One of life’s small pleasures for me is beautifully engraved stationery and I love monograms. So browsing auction catalogues featuring old letters is a real pleasure because one inevitably comes across some beautiful examples of the stationery engraver’s art, such as these Russian Imperial monograms (Christie’s Russian Works of Art, New York 15th April 2013) where literally no expense has been spared in their production, using multiple colours (each colour requires the paper to be stamped with a different die or a masked die – it is a very difficult and specialised skill when done by hand) and exquisite composition of the letters.
I thought posting some Russian examples was fairly apt given the famous Imperial tradition of giving a jewelled Easter Egg made by Faberge around this time of year.
I have been slightly neglectful of my lovely readers of late – and for this I present a couple of lovely monograms by way of an apology. I hope they inspire you.
First up… possibly the perfect monogram in my eyes… I adore this orange colour, being slightly brighter and more intense then the Hermes orange which is my favourite. My own Smythson correspondence cards are engraved in this colour. This monogram belonged to the late Queen Julianna of the Netherlands, whose descendants recently had a bit of a clear-out at Sotheby’s. Unusually for me I love the asymmetry of the J (I am quite OCD when it comes to symmetry). I also find it to be a modern, quite masculine monogram despite belonging to a lady.
Technically speaking, I think this design qualifies as a ciper rather than a monogram, which by definition requires one or more letters to be combined… but who cares about technicalities. This is stationery for goodness sake, not nuclear physics.
The next monogram is not that of an individual but of a restaurant, Bob Bob Ricard in Soho, and yes before I continue it IS another David Collins-designed interior which I know based on the number of previous posts referencing Mr Collins makes me into some kind of groupie…. what can I say… I love his work!! This monogram is another asymmetric number which is throwing my sense of self into considerable doubt…
I absolutely love how the designer has formed an angular monogram from rounded letters, B and R, which would normally present a considerably more flowing and organic combination than this art-deco design, which is almost like a circuit-board diagram or architectural symbol.
I am thinking more and more about taking the plunge with my own monogram and having it engraved onto some envelope flaps… in this age of austerity however perhaps this is not such a good idea…