Friday, February 22, 2008

How to Decorate like Rossetti

Yesterday was a look at how to decorate like William Morris, my own personal decor hero. For a partially tongue-in-cheek antithesis today, I thought I'd let you know how to decorate like Dante Gabriel Rossetti.

First things first...the yard. Save up your money and collect a menagerie of insane animals. Must-haves include a raccoon that never stays in your own yard, peacocks that yelp at all hours of the night and make it so that the neighborhood actually creates a new rule against peacocks as pets. Purchase a pet zebra who you'll eventually have to return because he will kick and act completely wild. Buy a wombat, and name it after the husband of the woman you're having an affair with. And joke around about purchasing an elephant to wash your windows and bring in more income from passersby who want to buy a painting from such a strange man.

Rossetti's actual home on Cheyne Walk.

Inside your house, make sure you have about ten thousand things that you collect. Collect numerous obscure musical instruments, both for use in your paintings, and also just to sit around never being played and looking lyrical. Fill your house with tons and tons of mirrors, (seen in the top painting of Rossetti sitting in his home) strange antiquities, and of course, like William Morris, plenty of blue and white china.

Three pieces of china from Rossetti's actual collection.

Finally, and very importantly, the bedroom. Make sure your bedroom is extremely dark and depressing, with curtains around an ancient bed that never let in light or air. The fireplace in the bedroom should be large and stifling, with more of your collection of china, brass, and knick knacks above it. The most important thing is to feel completely unable to breathe in this room, with no breeze able to come in through the layers of curtains, not to mention the bed draperies. The only modern item in the entire room should be a box of Bryant and May's matches. Half-empty bottles of 'medicinal' ether can be scattered around at your discretion. For some reason you will have problems with insomnia.

A painting of Rossetti's bedroom, which his assistant Treffry Dunn could find nothing good to say about.

With these helpful cues, it should be simple to decorate your home like Dante Gabriel Rossetti! Just be sure to save enough money for the therapy bills that are sure to ensue.


Aurora said...

Oh dear, oh dear, oh DEAR! I'm sorry to say that my home comes FAR closer to matching Rossetti's, than William Morris'...I *adore* Victorian clutter--as long as it's artfully arranged, of course!--and your arch comments on the Victorian love of fabrics, fabrics, everywhere, had my hanging my head in shame--for that is my idea of heaven! (In THIS home, anyway--in my last, where I had tons of windows, everything was light and airy and cluttered--a sort of Victorian idea of an indoor Greco-Roman ruin cum naturalists haven. But in this one--all dark and brick and heavy beams, things must be large and heavy and overwrought--and yes, there must be much fabric--and many many many tassels--to counteract the brick. ;))

Yes, I even have my own variation on the heavy bed drapes--a mini-canopy I covered with a heavy fabric and decorated with a real hummingbird's nest and scattered house wren and button quail eggs!

(The air quality is very nice, however, thanks to Yankee Candle's Spiced Pumpkin candles and potpourri! ;))

It is a sad thing, when you fit a satirical description! ;) (But oh, how I enjoyed both this entry--and the William Morris one! :D)

Grace said...

As long as you don't have the half-filled ether bottles, and stifling inability to breathe, I say go for it! :)

Sometimes I wonder if my only reason for lack of "interesting clutter" is lack of finances sometimes to buy the interesting stuff. But when a house has lots of interesting stuff to look at, I admire that too!

All in good fun, as you seem to realize :)

siddal said...

:-D You are great!
And don't forget, "employ a Cockney maid who scandalizes your friends" ;-)

Aurora said...

Hehehe...I'm fresh out of ether bottles--half-filled or I guess I'm in the clear! ;)

(And although I cannot say that lack of finances ever kept me from having interesting clutter around, I CAN say that improved finances meant that it was no longer sitting on milk crates, covered with old sheets! ;))

Grace said...

"maid"....uh huh. LOL

Grace said...

LOL@aurora. Why does that seem like the collector's equivalent of the saying "When I have a little money, I buy books, and when I have a little more, I buy food and clothing"?