kitted out in either tweed or blue jeans depending on what the occasion calls for.

First up, on the north-east corner, is Santa Maria Novella. As I’m sure you’ve guessed by the name, they’re not a classic English brand by any means. They’re actually a centuries-old Italian apothecary, who make some very interesting products. In particular, there’s a traditional Italian liqueur called Alkermes that is unlike anything I’ve ever had. Then, as you walk down you’ll find the famed Budd shirtmaker, who no matter what anybody says is still alive and kicking. And finally New & Lingwood occupies both shops flanking the statue of the beau, over whose shoulder you can get a glimpse of Edward Green.

The Princes Arcade

And, finally, we come to the Princes Arcade. Sadly there isn’t much to say about this almost-defunct causeway. Like the Piccadilly Arcade, it connects Piccadilly and Jermyn Streets, and is Victorian in origin. But, unlike the Piccadilly Arcade, the Princes arcade is waning. Many of the shops are closed, and others are occupied by tourist shops. At one time the Royal Arcade almost suffered the same fate, so hopefully once a new construction project on the eastern end of Jermyn street is complete we’ll see a revival. I truly hope so as this is a wonderfully intimate little Arcade.

So the next time you find yourself in merry old London town do yourself a favour and make your way to an Arcade or two, you won't be disappointed.

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...