Down through the ages, the ability to beautifully hand render an interior design or fashion concept , whether literally or interpretatively, has been a prized skill – one that helps designers, their workrooms and their clients work from a shared vision to make the actual room come to life.
Often these hand drawn renderings, like the dreamy, light filled, almost spiritual ones executed by world famous watercolor artist, Jeremiah Goodman, above and below, are sold as works of art, in and of themselves. Mr. Goodman, now 90 and living in Manhattan, still executes commissions for his famous clients and currently an exhibition of his interior prints is on display in Bergdorf Goodman’s windows in New York City. [ Have you been lucky enough to see it? If the answer is yes, and you’ve written a blog post about it, please leave a link to it in the comments so we can share it – Leslie and I both love his work! ]
When I look at this meticulous, stunning and more literal hand rendering, of a Chippendale canopy bed, in a book published in 1761 , housed in the Rare Book Room at the Bienenstock Furniture Library in High Point, North Carolina, I can’t help but see how the designers of furniture, interiors and fashion – indeed, all of the decorative arts, have been inspired in their own designs and work by the hand renderings done by these early artists. Can you imagine the time this hand drawing took, in an age without electricity?
Even designers like Karl Lagerfeld, the designer for Chanel and one of the world’s foremost collectors of furniture and books, started out doing beautiful hand rendered sketches when he was a young designer for the House of Tiziani. If you’re not familiar with his work for them..
In 1963, American designer Evans Richards opened a fashion house in Rome under the name Tiziani, and employed Mr. Lagerfeld as his fellow couturier in the firm. Their first collection was a huge success, and within a short time, their clients included Elizabeth Taylor, Doris Duke, Gina Lollobrigida, Principessa Borghese and many others. Mr. Lagerfeld remained with the firm until 1969.
Recently, on January 11th of this year, the current owner of the House of Tiziani auctioned off all of Karl Lagerefeld’s early sketches for them. One of my personal favorites, which shows his attention to detail and amazing sense of style, and that got sold early in the bidding, is the one in the center, below.
Today, Mr. Lagerfeld is still hand rendering and sketching…and still inspired by Mademoiselle Coco Chanel’s early style, as shown here in this sketch of his of one of her 1931 dresses. His 2011 -2012 Fall Haute Couture Collection was full of references to the peplum.
Does anyone else see – after looking at the 1761 picture of the Chippendale canopy bed and it’s billowing, lush bed hangings, how Mademoiselle Chanel, herself, might have been inspired by early English and French furniture design to add the peplum?
Many designers, whether furniture or fashion designer, or both, can sketch and hand render and many employ or contract with talented artisans in this field to help bring their vision for your home to life. You may want to contract with your interior designer for a single or series of hand renderings, if you feel it would help you make a decision or see what you need to see more clearly, for your home.
One of the most famous artists working in this field today is Mita Corsini Bland. Not only does she hand render for illustrious clients, but also for many of our shelter magazines. You know those beautiful watercolor renderings you see in House Beautiful, Elle Decor and other magazines? Many of those are hers. She also illustrated the book, Sister Parish Design: On Decorating. See many more of her beautiful illustrations for this book by clicking on the blog, Meet Me In Philadephia, written by Ashley, here. Ashley and her husband bought their *forever* house on Philadelphia’s Main Line, and are patiently re-doing it, room by room, partially inspired by Ms. Corsini’s hand renderings of Sister Parish’s design work.
The rendering by Ms. Corsini Bland of one of Bunny Williams’ designs, below this picture of Leslie Hendrix Wood with Bunny Williams that I took at High Point Market, when Leslie and Bunny spent a little time talking together in Century Furniture’s showroom where Bunny debuted her beautiful outdoor furniture collection for Century, is one of my personal favorites.
Here’s Mita Corsini Bland’s rendering of this room Bunny Williams‘ designed. I just love this. Do you? Notice the blue and white porcelain on the mantle. [ As an aside: Do you know the most expensive piece of blue and white porcelain ever sold at auction? Find out the answer and a bit more about blue and white porcelain, by coming back, if you have time, and reading this Hadley Court post, here. ]Wouldn’t an original hand rendering like the one above of Bunny’s room make a beautiful gift for a very special client at the completion of a design job? However, if that’s not feasible, you can buy Ms. Corsini’s renderings to give as gifts from Tiger Flower Studios, here. And, don’t miss Ms. Corsini Bland’s rendering of Brooke Astor’s famous RED library, designed by Albert Hadley, Sister Parish’s partner and one of Bunny Williams’ own teachers and mentors when Bunny was a young designer, herself, and employed by Parish Hadley Design in New York City. It’s breathtaking.
Leslie Hendrix Wood
Leslie Hendrix Wood Interiors
Founder, Editor In Chief
Gracious Living. Timeless Design. Family Traditions.