|The Dining Room at No. 3, The Close, Winchester|
Beatrice Olive Corfe, 1900
The Victoria & Albert Museum
This beautiful watercolor dates to 1900. This is one of four drawings recording the interiors of the house of Canon A.S. Valpy and his wife. Their home was a late 17th-century house in the Cathedral close (“close” at this time could refer to the land next to a cathedral or an estate near an abbey or cathedral) at Winchester.
Here, we see the dining room which is an early example of the then-growing taste for decorating with antiques which is still fashionable and elegant today. The Valpys have mixed Eighteenth-century style furniture with more contemporary design, such as the casual chairs under fabric covers, all displayed proudly on a splendid vividly-colored rug. The brilliant color scheme of the early Twentieth Century combined with the gentle lines of the Eighteenth Century furniture make for a unique and lavish interior which, frankly, would be as stylish now as it was over a century ago.
The artist was called Beatrice Olive Corfe. Sadly, we don’t know much about her except that she lived in Winchester when these watercolors were painted. Her name appears on a variety of architectural subjects.