29 April 2017


The date finally arrived and my book is out there breathing. It's good to get the public airing—and to get the press it's receiving. Vogue.com, Ist Dibs, the Cut, have featured the book online, and House Beautiful has used the book to teach their Master Class in the May issue. I'm chronicling it all along with a list of events as the come up.  the moment they are by invitation and "local." Check out my website here for Press and here for Events.

From across the pond, British House and Garden reviewed the book for their May issue and The Times also did a great review.

Sunday, April 23rd, I did a book signing at Currey and Company in High Point at the Spring Market on one of the rainiest days I've ever attended (I've been going fairly steadily for about 30 years–but maybe my memory's failing me). The atmosphere their showroom is out of this world. The lighting the company has developed and expanded since the late eighties is both modern and traditional and grounded in craftsmanship. Their chef prepared some of my particularly favorite finger food so if you didn't stop by to purchase a book you have me to thank for the delicious cheddar biscuits with delectable cured ham inside. I strayed way far from my vegetarian leanings to indulge and it was worth it. Petit fours with my initials on a silver platter, shrimp, wrapped asparagus, and other things I didn't even get to see were all on my request. Bethanne Mathari of Currey and Co. planned the entire event–including jaunty music British actress and singer Jessie Matthews could have kept up with.

On Friday the 28th, I spoke to a group of young women about the book at the new showroom of Eatman's Carpets in Raleigh. It's just the sort of group I hope will like the book and embrace the sixteen women I write about and find inspiration in how these women decorated. The sixty-year-old family owned company has just moved to a new showroom and it's beautiful. A perfect venue —with lunch catered by Irregardless Cafe, another Raleigh institution that has been serving farm to table for decades. Betty Nelson and her mother Gay were wonderful hosts along with Walter magazine's Liza Roberts and Jesma Reynolds.

WALTER has an excerpt from the book in their April issue here

I'll be signing books in Charlotte at Capitol, Laura Vinroot Poole's internationally recognized women's designer clothing store. Very excited to be participating in a Mother's Day Event she has planned on May 9th. 
Now what to wear? 
For sure I won't be blogging about my planned "outfits." Catch me if you can in person. I'll keep you posted on my website as more events come up.

20 April 2017

Madeline Weinrib's Camilla

Inspiration has a way of finding those who seek it out.
When something completely new emerges from our search–a distillation of that inspiration, it's known as an Original. Madeline Weinrib is at her best working in this sphere.  Her travels and art from disparate cultures and centuries have inspired her newest rug design called Camilla.
Camilla is Inspired, & Original.

Where did Madeline look for inspiration?

I took inspiration from Indian mogul flowers as well as Botticelli's the four seasons. Botticelli's flowers are rambling and wild, while mogul flowers are placed in lines and patterns so précisely. It was challenging putting the two ideas together that are such polar opposites. ~MW

Camilla in Pink & Red

"Mogul Painting, Small Clive Album p. 54, a lady with a wine flask and cup, opaque watercolour on paper, Mughal, late 17th or early 18th century.  This painting is part of the Small Clive Album is thought to have been given by Shuja ud-daula, the Nawab of Avadh, to Lord Clive during his last visit to India in 1765-67. It contains 56 leaves on which are Mughal paintings, drawings, and flower
studies on both sides. from the V&A"  See them all and read more here

The flowers are based on fantasy. They are not taken from real flowers but rather designed to be able to translate to a weave. This is difficult to do with a flat weave. 

I hope they feel both orderly but free. ~MW

John Ruskin found inspiration in Botticelli's Primavera as well
Ruskin's Study of Roses, 1874 Pencil, ink, watercolour

 detail of Primavera by Botticelli, above and below

Camilla & Spring, perfection underfoot.

See Camilla at Madeline Weinrib here

14 April 2017


A book  I discovered in the fall set off a behind the scenes conversation with its author David Byars. Our Time at Foxhollow Farm–A Hudson Valley Family Remembered by Byars is the Dows family story and that of their illustrious neighbors and friends during the early decades of the twentieth century.

The Dows family life in the Hudson Valley is chronicled in photographs taken by patriarch Tracy Dows. The home and outbuildings on the estate were designed by architect Harrie Lindeberg, and the grounds planned by the Olmsted Brothers– all set in Rhinebeck New York on the Hudson.

Beyond taking the photographs, Tracy Dows was involved in the day to day running of the 800 acre Foxhollow Farm estate. When Dows married Alice Olin in 1903, two great New York families were joined. When the couple and their young family finally settled on Rhinebeck— it became their permanent place of residence & Tracy began planning the house of their dreams. It just happened to be a "Mount Vernon on the Hudson."

Prior to the completion of their home, the couple lived in a handsome fieldstone cottage on the estate.

Very early in the Dows' marriage the couple rented the rambling Woodland Cottage in Irvington. Alice Dows was photographed lounging in the cottage parlor with framed etchings by Paul César Helleu .

Of the book, famed photographer Annie Leibovitz writes, David Byars has opened up a view into the world of a family that seems almost like a dream now. It is what I tried to imagine when I began Living in the Hudson Valley over twenty years ago, among the remnants and the ruins of buildings designed by Harrie T. Lindberg."

Seven years in the making Our Time at Foxhollow Farm, David spent the first years in researching the family and property. He also designed the book and culled over 26 photo albums and a few boxes of loose photographs—13,000 in all.

When asked about the process, David said, the photographs are "in excellent condition, some being over a hundred years old. A few here and there have faded, but most are in their original state. When Hudson River Heritage got possession of them in 1994, they were put in storage. Years later, the organization took each album apart and scanned every page for archive purposes. I took those low-resolution scans and assembled each album as PDFs. That is what I used to design the book, and when the layouts were final, I rescanned each chosen original image at a higher resolution and neutralized the colors to match overall. The originals are in tones of black and white, and many shades of sepia. For my book, I thought it would be too jarring to see them that way, so I decided they should all be harmonious in the same color tone."

Architect Harrie Lindberg striding down the steps of Foxhollow Farm's 'Stone Cottage' in 1907

The Dows Family Abroad
Margaret, Olin, Deb, Alice & Tracy strolling along the promenade in Menton, 1922

With the overwhelming number of photographs to consider, Byars narrowed down the book's photographs to 400. His resulting choices tell the narrative of a family, an idyllic era, the life of neighbors and their estates, and the architecture of Foxhollow Farm. It is beautifully edited, managing to leave viewer and reader lingering over certain images & fortunately David graciously shared several of my most memorable.

Architect Lindeberg standing in the loggia fireplace of the main house with Olin Dows in 1912.

1914, Margaret Dows posing in the family's favorite room, the Loggia, with floors of green tile, the furniture was a comfortable mix of rattan, traditional dark wood tables & chairs, books, large topiaries and many plants.

As the children of the Dows family grew up & the financial shift in the states occurred, the family scattered. The Dows marriage faltered in the mid-1920s, and Alice Dows decided to move into a house on O Street in Washington and began spending most of her time in the nation's capital.

"Mrs. Tracy Dows is one of the most distinguished of the New Your visitors of the national capital where she is always cordially greeted by a host of friends." -Vogue, July 24,1924

In Washington Alice began writing poetry and published two books in the thirties. Olin Dows, a noted artist, painted murals in the O Street library and they are still intact today. Tracy Dows left Foxhollow Farm in 1930, and the house becoming a girls' school for a time. Later in the thirties and forties the house was maintained as it was once— a country estate

Around the time that Alice started living in Washington, she had an affair with Nicholas Longworth, the Speaker of the House. His wife, Alice Roosevelt Longworth, was also a friend of Alice Dows’s and she didn’t seem to care! Alice and Tracy never got divorced and he died in 1937.

Olin Dows photographed while traveling in Mexico, 1931.

In 1925, Margaret Dows married Swedish diplomat Knut Thyberg at Foxhollow. The pair were living in Copenhagen when this photograph was taken in 1932. The couple, along with their bullmastiff Antoinette, are seated in front of an exceptional 8 panel screen with zebras in the Art Deco style painted by Olin.

After Tracy Dows died, Alice, Olin and Deb returned to Rhinebeck living in her family home Glenburn. Deb built a house on the estate, and when Olin married in 1950, Alice move out of the house and into a cottage next door, painted it pink and christened it Garden House, where she lived until her death.

Our Time At Foxhollow Farm will linger, it conjures countless quotations from a fellow traveller of an era long gone–and longed for, Scott Fitzgerald:
"in a sort of breathless hush, 
as if they feared that any minute the spell would break and drop them out of this paradise of rose and flame." 
-Scott Fitzgerald , This Side of Paradise

A Louisiana native, David Byars is the Deputy Managing Editor of Vogue, now living in the historic Bronx neighborhood of Spuyten Duyvil set on the Hudson River.

11 April 2017


Thank you for reading Little Augury for years, and I hope you love the book.
 "Decorating is Autobiography." – Gloria Vanderbilt

The wait is Over!


Related Posts with Thumbnails