Tuesday, August 24, 2010


Since writing my last blog about my friend, Roy, with the greenest of fingers, he has kindly sent me the names of the stunning roses and clematis and so I have now inserted them. He also mentioned, en passant, that they were delphiniums not hollyhocks!

Well now you have another treat in store. Roy is a greatly admired master of the classical French/Italian art form of Découpage and apart from having been President of The Guild of British of Découpeurs, (www.découpageguild.co.uk) he has taught  Découpage in the Victoria and Albert Museum and was also invited to pass on his expertise to an enthusiastic group of decoupeurs in Italy where he is held in great esteem. He is always very generous with his knowledge and praise.  Roy's work is not only original, but he is a perfectionist, creating elegant objects with the finest cutting and design and of course a surface like porcelain. Those are the techniques that make a treasured and revered piece of Découpage.

Découpage, to put it simply, is the art of decorating surfaces with cut out paper.   It came to the fore around the 17th to 18th century, first in Italy and then in France. Venetian cabinet makers began applying artists' drawings and paintings to furniture and covering them with lacquer in order to ape the ornate decorated furniture being imported from the Far East, and which became so popular that the supply could not keep up with the demand. It became the rage with ladies in Europe who would sit snipping away at pictures to decorate various objects from fans to fire screens and boxes. It has had many famous practitioners such as Marie Antoinette, Madame de Pompadour, Lord Byron, Matisse and Picasso.  In1972 The National Guild of Découpeurs was formed in the USA to promote this fascinating and beautiful art  in its purest form.  Go to www.decoupage.org and look at their Gallery of Art to see wonderful and inspirational examples of the best in Découpage.

I am too vain not to mention that I too was a member of the National Guild of Découpeurs, having had the unique and unforgettable good fortune of going to the USA to study under many of its greatest exponents. After that I created and taught and wrote about this richly absorbing art form. I only gave it up because I broke my shoulder badly and could not continue. However, as so often happens, good came out of evil as the door opened for me to create my Images de Plumes.

However, to get a taste of what you can see on the above website, first look at the following examples of the very special and varied work done by Roy Larking.
NB: Of the floral tea set, only the tray is découpaged. The initials are hand coloured. Note the faux marquetry on the writing slope and on the images to the right of that.

Before I finish, one more photo,  a magnificent Boulle box by Roy, he writes  -
"The box is meant to mimic the work of Frenchman Andre Charles Boulle (1642 - 1732) which I so admire. "Boulle work"consisted of metal and turtleshell marquetry.  It is essentially engraved brass, into which is set turtle shell. Boulle's work was the feature of the furniture which graced apartments in the Palace of Versailles and elsewhere".

Monday, August 2, 2010

Roses, Roses, Riotously.......

I was looking for a quote about Roses for my headline and found again the following by Ernest Dowson which is a favourite of mine and I had forgotten it. So romantic, wistful, nay a little sad, and I can read it again and again.
I have forgot much, Cynara! Gone with the wind, Flung roses, roses, riotously with the throng, Dancing, to put thy pale, lost lilies out of mind; But I was desolate and sick of an old passion, Yea, all the time, because the dance was long: I have been faithful to thee, Cynara! in my fashion.

At this stage I believe that two different quotations have been combined in the quote above, but that is how it came from the Internet as a result of my search. Perhaps someone can put me right?
                                               ROSE: ORANGEADE                                         
                                             ROSE:    FERDINAND PICHARD

So, I want to share with you some photos of glorious roses grown by a good friend of mine, Roy Larking, in England, who has inspirationally green fingers.  I think I would describe his garden as a picture post card cottage garden. Here he creates his magic with a riot of colour in Spring and Summer - a wide variety of blooms of every kind, all looking so enviably healthy!  In particular, I am entranced by his roses and secondly his clematis. Would that I could grow them here in Queensland, but neither are happy in a damp, hot sub tropical climate. The trouble is, I do not have their names, with one exception, so I will ask Roy and add them later.
                 ROSE: HANDEL                                                      ROSE: PEACE

Now the exquisite new rose RAPHSODY IN BLUE

                                However, I cannot overlook this glorious clematis, DR ROUPEL

and no English garden is complete without the delphiniums (so wrongly previously described by me as hollyhocks!).
Finally, here is where they are all to be found, in ravishing array.
In my next blog I am going to introduce you to Roy's other unique talents and I am sure you will learn something new and be entranced.  So watch this space!