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LIVE 24-SEVEN


NATURALLY BEAUTIFUL NATURE IN INTERIOR DESIGN


As I write this we’ve just said goodbye to the longest day (yes, I am a bit late in submitting my editorial . . . again), and at last we’re having some summery weather. Mind you, by the time you read this we may be back to wellies and coats. So I’m going to strike while the iron is hot, and talk about the influence of nature in interior design.


From early Tudor and Elizabethan times those with money, and indeed some with not so much money, employed local craftsmen to brightly decorate their homes with beautiful hand painted designs. As well as religious themes, these wallpaintings often depicted hunting scenes or lush pastoral landscapes.


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A few years ago Zoffany released their Arden collection, designed and drawn for them by Melissa White, a mural artist specialising in Elizabethan painted decoration. As a collection it’s still going strong, and I love it. There is a fabulous design called Verdure, based on a late 17th century painted cloth, available as a wide wallpaper and a linen fabric, which depicts a delightful woodland scene. But for me the crowning glory is the fabric after which the collection is named. It’s a recreation of a mid-15th century forest design, discovered in a house in Halifax in 1901, depicting a forest floor richly studded with clusters of small flowers.


Morris & Co_2016_Pure Morris


In amongst the trees are stags, does, and various other creatures to be found in medieval tapestries. It’s available as a printed linen, and a real wow factor velvet. The richness of the reds, emeralds and sapphires has to be seen to be believed.


Another style greatly influenced by nature is that of Toile de Jouy. Jouy-en-Josas is a little town near Versailles, southwest of Paris. Toile simply means canvas or linen cloth, and Jouy represents the abbreviated name of the town. Typical toile motifs tell a story, usually about rural life or historic events, often depicting pastoral scenes. The main characteristic of a toile fabric or wallpaper is its use of only one colour – often a rich raspberry or french blue, on a white or off-white background. These designs were manufactured in France from 1760 by a man called Oberkampf, who opened the first factory in the town of Jouy-en-Josas, which he chose for the quality of its water. Toile de Jouy enjoyed a great resurgence around the millennium, and is still sometimes used today.


William Morris, perhaps the greatest champion, and certainly the best known of the proponents of the arts and crafts movement, was massively inspired by nature. Indeed, his first three repeating wallpaper designs, created in the late 1860s, were Trellis, Daisy and Fruit, all of which are teeming with flowers and, well, fruit. Many of Morris & Company’s most popular designs since have incorporated not only flora but fauna too. Strawberry thief, which first appeared in 1883 and depicts birds pillaging a strawberry patch, was apparently inspired by a real life problem for gardeners. In fact it’s the same


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HOME S & INTERIORS JOHN BIDDE L L - INT ERIORS EXPER T


John Biddell - John Charles Interiors


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