Every August we retreat to one of the greenest of Greek Islands - Corfu. It was time to recharge our batteries in the place that’s been our sanctuary for the past seven years. We have had a wonderful working year, but it has been intense and it was definitely time for a holiday.
The Sanctuary of Summer Holidays and Exciting Discoveries.
13 September 2019
Maybe we have a sub-conscious pull to Greece with the strong correlation between Ancient Greece and Georgian design. It is the first civilisation. So much stems from Greek culture and mythology. Its refined taste underpins so many Antique Georgian chimneypiece designs.
Ancient Greek design also inspired the first chair we created in our reproduction furniture collection: the Klismos chair. The original Klismos chairs were created by the Greeks during the 6th Century BC and were the first chairs that allowed people to sit freely and in a relaxed, natural position. More than two thousand years after it was devised, the Klismos chair was revived during the late 18th and the early 19th Centuries. The form was revived again in 1906 when architect Emmanuel Pontrémoli recreated them for Théodore Reinach at Villa Kérylos in Beaulieu-sur-Mer overlooking the Mediterranean.
I was embarrassed that in all the years we had been vacationing in Corfu I hadn’t gone to any of the wonderful museums in the main town. We finally managed it this year and started with the Archaeological Museum of Corfu. The highlight of the wonderful collection is the monumental sculpted pediment (22.16mx 3.15m) from the temple of Artemis which has survived through the centuries and many wars. It was hidden from the Nazi’s during the Second World War in the basement of the Palace of St Michael and St George, before finally taking its resting place in the Museum built in the 1960’s by the modernist architect Vassilis Douras.
The temple of Artemis, near the Hyllaikos harbour, is one of the earliest known Doric temples built entirely from stone. It was discovered during the Napoleonic war by soldiers as they were digging, preparing for trench warfare. It was the largest built temple of its time and it is the greatest part of the west poros pediment that survives. Artemis was one of the most widely venerated of the Ancient Greek deities. The goddess of the hunt, the wilderness, the Moon, wild animals and chastity. The Gorgon central figure symbolically evokes Artemis as protector of wild animals. She is surrounded by her children, Pegasus, the winged horse and Chrysaor and two lion panthers, her temple guardians.
Corfu has had many ‘rulers’ from the French in the early 19th Century, to the British in the later part of the same century, all leaving their mark and I love the mix of architecture (from the 14th -17th Century Venetian traces to the 18th and 19th Century French and English.)
The Museum of Asian Art is housed in the Palace of St Michael and St George, built in the Greek revival style of neoclassical architecture by the English architect Colonel George Whitmore in 1819. I was delighted to find the most exquisite antique chimneypieces that looked like they were designed by Pocock.
Restored and rested ( The ancient Greeks understood the healing power of light as essential to growth and life everywhere.) we are rejuvenated and preparing for London Design Week during which we will be launching an exciting new collection!
On Monday evening we open our doors to the shop to launch our new Pantry furniture collection, derived from the ‘below stairs’ Country house kitchen. Please come and join us for a drink to celebrate!