I'll Get By With A Little Inspiration From My Friends

Emay Hart, Queen of the Krewe of Comus in 1909 wearing her "royal jewels ablaze with rhinestones, brilliants, paste and pearls" as seen in Mardi Gras Treasures:Jewelry of the Golden Age.

This post was supposed to be about the beginning of Mardi Gras season in New Orleans. I was planning to show some old photos of Carnival royalty and some new photos from a book called Mardi Gras Treasures: Jewelry of the Golden Age by Henri Schindler. I was planning to show how the pageantry of Carnival as played out in some of the jewelry designed for its royalty had inspired me and influenced my work. And then I was reading Stylecourt's post on "Smokey Blue and Amethyst" and it struck me how much that post echoed some of the pictures I was collecting for my post. I was so inspired by John Singer Sargent's picture of Lady Agnew, painted in 1892 and how the turquoise and amethyst colors in that painting made such a nice combination. The pictures that followed showing several examples of this color combination caused me to take a whole different route in my post, so here, Stylecourt, is a tribute to your post from New Orleans!

It was Lady Agnew's quality of feminine serenity which reminded me of photo of the Queen of Comus. The decoration on the draped turquoise background as well as the angle of her lavender sash echoed the decoration and composition of the queen's photo. These are both confident women who proudly wear their fabulous jewelry.

This pendant from Stylecourt's post which is presently sold in the National Gallery of Scotland, Edinburgh immediately reminded me of this crown, below, worn by the 1905 King of Carnival.

The following photos of Carnival Jewelry are from Mardi Gras Treasures: Jewelry of the Golden Age.

The combination of the deep blue jewels, the turquoise, the rhinestones, the orb and the crown topper inspires me in every way.

All this finery, the imaginary royalty of Mardi Gras, the blue jewels which are currently "now" in this crown and scepter worn by the King of Carnival in 1928.

This is a detail of the very exotic tiara worn by the Queen of Carnival in 1912. THe turquoise on the cobra's eyes are just the perfect injection of warm color against the icy rhinestones and reinforces the decadent feeling.

Stylecourt shows some rooms with the jewel-toned combination of smoky gray-blue and amethyst. She remarks that this combination is so "now." Having been a bit of a neutral's lover for quite awhile, I'm lately realizing that the jewel tones ARE a "now" thing and I've been playing around with this in my own decorating scheme. Looking for local inspiration in response to this decorating trend, I was able to locate some pictures which display this combination in all it's gem-like glory.

Here, in this bedroom in Austerlitz Plantation the smokey blue becomes more of turquoise, made all the more gem-like by the gold and crystal girandoles on the mantle. The rolls of fabric on the table suggest that the turquoise will in fact be paired with the lavender fabric at the bottom of the heap. This photo is from Creole Houses by Steve Gross and Sue Daly.

This photo from New Orleans Stye, Past and Present, by Susan Sully shows a gorgeous use of a very subtle shade of pale gray-violet offset by the turquoise ceiling. So historic and yet so "now."

From Creole Thrift, Angele Parlange upholstered her recamier in magenta velvet. Notice how this plays off the turquiose castle in the print on the righthand wall, all set against the backdrop of cool lavender walls. This room is somewhere between jewelry and candy and when are jewelry and candy NOT in style? Who can resist either of these?

And showing that everything old is new again, this Garden District house, pictured in New Orleans Style built in 1853 is an eye-satisfying composition in lavender stucco played off a wonderful shade of gray-green-teal in the front door and shutters. I love the effect of framing it all with the black cast iron details and the gray-white marble steps.

So Courtney, thank you for getting me thinking about amethyst and turquoise, magenta and gray-blue. I am so inspired by your wonderful blog. I'll be posting more about this subject as it relates to my own home in the near future. Thank you Courtney, your wonderful Stylecourt is so brimming with ideas, motivations and beautiful things! Also, A Big Thank you to Felicity at All Things Bright and Beautiful for including Bayou Contessa in her post about her favorite new blogs. All Things is one of my favorite reads and I always pass out a little bit when I see her gorgeous white hydrangea laden header. It's because of a wonderful pointer from Felicity that I figured out how to make a post title in my chosen font! It's great to have friends in the blogosphere!

I am the owner of Julie Neill Designs in New Orleans where we create beautiful custom lighting. This blog is my love letter to the unique people, places and happenings which make New Orleans the amazing place it is.

Please visit my website to learn more about my lighting and our fabulous shop on Magazine Street.


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