A curator who specializes in historic decoration, Lisa Singleton Boudiette will turn our attention to the preeminent English design firm with her talk on “Colfax & Fowler, Legendary Designers of the English Country House Style.” She will give her visual presentation via Zoom offered by Ventfort Hall Mansion & Gilded Age Museum on Friday, March 12 at 11:00 as part of its Morning Diversions series.
Three key personalities were the initial players that formed the Colfax & Fowler story and direction that the firm took. John Fowler was a self-taught decorator fascinated with the architecture and styles of the eighteenth century who started his career in the early 1930s. He joined Sibyl Colfax in 1938, whose prestigious shop was in Mayfair, London. Nancy Lancaster was an aristocratic Virginian with taste, flair and important international social connections, who became Fowler’s partner when she bought the firm from Lady Colfax in 1944.
What is the English Country House Style, which really came to fruition after WW II, in a world still reeling from two world wars and the subsequent austerity measures? Chintz in beautiful faded colors, fringed and tasseled curtains, painted Regency furniture, sofas designed for years of fireside comfort, and expertly applied finishes, subtly lit to show off beautiful antiques and paintings – these are the hallmarks – something that Fowler described as “humble elegance.”
Colfax & Fowler has long influenced some of the leading design firms like Michael Smith, David Mlinaric, Bunny Williams and the late Mario Buatta. Boudiette’s talk will include as well the homes of Nancy Lancaster and John Fowler. From Buckingham Palace to the London flat of Ambassador David and Evangeline Bruce, Colfax & Fowler still resonates today.
Lisa Singleton Boudiette is a cultural heritage specialist with expertise in historic interiors and the decorative arts. She is a former member of staff to the late United States Senator Frank R. Lautenberg, focusing on arts and preservation policy. She also worked for The Wiseman Group, a high-end residential design firm in San Francisco, CA.
An alumni of the Attingham country house studies program, and a charter member of the American Friends of the Soane Museum, Boudiette is a founder of the Institute of Classical Architecture and Art’s San Francisco, California chapter. Currently, she is completing a Master’s degree at the University of Buckingham (England), which included working as a conservation assistant at Syon House for the Duke of Northumberland. The great country house outside London designed by Robert Adam was a major decorating project for John Fowler.
The event is offered via Zoom only. Tickets are by donation on our Eventbrite page with a suggested donation of $20 and may be purchased at https://ventfort03122021.eventbrite.com. For information call Ventfort Hall at 413-637-3206.