Saturday, February 15, 2014

Drawing of the Day: Design of Three Waiters Serving in a Cafe, 1928

Three Waiters Serving
Geoffrey Houghton Brown, 1928
The Victoria & Albert Museum

Geoffrey Houghton Brown is best remembered as a mural painter who thrived in the 1920s and 1930s. We see here one of thirteen designs that Brown created in 1928 for mural decoration in the Blue Train Restaurant on Stratton Street, London.

The Blue Train was a fashionable restaurant which was owned by an Italian gentleman called Savrani who commissioned noted contemporary decorator Marchese Malacreda to appoint his dining rooms in the epitome of modern design. Malacreda, in turn, hired Geoffrey Houghton Brown to create murals on the theme of travel.

Brown employed a team of three Chinese assistants, who also doubled as theatrical scene painters to paint the murals in oil and turpentine directly onto the white-painted walls of the restaurant.

The murals’ theme was the “Blue Train” which ran to the South of France. The drawing we see here was intended for the large murals over the bar area—a section of the restaurant which was referred to as the Merry-go-round.

Later, the site of the restaurant became Langan's Brasserie. Sadly, all traces of Malacreda’s interiors and Brown’s murals have disappeared.

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