This is one of four Barovier glass sconces produced in Murano, Italy, circa 1940.
These four new, but old, sconces will add some much needed light to my north-facing dining room. For some time now, I’ve been aware that my library/dining room needed more sparkle or illumination after dark. I can always use candles for dining, but what about those other evenings when there’s company for cocktails and such? Guests would arrive through the front door into a well lit living room and then cross through the dark dining room on their way to the kitchen and back areas of the house. Relying on the overhead ceiling fixture as the only light source was less than optimal, because the space has been too well designed to consign the book cabinets to the shadows. Charley McKenney, my architect, came up with the sconce concept which is something I originally didn’t think was feasible. We did consider other sconces, including a custom design, before he found these fixtures at John Gregory Studio in Dallas’ Design District.
The next step was to find an electrician who could do this unusual installation. Since my general contractor and his electrician were tied up on another job, I called Wade Electric, who I had used before I started my home’s restoration. If you ever have a tricky perhaps fancy lighting situation that has you stumped, call Wade Electric. Thank you, Jesse, for all your expertise! To see the sconces illuminated and photos of the entire space, click on the link below.
A bronze copy of the famous reclining Pauline Bonaparte (Click on the photo for a much larger version.)
The original Pauline Bonaparte as Venus Victrix was commissioned by her husband Camillo Borghese and executed in Rome from 1805 and 1808 by the Italian sculptor Antonio Canova. This life-size semi-nude evokes the ancient Roman tradition of depicting a mortal individual as a god and was considered daring for those times in that a lady of high rank was portrayed in the nude. Even though I have seen numerous copies, I never knew their provenance until one found its way into my living room.
Finally I was able to photograph my newly decorated office. For several weeks now I’ve been waiting for the sun to stay consistently bright from 1pm through 2pm in order to take these photos. Unfortunately, while waiting, the oak tree fully leafed out causing the light to not be as bright as it would have been while the tree was dormant. The sun wasn’t my only problem. With two other very different light sources, incandescent and fluorescent, I ended up having some strange color issues, which I will gladly point out to you in the following photographs.
The clothes and accessories. Produced by Silvia Venturini Fendi of the famous Fendi family, the film could be considered fashion porn. The leading star, Tilda Swinton, was entirely dressed by Jil Sander’s Raf Simons. The house of Fendi dressed the men and also provided extraordinary furs for the magnificent Marisa Berenson, who plays the perfectly put-together mother-in-law with a preference for vintage ’70s furs. In fact, all of the Recchi women favor a classic look. The impression is that clothes in this family are passed down, not shopped for. Tilda, in an interview, described the choices as an expressive wardrobe. “There were moments when, for her to wear a red dress at the point which she falls in love, there’s a control one can expect on the palette of the film if one works in that way.”
Above is the original dining room light fixture. And now, that the room serves a dual purpose as a library and dining room, this fixture can’t be more perfect. When I first moved into the house in 1985, this light fixture was a three-way. See the brass knob ball at the base of the light fixture? Turning it allowed me to alternate between having just the top five on, or just the bottom bowl on, or have all six illuminated (which was way too bright). But, all good things must come to an end, and the internal stem (or whatever it’s called) finally broke. Some day I plan on taking the whole thing down and locating someone who could fix it. In the meantime, a dimmer switch has been installed and works just as well as the three way if not better. But still… It would be cool to have it working in its original condition.