Wednesday, November 7, 2007

Calligraphic inspiration

Barbara Barry is one of my favorite designers, in part because I love her design philosophy (which translates to very pleasing interiors to my eye). Barry says that she is inspired by the light, the colors of nature, the proportion of things around her. She calls herself an artist, and says that she "thinks of rooms as paintings, with the same requirements of composition, color, and clarity of line that creates a balanced whole".

Barbara Barry interior design, via Studio Annetta's blog

Last week, while perusing a lovely chair from Barbara Barry for Henredon, the salesperson told me that Barbara Barry's father was a calligrapher. I tried to confirm this by doing some web research, and did not find anything. However, it would make sense given her clear love for calligraphic ornamentation in her work.

Calligraphy has always been a source of inspiration to me, and used to be a serious hobby of mine. I have given many friends the gift of calligraphy as their wedding present. It seems like an art that is fading given the beauty of computer generated fonts (I can hardly tell the difference, and have been known to lick my finger and do the smear test to see if it is genuine calligraphy), so I love that Barry incorporates the beauty of calligraphy into some of her work.

Barbara Barry Tibetan wool rug 'Waltz' , Tufenkian Carpets.

Barbara Barry for McGuire. Note the artwork above the caned settee, with its calligraphic flourishes.

Note the scroll on the pillow cases. These are Barbara Barry sheets, sold at Bloomingdales.

Barbara Barry for McGuire 'Script' armchair

Barbara Barry for Henredon room scene. Note the calligraphic style of the art above the sofa.


  1. I am a HUGE fan of Barbara Barry - as you probably already know. I didn't know that her father was a calligrapher - but it makes sense. I love her use of scroll/calligraphic lines in her work. Thanks for sharing!

  2. Oh I would love if her father was a calligrapher - it makes such perfect sense, even for her love of ovals over other shapes. Thanks for this post!

  3. I, too, love Barbara Barry - this is a great perspective on her work. Fun to know her dad was a caligrapher.

  4. Love Barbara Barry - I am using some of her fabrics in my mum's house at the moment!!

  5. that is so interesting about her father and how she incorporates it into her pieces...i love her.

  6. Interesting! So many things can influence a person in their work!
    Even calligraphy!

  7. Dear Things that Inspire -
    lovely to have you drop by!
    This is one classy post _ I'm feeling peacefully serene especially after the first picture :-)

  8. This is fascinating. Isn't it interesting how creativity evolves?
    As always, thanks for a terrific post.

  9. Something that this blog is really making me tune into is that inspiration can come from SO many different places. Sometimes it is very clear, like in Barbara Barry's case.

    Thank you for the comments, everyone! I enjoyed writing this post. I took me a while to track down the picture of the caned settee from McGuire. I had seen that picture in one of my hundreds of magazines, and I remembered it after all this time. I finally found it yesterday.

  10. To be honest, not a huge fan of either B. Barry or of calligraphic inspiration. But just came upon your blog for the first time tonight and I'm definitely now a huge fan of You and Things that Inspire. I look forward to devouring everything you post in the weeks and months to come.

  11. Thanks for the comments, everyone.

    Heather, I love the script chair too. It looks so delicate. I would love to see it in real life.

    Serena, thanks for stopping by! Please take a look at the archives, as I have been posting since July. Sometimes it is hard to think of new and different things to post about, but I am constantly inspired by different things so you never know what I will blog about!

  12. VERY thought provoking! Thanks - great post!


  13. Thank you for this post. I love it . Calligraphy in decoration is just gorgeous

  14. Things That Inspire: Barbara Barry is talented across the spectrum of Home Decor. From Bath fixtures to tile, furniture, and more...I like just about everything I see her do. I love her furniture line for Baker and the photo you have at the first shows she can do some awesome neutrals. Thanks for your comment on my site. I bookmarked you!

  15. I love what Barbara Barry did at the restaurant AOC in LA- that's how I became familiar w/ her work in general. It's so understated and comfortable in there. Thanks for the post, really enjoyed hearing more about her. :)

  16. It's somewhat small in the photo, but I think the calligraphic painting (black background) is by Elliot Puckette, one of my favorite artists. Her "calligraphy" is scratched (!) out of an ink background. She is married to Hugo Guinness,also an artist, who does small, charming line-art type drawings.

  17. It's somewhat small in the photo, but I think the calligraphic painting (black background) is by Elliott Puckett, one of my favorite artists. Her "calligraphy" is scratched (!) out of an ink background. She is married to Hugo Guinness,also an artist, who does small, charming line-art type drawings.

  18. Hello Barbara Barry fans! Please join us on Facebook at: http://www.facebook.com/bbarryinc


Thank you for your comments! I strive to make my blog positive in tone, and appreciate the same courtesy when comments are made. Thank you!


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