Desmond’s landscapes: France

Dessin de Desmond Knox-Leet: jardin de Provence

Dessin de Desmond Knox-Leet: jardin de Provence

The annals of diptyque are filled with eulogies to the exploration of the different worlds inhabiting our planet. Whether the shores are real or make-believe, a taste for the big blue yonder is not a seasonal fad. From Desmond’s sketches to the trip-friendly, mini-sized perfume bottles, diptyque has always had a nose for travel.

This is down to all three founders. Their lives and personal predilections have embraced landscapes, vast open spaces, different ways of doing things and the aromas of the world. Yves Coueslant spent his childhood in the Far East, travelling by liner back and forth to France. Later he criss-crossed Europe working as a theatre tour director.

Desmond Knox-Leet’s Scottish family immigrated to Ireland. He had a liking for Commonwealth spices and English perfume tinged with the scent of distant breezes. Later on they both collected artisan-crafted items bursting with local tradition during regular far-flung trips for sale in their shop at 34, Saint Germain Boulevard.

Christiane Gautrot travelled many times back and forth to Morocco to fulfil requests for his zellige tile designs.

Wherever Desmond Knox-Leet went, he drew. An artist at home, he filled his notebooks with sketches and travel commentaries. A languid village square in summertime, coastlines, a path, a window, the wall of a church, the countryside… Sometimes he specified the year and location, sometimes he didn’t and the imagination is left to fill in the blanks. Most sketches are around the Mediterranean basin – Italy, Greece, Turkey… Others are of little corners of France. Some are even reminiscent of Vietnam…