April 6, 2011

Indore | A Fabric's Life

I love rooms that are chock full of fabric like this Ottoman-inspired drawing room created for Lee Radziwill by Renzo Mongiardino. The tented room also by Mongiardino, was created in part to correct the proportion of a ceiling that was too high. Tented rooms create an exotic air of wonder and divine coziness.

The only tented room I've known personally was quite small. It was on the second story of the original Country Shop in Ogunquit, Maine—the summer house of the shop's founder, Donald Berglund. In the days when Berglund owned the shop— you could always find something chic there—but this was not the case once he gave it up. He entertained a lot on the second floor with its sweeping, elegant terrace overlooking Perkins Cove. I will never forget meeting Mr. Berglund with his wide smile, cigarette holder and a dachshund [Maudie] tucked under his arm. There were framed photographs of Bette Davis who frequented Berglund's cocktail parties during summers when she had performed at The Ogunquit Playhouse, as well as photographs of Montgomery Clift and other movie stars. These photos lined the walls of a hall leading to a small, tented room. It is here that I discovered the wonderful cotton fabric labeled "Indore" that was printed exclusively for J.H. Thorp. I was always crazy about it and loved sitting under its tented glory on small steps that looked out a picture window over the cove. I never forgot about this fabric. And twenty years later... a friend rescued some of it for me. It was being thrown away for a re-decoration after Mr. Berglund had died.

"Indore" printed exclusively for J.H. Thorp

I love its indiennes-provencal motif and painted couples that are quite similar to those seen in the late 18th-century Company Paintings, depicting social castes and occupations. Below is an example of a Company painting from the V&A Museum.

Company Painting from V&A Museum

Company Paintings were produced by Indian artists for Europeans living and working in the Indian subcontinent, particularly for British employees of the East India Company. I would love to learn more about J.H. Thorp's Indore and have asked Courtney of Style Court if she might help with a little investigating! She has some great leads. I am also considering what to do with the fabric. I think I might have just enough to cover two gilt barrel-back bergère chairs. Indore is a fabric that happily continues to live on.

Photo Credits: Tented room designed by Renzo Mongiardino courtesy, Google Images
Lee Radziwill drawing room via Cote de Texas [see Joni's great Radziwill post there]
"Indore" fabric images by My Dog-Eared Pages
Company Painting courtesy, V&A Museum