Sybil Connolly (1921-1998) built one of the first Irish fashion houses with her exquisite ballroom dresses and skirts made of pleated handkerchief linen, which was hand-crafted in cottages along the Irish countryside. She became well known for her romantic style that reinterpreted traditional Irish textiles into haute couture for clients like Jacqueline Kennedy and Elizabeth Taylor.
The first floor drawing room of her Georgian mansion in Dublin, 71 Merrion Square that she used as a boutique for fitting clients and for fashion shows, was also wallpapered in Irish pleated linen.
Connolly is one of the women featured in How They Decorated by P. Gaye Tapp (see previous post).
While I have noticed recently that the decorating world seems to be having a maximalist, pattern-on-pattern moment, sometimes it is all about the hue and patina and texture, and a less-is-more kind of beauty that turns our heads. Here, on a long narrow covered porch, none of the elements are shouting for our attention. Instead the subtle gray-taupe of the painted brick, painted wood floor, stone table, architectural mirror, and tall silver lantern quietly make a statement. Even the pop of color from the pink hydrangea and the green palm in the simple square vase accent this vignette in a soothing, understated way.
“The routine of our days had changed, and we were living outdoors. Getting dressed took thirty seconds. There were fresh figs and melons for breakfast, and errands were done early, before the warmth of the sun turned to heat in mid-morning. The flagstones around the pool were hot to touch, the water still cool enough to bring us up from the first dive with a gasp. We slipped into the habit of that sensible Mediterranean indulgence, the siesta.”
~ From “June” in A Year in Provence by Peter Mayle
Robert Herrick was appointed as vicar of Dean Prior in Devonshire, and as a city dweller he did not take to the country life at first (he was known to curse through a few early sermons). But the story goes that he learned to care deeply about the people and the landscape and the rural way of life. His poems are often a kind of prayer, and often one or two long sentences, like “To Daffodils.” Read more
The day is already darkening. It is dusk and I have taken to the bath early, wondering where in the world the day has gone and what has been accomplished. This morning when I drove downtown for flowers the owner of the business was saying to a customer (a woman buying flowers for her church) that sometimes when she is at work she feels like she isn’t really doing anything except staring at the flowers. Now, dusk is fading into dark and the wind has picked up (I hear the wind chimes going a bit wild outside). We are thinking of a late trip to a wine bar for something light (truffle fries?) and a fire when we get home.
The artist beholds in nature more than she herself is conscious of.
~ Henry James
Suppose one can keep the quality of a sketch in a finished and composed book?
~ Virginia Woolf