This lot has no reserve.
PROPERTY FROM THE COLLECTION OF MICHAEL AND ANNE RIPLEY
It is interesting how timing or fate works in mysterious ways. About fifteen years ago, Mike and I bought and began restoring an 1887 farm house. At the start of what was to become a fabulous historical journey, we frankly knew very little about the Period. We began by dabbling in antiques. Over time and as a result of our love for the decorative arts, incessant research, contact with dealers and collectors alike we became knowledgeable about the Victorian era. Many books were purchased and read along with going to auctions, outdoor markets, shows and sales which gave us a wealth of information as well as the opportunity to purchase objects for our farm house. After much research, we decided the Victorian 1880's style of decorating was our "cup of tea". Along the way, our journey took us to the antique shops and fairs in England. This lead to wonderful side trips through English formal gardens throughout the country. Beholding the lovely ornaments and statuary was a learning experience we will always cherish.
The Aesthetic Movement, William Morris, and Christopher Dresser became part of our vocabulary, our focus and our passion. This Movement put everything in prospective fitting perfectly with the design style of our Period home. The combination of Morris and Dresser wallpaper and Aesthetic Movement furniture and decorative arts brought the period to life. Alas, the restored Victorian farm house; the formal gardens; and the sum total of its decorative contents had finally come to fruition. Our lives have been enriched and fulfilled by taking this fantastic journey back in time.
Mike and Anne Ripley
The Aesthetic Interior
"..beautiful things began to be made, beautiful colours came from the dyer's hand, beautiful patterns from the artist's brain and the use of beautiful things and their value and importance were set forth and now it is almost impossible to enter any modern house without seeing some recognition of good taste, some recognition of the value of lovely surroundings, some sign of the appreciation of beauty."
Oscar Wilde, 'The Soul of Man under Socialism'
The Aesthetic Movement
Started in England, in the 1860s, the movement was foremost a reaction against expressions of contemporary design that were considered 'extremely awful' and 'exceedingly unpractical'. The Great Exhibition of 1851 had excelled in showing prime examples that Aesthetes considered poor design and several artists as well as cultural philosophers used this event to criticize the cacophony of forms, colours and decorations that seemed to have penetrated everyday design. The main idea of the Aesthetic Movement was linked to the concept and value of beauty: objects not only needed to be efficient, they also needed to exemplify harmony and refinement. A high level of design was a required standard, not the exquisite exception. At the metaphysical level, design needed to express the 'power' of nature, the forces of life and growth. Interestingly enough, the movement spread through the ranks of two slightly opposing groups of designers.
William Morris focused much of his attention on the revival of medieval ideals and concepts. His decorations and appliances were highly coloured by a longing for pure craftsmanship. Morris' designs however were expensive and thus solely attracted the elite. The other end of the same line of thought was Christopher Dresser. He was a designer for the people whose main crusade not only consisted of making beautiful design but also affordable design. Whereas Morris looked to the past for inspiration, Dresser was avant-garde, embracing both new materials and mass production techniques. To follow is a collection formed around the ideals put forth in Dresser's 'Principles of Decorative Design'. In addition to this period source, Michael and Anne Ripley were further inspired by the seminal exhibition 'In Pursuit of Beauty: Americans and the Aesthetic Movement' held at the Metropolitan Museum of Art. The Ripley's collection embraces the ideals of the period, but also appreciates the whimsy and satiric reaction to follow. We welcome you to review the fruits of their labor.