Monday, February 8, 2010

Conflict between old and new

The wonderful interior design trend of mixing old and new was a No No in the 1960’s. I lived in England during the swinging 60’s. One of my favourite pieces of clothing was a black Mary Quant mini coat. In my early teens I thought my ankle high white boots teamed with grey stockings were mod or wicked as the young ones would say now. But I am getting ahead of myself. The style of the 60’s is for another time.
Visiting old castles fanned my love of history. It was at Bolton castle I first heard the story of Mary Queen of Scots. I imagined myself as a prisoner in the cold damp dark castle. I have been fascinated with Mary’s story ever since. I have read many a book and watch every movie I could get my hands on about Mary.  
A few years ago while doing some family research I found one of my ancestors was a bishop present at the christening of Mary’s son James VI of Scotland who became James I of England. This I found amazing. At the same time I also discovered one of my great great grandfathers had died in the Richmond workhouse. I am rambling again.
The conflict between new and old was very evident in the 60’s. I felt the conflict the music, fashions and art of the 60’s on one side and the romantic notions of the past on the other. I craved the new but felt the pull of the ancient. 
All this was often on in my mind as I climbed the hill leading from Richmond market square to school. Walking past the beautiful Georgian buildings and older cottages along the cobbled streets seemed to encourage this.      
The furniture of Chippendale, Sheraton and Hepplewhite, The Chinoiserie influence along with Wedgwood ceramics all made a stamp on the elegant interiors of Georgian homes.
John Pile in his book ‘A History of Interior Design’ states
“The Georgian era of English design has become one of the most admired of all the historic periods. It is a period in which consistency of character, order and logic in concepts and elegance and restraint in detail became widely accepted by architects, builders and craftsmen so that a sense of unity extends from the largest works to simplicity of the modest terrace houses.”   

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