Friday, March 06, 2015
Fromental at The Goring
Although I have never been a guest at The Goring Hotel in London, I have long been familiar with it. The hotel, which recently celebrated its 105th anniversary, has endeared itself to generations of well-heeled guests, including the Duchess of Cambridge, who, as you might recall, spent the night before her wedding at The Goring. Just a few days ago, I read that the hotel had reopened after a major refurbishment, but I did not know until yesterday that Fromental, whose hand-painted wallpapers send me into reveries, was responsible for the magnificent scenic paper in the hotel's Front Hall, which was decorated by Russell Sage.
At first glance, the paper impresses with its hand-gilded silver leaf background, its dense coloration, and its idyllic scenery. But look closely at the photos below, and you'll see all kinds of charming creatures, including flamingos, lions, and horses. According to a recent Fromental press release, the paper depicts anthropomorphized animals, some of whom represent members of the Goring family. The founder of the hotel, Otto Richard Goring, is seen as a "bejeweled walrus", as is his son, Otto Gustave. The family's pet pigs are doing their military duty in the Battle of Trafalgar, while Managing Director David Morgan-Hewitt, who has a law degree, is depicted as a gorilla in a judge's wig. Is it any wonder that it took four artists eight weeks to paint these scenes?
Like The Goring, Fromental also recently marked an anniversary: its tenth, which is yet another reason to celebrate. Based on the photos below, I'd say that both the hotel and Fromental can look forward to many more anniversaries. But back to that wallpaper by which I am so captivated. It has sparked my imagination, and I have thought about how Alfie and I might be depicted should I ever engage Fromental to paint a similar paper for me. I don't see Alfie engaged in battle, because he is too much of a whimp for that. For a dog who seems unabashedly drawn to the finer things in life, he needs a luxurious scene. I can see it now: Alfie painted as a maharaja in resplendent attire with his minions waiting on him hand and foot. Actually, that scene isn't so far from the truth.
All photos courtesy of Fromental and The Goring Hotel.