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Geoffrey Bennison, the late British decorator and antiques dealer, was busy restoring an antique armchair he had purchased at a sale in
England. He was assessing the worn joints and fragile structure,
deciding which pieces needed to be replaced or repaired, painted or
stripped. While removing some rather ordinary fabric that had been
placed over the chair at a point in its history, he uncovered something
layers below, akin to the process of an archaeologist: a lovely
rose-motif pattern, infused with subtle sprays of daffodils. He dated
the material to around 1840.
“Geoffrey collected troves of antique textiles — silks, linens,
damasks — that he found attached to old chairs or sofas,” explains
Gillian Newberry, co-owner of the London-based Bennison Fabrics, which
also maintains a sizable presence and showroom in New York in the Fine
Arts Building. “This pattern he found, which we simply call Roses, with
this particular color wave referred to as Shocking Pink on Oyster, is
fabulously versatile. It’s the quintessential Bennison fabric because of
its classic floral motif and its sheer beauty. It just works wherever
it’s used — for curtaining, upholstery, in a drawing room, bedroom,
library. When I heard that MILIEU was using it to make a woman’s skirt
and to cover an antique Louis XVI settee, I could imagine it very
clearly! The pattern would be perfect for both.”
To read the complete story, or to see all photos, subscribe to MILIEU's print or digital editions, available by clicking here.
PHOTOGRAPHY BY MEGAN THOMPSON LOVOI AND PETER VITALE
WRITTEN BY DAVID MASELLO
This story appeared in the Summer 2015 issue of MILIEU.
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