Curiouser and Curiouser

Well I was on line, as you are … and this article caught my eye;

Curiouser & curiouser

Discarded curios are finding a new narrative context in fashionable interiors. Mark C O’Flaherty explores the growing trend for pop architectural salvage…


I thought I recognised the ship and it turns out this is Henri Fitzwilliam Lay’s house in the South of France, I used to work for Henri when she was chez-office in London and found find her hugely inspiring, I  felt the brush of zeitgeist in  her curio-inspired decor and reading the FT felt the familiar tug of creative excitement that Henri elicits and practically heard her trained eye hunting down a scheme, or in this case ‘collection’:

“Several designers are experts in the field of salvage. Henri Fitzwilliam-Lay works on particularly refined and high-end interiors. Her style mixes the plush, grand elements of Dorothy Draper with the clean, corporate modernism of Florence Knoll and contemporary bespoke pieces by the likes of Rupert Bevan, but she’s increasingly working with collections of 20th- and 21st-century items… “Collections of items can turn chaos into order, by giving objects definition… I think you can make a collection of just about anything – even my children’s tiny Japanese plastic Gogos figures – and the skill lies in the displaying of objects to create what I often refer to as the ‘still life’. I hunt at antiques fairs, and after a first purchase the rest of the day may be spent finding more and more complementing pieces.

P.S. The weathered appearance of an item is also important; Fitzwilliam-Lay has started using old survey maps as wallpaper, “because I love the faded colours.”

My P.S. above (it is not in the FT) because I do so LOVE a map as well. I wanted to collect all the counties when I lived in England, in honour of which I just purchased:



In lieu of the Somerset and beyond I aspired too, why? I love their colours:


You get the idea.

Meanwhile back in the present-day land of the curious the FT article cited a Curio-cultural-spot: The Last Tuesday Society’s, Little Shop of Horrors,  in… Hackney.


Inside vignette:Little Shop of Horrors Last Tuesday Society

and  I know Henri would  LOVE ‘pinnacles of prickly‘  if we could only see it properly on-line:


Obviously kept poking around  and discovered they are “devoted to exploring and furthering the esoteric, literary and artistic aspects of life in London and beyond”. Curiouser and Curiouser. In fact they host lectures, OMG,  I would so love to attend, subjects range from…


‘Malice in Wonderland (Cecil Beaton), The Last Dandies (Noel Coward, Stephen Tennant and Oscar Wilde), Sir John Soane,  The Occult, English Eccentrics, Nancy Mitford and Evelyn Waugh’s correspondence etc.etc.

Hmm, Hackney is oh-so-far-away. Good news then that they are all available as podcasts, yeah, in the name of research and inspiration I am ready, steady,GO.

Images from the FT, Taschen,  Antique Maps, Cecil Beaton’s scrap book and The Little Shop.

Further Reading:

In paper: World of Interiors,  March 2013, p. 118 ‘A Bizarre Obsession’.

On-line: A Decorative Affair’s guide Curio, Curious, Curiosity.

and of course many other places if you are curious.

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