22 July 2010

where is your style compass?


One of the features on 1st Dibs is called STYLE COMPASS- recently it featured Oscar de la Renta-It is a beautiful review of the World of... Highlighting his new textile collection for LEE JOFA and his charitable largess, Mr. de la Renta also makes his favourite picks from 1st dibs. This- from Kentshire Galleries, Isn't it heavenly?

A 1780 Italian neo-classical carved and painted hall bench with original decoration. The stepped back with swagged laurel wreath crest above a central roman portrait medallion and crossed boughs within a guilloche border, padded arms and upholstered seat on six legs.

 My style compass right now? It seems to be where it typically points and catching sight of this extraordinary gown from Alexander McQueen's 2011Spring Collection leads me to all things Chinoiserie.Chinoiserie in black lacquer with gold decoration that is.

another McQueen creation.

The collection is being lovingly interpreted by McQueen's longtime assistant Sarah Burton. She returns to his archives -and Tim Blanks review for style.com puts it this way: Burton "confidently revisited some of her own favorite moments in her mentor's saga with a lightness that could be easily construed—for want of a better notion—as a woman's touch... & lets some light shine in."

Gorgeous really, Am remotely likely to wear it? No- Would I? Of course! Easier though, why not add a stunning piece of black laquer to a room in the house.I have a few pieces and would love another, large imposing piece. Friend and mentor Sandford did beautiful work in this style.

Here are some of my pieces:

 & this antique table.

another country piece that Sandford did for a friend and client-(read a full post from the archives about this interior here

 These are simple pieces.

but just Look at this cabinet on stand from the Marella Agnelli Sotheby's Auction in 2005. The piece is one of a pair of Louis XVI ebony and Japanese and European lacquer in her New York Drawing Room.  These pieces are circa 1785 and stamped C.C. Saunier, JME- from the collection of William Beckford ( another story for another day)


Here are some of my favourites and a part of my eternal wish list, always on my Style Compass

from 1st dibs  these two pieces-

from Yale Burge

Louis XV Style Black Lacquer Chinoiserie Table 
After Design by Jansen, Paris, Circa 1950

& from Harbor View Antiques

I can't help myself- I love this chair!
from 1st dibs
These fascinating chairs from a Newport, Rhode Island estate were made in the late 19th century during the Aesthetic Movement period, after the opening of Japan by Admiral Perry. Exact scholarly knowledge of "Japanese" design was not available and these wonderful chairs have both Chinese and Japanese elements with a strong Colonial Revival accents. "Japanning" which was the gold leafing and lacquering with Asian figures and designs was a term first coined in the 17th century. The chairs painted finish are in original untouched condition. 

 & these 3 beauties  from Therien and Company


the rectangular top with concave sides and outset shaped corners incorporating removable panel with game board enclosing interior with paint and gilt decorated backgammon board, over conforming apron enclosing single drawer raised on cabriole legs ending in carved ball and paw feet; the whole displaying original gilt decorated reserves depicting country scenes and floral sprays within gilt decorated borders-19th century


the upper rectangular case with two fielded panel hinged doors enclosing fitted interior consisting of two shelves, two long drawers, and two short drawers with turned ivory pulls, with paneled sides, surmounted by ogee moulded cornice;

the lower conforming base with ogee moulded and shaped apron raised on contiguous cabriole legs ending in hairy paw feet; the whole enriched inside and out with various gilt decorated vignettes of scholars and nobles in stylized landscapes with pavilions, all within meandering floral and foliate borders- Circa 1800, Qing Dynasty


the triple-leaf top with outset rounded corners, on single action gated cabriole legs ending in scrolling toes, opening to decorated tea table surface reversing to gaming surface with candlestick insets, recessed counter wells and centered chessboard;  the whole gilt decorated with exotic landscapes, scattered flowers and diapered reserves-18th century
(all descriptions provided by Therien and Company & all their Antiques here )

Where is your style compass right now? China? New York? Last week I got to visit the Oscar de la Renta Showroom and the clothes were Out of This World.



  1. Well I guess I am going to have to have a Japanese room. I had a friend when I was young, who had a Japanese style house - all the sliding screen walls surrounding a courtyard. I liked that layout. The furniture is to die for. I dare not go on 1stDibs. Everything I have seen so far looks wonderful. Guess I am going to have to start selling things before I can get new.

  2. Aw gees these are all just fabulous. My style compas is pointing in your direction

  3. You just pointed my compass for me...those McQueen gowns are amazing!

  4. Always lovely to see Sandford's work again. He was certainly the master. Black lacquer and gold are beautiful together on whatever.

  5. Great chinoiserie can be hard to find, (but oh so wonderful. A personal favorite are secretarys, which can serve as such a great focal point in a room. With the right lighting, they stand out beautifully.

    The McQueen chinoisere-inspired pieces captures it well, doesn't it?

    Great post! I could look at antiques all day. Thanks for this.

  6. Great chinoiserie can be hard to find, (but oh so wonderful). A personal favorite are secretarys, which can serve as such a great focal point in a room. With the right lighting, they stand out beautifully.

    The McQueen chinoisere-inspired pieces captures it well, doesn't it?

    Great post! I could look at antiques all day. Thanks for this.

  7. Long-time reader and debut commenter here, little a

    I cannot claim to be a fan of every single piece displayed, but I was just reminded how much I'd like a cabinet on a stand. Well played

    My style compass is presently pointed at the fashion plates of mid-to-late 20th century tailoring houses and associations, along with Modernist architecture and aureate African despots. Your mileage may vary as to that, I'm certain

    All best,


  8. Hi Gaye!
    I loved how you mixed these fabulous designs in fashion with period antiques of the style. Thank you so much for including our pieces. it was such a pleasure to see them combined this way with your viewpoint and inspiration. Your post makes the chinoiserie style really come alive.
    Loved it!
    Very Warm regards,
    Therien & Co.

  9. My style compass is currently shifting from the 19th to the 18th century. I read a book (around here somewhere) that made my jaw drop when it stated that many of those japanned pieces were paper -- papier mache -- and lacquered. I thought, okay, trays, decorative pieces -- mais non! Chairs, highboys, tables -- made to be used, and made of paper. I've never seen one in the flesh, but whenever I'm at a house museum with a japaned item within reach, I give it a little poke when the docent's back is turned to see if it's made of paper.

  10. I never look at chinoiserie without marveling at the patience and artistry in its creation. I'd fill every room with it, if I could. Very beautiful post!

  11. I'll take all the lacquer pieces please.m

  12. Absolutely beautiful!

    Dandy/ Diane

  13. Donna, Me too however in the more stylized version with many of the details Japanned as it were.

    David-What a great compliment. Mine points to Savoir Faire many times!

    Zhush-Yes, aren't they really out of this world.The artistry is not to be denied.

  14. Home, How I look around here and see and love the things I have he painted and am sad too by what is missed so.

    Author, Yes the McQueen pieces inspired the post!

    Barima, that sounds intriguing and I am going to head over to your blog for an exploration. Thank you for your comment today-always so appreciated and a pleasure to know you are out there travelling. ,Gaye

  15. thanks so much Philip for you assistance!

    Townhouse, whew, how you have time to read anything with all the work going on at your place-it looks wonderfully done. Watch out you don't poke a hole in that papier mache

    Smilla,Down East- Yes so would I, from the humble to the grand.

    Anon, thanks much!a favorite design element for any room in any style. pgt



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