ΕΥΧΑΡΙΣ or ENFILADES



 
It must have been providence.

Yesterday afternoon, A-Gent of Style was indulging in some much-needed retail therapy and, like a homing pigeon, ended up swanning around Fortnum & Mason. For two hours. Bliss.


Paolo Moschino

Paolo Moschino

 

luis bustamante

Luis Bustamante

 

A-Gent of Style was on the look-out for a new morning after-shave (“invigorating zingy, zesty, citrussy scent, not fruity and with no woody undertones please”) but in the back of his mind, A-Gent of Style kept reminding himself he had to find by the end of the day an appropriate preamble for today’s post that would seamlessly introduce the topic du jour. And suddenly it appeared before him. As he smelt and sprayed some of
Geo. F. Trumper gentlemanly scents, A-Gent of Style picked up “Eucris”, resplendent in its black packaging and white graphics, intrigued by its name and meaning.



He turned the box and the description on the back said: “Eucris, a classic both modern and traditional. The word is derived from the Eukharis of Classical Greek
meaning ‘of pleasing quality and elegant proportions'”. Bingo. Ευχαρίς was the perfect, befitting word to describe…enfilades.

The Farewell of Telemachus and Eucharis by Jacques-Louis David, 1818

The Farewell of Telemachus and Eucharis by Jacques-Louis David, 1818



In architecture, an enfilade is a suite of rooms formally aligned with each other. The doors entering each room are aligned with the doors of the connecting rooms along a single axis, providing a vista through the entire suite of rooms.
Enfilades are not to be confused, by the way, with corridors which are, as we know, mere passages connecting parts of a house or building. And the main structural difference is that corridors lead onto rooms with doors whereas the rooms in an enfilade only retain door frames and their architraves but are free of doors hence the linear arrangement and continuous, unbroken view from one end to another.

Enfilades were created centuries ago but it is during the Baroque era that they came into prominence not just for aesthetic reasons but also for stately expressions of hierarchies and stature. Access down an enfilade suite of state rooms typically was restricted by the rank or degree of intimacy of the visitor. The first rooms were more public, and usually at the end was the bedroom, sometimes with an intimate cabinet or boudoir beyond. Baroque protocol for instance dictated that visitors of lower rank than their host would be escorted by servants down the enfilade to the farthest room their status allowed. By extension, they become a visual symbol of the principles of absolute power (the megalomaniac Louis XIV indulged in having enfilades built wherever he lived).


Plan of the first floor at the Chateau de Versailles, 1679



You can clearly see on the plan above two enfilades, one running from room 8 down to F on the left-hand side and from room 7 down to room 1 on the right-hand side.

Subsequently, royal palaces and stately homes followed suit and later on museums and art galleries too were built with enfilades to give uninterrupted view of the art on display to emphasise its significance and inject a dose of drama.


The small white squares indicate door frames. Here for instance an enfilade runs ceaselessly  throughout room N all the way to room G.

 

Principal level plan of Tate Britain, London




Today enfilades are found in some contemporary houses and give a very elegant flow and sense of rhythm to an interior when walking from one room to another.  Truth be said, enfilades are grand and accentuate the proportions of the building and the height of the ceiling. They also allow great scope for juxtaposing the decoration of the connected rooms.







The last private residence A-Gent of Style went to which had an enfilade was Veere Grenney’s much storied previous London apartment, a sight to behold. A-Gent of Style’s heart was in his mouth when he first visited a few years ago the ravishing views of the three interconnecting rooms with high ceilings and views over the River Thames and Battersea Park’s Pagoda.



Veere Grenney's River Thames apartment

Veere Grenney’s River Thames apartment

 

Veere Grenney's River Thames apartment

Veere Grenney’s River Thames apartment




Ευχαρίς, enfilades certainly are that and suddenly this word seems to be the most beautiful in the world.


Versailles

Versailles

 




via Miguel Flores-Vianna

via Miguel Flores-Vianna




Villa Barbaro, Vicenza

Villa Barbaro, Vicenza

 

Luis Bustamante

Luis Bustamante

 

Holkham Hall, Norfolk

Holkham Hall, Norfolk

 

Screen Shot 2014-12-05 at 14.09.24

 

By Stephen Sills

By Stephen Sills

 

 



Mrs Blandings's house from the movie 'Mr. Blandings Builds His Dream House' (1948)

Mrs Blandings’s house from the movie ‘Mr. Blandings Builds His Dream House’ (1948)

 





Compiègne Castle, Picardy, France

Compiègne Castle, Picardy, France

 







Catherine Palace, Moscow

Catherine Palace, Moscow

 

Bode Museum, Berlin

Bode Museum, Berlin

 



Angkor Wat

Angkor Wat

 









By Chahan Minassian

By Chahan Minassian

 

Ham House, Richmond-upon-Thames

Ham House, Richmond-upon-Thames

 



By John Saladino

By John Saladino

 

Thorvaldsens Museum, Copenhagen

Thorvaldsens Museum, Copenhagen

 

Musée Jacquemart-André

Musée Jacquemart-André

 

Swedish enfilade

Swedish enfilade

 

Ginny Magher's Provencal home

Ginny Magher’s Provencal home

 

By David Kleinberg

By David Kleinberg

 







By McMillen, Inc

By McMillen, Inc




NB: a big ‘efkharistó‘ to my dear friend Kostas for his didactic help during my research.

NNB: if you ever wondered, A-Gent of Style sadly didn’t settle on Eucris (too woody and musky for his liking) but found a beautiful, old-fashioned scent:
Blood Orange & Basil. Perfect to prolong the almost distant summer!




TAKE A BOW: MARC JACOBS



 


Rumours were rife in the world of la mode lately but the news were finally confirmed on Wednesday morning by LVMH chairman and CEO Bernard Arnault: Marc Jacobs is leaving Louis Vuitton to focus on his eponymous brands, Marc Jacobs and Marc by Marc Jacobs. Yesterday was the final show of the 50-year-old American designer which brings an end to a 16-year-long tenure at the brand. Jacobs was appointed creative director of Louis Vuitton in 1997. He is responsible for having introduced Vuitton’s ready-to-wear line, turning the brand into a global powerhouse. A-Gent of Style must admit he has indulged a few times in some of his creations. Prior to his ‘reign’, the label was known only for its fusty leather goods and luggage line. 




Like his first show for ‘LV’, the extravagant Victoriana show, staged inside a tent in the centre courtyard of the Louvre, was created entirely in black. Part of the set included pieces and nods from past shows including a carousel, escalators, a lift, a fountain, a hotel hallway, a catwalk made of lambskin in the house’s damier check and a large clock which wound back after the show ended, hence creating a deliciously macabre, morbid and noir backdrop for the elegant garments.

Jacobs dedicated the show to “All the women who have inspired me and the showgirl in every one of them…Black to me is the colour of the chicest women in Paris. It’s Juliette Gréco, it’s Françoise Hardy, it’s Édith Piaf in a little black dress, it’s the Left Bank of Paris. It seemed like the chicest way to show all these dazzling textures”.





Feathers, crystal, lace, silk, giant Folies Bergère feather headdresses, jet-embroidered chiffon, sheer bodysuits, leather jackets, heavily embellished gowns, low-slung trousers, skirts in plush, weighty fabrics and also boxy, cuffed denim jeans all attended the sartorial ‘funeral’ to pay their last respect to their master.
The media circus might proclaim the end of an era but this is a positive farewell ending with a powerful statement about beauty, luxury, opulence and irreverence.

Marc Jacobs’s successor has not yet been named although it has been heard on the grapevine catwalk that ‘le petit Nicolas’ could be the frontrunner…




Fullscreen capture 03102013 a

























Trust Jacobs for knowing how to go with a, ahem,…




Happy Friday everyone!

 

THE “DEAN OF AMERICAN ARTISTS”: WALTER GAY







Paintings and rendering of interiors have elements of magic and wonder, a special quality and personality that even photographs by accomplished artists will never measure to or should ever replace (don’t get A-Gent of Style started with Photoshop or CAD).

A few weeks ago, as A-Gent of Style  blogged about the incredibly atmospheric renderings of Jeremiah Goodman  (did any of you go to see him being interviewed by Nicky Haslam last Sunday at Decorex?), Helen Cormack reminded him of one of his predecessors: Walter Gay.

After throwing himself into Gay’s world, A-Gent of Style’s ‘homework’ led him to revisit some books on classic paintings and of course Isabel L Taube’s Impressions of Interiors, Gilded Age Paintings by Walter Gay.



Walter Gay
(January 22, 1856 – July 15, 1937) was an American expatriate painter who lived most of his life in France amongst the High Society and monied milieux, living in some of the finer châteaux and hôtels particuliers – Gay married heiress Matilda E. Travers, the daughter of William R. Travers, a prominent New York City investor, and purchased together Chateau Le Bréau near the Forest of Fontainebleau and Château de Fortoiseau. Gay was a student of Bonnat and it’s in the master’s studio that he met John Singer Sargent, with whom he would become a lifelong friend. Prolific and in high demand, Gay is now remembered for his highly evocative oil renderings of luxurious interiors with sumptuous furniture and lavish fabrics, popularised by two of Gay and his wife’s friends, interior decorator Elsie de Wolfe and novelist Edith Wharton. His obituary in The New York Times described him as the “Dean of American artists in Paris.” The following year the Metropolitan Museum of Art held a memorial exhibition of his work.


Walter Gay’s ability to capture “the spirit of “empty” rooms filled with furniture but no human presence is unique. When you look at his renderings, you can almost feel the presence of the painter in the room; even though the ‘protagonists’ are absent, you can almost imagine them coming back into the room at any moment.
If you look closely, you can see clues of people living there: a bottle of wine, squashed cushions, opened books…His impressionistic style is somehow reminiscent of Monet or Cézanne especially as his paintings are loosely painted and not hugely carefully detailed. A-Gent of Style particularly liked the character of imperfection in his paintings: the uneven lines, slightly distorted views, blurry elements and odd angles. And maybe it’s just him but A-Gent of Style always feel there could be a spectre from bygone eras that might make an apparition in one of the rooms.






























 


















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