We’ve certainly had our fill of the Georgians as the whole nation marks the 300th anniversary of George I’s accession. ‘WILLIAM KENT Designing Georgian Britain’ at the V&A until 13 July is an exhibition that explores this polymath, who having lived the high-life in Italy returned to recreate the dream in Britain. Handy for him that his career also co-incided with the rise of country-house building.
I guess what is relevant to our homes is how he turned from painter to architect of interior design tackling an interior space as a whole – fascinated with everything from door frames and fireplaces to flamboyant furnishings. Love or loathe his exuberance he was seen as an arbiter of taste and in modern terminology a brand builder when Britain was ready for a fresh start. Decorex, which is at Syon Park, is going mad for the new Georgiana, just announcing it as this year’s theme, honing in on craftsmanship, celebrity and brand.
Sitting Room in ‘English Decoration’ by Ben Pentreath
The Katzsic sofa designed by Max Rollitt is based on a sofa Max bought in a Manor House in Lancashire which dates from 1790.
Georgian style is considered one of quality and taste. We are building Georgian-style homes again and wresting rooms back from the grips of open-plan living. Neo-classicalism is just incredibly elegant and pleasing to the eye. Perhaps all this marks a move away from minimalism towards a desire for detail in decoration and for interiors that are refined and composed, yet comfortable and joyful.
The above image is Ben Pentreath’s house in Dorset, a 19th century former Parsonage, where as he says the ‘rooms are calm, quiet spaces and I have designed accordingly, using plain, light furniture that responds to the simplicity of the building. The Parsonage is a changing place, as I use the house as a test-bed for my own ideas and thoughts, but an underlying Englishness and sense of comfort prevail.’