Friday, December 19, 2014
Raoul Guiraud and Le Style Anglais
I was first introduced to the work of Parisian decorator Raoul Guiraud thanks to the cover of Le Style Anglais, 1750-1850. I admit that I purchased the book solely because of its cover, which featured a Guiraud-decorated dining room adorned with blue and white striped walls, a tented ceiling fashioned from grey fabric, and eye-catching Greek Key trim. Although I suspect that there might be some who find this room to be garish, I find it oddly appealing. Could that bold Greek Key trim and tented ceiling be responsible for my mild infatuation with this room?
It was fitting that Guiraud's work was featured in Le Style Anglais, because like a number of mid-twentieth-century French decorators, Guiraud found inspiration in the English style, especially Regency furniture and decorations. As the book's editor, Francis Spar, noted, "When it comes to decoration, the marriage of English comfort with French taste is quite possibly the most important event of the mid-twentieth century." But much of the credit for this Franco-English mash-up has to go to Madeleine Castaing, who more or less made le goût anglais de rigueur in France. According to Emily Eerdmans, author of The World of Madeleine Castaing, "Madeleine was widely credited with bringing the English Regency style to Parisian salons." And, when discussing the influence that Castaing had over her contemporaries, Eerdmans included the work of Raoul Guiraud, who the author describes as "one of the most prominent followers of the le goût anglais craze Madeleine initiated."
When you look at photos of Guiraud's work below, you will notice that in addition to Regency Style flourishes, elements of the Empire and Directoire styles also seasoned the designer's work. Guiraud's enthusiasm for all three styles explains his predilection for Regency furniture, tented rooms, and, most especially, the Greek Key motif. Simply put, the man was crazy for a Greek Key border. And finally, it seems that Castaing's influence extended to Guiraud's choice in fabrics. In two of the rooms below, you'll see what appears to be two different Castaing fabrics: Branches de Pin, a black and white arborous print; and Rayure Fleurie.