Saturday, October 1, 2011

Decorative Painting, Part 2

The Master Bedroom from a project by John Tackett Design.
Photo by Pieter Estersohn from SOUTHERN ACCENTS ON COLOR.
The Devoted Classicist is a great admirer of decorative painting, and this is the second of a series of essays, the first being back on December 26, 2010.  Shown here is the Master Bedroom of a house in the Volk Estates area of Highland Park, Dallas, Texas.  A view of the exterior and the renovated staircase in the stenciled Entrance Hall can be revisited on the July 28, 2011, post.  The suite occupies part of the existing house as well as the second story of one of the new additions;  in addition to the large bedroom, there are His & Hers Dressing Rooms, His & Hers Bathrooms, a Sitting Room, and an Office.  The wood chimneypiece was reused from the Garden Room downstairs (below the Sitting Room) and given a faux marbre finish. For the sake of variety and to give a coziness to the room with a big cove and tray ceiling, it was decided that a faux bois paneled decoration would be just the ticket.  The decorative painting was executed by the noted artist Robert Jackson and his team.

The bed, a discontinued model by Mark Hampton for Hickory Chair which was given a glaze painted finish on site, was chosen by collaborator Josie McCarthy who also specified all the fabrics.  John Tackett Design provided a full size template for the bed canopy (and pleated valances for the windows and French doors) to work with the embroidered fabric from Chelsea Editions.  The photo, which originally appeared as part of an 18 page article in Southern Accents magazine, is from the book Southern Accents on Color, available here.  And yes, the magazine editor and photographer did move the candle wall sconces and watercolor portrait for the shot!


  1. Beautiful room, John! Robert Jackson's work, from what I saw of it in the magazines, was of the best. When I read his name I always think of a staircase/hall done by Mario Buatta or Mark Hampton where the view of what must have been a wonderful scenic mural was obliterated by an enormous bunch of flowers in a pot on a hall table. Perhaps it's time for a book about Robert Jackson.

  2. Blue, you are right! It IS time for a book about the work of the late Robert Jackson. He did some fabulous murals and other paintings for Bunny Williams and Parish-Hsdley, some I worked on but many, many others as well, that could fill a book on their own.

  3. That is to say that I worked on many projects that included painting by Robert Jackson!

  4. What a stunning the subtle colors and of course the hand painting is devine!

  5. There is only one word to describe the shape of the bed canopy: Perfection.
    It manages to be generously scaled without appearing to overwhelm the
    bed or the room~ which is no small feat!

  6. Enchanted, I am sorry that the shot is so tight because it is actually a very interesting room. Thanks for your comment.

    Toby, your comments are always appreciated!

  7. Toby Worthington and I seem to be joined somehow! He/she ??? is pretty much the only person I agree with 100% of the time!

    Why on earth did they discontinue that bed?

    Perfection is right! Thank God we have the photo! There are many out-of -work craftsmen who can duplicate it. Bad, "Hickory chair!" Stupid!

    I think these companies are now being run by accountants. So sad!

    They will never get it.

    I am so grateful for what is left!


  8. Oh, Yes! Please......a book about Robert Jackson! Lordy! We need to have one!

    I have several friends who had "Bunny" do their houses......and Robert Jackson did "vignettes" before they are gone.........who can write a book????????

  9. May I have permission to copy the shape of the canopy? The 4 poster bed will be quite different.
    Your canopy shape is exactly what I had as a girl in Pasadena....and I have no picture of it. I am sure my Mommie copied it from somewhere!
    (she wasn't a decorator....but she could have been....and she steered me in that 1962 Elsie de Wolfe's book...."A House in Good Taste" so I did!

    I have a webisite! (wonder of wonders!) See if you like it!


  10. Penelope, please do reproduce the shape of the canopy. As a reminder, it does have an interlining, not rigid like Masonsite, but with just enough stiffening so that it does not hang limp.

    Mr. Toby Worthington is indeed a much-admired commentator on design. I have encouraged him to consider starting his own blog. But, until then, we can appreciate his valued comments on the various design blogs.

    Penelope, your website looks great! Readers of The Devoted Classicist can easily access it at the Blog Roll in the sidebar on the right by scrolling down my main page.

  11. As the former (retired ) Director of Design for Hickory Chair Co, I would like to differ with Penelopeblanchi's comments.
    I worked with Mark on the design of the bed in question and saw it into production. It was part of a sub collection by Mark Hampton named European Country by Mark Hampton. The bed, and most. Things were made I heavy oak, and were offered, and only available in one wood finish (a medium"fruitwood") .
    There is only one reason that things get discontinued at HCC, or any other company, and that is when they are no longer selling well enough! There were just not enough people buying the bed to continue to continue cutting it!
    The interesting thing is that Mark used the bed in his Kips Bay Showhouse room, near the end of his life, ---- and he painted it a creamy white!
    We did not have the ability to paint large pieces at that time, but things have changed and Hickoy Chair now can , and does, paint every thing ----- any color!
    Maybe it would still be in the line if that were the case at that time.
    And BTW, Hickory Chair has good accountents, but they do not "run the company". The market has changed, and they now are able to sell more designers, who can use decorative things, instead of the old "carriage trade" stores, who are dying. Check them out---- with their nationally known Designers doing diverse collections, they are doing great things.
    However, they have to sell to stay in the line!

  12. WM, thank you for your comments. I think we all have experienced frustration when a product we thought was fabulous was discontinued. But limited editions are generally a good thing, to my thinking. And of course, there is always a possibility for a re-issue, no?

  13. Mark's use of the same bed can be seen on pages 32 and 33 of Duane's book, Mark Hampton., where it also is painted and glazed.
    Yes, the worst days for me would be the twice a year meetings, where the management would make decisions on what would be dropped! It would be senior management, sales managers, and merchandisers and design managers---- no accountants! I would try to keep a balance to the line, but unfortunately the lack of sales would be the determining factor.
    What many Interior Designers don't realize is that we don't build just one of a piece, but have had to cut a minimum of 50. That is the only way we could offer the furniture at an affordable price . I wish Penelope luck in finding a craftsman who cold make the bed with it's turned and carved posts at anywhere close to the price that Hickory Chair charged!

  14. Thanks, WM, for your additional comments. I was living in NYC at the time and visited the 1997 Kips Bay Showhouse with the Mark Hampton bedroom featuring the Hickory Chair bed. I would venture to say that Mark was considered one of the three most famous (living) U.S. decorators at the time, which some now refer to as a Golden Age in decorating. This showhouse room was well received and among the last that he personally completed; his declining health would become increasingly more an issue until his death about 15 months later.

  15. I too saw the room, and went to the opening party as Marks guest. As you know, the room was much better than the photos of it! It was filled with all of the things he likes best.

  16. Decorative paintings can be very nice to look at.

  17. M., I know there are some wonderful historic examples of decorative painting in the Scandavian countries, too. Thanks for your comment.

    Sanity, your comment is appreciated.

  18. Oh dear! I did not follow this at all! I owe an apology to WM Twigs!
    I "jumped to conclusions!" (It is actually "Hollywood " that is now being run by "accountants"! And your explanation makes perfect sense!

    I have, in the past, bought reproductions in various wood tones with the immediate intent of painting them! (It makes male clients "weak in the knees"....I never show them the dark wood until it is painted!)

    You are totally correct, Sir, I could never find anyone to make that bed for even close to what your very reasonable price was! It was gorgeous!

    I will have to search for it on ebay! (dream on!)

    Thank you so much for your explanation; and I admire your eye and your taste! Mark Hampton was truly one of the best; and we were cheated to have lost him at such a young age. So smart of your company to hire such a brilliant decorator to design furniture!

    Please accept my apology.


  19. I absolutely love this room and the sprigged bed canopy with that restful celadon lining.
    The lightness and sense of security evokes some pleasurable memory from my childhood which I can't quite pin down - and all the better for that.

  20. Rose, the primary fabric is embroidered fabric from Chelsea Editions and the lining is a bit more dusty blue than it appears in the photo. Thank you for commenting.


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