Monday, 9 March 2015

Decorating with Horses

From the age of say, eight, to the age of twelve, my approach to decorating was simple:  I blue-tacked posters ripped from Pony Magazine to every spare inch of my bedroom walls, hung all the rosettes won on Smokey/ Misty/ Rainbow along the picture rail, and ensured that the collection of Spode Noble Horse plates that my grandfather bought for me via an advertisement in the back of the Telegraph Magazine took pride of place over my bed.  Meanwhile my windowsill became a shrine to worn horse shoes, and my bookshelves were crammed with everything from The Manual of Horsemanship to the complete series of Ruby Ferguson's Jill's Ponies books.  (And yes, I wanted to be Jill.  Didn't we all?)

My mother wasn't overly keen, especially since, with me ensconced at boarding school (with ponies, naturally) my bedroom doubled as the spare bedroom.  In retrospect, I realise that she missed a trick.  Had I been introduced to the joys of this wallpaper:

Jour de Fete by Pierre Frey

I probably wouldn't have felt the need to cover it up with Next Milton/ Henderson Milton/ whoever (and did anybody else find it slightly inconvenient that John Whitaker kept changing his sponsor, and thus his horses' names?)  The thing is, home was a series of army quarters, so I imagine that the argument would have been that it wouldn't have been worth wallpapering a room that was only going to be mine for a couple of years, tops.  But surely there was another solution:  she could have bought me a Stubbs or two, no?

Whistlejacket by George Stubbs.  

Of course, the above painting hangs in the National Gallery, which should give you some indication of how much a work by Stubbs might cost.  But I really wasn't picky, as evidenced by my love of the Spode plates.  Here's a picture of one, just to give you an idea of how gloriously gopping they are:

Obviously I didn't have them on little stands.  I had them on the wall.  All eight of them.

Now, of course, we have Lumitrix, which I'd recommend to any mother looking to improve the look of her daughter's bedroom walls - or indeed any other room in the house - specifically, the work of Astrid Harrison:

Astrid Harrison, Circling at Dawn

Astrid Harrison, Camargue in the Mist

But back to my own deprived childhood, in which I had an actual pony but, crucially, no ponies gracing my curtains.  I genuinely don't understand how this happened - obviously I should have had a subscription to World of Interiors and House & Garden as well as Pony Magazine, and then I might have discovered these fabrics:

Haras by Pierre Frey

Lasso by Pierre Frey (I love this.  Esmeralda is so totally going to find it in her bedroom at the very first indication of her being as infatuated as I was . . . )

And They're Off!  by Ralph Lauren Home (which is an incredibly pretty toile and you don't even necessarily realise that it's about horses unless you really examine it up close.)

To conclude, one day I'll probably allow my horse obsession to once again take over, at least in some rooms.  My Pinterest has a dedicated 'Fantasy Stables' board, for when we move to the country and the second coming of Rainbow the Wonder Pony takes place  (I spend a lot of time on Morgan Equine looking at their coloured ponies . . . )  In the mean time, the Spode plates are in my kitchen cupboard, and it's suddenly occurred to me that I can use them for a series of themed parties, which Andrew thinks sound like hell.  

I, however, am very much looking forward to our Grand National lunch.