I have wanted to feature the image at top for a while. And just this minute you're probably asking yourself "Just what in Sam Hill is that? " Well, it's Evangeline Bruce's attempt to prettify her television circa 1984. Some of you might have hives just looking at that floral chintz. And if you're like me, you might even think it looks like a turban wrapped around a TV. Still, there's something rather enchanting about it, in an eccentric sort of way. As the French say, it's jolie laide.
Here's the thing, though. I must admit that my opinion of Mrs. Bruce's taste- which I think was fabulous, by the way- might have tainted my judgement. Had this fabric festooned TV been in a not so grand environment, I really might have questioned the homeowner's taste and even his sanity! But the fact that this TV belonged to Mrs. Bruce somehow made it OK. (Not great, but amusing.) Perhaps I shouldn't admit that, but it's true. It's the same thing as flipping through a fashion magazine. You might see a dress or a jacket that looks so-so, but when you read the credits and see that it's Chanel or Balenciaga, it starts to look a lot better. Am I the only one guilty of this?
So, what's the point? I suppose that if you've got style in spades, if you're a rule breaker or an iconoclast, or if you've led a life of exemplary chicdom, then perhaps you can get away with doing some weird things- like chintzing up one's television.
John Fowler decorated the Bruce's London dining room. That jib door alone gave Mrs. Bruce license to later swaddle her TV.
The Bruce's drawing room by John Fowler. This shade of yellow has inspired many a room. Note too the oyster silk curtains, some of the most famous curtains ever made.
Mrs. Bruce bought this Gothic chair from Nancy Lancaster, who previously had it installed in her bedroom at Haseley Court. If you own chairs that are this fabulous, people won't care what you do to your television set!
(Image at top, courtesy Architectural Digest, 12/84; photos of the Bruce's London flat from John Fowler: Prince of Decorators; image of chair from House & Garden, 10/02, Eric Boman photographer)