Oliver Messel

Went to Christie’s for a Reception to mark the publication of a new book on Messel edited by his nephew, Thomas Messel. Oliver Messel was an important designer, slightly perhaps fallen from the public eye. This is therefore a timely moment to remind people who he was. He was one of those talented people who was pretty good at all sorts of things. Although one doesn’t see his work very often, he was clearly also a competent painter. It would be nice to see a show of his pictures sometime. The problem with giving due weight to people who, for example, design interior decoration, is that it isn’t easy to illustrate the finished article, except through photos. And most rooms don’t remain as originally designed and furnished for long.

I am particularly interested in Messel from the Watson angle, as they were very close for a time around 1930. There are a few tantalising pictures of the 2 of them on holiday somewhere that looks like the South of France.