Friday, 4 April 2014

Living in Style 2

Arty types in the 50s liked "objets trouvés", or "found objects":

"Unusual objets trouvés were displayed everywhere - a Webb toy theatre, a model of an old steam engine, a rocking-horse, a row of marionettes, a ladder painted with stars and diamonds, an American wall clock with an enormous winking eye painted by Ronald on its pendulum." (piece about Ronald Searle’s modernist home)

More conservative homeowners filled their homes with the three "see no evil" monkeys, a set of three elephants in descending size order, a set of three camels chained together, and silhouettes of the pyramids with a background of blue moth wings. They also liked horse brasses, and mats showing Old Cries of London or Venice in the eighteenth century. The monkeys shared the mantelpiece with miniature suits of armour, tiny beer barrels, scaled-down brass cannon, and calendars set in the side of a wooden dog. They ate their dinner off Myott Chinese bird plates or willow pattern china.

Picasso became popular because there was a big exhibition. If he was too modern, you could hang reproductions of Dutch flower paintings with very realistic drops of water, butterflies, slugs etc; Tretchikoff’s green lady; paintings of white horses galloping through the surf; or a much reproduced depiction of a breaking wave with a shaft of light gleaming through it (was it part of Boots' art range?). These shared the walls with hunting scenes and framed golfing jokes.

Teenage girls hung paintings of swans or Degas' ballet girls above their divan beds (with folkweave coverlet).

Working class people bought Beswick china flying ducks modelled on paintings by Peter Scott.
Middle class people despised these, and hung Peter Scott prints, and elephants by David Shepherd.

Also seen about were stripy awnings with scalloped edges combined with modernist architecture and (oddly) fairground lettering, or with curly wrought iron.

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