Directorio Deco by Gloria Gonzalez

Directorio Deco

Tulip mania

Tulip season is a major event in Holland. Part of the country is transformed into a vast sea of flowers from mid-March to mid-May. It starts with crocus season in March, which is followed by daffodils and hyacinths. Finally, the tulips show their gorgeous colours, this is from mid-April through the first week of May. This flower originally came from Turkey but has become Holland’s symbol. How did that happen?

The Tulip was actually originally a wildflower growing in Central Asia. It was first cultivated by the Turks as early as 1000AD. Although the Dutch Tulipomania is the most famous, The first mania occurred way back in 1500’s in Turkey – which was the time of the Ottoman Empire and of Sultan Suleiman I (1494-1566). Tulips became highly cultivated blooms, developed for the pleasure of the Sultan and his entourage. During the Turkish reign of Ahmed III (1703-30) it is believed that the Tulip reigned supreme as a symbol of wealth and prestige and the period later became known as ‘Age of the Tulips’.

An Iznik Polychrome tile, Turkey, circa 1575 of square form painted in underglaze cobalt blue, viridian green, turquoise and relief red, outlined in black with tulips, saz and composite lotus and saz palmettes issuing from scrolling tendrils. Sotheby'sAn Iznik Polychrome tile, Turkey, circa 1575 of square form painted in underglaze cobalt blue, viridian green, turquoise and relief red, outlined in black with tulips, saz and composite lotus and saz palmettes issuing from scrolling tendrils. Sotheby’s

 

It was during the early 1700’s that the Turks began what was probably the first of the Tulip Festivals which was held at night during a full moon. Hundreds of exquisite vases were filled with the most breath-taking Tulips, crystal lanterns were used to cast an enchanting light over the gardens whilst aviaries were filled with canaries and nightingales that sang for the guests. Romantically, all guests were required to wear colours which harmonised with the flowers.

A tulip in a landscape within stencilled borders. Ottoman, 17th century. British Museum Collection.

A tulip in a landscape within stencilled borders. Ottoman, 17th century. British Museum Collection.

 

Tulips were imported into Holland in the sixteenth century. When Carolus Clusius wrote the first major book on tulips in 1592, they became so popular that his garden was raided and bulbs were stolen on a regular basis.

Tulips were originally a natural curiosity and a hobby for the extremely rich. The fascination with the tulips, its endless mutations and mystery, gave it an increasing value of immense proportions.

Double Portrait of a Husband and Wife with Tulip, Bulb, and Shells oil on panel painting by Michiel Jansz van Mierevelt, 1609  Sotheby's

Double Portrait of a Husband and Wife with Tulip, Bulb, and Shells oil on panel painting by Michiel Jansz van Mierevelt, 1609  Sotheby’s

 

Speculation on Tulip bulbs began building quickly as the middle and upper classes sought them as the ultimate symbol of wealth and prosperity. Along with aviaries of exotic birds and large, decorative fountains, there would always be Tulips in the garden of any self-respecting Emperor, King, Prince, Archbishop or member of the aristocracy. Often mirrors would be set up in the garden to give the illusion that the owner had been able to afford to plant many more tulips than he actually had.

Until 1630 the bulbs were grown and traded only between connoisseurs and scholars but more commercially minded people soon noticed the ever increasing prices being paid for certain Tulips and thought they’d found the perfect “get rich quick” scheme.
And so the popularity of the Tulip increased and more and more people became caught up in the trade.

It wasn’t long before the majority of the Dutch community became obsessed with these flowers. Those who could not afford the bulbs settled instead for art, furniture, embroideries and ceramics which featured the flowers.

Tulip vase, Adriaen Kocks, 1694. Royal Collection Trust, UK.   Many of Queen Mary II's Delft vases were described in the inventories of her palaces at Het Loo and Hampton Court as standing on the hearth. Flower vases such as these were used to ornament the fireplace during the spring and summer when fires were not lit. Each of the nine hexagonal stages was made separately, with a sealed water reservoir and six protruding grotesque animal mouths, into which the cut stems of tulips or other flowers could be placed.

Tulip vase, Adriaen Kocks, 1694. Royal Collection Trust, UK.   Many of Queen Mary II’s Delft vases were described in the inventories of her palaces at Het Loo and Hampton Court as standing on the hearth. Flower vases such as these were used to ornament the fireplace during the spring and summer when fires were not lit. Each of the nine hexagonal stages was made separately, with a sealed water reservoir and six protruding grotesque animal mouths, into which the cut stems of tulips or other flowers could be placed.

 

Many of the gorgeous Tulip watercolours painted during this period are now considered works of art but were, at the time, painted for catalogues with which to tempt buyers into ever more extravagant purchases. It was only ever the most expensive Tulips (ie those with ‘broken’ colour) which were painted.

Since bulbs were sold by weight, most people were speculating on the future weight of the bulb once it was dug.

Jacob Marrel, Four Tulips: Boter man (Butter Man), Joncker (Nobleman), Grote geplumaceerde (The Great Plumed One), and Voorwint (With the Wind), ca. 1635–45. Met Museum.

Jacob Marrel, Four Tulips: Boter man (Butter Man), Joncker (Nobleman), Grote geplumaceerde (The Great Plumed One), and Voorwint (With the Wind), ca. 1635–45. Met Museum.

 

The tulip’s popularity reached unprecedented, even excessive, heights, in the 1630s. This gave rise to a veritable tulipmania, which held many Dutchmen in its grip in 1636 and 1637. If the flower had initially roused largely scientific interest, from around 1630 on tulips became attractive financially. Tulips and tulip bulbs were bought and sold actively, frantically in fact, and this trade deteriorated into speculation in 1637. Countless people jumped on the bandwagon buying options they could pay later, some even putting up their homes as collateral. The market crashed suddenly in February 1637; prices plummeted and many investors were left penniless.

Tulip, two Branches of Myrtle and two Shells, Maria Sibylla Merian (attributed to) c. 1700. Rijksmuseum

Tulip, two Branches of Myrtle and two Shells, Maria Sibylla Merian (attributed to) c. 1700. Rijksmuseum

 

Jean Leon Gerome, The Tulip Folly, 1882, The Walters Art Museum

Jean Leon Gerome, The Tulip Folly, 1882, The Walters Art Museum

 

Susan Stewart 'Tulip Fire' Quilt, 2012, The National Quilt Museum

Susan Stewart ‘Tulip Fire’ Quilt, 2012, The National Quilt Museum

 

The people who speculated in tulips and tulip bulbs were the object of ridicule in countless pamphlets and prints. After all, vast sums were involved. Yet this way of doing business existed already in the 16th century, for instance in the grain trade. This was called grain futures, which is a polite word for speculation. Futures trading is still current; our present-day options exchange continues to work with a form of futures.

While interest in tulips remained undiminished after the crash in 1637, the market was no longer rife with excess and prices dropped to a more reasonable level. Tulips never lost their popularity, and growers in the west of Holland have continued to develop new varieties to this very day.

Tulips, Charlie McCormick

@mccormickcharlie

 

 

Tulips, The Landgardeners

@thelandgardeners

‘Some tulips last so long you could almost dust them off, and others you can’t trust overnight’ Constance Spry

The Embroideries of Lagartera

The commission to decorate the library of the Hispanic Society of America decisively marked the life of Sorolla, not only because of the commitment to transmit to the American public an image of the country that reflected the national identity but also because it prevented him from dedicating valuable time to other artistic endeavours.

The process of creating the panels obliged Sorolla to travel throughout Spain taking notes and studies of nature, both large monuments and scenes, which he then composed in a laborious puzzle whose final result is an accurate mirror of life in Spain.

Lagartera Bride , Joaquin Sorolla , 1912

He began his journey in Lagartera. This canvas painted in the spring of 1912 was a preparatory study for the panel dedicated to Castilla, ‘The bread festival’. On this painting, a ‘Lagartera bride’ is surrounded by ‘Lagarteranos’, all dressed in the traditional intricate costume from Lagartera.

A girl from Lagartera wearing a traditional costume in 1914. Photography by Jules Gervais-Courtellemont for National Geographic
A girl from Lagartera wearing a traditional costume in 1914. Photography by Jules Gervais-Courtellemont for National Geographic

Since the 16th century, the small Spanish village of Lagartera (Toledo) has been famous for its exquisite embroidery which, in my opinion, is one of the most exquisite examples of Spanish craftsmanship. These embroideries are traditionally worked on hand-woven linen, using lively colours and the satin stitch and double running stitch techniques

Antique Lagartera Embroidery

 

The origin of these embroideries started with the Coptic Culture that developed in Egyptian territory between the years 313-641. During this period,  Coptic art was flourishing with advanced technology which was developed in the looms and weaves, creating some beautiful embroideries of Byzantine influence, but also mixed with a perfect classical order by Hellenic influence.

Coptic Embroidery
Coptic embroidery motifs

When the Arabs dominated Egypt, they welcomed their culture, especially in their sumptuary arts and in particular their embroideries, which spread throughout their areas of influence: Syria, the Caucasus, Maghreb and Al-Andalus (Muslim Spain).

Coptic Embroidery , Ana Abascal Antiques
Fragments of Coptic embroideries at Ana Abascal Antiques store

The Mozarabs (Christians who lived in an area governed by Arabs, but maintaining their Christian religion and their Spanish laws), took much influence from the Arab culture, especially in the language, gastronomy, weddings as well as in the sumptuary arts especially in dress, fabrics and decoration or embroidery thereof.

The existence of Mozarabic populations in Lagartera is demonstrated in the document of 1281 published by Ángel Barrios in his work “Documents of the Cathedral of Ávila” . These Mozarabs would be the ones who adapted the  Coptic-Arab embroideries among their natives and have remained to this day.

Lagartera Embroidery

For more than eight centuries, the Lagartera embroideries have been shaped by different styles and influences. Renaissance designs can be seen in some religious scenes embodied in bedding. Also, we can see eighteenth-century influence taken from the designs of the Royal Silk Factories at Ávila, Talavera de la Reina and Oropesa, as well as some ornamental motifs from the nearby ceramics of Puente del Arzobispo and Talavera de la Reina.

Lagartera Embroidery

These embroideries were traditionally used for clothing as well as for home furnishing. Below you can see some stunning pictures that my friend Miriam took a couple of years ago during the Corpus Christi. For this celebration, the facades of Largatera are decorated with different textiles pieces, altars are placed on the doors of the homes and the people from Lagartera dresses with the traditional costumes.

Corpus Christi in Lagartera. Popular Costume

Corpus Christi in Lagartera. Popular Costume Corpus Christi in Lagartera. Popular Costume

Corpus Christi in Lagartera Corpus Christi in Lagartera

Information about the origin of the Lagartera embroidery –  Ciudad de las Tres Culturas Blog  

Merry Christmas

On today’s blog post I’m sharing some of my favourite Holiday Decor to wish you all a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year. May your heart and home be filled with all of the joys the festive season brings.

  T A B L E S 

Alidad’s London apartment dressed for Christmas.  Veranda Magazine. Simon Upton photography

 

Pattern play via Veranda. Melanie Acevedo photography

 

Aerin Lauder. Vogue Magazine. Claiborne Swanson Frank photography

 

Alessandra Branca via One Kings Lane

 

Alessandra Branca via One Kings Lane

 

Bold Contrast. Veranda Magazine. Francesco Lagnese photography

 

Carolyne Roehm. Architectural Digest

 

Carolyne Roehm. Architectural Digest

 

 

G A R L A N D S 

Alidad’s London Apartment. Veranda Magazine. Simon Upton photography

 

Scot Meacham Wood. Traditional Home. John Merkl photography

 

Suzanne Rheinstein. One Kings Lane

 

Sarah Bartholomew

 

Alessandra Branca. One Kings Lane

 

Sarah Bartholomew

 

Lisa Hilderbrand via Traditional Home

 

Alessandra Branca

 

P R E T T Y     D E T A I L S 

Sarah Bartholomew

 

Frank de Biasi

 

Alessandra Branca. One Kings Lane

 

Chatelaine

 

Source Unknown

 

Tory Burch

 

Mark D Sikes. One Kings Lane