Wednesday, 18 May 2011

'Art for Art's Sake'...

With our Surtex debut in full swing on the other side of the Atlantic, I took the time last week to check out the exciting things that were going on at the Victoria and Albert Museum in London.

It is definitely worth going to see the The Cult of Beauty: The Aesthetic Movement 1860-1990 exhibition currently on show until July 17th, which is full of beautiful paintings, drawings, sculpture and furniture from Aesthetes such as William Morris, James McNeill Whistler and Gabriel Rossetti.

Sadly, photography was not permitted (even more reason to go take a look) but some favourite pieces were 'The Butterfly Cabinet' (1877) designed by E.W. Godwin and Whistler and the selection of stunning book illustrations and covers by artists such as Walter Crane and Kate Greenaway.

It has to be said actually that even the walls were beautiful, deep turquoises and reds throughout, covered with projections of peacocks and flowers.  Walking through the four sections, there honestly wasn't a single space of wall or floor that wasnt presenting something that would look oh-so-yummy in our studio... ahhh...

Towards the end of the exhibition, it was so interesting to read about the Aesthetic Movement as a 'way of life', the ideals of the time expressed through not only art but fashion, interior design and architecture.  It also meant we have some super cool new quotes for the studio such as 'One should either be a work of art or wear a work of art' (Oscar Wilde).
But our fave has to be 'Have nothing in your home that you do not know to be useful or believe to be beautiful' (William Morris)... funny how we seem to always fall in love with things that are in no way useful but just totally yummy... and now we don't even need an excuse for it! Thanks Bill.

As the textile gallery in the V&A is shut until May 2012 for refurbishment, it meant wandering through all sections of the V&A to comb through for inspiration.

In particular, the European florals were so inventive in shape and design and it was refreshing to see florals as huge detailed fruits or with really detailed petals and buds.

Images Courtesy of the Victoria and Albert Museum.




And abstract designs such as this GORGEOUS embroidered Ottoman gem...



It was interestng to see these contrasted against complex abstracts such as the wallpapers and tiles in the Medieval Britain section...




Finally, elsewhere in Asia and Eastern Europe, the Japanese kimono designs and tiles from the Ottoman Empire were really beautiful...



(These were actually supposed to represent animal print!)

Feeling fully inspired, it's time to dive into the Autumn collection...

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