Friday, January 25, 2013
The Felix Harbord Dining Room
Every time I flip through my copy of Robert Harling's House & Garden Guide to Interior Decoration, I stop and stare at the photo above. According to the book's text, the photo shows "the dining room of the lodge of Ockham Park in Surrey, decorated by Felix Harbord for himself." Unfortunately, there is not much information on the internet about the late Harbord, a British decorator and theater designer. What I did learn, though, was that Harbord was hired by a late owner of Ockham Park, a 17th century house designed by architect Nicholas Hawksmoor, to decorate and renovate the house in 1961. Perhaps some of you can shed additional light on Harbord's work at Ockham Park.
Anyway, I find Harbord's dining room so fanciful. Both the dining table and console table were covered in Delft blue and white tiles, while Harbord's plates were Meissen. And despite the fact that the room only measured 9 feet by twelve feet, Harbord's table measured 6 feet long. He certainly packed a lot of punch into one room.
It's a shame that the room was photographed in black and white as I suspect the effect of the blue and white tile and tulipiere was really quite dazzling. But for a taste of what the room might have looked like in color, take a look at the Harbord-inspired pieces that I found on the internet:
If it were slightly taller, this c. 1940s Frits Henningsen Mahogany and Delft Tile cocktail table would be a charming substitute for Harbord's dining table.
Or, you could simply tile the top of a table with some of the beautiful tile from Solar Antique Tiles. The two photos show Dutch patterned tile, but there are many other patterns from which to choose.
Harbord's Meissen plates look similar to these 18th century Meissen Marcolini dinner plates, available at Stillwell House Antiques.
I love Harbord's cabbageware crescent salad plates. Bordallo Pinheiro made a similar plate, seen above, that can be found from time to time on Replacements.
Although the plate above isn't crescent shaped, this seemed an opportune time to slip in a photo of a cabbageware starter plate that looks adorable. This and other cabbageware pieces are available through Pigott's Store in Australia.
Mottahedeh's Chatsworth Tulipiere would make a smashing centerpiece, especially against a tiled-top table.
And to watch over the table, this portrait of lady, available from Parc Monceau Antiques, is reminiscent of the paintings in Harbord's room.