Antique Modern

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“The veteran London designer Marianna Kennedy is not a ‘new sensation,’ although her solo show on view from October 21 to November 19 at Galerie Chastel-Maréchal in Paris will certainly bring her more exposure. Marianna has worked the better part of fifteen years in her Spitalfields row house, which she shares with her husband, Charles Gledhill, and his bookbindery. For three hundred years her neighborhood has welcomed many types­­—Huguenot weavers, Jewish tailors, Bangladeshi cooks­—their lives predicated on a particular verb: labor. Marianna continues the tradition.
Inspired by her Georgian-era antecedents, she employs painstaking age-old techniques to produce boldly colored, resolutely modern designs­—lacquered consoles, carved and gessoed mirrors, cast-bronze lanterns—for a devoted stable of clients. Hers is a careful, controlled output. Wary of clutter, Marianna offers this advice: ‘Buy one or two things you love, and don’t buy anything else.’ Here is one of those things: Marianna’s infused mercury glass convex mirror. With its agile colored glass banded by a sober painted frame, it seems an apt symbol for the circle of life. Her choice of paint color? Caput mortuum, a tar-brown pigment once ground from the excavated remains of Egyptian mummies. But Marianna has more respect than that for the afterlife: her solid designs will outlive our passing fancies.”

Alex Heminway
Director of Design, New York
Phillips de Pury & Company