Monday, 27 May 2013

Painting and decorating

Up at Tillypronie, where the sun is shining at last, we have been dabbling with different paint samples, trying to find the right shade for the morning room (redecoration having been called for after the depredations of a cruel winter). I was determined to find an exact match for the beautifully faded chintz cushions; was their background Wimbourne White or Pointing, or could it be String or Clunch? Yes, we ventured down the Farrow & Ball path -- lured by Slipper Satin and Calamine -- but in the end, settled on Classic Cream, from Homebase House of Colour. (And if you ask me, it's just as subtle as F&B, and much less expensive.)
Meanwhile, I have also been diverted by a picture in the study by Winifred Austen (a painter and engraver of birds and animals), which is a preparation for one of her delicate etchings. She sounds intriguing (you can read a little more about her here); and even the briefest biography suggests the outline of a story worth telling at greater length. One of her teachers at the London County Council School of Arts and Crafts was named Cuthbert Swan; her first commissioned work was in 1898, when she was 22, for E. Nesbit's 'Book of Dogs'; her housekeeper in Suffolk, Mrs Field, was also known as Mouse (oh, and she had an early interest in psychical research).
Much more to report -- including a trip to Braemar Castle, on the trail of a former editor of Harper's Bazaar; but first must quickly get outside for a walk in the heather, before returning south to London and the working week again...