“The Orange blind”

The Orange Blind (1929) by Francis Campbell Cadell (Scottish, 1884-1937)

The Orange Blind (1929) by Francis Campbell Cadell (Scottish, 1884-1937)

memento is a magazine based on the logic of harmonics. A theme, a word, a topic and a past memory evoked by diptyque brings the subject matter of an article to life as a result of familiarity, affinity, analogy and resonance. Orange is harmony personified: a fruit, a colour, a taste, a scent, a burst! And a memory…

But now as orange spreads its summertime wings in Eau des Sens as the perfume is extended to a perfume for hair, Desmond Knox-Leet’s notebook of jottings and drawings contains a page in which a line grabs the eye: The Orange Blind. This is the title of a painting by artist Francis Campbell Boileau Cadell (1883-1937), a Scottish colourist influenced by Fauvism and by Henri Matisse (1869-1954) in particular. He evokes the Beautiful Era… a cosy interior scene featuring an elegant lady wearing a hat sitting on a chaise longue with a table set for tea in front of her. Behind her a man tinkles on the piano. In the background a dazzling orange blind dominates the room, blocking the sunlight from the window. Hence the title of this work of art painted in 1914.

This painting is exhibited at the Kelvingrove Museum and Art Gallery in Glasgow. During his visit Desmond Knox-Leet, who was one of the three diptyque founders and remained the nose of the House until his disappearance in 1993, jotted down names of works and artists to commit them to memory. Before long wild flowers were slipped in-between the pages and the herbalist, aesthete, painter, illustrator and creator of perfumes blended everything into one harmonic of life…