Friday, February 28, 2014
Isn't it funny how you can see something over and over again, but it doesn't really register in your mind? And then one day, pow! That something finally makes an impression on you. Such was the case with a pair of fabulous sofas.
Yesterday, while perusing my copy of The Anti-Minimalist House, I stopped my page-flipping when I came to the photo above. In the middle of the photo was my sofa, bathed in a halo of light. Well, it's not really my sofa, but it was the sofa that had struck my fancy a few months ago when I first saw it in British House & Garden. Isn't its camel-back profile and beautiful floral and trellis fabric simply stunning? I loved the sofa so much that I clipped and saved its photo when it appeared in House & Garden.
The photo above shows the drawing room of a London house, which had been decorated by the great Renzo Mongiardino. You might recognize the room as it appears both inside and on the cover of Mongiardino's classic book, Rooms, although the sofa, or rather, the pair of sofas (you see the companion sofa's back in the photo at top) did not make that book's cover shot. Here is a photo of the room and the sofas in the Mongiardino book:
The sofas' fabric is appropriate for the room considering that its walls were painted with garden-vista murals. But it's odd, really, because I have seen this particular photo numerous times as well as the version in The Anti-Minimalist House, but I had never paid much attention to those sofas.
So, after making this pleasant discovery of sorts, off I went to find the sofa photo from House & Garden that had made an impression on me months ago. Here it is below:
This photo accompanied a brief article about another great designer, Robert Kime. There is no mention of the sofa in the photo's caption, but it does appear to be the same sofa. What the article does mention is that this room is located at South Wraxall Manor, Wiltshire. While the sofa might have made an impression on me, the name South Wraxall Manor really meant nothing to me. That is, until I started this blog post. A little digging around jogged my memory that I was in fact familiar with this house. This is the manor house that is owned by Gela Nash-Taylor (of Juicy Couture fame) and her husband, Duran Duran bass player John Taylor. And, oh yes, that's right. Robert Kime helped to decorate the house. The results were so stunning that the house made the cover of World of Interiors back in March 2010. Here is the WoI cover:
You can see the back of the sofa, which faces the drawing room's rather elaborate chimneypiece.
And here is the companion sofa, also located in the drawing room:
Fortunately, this photo's caption mentions that the 18th-century sofa wears its original needlework. So, it's not a printed fabric after all, but rather embroidered fabric. Stunning. Had I only thought to design track suits with the word "Juicy" emblazoned on their backsides, I too might now be the proud owner of this fine pair of 18th-century sofas.
What's missing from this story is how the sofas migrated from the Mongiardino-decorated house to that of the Taylors. That is, assuming that these are the same sofas, which I believe they are. Were they purchased from a London dealer? Or, perhaps at auction? I can't find any past lots on the auction house sites that feature these sofas. However, I'm still searching. Any thoughts?
Photo at top: from The Anti-Minimalist House, Massimo Listri photographer; #2 from Rooms by Renzo Mongiardino; #3 from British House & Garden, August 2013, Christopher Simon Sykes photographer; #4 and #5 from World of Interiors March 2010, Christopher Simon Sykes photographer.