Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Jay Crawford and his Timeless Interiors





I don't know much about Jay Crawford other than the fact that he was a fashion illustrator and a founder of Quadrille fabric. But what I do know is that I love his style. I first saw some 1979 images of his Manhattan townhouse (the top two photos) a few months ago and was struck by how chic the rooms still seem as viewed by these 21st century eyes. And then last night I found photos of what I believe is the same townhouse circa 1990 (check them out below). To me, both versions have that certain Billy Baldwin/Albert Hadley-esque flair. Can anyone fill in the blanks and give me more information on Crawford?




(Top two images from Architectural Digest New York Interiors; 1990 photos from Manhattan Style)

17 comments:

  1. I'm loving the last photo with the butlers mirror, black walls, and red (orange?) laquered coffee table! The chandelier and modern art give it enough of an eclectic edge to finish it perfectly.

    Hmm... who is the designer it reminds me of? Nicholas Haslam in his Sheer Opulence book.

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  2. Hi Jennifer,
    lovely photos! I must admit that I like the older versions much more - especially that wonderfull cosy corner of the first picture. This one especially seems to originate from an English cottage rather than a Manhattan townhouse.

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  3. Anonymous9:46 AM

    Thanks so much. I have loved these rooms since I first saw them. Such a perfect eye for mixing contemporary and classic design. Love the first image with the pattern on both the window the walls and the daybed.
    Marion from Kentucky

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  4. Goodness, Jennifer, I love Jay's style! I have never heard of him. What a wonderful FLAIR he has....and like you said, TIMELESS!

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  5. Hi Jennifer, The only description that fits is "perfect taste" which is always timeless. These rooms are so intimate and masterful and embracing--just what you would want to come home to after all of the unsettling news of the last few months. The mix of asian adds a zen quality that makes each room so peaceful. Show me more. Thanks, Mary

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  6. Love it!
    He's my kind of guy making my kind of rooms!
    xo xo

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  7. I know that Anthony Tortora was an abstract painter and Jay Crawford was a fashion illustrator. Together they founded Quadrille in 1968. Their Manhattan apartment was featured in Architectural Digest in the 1970s. Tortora died at the age of 52 in the 1980s. Great timeless style endures.

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  8. Jennifer, when you receive that copy of Manhattan Style you'll find more rooms by J Hyde Crawford.
    Wasn't it he who illustrated for Bonwit Teller all those years and perhaps was responsible for the image of violets on their shopping bags?

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  9. This post was timely reaffirming and reassuring as I sit here with my second cup of coffee trying to muster the energy to go back to my media room which I'm in the midst of upholstering. This will be my fifth room I've done. The work is harder at 60 than it was at 40 but I love the results. They are cocoons. They are wonderfully quiet. There is an elegance that paint or paper cannot create. As one friend said, "These rooms could be anywhere in the world." Love than.

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  10. Jennifer, he certainly has a great eye! I agree with your comparisons. Perfectly timeless.

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  11. Jennifer — As always, Mr. Wothington is correct. Jay Crawford logged 30 years as Bonwit’s advertising illustrator, including designing their signature shopping bag. He co-founded the textile/wallpaper/design house, Quadrille, in 1968 with his partner, Anthony Tortora.

    I agree that the small scale prints shown here are very reminiscent of Billy Bladwin as are the slipper chairs. But later designs were often more exuberant and romantic with large-scale florals and paisleys. One of my favorite papers was stripes of blue & white ribbons overlaid with pink camellias. In between the stripes floated little pink flower buds.

    The two also did a lot of painted floors a la Hadley and the same furniture appears again and again in their rooms. It is interesting to note that the grey room remains the same wall color with the same couch and coffee table, just the art/objects/fabrics change — and the fireplace surround!

    Quadrille always used to run ½ page vertical ads on the left hand page in the shelter magazines. Their own homes (Manhattan and Long Island) and furniture were always used. You can see the same chairs recovered again and again. I recognize the top room (and the chest) in your post from one of the paisley ads.

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  12. I think timeless is what sets the masters apart from the rest of us! Great post!

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  13. Anonymous10:34 AM

    I cannot resist a cudo to Ms Wis, as her post is totally informative...and completely correct. I worked for Bonwit's (only a true lover of fashion history still refers to it as Bonwit's) and my office was adjacent to the advertising department. I saw Mr. Crawford's drawings every day for years. They were gorgeous and still are. But those violet strewn bags....heaven!!

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  14. wow.

    i love these rooms.

    drama !! the colors are so rich !

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  15. That charcoal wall with the coral table makes my pulse race and the last two pix set up a great echo-o
    Thanks Jennifer

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  16. So chic! I love that foursquare arrangement with the three slipper chairs and one sofa.

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  17. http://cgi.ebay.com/MOMA-LIQUITEX-ANTHONY-TORTORA-ART-PAINTING-QUADRILLE-/400130863715?cmd=ViewItem&pt=Art_Paintings&hash=item5d29a87263

    Jay Crawford & Anthony Tortora were trailblazers in the interior design industry with the company they founded togeter called Quadrille. Anthony was a an accomplished abstract painter, click the above link to view an example of his work that was displayed at MOMA and other art institutions.

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