Friday, April 30, 2010

A grand stairhall

While reading 'The private world of the Duke and Duchess of Windsor' by Hugo Vickers, recently, I was struck by the lush details in their stair hall in the Bois de Boulogne, Paris. I know a lot of people dislike the Duke and Duchess (and let me know why every time I post on them!), but they were incredible tastemakers in the mid 20th century, hiring the best of the best. This house was primarily decorated by Jansen and I think we can all agree to admiring them if not these particular clients! They supplied the sconces seen above, which incorporate the Royal Arms of the Stuarts.The incredible faux marble walls caught my attention first. I think I like them more than the real marble floors! The Louis XV desk in the entry hall is very useful, especially for hosts who keep a guest book, such as the Windsors.The faux marble commode was probably made for the couple in the 30s by another 'great' of the 20th century, Syrie Maugham. Isn't the stair railing gorgeous?
The trompe l'oeil painted ceiling is suitably grand for the house, much more appropriate than plain white! The lantern incorporates the Prince of Wales feathers and was brought to the house by the Duke from his house Fort Belvedere as was the banner which was brought from Windsor Castle.
Beautiful photography of the house in the book was by Fritz von der Schulenburg


Lucindaville said...

I have Windsor Style and have been toying with the idea of getting this Vicker's book but it is so pricey. Should I invest???

ArchitectDesign™ said...

Linda -the book is fabulous but more a pictoral biography of their lives before and after marriage -not their many houses. I got the book from the library actually as it is far too rich for my blood! A great read though.

Terry said...

What a ceiling. Good grief.

Karena said...

Stefan, the ceiling and that staircase, a masterpiece! I would love to read the book!

Art by Karena

Toby Worthington said...

I remember Mark Hampton saying something to the effect that Boudin's marbling (or rather, that of his
artisans) was never intended to be painstakingly illusionistic. And Nancy Lancaster felt pretty much the same way (see her back staircase at Avery Row) about
faux marbre. It's a loose, lovely, impression~never
overworked, which is why it does in fact work.

pve design said...

I totally feel that I was a painter in my last life, decorative painting faux bois and ceilings just like that.
It is grueling work but so satisfying. I still do a bit-

Kimberly said...

So beautiful! I love the wrought iron work. The banners hanging from the ceiling.

Michael Mattison said...

Stefan -- Love your choice of images, and I love that faux marble. You'd really never know it was faux, at least not on 1st or 2nd glance.
Great post (as always).

Greet said...

As always again a wonderful post!!
As you said the Duke and Duchess were tone setters!
I want to thank you so much for stopping by and leaving me this very kind comment!!!

little augury said...

irregardless of like or dislike, the Windsors did make a statement. I have the book Lucinda mentions-full of gorgeous pictures. I have the auction catalogs with some great pictures too- my favourite is the dining room.Toby Worthington is so right (as always-I should add) I think the house was fine as in quite elegant, what else did they have to do? I for one find the Duchess quite a gal. Always love reading posts about them-keep them coming.pgt

La Petite Gallery said...

Awesome post..

Tom said...

Also like this post; I have been wanting the book but the prices never seems to come down. I may buy it anyway. Keep your great posts coming.

burnside said...

I recall some early photography of the Al-Fayed restoration. What's striking in the public areas of the house becomes thoughtful, comfortable and welcoming in the salons and more intimate parts.

They've done sensitive work, and Jansen's great sense of suitability and good taste is evident once again. For all its elegance, the place is beautifully liveable.

Tom said...

Well, your blog entry and the 15% coupon from ABEBooks did the trick and I ordered the book today. It will go well with my copies of the auction cataloges.