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Faded purple and dusky gold

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The long room was beautiful: faded, even shabby, but beautiful. The deep-rose curtains, the soft wine-coloured carpet, the wallpaper of dove colour — all were shabby. Between the gilt frames of the pictures there were, once and again, little tears in the paper. The two big armchairs, one on each side of the fireplace, covered with heavy rose damask, were worn on the arms. There were tall lacquer screens, a long bookcase filled with old tattered volumes; three tall white vases filled with chrysanthemums. Everything was old: even the flowers seemed ancient. But the effect of the room, softly lit, was beautiful, colours dim and deep, rose and faded purple and dusky gold.

Hugh Walpole – The Sea Tower (1939)

It’s an old and rather upper class idea of domestic beauty perhaps, but one I could identify with. Especially if we could afford a place with mullioned windows and lots of old oak, the kind of place Walpole probably had in mind.

Take a gander at Rightmove and you won’t find many domestic interiors of this description even though it could be copied. Apart from the tears in the wallpaper perhaps. Not easy to do that artistically. The sterile look seems to be far more fashionable if Rightmove is any guide.


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