As you may have seen from the World of Interiors Article, which came out just ahead of Decorex, JET ( Joan Evelyn Thomson) was Whiteworks founder Susanna White’s eccentric and talented grandmother. JET created the designs, on which the Collection is based, just after the Second World War in her small and pretty 1940s terraced house off Kensington Church Street, in which she continued to live right up to her death in the 1990s.
Her extraordinary life and the story of unearthing and developing the collection is well described in the article. Susanna knew the house well, and we decided to try and recreate within our 4m x 3m stand the feel of the Drawing room / studio, where Jet worked. This gave us the opportunity to tell a story and also show a great deal of the Collection both in finished form as well as in samples and complete bolts of fabric and rolls of wallpaper as well as the work of some of our artist and makers.
The bureau, with glass fronted bookcase above papered in Rites of Spring, came from Lenox Cato Antiques and is very similar to the one in Susanna’s parents’ house, where the portfolio of designs was recently discovered by Susanna. The walls were papered with great skill and neatness in Posy Pink with Pink Flower by Gary White from Colchester Lister. The curtains around the reclaimed dummy window were beautifully made by Sarah MacKay of Capeprivate in linen using the Posy Upscale fabric with lining in the smaller scale, both in the colourway – Posy Baby Pink (Pink flower). The Georgian sofa was upholstered in violet Queen Anne’s Lace velvet and backed in Patchwork. The second sofa was upholstered in Pine Burgundy with the chairs upholstered in Squiggle Sea Green. Cushions were made using mainly Hunters and Deco fabrics as well as patchwork and a pink from Tinsmiths.
The 82 different designs of wallpapers and fabrics were kept in two specially made sample drawer stands located at the front of the stand. On the walls were two wonderful interior scenes by Peter Lloyd Jones as well as a painting of Josephine Baker by Michaela Gall and a pair of Georgian mirrors from Kit Alderson of Tetbury. Hats were made in some of the Velvets by Ali Sutherland and hung above the sample cabinets. A pair of gilt stools were upholstered in Black Queen Anne’s Lace supporting lamps by Mercury Hare with 400mm drum shades in both Posy Pink Fabric and Tree Bough Ivory wallpaper. A vintage glass coffee table display case housed a pair of Hal Messel silver candlesticks.
We enjoyed the challenge of creating this quite complicated interior in such a short time. We know that it was different from many of the other stands, but hope it showed off effectively the versatility as well as the contemporary appeal of Jet’s work.
Again huge thanks to all who helped us and most importantly those who visited us during the 4 days of the show.