14 January 2016

Bobsy & Color~ on the Cape

When in Chicago Bobsy Goodspeed lounged about in a sleek apartment, on Cape Cod, she preferred the Victorian, or as Harper's Bazaar referred to it -"Neo-Victorianism."  Regardless, her decoraing tuned changed abruptly when on the Cape. She decorated her country cottage in Osterville called Weeping Willows just as she pleased-and without help from any decorators.


BOBSY with a sailing ship's figure called MILDRED in the garden.

Bobsy Colors

It helps that Bobsy's rooms in Weeping Willows are described in the piece as a "riot of color-shades of Dufy, of petunias, and phlox." Things are becoming clearer now.


Glamorous Bobsy in Repose. Lace curtains at the windows in the Goodspeed Living Room are part of the laying on of Victoriana, finished off with magenta bows over roller shades with homey scenes-a la Courier and Ives. No ordinary lace, Bobsy acquired the lace from her Paris dressmaker-and made the curtains herself. Blackamoor pedestals served as end tables flanking a curvaceous sofa that I suspect matched the bows-both covered in a lustrous satin.
I do hope so.
Her papier-mache cocktail table was decorated with a shell "crammed with flowers from her picking garden." She selected the flowers in her garden to perfectly match her rooms.
The wallpaper was printed in a repetition of chairs, consoles, candelabra, etc. that reminds me of the smart petite patterns created by British company Osborne & Little. Bobsy added a decorative fillet molding around the room's walls that I bet was gold-something she just could not resist. At her feet, a needlepoint rug in Bobsy colors.

Sister Parish's Island House
Her penchant for the Victorian wasn't too out of step with the Cape Cod style of Sister Parish.  

Take away those bows and Bobsy's look begins to become rather appealing. More Victorianisms- domed covered fruit (a Victorian staple), opaline crystal compotes filled with fresh flowers (the opaline pink or maybe jade in color I think), porcelain shoes (surely your grandmother had a pair of these sit-abouts), and an intricate piece of needlework hanging above it all.

How to get Riotous Color...
I imagine Jeffrey Bilhuber would feel right at home in Bobsy's living room (Bilhuber below).

More Victorianisms: cornucopia wallpaper with flowers, Serves or perhaps Meissen porcelain vases and other bibelots, and a crocheted canopy on a tester.

more Bilhuber

In another bedroom at Weeping Willows Bobsy concocted a gathered canopy from "cheap lace," added a floral wallpaper, and what I'm sure was a hand-crocheted bedspread on the poster bed.

The Harper's Bazaar article appeared in 1940, one year before the States entered World War II, but the magazine's cover in September included the American flag.
This photograph appeared in a feature called The Call to Color with a royal purple Germaine Monteil dinner dress and a magenta satin ottoman-and riotous needlepoint carpet so reminiscent of the colors of Bobsy.

photo by Hoyningen-Huene

Raoul Dufy paintings, Henderson’s Superb Double Fringe Petunias, 1898. H. Mellen Co. Spring catalogue 1907,


  1. The riotous colors not unlike today. Love the Dufy painting and Bobsy.

  2. I love the total abandon to color and pattern and the fact that she did what she loved without the help of a decorator.

  3. Love this post! Bobsy Goodspeed was a juggernaut in '20s-'30s Chicago. Her old David Adler Lincoln Park apartment was on the market a few years ago.

  4. Roll on Spring 2017 for How They Decorated!



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