Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Girls and Cars

The first couple of times we meet the beautiful but emotionally distant Julia Marchmain in Brideshead Revisited, she's in a car, looking out at her observers.

I always think of this self-portrait by Tamara de Lempicka, so perfectly does it capture the essence of the Julia I see in my mind's eye.

Some years ago I saw de Lempicka's work at an art deco exhibit at the wonderful Palace of the Legion of Honor Museum in San Francisco. 

There was also a white 1937 Cord 812 Phaeton, with lipstick-red interior:

De Lempicka's paintings complement snazzy cars, and vice versa.

But back to Brideshead: Just before Julia gets engaged to a Canadian chap who has distinctly rakish qualities, she receives from him, as a gift, a bedazzled, blinged-out tortoise. Her initials, via diamonds, are set in the tortoise's shell. 

I much prefer a vintage tortoise-shell comb, with blurry sapphires and pearls.

The Cord could always offer the tortoise shell a lift . . .


Susan Tiner said...

I love that movie, love Lempicka's work and loved that Deco exhibit in San Francisco so much I saw it twice!

Miss Cavendish said...

It *was* a fabulous exhibit! I have a de Lempicka print from the show hanging in my office . . .