Friday, 3 October 2014

The Triumph of BACCHUS

My latest design for Lewis and Wood has won BEST PRINTED FABRIC at the Homes and Gardens Fabric Awards 2014.
Bacchus linen in Meade colourway
Bacchus linen in Meade colourway
The awards were announced at a glamorous breakfast event at Ham Yard, the stunning new Firmdale hotel in Soho. Homes and Gardens editors Giles Kime and Deborah Barker hosted the event and Firmdale's design director Kit Kemp gave a talk about the development of this fabulous hotel. (I am now completely besotted with Kit Kemp style - it's a blast!)

The Judges said of Bacchus: "Different to anything else, Lewis and Wood’s fabric is interesting and beautiful, with a stunning soft palette.”

Homes & Gardens Fabric Award for Bacchus
Homes & Gardens Fabric Award for Bacchus
Bacchus is part of Lewis and Wood's English Ethnic Collection launched in March this year. I joined artists Su Daybell and Flora Roberts in creating six distinctive designs united in their dynamic and large scale format.

The English Ethnic girls:
The English Ethnic girls: Melissa White, Flora Roberts & Su Daybell

Lewis and Wood, being a fairly small UK fabric house, are unhindered by trends and seem to thrive on innovation and originality. It was fascinating and exciting collaborating with them and I'm thrilled with the resulting Bacchus and my other design; Rococo (below).

Rococo wallpaper in Heraldic colourway
Rococo wallpaper in Heraldic colourway
Read more about Rococo in this post

Bacchus in meade colourway.
Bacchus in meade colourway. 
Seen here in front of a Swedish bureau by Lorfords Antiques 

Bacchus is a large scale swirling multivine, derived from a rare black and white Elizabethan wall painting in Kent.

16th century multivine wall painting in a private house in Kent
16th century multivine wall painting in a private house in Kent

It's a masterful, full wall painting  that would have been carried out by itinerant craftsmen during our late flowering Renaissance. I've interpreted the design in various ways over the years so it has become an old friend:

Multivine painted cloth by MW, Norfolk
Multivine as a painted cloth battened to walls in a Norfolk castle

Multivine curtain by MW on hand painted linen
Multivine curtain: hand painted linen 

Multivine cushion by MW
Multivine cushion: hand painted grain sack

Multivine fresco secco by MW
Multivine fresco secco: hand painted, plastered wall panel
The original painting is very large scale (about 5m wide x 2m high) so to coax it into a manageable repeat I pulled out a central element to maintain the scrolling flow, nudging it into a more formal arrangement. All the while trying to maintain the spirit of the original.

Melissa painting Bacchus artwork
Melissa painting Bacchus artwork for Lewis & Wood

The design is finished with the original border which, in the 16th century frieze, runs across the top. Here we have placed it down both sides of both the fabric and the wallpaper so that it can be left in place or detached to use as a trim.

Bacchus in "malt" colourway
Bacchus in "malt" colourway
The whole repeat runs up and down vertically and, if you trim the border, it joins horizontally as a half drop repeat.

The images below show how the trimmed border can be cleverly used to frame walls and furniture.

Bacchus wallpaper in Grigio colourway
Bacchus wallpaper in Grigio colourway

Bacchus linen in Grigio colourway
Bacchus linen in Grigio colourway

I adore the Kent wall painting with its honest, spontaneous and bold execution. It exemplifies why I pursue the wall paintings of this period and thrive on reviving them to be appreciated today.

Detail of 16th century multivine wall painting
Detail of 16th century multivine wall painting
Homes and Gardens also nominated Su Daybell's turbulent Force 9 wallpaper from the English Ethnic collection:

Detail of Su Daybell's Force 9 wallpaper
Detail of Su Daybell's Force 9 wallpaper in Big Blue colourway

It was up for Best Wallpaper over £40 a roll. See all the Homes and Gardens winning fabrics and papers on their Living Beautifully website.

Meanwhile here are all 6 of the English Ethnic designs:

English Ethnic all 6 designs
English Ethnic all 6 designs

Further exploration:

Lewis & Wood

Homes & Gardens magazine

Su Daybell artist and florist aka Twig of Tetbury

Flora Roberts artist

Firmdale Hotels

Mike Garlick photography (for Lewis & Wood)

and of course me and all my stuff


Jessica said...

Just wonderful Melissa. I love reading about all the history behind your work too. Makes it even more beautiful. I am finally getting architecture done for my manor house now. I am planning out every room and your work will probably feature in most of them! Just stunning.

Melissa White Interiors said...

Glad you're inspired Jessica. Always exciting to see what you're up to at your place and I'm very pleased to have a starring role ;-)

James Brown said...

Beautiful blog have a very nice and interesting information about the interior painting it's really good.
Exterior Painting