Saturday, June 25, 2011

The Neo-Victorians - John Derian

I first saw John Derian's work at Saks a few years ago before I knew who he was.  I was shopping with a friend and we both fell for an oval glass dish with a contemplative Victorian woman standing on a balcony, bats flying behind her across a cloud cover moon.  It was decoupaged from behind, so that the clear glass plate protected the image; a photo reproduction of a vintage illustration.  There was only one tray in that style, and my friend bought it.  She keeps it out and loves to feature it prominently every Halloween.

Over the years, I have seen Derian more and more, at large Department stores like Saks, Barney's and Neiman's, and also at smaller boutiques such as Salutations in Pasadena.  There are of course lesser priced copies readily available, and they're very pretty, but nothing compares to a real Derian.

The John Derian booth at the NY Spring Gift Fair.
Love those wall collages!
His pieces are hand decoupaged (decoupage is why I'm classifying him as a Neo-Victorian.  The art form was all the rage for the refined set of the 19th and early 20th Centuries) with the most unique vintage images I have ever seen.  The previously mentioned Victorian bats fit right in with nautical maps, vintage letters, botanic illustrations, photos, monkeys, sea weed, you name it, he's stuck it to a plate.  It really gives you the feeling of finding a lost treasure, each image stirs a certain amount of sentimentality, with and humor.  In addition to plates and paperweights, he's now started to offer bell jars, fire screens and cache pots.  The shapes unique, but still simple so as to provide an uninterupted view of the graphics.

A wall collage of exotic game birds.  Retails for $2,575.00

 Derian subscribes to a collected, eclectic aesthetic.  There's something distinctly East Coast about his craft, his subject matter, and his direction.  His outlook is casual, even cavalier.  His mood is comfortable, approachable, a little worn around the edges; at once approachable but also impressive and intriguing. 

His decoupage pieces work alone on the entry table or vanity, but he also designs some wonderful mosaic groupings and also encourages clients to mount collections in unique wall compositions.  They're truely dynamic and utterly unique.  Of course ground zero for Derian is his eponymous shop in NY and his website which is really worth a look.  He's also come out with a line of furniture that is utterly perfect for New England and anywhere else that is in need of a little historic charm and understated character.

- Ian

A pretty little tray; love the bird carrying off the spider.

A marvelous bell jar ornamented with sea fan.
Retails for $880.00.

An amusing cylinder table lamp with a map of a country estate.
Retails for $1,155.00 with shade.

This apothecary jar needs to description, it's just delightful.
Retails for $1,320.00.

I j'adore this cache pot.  Roses on the outside, trellis on the inside.
It seems a shame to put anything in it!  Retails for $645.00

A marvelous wall composition.

A Seagull fire screen.  I love the graphic quality of those waves.
Retails for $1,900.00.

A glass fish bowl ornamented with fish decoupage.
Charm and humor are such good neighbors.

A' faience' plate collection.

The Victorian taste for the macabre shows up in these bats...
Retails for $220.00.  

...and these bones.  Retails for $185.00

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