A couple of years ago I spent a full day in the grounds of Russburough House, Co. Wicklow listening to experts talk about walled Gardens. You could tell they were 'preaching to the choir' but even I got a bit aprehensive when one lady began to talk about bricks... Not walls, just bricks. ‘Undoubtedly the handsomest and most commodious for nailing’, quotes Susan Roundtree, Conservation Architect in Brick in Ireland’s Historic Walled Gardens .. It was fascinating.
“Most commodious for nailing.” A remark I'm sure the Georgian lady, Mrs. Delany, would have agreed with. Mrs. Delany was more known for her Flower Mosaiks - The botanically correct paper collages made in her later life - but her gardens at Delville in Dublin formed the basis for the National Botanical Gardens of Ireland. “The Paper Garden” by Molly Peacock, brings Mary Delany's world to life so it's easy to see her busy gardening. I've had a couple of copies of the book which I passed on, one without the inside cover which I used in a moodboard as I find her an inspiration. (Part of the picture below.)
To me a walled garden seems to have a special atmosphere of its own. Calmer and more settled then their un-walled counterparts.. more culitvated in every sense of the word, somehow cosier.. Maybe because their South-facing walls are generally beautiful red brick which retain heat, or maybe it's the careful use of space.These gardens, especially in Georgian Times, were vital to the kitchen supplies of the grand houses; And the space, because it was confined by its walls, was carefully used to get the best value produce out the vegetable plots, fruit trees and green houses. They were often defined by a graceful symmetry in the layout.
I like a practical garden - a shelterd spot to read and rest. Definitely prefer to have my afternoon tea or brunch in the relative informality of a kitchen/walled garden - that's where I find myself at home and why the Chez Maison Style had this aesthetic at its core.
Of course our style is all about the textiles that have been around since Mrs. Delany's time: the velvets, and linens and the toiles. Toiles were first produced in Ireland in the mid-18th Century due to copper-plate fabric printing being invented here by Francis Nixon in the 1750s so I'm sure she would have been well aware of such things. Toile quickly became popular in Britain and France - as soon as cotton imports became available - there was some politics involved.. Today Toiles are much more associated with the French town of Jouy, near Versailles. Printed patterns in a single colour, on a single background, becoming know as Toile-de-Jouy.
It's not just the Toiles that give Chez Maison its French Accent – it's also about the slight 'potting shed vibe' of piled up containers and Parisan Markets that I like. Faded Toiles, white linens and Antique Picture Frames definely work with our style. What a "Toile" party it was in this Swatch Watch... Enjoy.