Thursday, 30 September 2010

M/M Sotheby’s To Hold a Sale of the Contents of One of England’s Most Romantic Country Houses: Ashdown House

Image of Ashdown House, Lambourn, West Berkshire courtesy of Sothebys, London. All rights reserved.

Sotheby’s To Hold a Sale of the Contents of One of England’s Most Romantic Country Houses:

Ashdown House

-- A Great Restoration Home at the Center of a Tragic Tale of Unwavering Devotion --

-- Built for The Winter Queen, Elizabeth of Bohemia, by her Ever-Faithful Admirer William, First Earl of Craven -- Ashdown House


Overview

Situated in a valley within the rolling Berkshire downs, Ashdown House is an idyllic 17th-century Dutch-style country house, built in the early 1660s by one of history's most patient and faithful lovers, William, first Earl of Craven, for the object of his adoration - Elizabeth of Bohemia, The Winter Queen.

Recently, the lease of Ashdown has been sold and Sotheby's has been asked to sell the contents of the house at auction on the 27th October in London. The charming Anglo-Dutch influence evident on the exterior of Ashdown is also present throughout the objects within - an apt reflection of the relationship between Craven and his beloved Elizabeth.

Highlights of the collection include a remarkable group of portraits which together tell the story of Elizabeth and her family, and their connection with Lord Craven, as well as Baroque-influenced furnishings, porcelain, sculpture, Chinese works of art and textiles.


Ashdown House

An idyllic 17th-century Dutch-style country house - carries a tragic history of love, loss and steadfast loyalty and has a unique, ethereal charm. Situated in a valley within the rolling Berkshire downs, Ashdown was built in the early 1660s by one of history’s most patient and faithful lovers, William, first Earl of Craven, for the object of his adoration -Elizabeth of Bohemia, The Winter Queen. The sister of King Charles I and a celebrated romantic heroine of the Stuart period, Elizabeth captured the hearts of many, but it was Lord Craven who was her most devoted servant, and who spent much of his life attempting to secure her happiness and protection. It is thought that Craven built Ashdown House for his beloved Elizabeth after hearing of her ‘longing to live in quiet’, Ashdown – built on the site of a medieval deer park – would have been a most fitting refuge for the Queen who had spent many years living in forced exile at her impoverished court in The Hague. Sadly, it was not to be, as before the house was completed Elizabeth died suddenly in February 1662, whilst visiting her nephew King Charles II in London.

The Craven family lived in Ashdown House until its donation in 1956 by Cornelia, Countess of Craven to the National Trust, which has leased the property to select individuals since its acquisition. The present tenants have lived at Ashdown House since 1984, and with leading international interior designer David Mlinaric, masterminded a complete refurbishment that has returned Ashdown to its former glory, and made it one of Britain’s greatest Restoration houses. The lease of Ashdown has been sold and Sotheby’s has been asked to hold a sale of the contents of the house, which will take place on October 27th in Sotheby’s New Bond Street galleries.

Harry Dalmeny, Deputy Chairman, Sotheby’s UK, said: “Many great houses have stories attached, but few  can tell a love story as compelling as that of Ashdown House. That story is, of course, embedded in the fabric of the building, but it is also, to a large extent, played out in portraits and furnishings that make up October’s sale, each of which was sought out with a careful and sympathetic eye, and many of which – the portraits especially – not only depict the protagonists in the tale, but were also once a part of the fabric of their lives.”

Richard Henderson, General Manager for the National Trust, Oxfordshire, describes the house in this way: “Ashdown House has provided a much-loved home for its tenants, who have been extremely sympathetic to the history and beauty of the house. In recent years, the Trust has acquired additional land to create what is now a 500 acre estate which is made up of farmland and semi-ancient woodland. The house has a dolls house like appearance and is laid out over four storeys, and is constructed of locally sourced chalk blocks. The main staircase, which remains open to the public*, occupies a quarter of the house and is hung with portraits, mostly members of the Winter Queen's family”.


The Winter Queen and her Cavalier

Elizabeth married Frederick V, Elector Palatine of the Rhine, in 1612 at the age of sixteen, and the couple became King and Queen of Bohemia in November 1616. However, their good fortune was not to last as they were overthrown and forced to flee into exile at the end of the winter, hence Elizabeth being known ever after as The Winter Queen. After the death of Frederick in 1632, the devoted Lord Craven became the family’s most trusted supporter, even giving Elizabeth money during the Interregnum when his own estates had been sequestered and he was in financial difficulty. When she was finally able to return to the country of her birth Craven acted as Elizabeth’s representative at Charles II’s newly-restored court and hosted her return to London in 1661. As testified by Samuel Pepys, among others, in the last six months of her life Elizabeth was rarely out of the company of her ‘faithful friend’. In her will Elizabeth stated that Lord Craven should inherit both her family paintings and her private papers. He survived her by thirty-five years and is said to have spent his declining years surrounded by ‘hundreds of portraits of the Winter Queen, her family and her circle’ in the houses consecrated to her memory.


Old Master Paintings

The collection includes a remarkable group of portraits which together tell the story of Elizabeth and her family, and their connection with Lord Craven. A fine portrait by the studio of Gerrit van Honthorst shows Elizabeth in mourning after the death of her husband (est**: £8,000-12,000). This is complemented by Honthorst’s charming 1635 rendering of Elizabeth and Frederick’s fifth, and most handsome, son Eduard (est: £15,000-20,000). Honthorst had been recommended to the family by Elizabeth’s brother, Charles I, and from 1628 he acted as their official court painter. Craven himself was also painted by Honthorst: in a striking portrait of 1642, the loyal Lord is shown dressed in the full armour in which he so often displayed his legendary courage on the battlefield (est: £15,000-20,000). Lord Craven appears again in a remarkable full length portrait painted by van Dyck at the end of his life with assistance from his studio (£80,000-120,000). When Elizabeth died in 1662, she left her personal papers and portraits – including all of those mentioned above - to Lord Craven. Each of the portraits mentioned above, together with a beautiful self-portrait by Louise Hollandine, descended through the Craven family and, with the exception of Elizabeth’s portrait, were all bought at the famous Craven family sales held in 1968 and 1984.


Furnishings

The furnishings and other contents were carefully chosen to complement the interior of Ashdown House with strong Baroque influences. Sympathetically decorated by David Mlinaric, each room contained much to surprise and delight. Typical of his style, the house exudes great warmth and comfort achieved by the juxtaposition of the important pieces with the highly decorative pieces unified as a scheme with well chosen fabrics. Although the furnishings reflected a strong English taste, the Continental influences of the history of the house are also shown throughout. The key pieces of the collection were found in the hall, which contained a rare set of six George II mahogany hall chairs, in the manner of William and John Linnell and in the drawing room, which contained an early 19th century English free standing bookcase with inset Italian pietre dure panels of exceptional quality, from the Grand Ducal workshop, Florence. Also notable are a 17th-century Italian marble topped center table on a giltwood dolphin base with a provenance of the Sitwell family, and a magnificent carved English 18th-century giltwood mirror. Other major pieces were housed in the library adjoining, which contained a fine Regency mahogany bookcase attributable to Gillows of Lancaster matched with a remarkably well-made copy, and also a late 17th-century Anglo-Dutch giltwood cabinet stand. Maintaining an element of surprise, the next floor contained a fascinating group of Anglo-Indian furniture including a highly impressive tester bed, a large ebony library bergere and a ‘Koftgari’ occasional table. The remaining rooms housed four poster beds and predominantly 18th-century and early 19th-century English pieces, well chosen to suit the architecture, reflecting an overall ambience of sophisticated comfort and taste.

For a complete introduction to Ashdown House: The Winter Queen and the Earl of Craven, click here.

Browse the e-catalogue


*Ashdown House is open on Wednesday and Saturday afternoons by guided tour and the woodlands are open everyday apart from Fridays.

**Estimates do not include buyer’s premium

Sunday, 26 September 2010

Saturday, 25 September 2010

M/M Man, Myth, and Sensual Pleasures: Jan Gossart's Renaissance

Image of Jan Gossart (Netherlandish, ca. 1478 – 1532) Portrait of a Man (Jan Jacobsz. Snoeck) Ca. 1530. Oil on wood. National Gallery of Art, Washington, D.C., Ailsa Mellon Bruce Fund, 1967  Image provided to Manner of Man Magazine by the Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York and may not be reproduced without written authorisation. All rights reserved.

First Exhibition in 45 Years Devoted to Northern Renaissance Master Jan Gossart on View at Metropolitan Museum

The first major exhibition in 45 years devoted to Jan Gossart (ca. 1478-1532)- one of the most innovative artists of the Burgundian-Habsburg Netherlands—will be on view at The Metropolitan Museum of Art beginning October 6, 2010. Man, Myth, and Sensual Pleasures: Jan Gossart's Renaissance will bring together the majority of Gossart's paintings, drawings, and prints, and place them in the context of the influences on his transformation from Late Gothic Mannerism to the new Renaissance mode. Gossart was among the first northern artists to travel to Rome to make copies after antique sculpture and monuments and to introduce biblical and mythological subjects with erotic nude figures into the mainstream of northern painting. Most often credited with successfully assimilating Italian Renaissance style into northern European art of the early 16th century, he is the pivotal Old Master who redirected the course of early Flemish painting from the legacy of its founder, Jan van Eyck, and charted new territory that eventually led to the great age of Rubens.

The exhibition is made possible by the William Randolph Hearst Foundation, the Gail and Parker Gilbert Fund, Flanders House New York, and the Society of Friends of Belgium in America. Additional support is provided by The Horace W. Goldsmith Foundation, Hester Diamond, David Kowitz, the Samuel H. Kress Foundation, and Joyce P. and Diego R. Visceglia.

The exhibition was organized by The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York, in association with The National Gallery, London.It is supported by an indemnity from the Federal Council on the Arts and the Humanities.

Jan Gossart has not been the focus of a monographic exhibition since 1965 (in Rotterdam and Bruges) and has never before been the subject of an exhibition in the United States. Man, Myth, and Sensual Pleasures: Jan Gossart's Renaissance will be divided into eight sections and will comprise approximately 145 works, including 50 of the artist's 63 known paintings, 35 drawings, and six prints from U.S. and international collections. In order to consider Gossart within his artistic milieu, other works on view will include antique and Renaissance sculpture, paintings by contemporaries Gerard David and Bernard van Orley, and prints and drawings by artists such as Marcantonio Raimondi, Dirk Vellert, Lucas van Leyden, Albrecht Dürer, and Jacopo de'Barbari. A number of works in the exhibition have been borrowed from various curatorial departments at the Metropolitan Museum, such as European Sculpture and Decorative Arts, Drawings and Prints, the Lehman Collection, and Greek and Roman Art.

Among the many highlights from Gossart's oeuvre in the exhibition will be the Virgin and Child with Musical Angels and Saints Catherine and Dorothy (Malvagna Triptych), an exquisite gem-like altarpiece that is Gossart's only surviving intact triptych, on rare loan from the Galleria Regionale della Sicilia in Palermo, Italy; the stunning Saint Luke Drawing the Virgin from the Kunsthistorisches Museum in Vienna; the magnificent Deesis panel on exceptional loan from the Prado; the Carondelet Diptych,, considered one of the masterpieces of early Netherlandish portraiture, from the Musée du Louvre; the Elderly Couple, an astonishing study of old age painted on parchment from the National Gallery in London; and Portrait of a Man (Jan Jacobsz. Snoeck?), a remarkably well-preserved painting from the National Gallery of Art, Washington, D.C., that represents the peak of Gossart's artistic achievement.

About the Artist Gossart was born in Maubeuge, today in Northern France, in about 1478. Mabuse is the Dutch name for Maubeuge, and thus developed the sobriquet of the artist. Nothing is known about where Jan Gossart or "Mabuse" trained as a painter, but documents verify that he became a member of the painters' Guild in Antwerp in 1503. From 1508-1509, Gossart traveled to Rome with the important court diplomat Philip of Burgundy, who was an envoy to Pope Julius II at the Vatican on behalf of Margaret of Austria, Regent of the Netherlands. Influenced by the antique and modern Italian art that he encountered on his sojourn in Rome, he became a key adherent and promoter of the art of biblical and mythological subjects represented by nude figures. For northern painters and their patrons rooted in the traditional manner and themes of the late Gothic period, the new style that Gossart brought back from Rome must have appeared shockingly avant-garde; and for the Humanists of the time, Gossart was perhaps the first truly

Renaissance painter or "Romanist" in the north.

Upon his return from Rome, Gossart settled in Middleburg, but apparently also spent time in Bruges working with Gerard David (ca. 1455-1523), the city's leading painter. The nature of this collaboration has not been previously recognized, but the technical examination of several of the paintings recently undertaken for this exhibition has helped to clarify the specific relationship between Gossart and David. Gossart also produced large- and small-scale works of mythological themes with thinly veiled erotic content (a number of which will be on view) at the request of his patron, Philip of Burgundy. The impact of the lessons he learned in Rome as well as a friendship with the court sculptor, Conrad Meit, led Gossart to pursue an increasingly sculptural exploration of the human body in his works and the relationship of figures to each other.

Gossart's extraordinary technique and execution, as well as his novel approach to both traditional and new themes in his art, made for a particularly successful career. He received commissions from some of the most noted patrons of his day, including Philip of Burgundy, Margaret of Austria, Christian II of Denmark, and Henry of Nassau and his wife Mencía de Mendoza.

Exhibition Overview

Man, Myth, and Sensual Pleasures: Jan Gossart's Renaissance will be divided into eight sections and will trace the main areas of Gossart's achievements. The first section will be devoted to his earliest work as a key proponent of Antwerp Mannerism, represented chiefly by his drawings. Section two will feature the 1508-1509 trip to Rome and will exhibit Gossart's surviving drawings of antique sculpture and monuments that he made at the request of Philip of Burgundy.

Section three will highlight Gossart's Bruges period and his collaboration with Gerard David, the leading painter there at the time. Section four will introduce the humanist court of Gossart's chief patron, Philip of Burgundy, and Philip's interest in mythological themes presented in a highly sensuous manner in such works as Hercules and Deianira, Venus, and Venus and Cupid. Section five follows the developing erotic nature of his art as well as Gossart's further assimilation of Italian Renaissance style in themes of both the Virgin and Child and Adam and Eve. Section six presents Gossart's often poignant expression of themes associated with the Passion of Christ, and demonstrates with the Deesis and the so-called Salamanca Triptych wings that Gossart worked simultaneously in the Late High Gothic and the Italian Renaissance style, according to the stipulations of various commissions. Section seven will feature drawings, many of which have never been seen together, that show Gossart's designs for a variety of media, including paintings, prints, metalwork, tomb sculpture, and stained glass. The final section of the exhibition will be devoted to portraiture. Gossart's close study of physiognomy and his extraordinary technique and execution in paint set him apart from his contemporaries in this genre. Portraits dating from Gossart's earliest to his latest period will demonstrate his efforts to achieve unrivaled verisimilitude in representations of his contemporaries, creating personages that appear physically to emerge from the confines of their frames.

Technical Research

Some of the most important contributions to the exhibition and catalogue will include technical examinations of Gossart's paintings that curator Maryan Ainsworth has undertaken in collaboration with colleagues at many museums over the last three years. These methods of examination include infrared reflectography, x-radiography, pigment analysis, and microscope examination.

This research has resulted in a far more precise evaluation of questions of attribution and dating, and of versions and copies. It also provides a clearer understanding of Gossart's working procedures, a closer study of the relationship between Gossart's surviving drawings on paper and the underdrawings on his panel paintings, and of the evolution of style in his works. This unprecedented research on Gossart has resulted in a re-evaluation of the artist's evolution in technique as he aimed to produce new and different visual effects in his paintings. A video presentation accompanying the exhibition will highlight some of these findings.

Curatorial Credits

The exhibition is conceived and organized by Maryan Ainsworth, Curator in the Metropolitan Museum's Department of European Paintings. After its presentation at the Metropolitan Museum, a smaller version of the exhibition will be mounted at The National Gallery in London from February 23 through May 30, 2011.

Catalogue and Related Programs

The exhibition will be accompanied by a fully illustrated catalogue edited by Maryan Ainsworth. This will provide a new catalogue raisonné on the artist with contributions by Ainsworth, Stijn Alsteens, and Nadine Orenstein of the Metropolitan Museum, Lorne Campbell of the National Gallery, London, Stephanie Schrader of the J. Paul Getty Museum, Matt Kavaler of the University of Toronto, and Peter Klein of the University of Hamburg. It will be published by The Metropolitan Museum of Art and Yale University Press and will be available in the Museum's bookshops (hardcover, $75.00).

The catalogue is made possible by the Mary C. and James W. Fosburgh Publications Fund and the Roswell L. Gilpatric Publications Fund.

Additional support is provided by the Doris Duke Fund for Publications.

An audio tour, part of the Museum's Audio Guide Program, will be available for rental ($7, $6 for Members, $5 for children under 12). The Audio Guide will also lead visitors to other departments in the Metropolitan Museum so they can see what influenced Jan Gossart, especially when he traveled to and from Rome during 1508-1509.

The Audio Guide is sponsored by Bloomberg.

A variety of educational programs will accompany the exhibition. Highlights include a Sunday at the Met lecture program on October 17 and gallery talks that will be offered throughout the run of the exhibition.

The exhibition and its related programs will be featured on the Museum's website at http://www.metmuseum.org/

Friday, 24 September 2010

The Smiths - Asleep

M/M Ieri, oggi e domani





Images courtesy of Montezemolo. All rights reserved.


Thursday, 23 September 2010

M/M Donato Oronzo Cacciapaglia


Images above are provided for exclusive use by photographer Donato Oronzo Cacciapaglia. All rights reserved.

Friday, 17 September 2010

M/M Interview with Joe Ruggiero



Photo of designers Joe Ruggiero and Hubert de Givenchy taken during  “A Visit to Le Jonchet” at the country house of French designer Hubert De Givenchy. The image is provided by Joe Ruggiero for exclusive use. All rights reserved.


This exclusive interview with designer Joe Ruggiero was conducted by Nicola Linza and Cristoffer Neljesjö in Los Angeles September 2010


You have been in design for decades, what would you say is the most satisfying aspect of your job now that it has become truly multi-media?

I must say designing products for my collection. I enjoy traveling and speaking about my total home collection. It is so gratifying to be able to put together a room using all the products that I design;upholstery, Miles Talbott; case goods,Gat Creek; lighting,Craftmade; drapery/bedding,Casa Fiora; textiles,Sunbrella with decorative trims by Phoenix; my art and photography, W.King Ambler; and outdoor furniture,Woodard and Terra furniture.


How would you describe your vision?

I give a nod to the past and a look to the future. My style in transitional and yet derived from the classics. I believe every room should be a living room and my products are designed to be used and lived with in any room. The Sunbrella fabrics are all easy care for heavy wear and my wood pieces are finished to allow cold or hot cups to rest on the surfaces. They are also observant of the environment.


When you purchase your own clothing what are deciding factors on cut and fabrication?

I like a comfortable cut: natural shoulders and fabric that travels well and is not heavy. Most are Merino wool and silk combo. No heavy weight.


Fabric is one item that transcends design genres. How does fabrication play into your world?

As a proponent of Sunbrella for Upholstery, I must say I like fabric that wears. I still have a Huntsman Custom suit I bought in 1968; a worsted wool that sort of fits...a little snug.


Has interior design become too vast? What is your opinion of the television programs promoting unknown people as though they were professional designers?

I must admit the design shows are not what they should be. Fine design and architecture have no showcase today. I am in development now for a show that will show the "best of the best." I am not into the "quick fix" decorating that seems to be so popular on the tube, I would say my legacy is bringing design to television but not the kind I am seeing on television today.


Please name three designers who you feel have had the greatest impact on your personal style and design aesthetic.

Certainly, Hubert de Givenchy; the true beacon of design and I am proud to say I had quality time in his presence. Alan Flusser has always influenced my personal style and of course the masters of Interior Design: John Saladino, David Easton and Michael Taylor. Do I get anymore? The list could be endless. There are so many names I could name who have influenced me. Let's not forget Ralph Lauren and what he has done for American Style and his recent remodel of the Hôtel Particulaire in Paris.


You produced the now legendary “A Visit to Le Jonchet”, in the country house of French designer Hubert de Givenchy. There is that timeless photo of you two together on the property with the dog that speaks volumes. Can you discuss what that entire experience meant in terms of your own design? And how did Mr. Givenchy, a fashion designer of the highest order view the process?

I must say my experience at Le Jonchet was probably one of the most memorable experiences of my life. I have never met a more talented man in my life and yet extremely humble and hospitable. He made us all feel so welcome in his home and will never forget his grace and charm. I had interview him ten years before I produced "A Visit to Le Jonchet" at a retrospective of his work in Washington, D.C. that socialite Deda Blair arranged for a show I was doing on the Lifetime network called the Living Magazine and had no idea that we would meet again and that I would visit his house in the Loire Valley.

The above interview with Joe Ruggiero 2010 © Manner of Man Magazine/Welldressed. All rights reserved. Reproduction is strictly prohibited without written permission from the publisher.

Wednesday, 15 September 2010

Monday, 13 September 2010

M/M Interview with John Stefanidis

This exclusive interview with designer John Stefanidis was conducted by Nicola Linza and Cristoffer Neljesjö in London September 2010 and is only available in print edition.
 

Friday, 10 September 2010

Pink Floyd - 19 - Dramatic Theme - [Ummagummolympia] - (2009

M/M Raphael and the Beautiful Banker: The Story of the Bindo Altoviti Portrait


















Review by Nicola Linza

David Allen Brown and Jane van Nimmen have produced a remarkable and scholarly study focusing on the history of a single Italian picture of a young banker, the Italian aristocrat Bindo Altoviti.

The famous painting portrays the haunting position captured while Altovini was turning his head, the young banker however does not appear frozen; he appears to be speaking to us today, as much as he must have appeared to be turning to speak to his Florentine bride, Fiammetta at the time of creation.

Bindo Altoviti sat five centuries ago for this portrait by the great artist Raphael. The resulting picture is of a very good-looking young man with flowing hair that plays on a dynamically unique interpretation and conception of picture plane. Both the young man portrayed, and the picture's interrelationships among the visual elements of space, time, force and energy have been the subject of debate and controversy ever since.

This volume by David Allen Brown and Jane van Nimmen provides a highly elegant and accurate account of the life of Bindo Altoviti, along with a detailed chronological outline of what has become the history surrounding the controversial yet fantastic image of a young Italian banker.

Tuesday, 7 September 2010

The Influences of Major European Classical Greek, Roman, and Medieval Architectural Styles on Early American Architecture


Image of Merchant's Square Colonial Williamsburg provided exclusively to Manner of Man by Quinlan & Francis Terry. All rights reserved.

Editorial by Nicola Linza

A number of unique aspects relate to the evolutional influences leading toward the integration of various Classical and Medieval styles into early architecture and planning in North America in both the areas of land use and town layout, as well as building construction.

In short, for sake of this brief discussion, these influences were brought to fruition by the European settlers, and stemmed historically from their own cultural, religious, sociological, political, and building traditions. These early influences may have also been largely skill based (as well as cultural) but like any other group the motivating factors of social acceptance, and the related psychological aspects of expansion and completeness, or feeling personally and socially complete have their proper place in this history.

Early on, during America’s first European based architectural evolution, one would have seen a stronger basic rural architectural form and village planning then known to and trusted by the early settlers. As levels of sophistication, combined with travel and financial successes grew, so did their surroundings and desires for expansion.

In the 17th and through the 18th centuries we see growing references to what America perceived as classical. In various forms fitting personal and civic needs, this styling integrated into America’s architectural style. This trend continued during the mid-to-late 19th century, due largely to the influence of the Ecole des Beaux-Arts School of Architecture in Paris, where what began during the 18th but flourished in the mid-to-late 19th centuries, was a growing constant reference to the classical (and often medieval.) In what would eventually be known for example as Greek Revival, Neo-Classical and Neo-Gothic architecture these styles referenced established architectural styles that took permanent root in America.

The influences impacting the American ideal of the sublime, structures perceived today by architectural historians as being influenced by the Greek, Roman or even Medieval traditions, as any given style or as any “Neo” form as found in the architectural orders of American history, owe such designations (interesting to note not unlike Native people but for different reasoning) to both psychological as well as social factors. The taste of the time impacted America‘s idea of grandeur, and what was thought to be representing “good taste” in an American style. This is strongly attributed to private architecture, largely created by the vast amount of new wealth, and their strong (and often ignorant and insecure) desires to appear prosperous, and socially acceptable, if not also powerful.

Social factors in city planning, as well as psychological factors in religious architecture, such as the early Spanish influences on settlements in the Mid-west and West took root. The differences along New England and Eastern US shores, where church architecture, many being non-Catholic early on, represented a unornamented structural interior and façade; Spanish, French and Italian influences impacted and flourished in Catholic regions. City planning, and churches from coast-to-coast eventually followed in part where in the early 20th century fashionable locales along the Eastern US found the Spanish and Italian architectural styles being adopted in reference to early American history and Classical Europe. This is best seen in the earliest settlements including St. Augustine, Florida, and the large private estates that began to rise in Newport and Palm Beach in a similar form in architectural fashion.

In the United States, varied influences are seen from the earliest European settlements at the beginning of their arrival with their long traditions of building and construction skills through the growing phases of a country where varied styles persist architecturally to this day. Often one sees Greek and Roman styles, viewed aesthetically as both stable and long term in form, especially by governmental planning officials. This leads us to the fact that so many official buildings then as now reflect a classical tradition in form both good and bad. 

Yet, this holds another interesting factor as seen especially in America regarding new construction. If not in proper context of form and place as well as construction and material selection the quality of such forms may well be questioned and sadly that is normally the case. In social climbing circles in America (and elsewhere sadly) these known established stable traditional forms often appear (out of sheer ignorance) implemented in an ugly bastardized state.

A bastardized pastiche by poorly trained architects is always hideous, yet most often requested by ignorant developers and builders motivated by pecuniary motivations sadly thinking such elements represent superior taste. It is as pathetic as those who push Contemporary junk architecture under the false belief that any structure that looks like a garbage can blew up is beautiful, intellectual or worse that the result is from their personal superior taste and intellect, when nothing could be farther from the truth. 

Unfortunately, all too often developer greed nearly always trumps quality and taste,  styles have been ignorantly misinterpreted and misused with poor execution and inferior planning, as well as cheap modern methods of construction. All leading to the exact effect that many of those building such structures tried to avoid - coming off low quality and tasteless. One must address the underlying form as the misgivings and failures of most attempts at traditional architecture today is based in the utter lack of knowledge and materials of traditional forms and the resulting disparity of constructional skill and quality. It is not to say that these traditional forms mentioned, when honest, are anything other than beautiful and timeless this simply implies that to be truly beautiful and timeless traditional forms require a vast knowledge of classical design and architecture, then high quality planning, the finest authentic materials and top drawer construction. Yes, this type of work is not a rush job, all of this takes a great amount of time.

For an example of stunning new traditional architectural forms, in their finest state of context, detail, planning, design and constructional quality I highly recommend you view my good friend Quinlan Terry's site in the UK (in my view he heads the finest firm in the world.) His firm has been responsible for a number of significant American projects including a major block near the Wren building (as shown in the above image) in Colonial Williamsburg, Virginia.

Quinlan & Francis Terry Architects http://www.qftarchitects.net/1024index.html

Monday, 6 September 2010

M/M Interview with Angus Cundey of Henry Poole & Co

Image left of Angus Cundy provided for exclusive use by Henry Poole & Co. All rights reserved.


This exclusive interview with Angus Cundey of Henry Poole & Co  was conducted by Nicola Linza and Cristoffer Neljesjö in London September 2010


Henry Poole & Co has an incredible history, how do you work to maintain the high quality and traditions?

I consider myself most fortunate to have inherited one of or perhaps the most famous tailoring firm in the world. I am the sixth generation in the business, my great grandfather was cousin of Henry Poole.

It was Henry Poole who became the first to open a tailoring company on Savile Row in 1846 after his father started the firm in 1806 with addresses in London’s Bloomsbury, Regent Street and Old Burlington Street.

The Company has always instigated its own training programmes for cutters and sewing tailors and thus maintained the high quality for which Pooles is renowned.


In light of current trends that some of decided to follow what is your view of the wave of often unqualified people improperly using the term bespoke.

I find it both depressing and annoying that the term Bespoke Tailoring is being pirated in the UK, the country where the word originated. In many countries including France, Germany, Japan and the USA, Bespoke (custom) cannot be applied to Ready to Wear or Made to Measure clothing which are made in factories and cut from block patterns whereas a Bespoke Garment has an individual pattern cut for each client and put together by hand in a workshop.


We like the phrase, “Water seeks it’s own level.” Do you believe that to be a similar truth for the future of true bespoke?

In 1890, Henry Poole and Co were producing 12,000 bespoke suits annually, employing 14 cutters and 300 sewing tailors. The orders have declined steadily since 1900 due to the ready to wear industry and more sadly, partly due to the First World War, the elegance of the frock coat, dress coat, court dress and even yachting and golf blazers were superseded by anoraks, pullovers and the uniform office suit. Thankfully there is still a demand from the discerning few who require dress suits, morning coats, dining suits and comfortable and elegant lounge suits.

We have become a niche industry with Pooles now with a payroll of only 68 cutters, tailors and tailoresses but I am confident they have an assured future as the skilled craft will continue.


What are the big differences between British and Italian tailoring?

To put simply and in general terms, an Italian jacket is styled with wide shoulders, loose fitting and deep gorge (long collar, shorter lapel). The London Cut is more natural shoulders, shape in waist and long lapels with high gorge.


What should men think about when buying a suit?

Firstly the tailor will want to know when and where the suit is to be worn in order to determine weight and formality of the cloth from which to make the selection. Being a bespoke garment, pockets, colour of lining, front buttoning, vents in back and with trousers whether turn ups, cut for belt or braces (suspenders) will be discussed with the customer.


Trends and fads come and go but what is it about fine traditional clothing in your view that makes it solid and tasteful to men of style, which indeed is always fashionable?

As we make suits to last for many years, it must always remain in fashion. Therefore a Savile Row garment is seldom made to extremes of any current fashion but built for comfort and elegance.


Where do primarily obtain your fabrics?

We still obtain 90% of our worsted wool cloth from Huddersfield in England’s Yorkshire, woollen flannel from the West of England and tweeds from Scotland.


Is proportion the primary significant factor in a successful suit?

A true bespoke suit fits the customer but disguises certain features like a drop right shoulder or corpulent waist, all to achieve an elegant look.


Please describe the idea trouser length and break for a tall man and is it the same for all men?

Trousers should have a half inch break at front over shoe, whether the man is tall or short.


It is 1970 and we are meeting in Rome for a private party hosted by Luchino Visconti. What are you wearing? In addition, whom do you want to meet?

Rather than answering this question, I maintain that every man should have a dark blue herringbone suit in his wardrobe for weddings, funerals and formal board meetings and in addition, a blue blazer for travel which will be smart for a private party or if summoned to an hastily called business meeting.

The above interview with Angus Cundey 2010 © Manner of Man Magazine/Welldressed. All rights reserved. Reproduction is strictly prohibited without written permission from the publisher.

Sunday, 5 September 2010

M/M Eccentricity

Eccentricity is not, as dull people would have us believe, a form of madness. It is often a kind of innocent pride, and the man of genius and the aristocrat are frequently regarded as eccentrics because genius and aristocrat are entirely unafraid of and uninfluenced by the opinions and vagaries of the crowd.

- Edith Sitwell

Friday, 3 September 2010

M/M la tua vita è il tuo film


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