Trompe Voeil garlands

Trompe Voeil garlands

This deceptive garland adds a touch of humour to a stairwell and leads the eye upwards. The soft colours complement the golden stone.

Country fabrics are those that have an affinity with fresh air; that can recover from dogs and children; that give a casual formality to an al fresco feast; or that balloon in the breeze from an open window. Very rarely do they stray from the path of natural righteousness – the fabrics that work best in country settings are grown on plants or animals: wool or linen, sea-grass or cotton. Usually such fabrics wear well, acquiring character and dignity with the passage of time, and producing soft harmonies of colour as they settle into fondly-patched decrepitude.

Natural fabrics look good because they have definite personalities. Upholstery linen becomes bleached and worn by history – the sags and wrinkles of venerable loose covers add to their charm; fine cotton muslin curtains have a particular weight and movement that nothing in Terylene can match; sisal and seagrass rasp the feet, but have a doughty reliability that no man-made floor-covering approaches; traditional patchwork stitched on to a woollen blanket hangs and drapes quite differently from any present-day counterpart attached to synthetic batting.

Country fabrics tend to be unbowed by life -linens can be boiled to blinding whiteness, and cottons respond crisply to the traditional touch of starch. Both linens and cottons can usually be unceremoniously washed and line-dried, bringing with them the evocative smell of fresh air – a whiff of pleasure that cannot be applied from a bottle.

Safe and sound An old English pie safe is the perfect display box for this enviable multiplicity of American patchwork quilts, their colours softened by time.

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