Orders can still be placed during this period but will only be despatched as normal from 03/01/2023. We expect disruption to deliveries over the next few weeks because of the Postal strikes and the backlog that these will create. Please allow extra time for your order to reach you.

Because of RM strikes due to take place on 9th, 11th, 14th, 15th, 23rd and 24th of December, there will be disruption to our collections and delays on delivery times. We will be working hard to get your goods out to you but please allow more time for delivery of your orders as a result of the delays this will cause.
Delivery is no longer guaranteed for Christmas.

Doing the Can Can

Troupe de Mlle. Eglantine by Toulouse Lautrec

Doing the Can Can

Troupe de Mlle. Eglantine is one of the famous images produced by Toulouse Lautrec whilst he was living in the heart of Paris  – not only living through its Belle Epoch era but shaping it too. At roughly the same time, Thonet Bentwood chairs began to be all the rage. The two designs were meant for each other!

This particular Bentwood chair had been a much-loved piece of family history but now didn’t quite fit in with the decor. It last got a face lift when commercial paint was thick, glossy, oil-based and made to stay on! However, with a bit of elbow grease, I got to a workable surface.

Stripping also revealed that the paint was the only thing that held various bits in place. Nothing too serious though so I was able to get it steady on its feet again. 

I am sure there are those that would have liked to have seen the chair restored to its rich, glowing, polished wood finish but years of paint had not been kind to the wood. Besides, I’m a painter so paint had to go back on!

In preparation for an eye-catching orange, it was given two coats of yellow ochre primer. This was carefully sanded between each layer to achieve a a smooth, flawless base.

The transformation was well on its way…

Thonet Chair in white gloss paint

Stripped Bare

A Little TLC

Primed & Ready

The original dimensions were, of course, not based on a circular canvas so a little tweaking had to be done to ensure the ladies were all present and correct. Once the drawing was in place, it was simply a case of blocking in the colour. To tie in with the vibrant orange that I wanted the frame of the chair to be, I turned up the colour volume on the image just a little. The deep yellow became an orange and the feathers in their head dresses became a strong, complimentary blue.

Troupe de Mlle. Eglantine copy drawn out
Dancing girls finished
Thonet Chair painted a vibrant orange
The finished artwork with text

Thonet Chair with Lautrec design by Kim Curtis
Click the image for further details

Probably the most nerve-racking part of the piece is the free-hand squiggles and swirls that suggest the netting and frills of their stage outfits. Too much and it would fail to capture the efficient use of Lautrec’s marks. Too little and it would fail to capture the movement of the dancing girls! The brush hovered a lot, plotting out each flourish in my head before being committing it to the surface! 
The bold, bright decoration is now finished with  the addition of the text. Again, hand painted and in a gorgeously vivid orange. Finally, two coats of acrylic varnish and the chair is complete!

Thonet Chair hand painted by Kim Curtis
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