My Passion for Chinoiserie

Since the time Marco Polo returned from his famous trek to China Europeans have been intrigued and then enamored with the exotica of the orient. This fascination found its  peak in Europe with the period known as  the rococo. It manifested itself in architecture, interiors, porcelain, gardens, painting and even fashion. Once the early Chinese pieces found their way into the European market  there developed a new style which was a blend of classic Chinese motifs and objects from China with a European sensibility.  The French titled this Le style de Chine or chinoiserie.  This fashion reached it’s pinnacle in the third quarter of the 18th century. Over four centuries later we  designers continue to be inspired by this style.

My love affair with Chinoiserie began in the late 70’s when I purchased my first piece of export porcelain (albeit with chip in it), a Blue Canton  plate. Thus  began a long affair with this style.

I just adore the fabulous 18th century Chinese House (Chinesisches Haus) is a garden pavilion in Sanssouci Park in Potsdam, Germany. The gold figures pop against the celadon building.

The great French Rococo painters of the 18th Century, Boucher and  Fragonard depicted romantic moments. In this François Boucher painting we see both occidental and oriental influences.

After I purchased and restored  my historic house in Charleston  S.C.  I finally realized a bucket list item in the creation of my own chinoiserie room.  Coincidentally pre revolutionary Charleston, was the place in the colonies that first  imported the Chinese china pattern Blue Canton. Talk about full circle Chinoiserie experience!

To continue my love of Chinoiserie in design and to explore new areas of designing product I love I am presenting in this blog post and on line a collection of chinoiserie inspired jewelry.  These  pieces’ are beautifully made in America. My lovely Parisienne god daughter Volga expresses how to wear these gorgeous pieces with modernity.

These bracelets, earrings, and ring are available at the  Carolyne Roehm Shop.

19 thoughts on “My Passion for Chinoiserie

  1. Love your newest post. Thanks to your exquisite taste and design I started adding chinese ginger jars to my home as well. They look so elegant and I have them in my formal dining room, living room and master bedroom. I put some on columns and painted the columns to match the dominant color in the jars. They look beautiful. So nice to see another post so soon and hope the book tour is going well.

  2. Dearest Carolyne,
    to wake up and find your post is certainly a treat from the chinoiserie gods!

    You never cease to amaze me and inspire me.

    Know that you touch our lives in a very special, genuinely sublime way.

    Thank you for your generosity of spirit in sharing your world w us.

    Un abrazo,

    Mari Mayoral

    Ps…one of these days I’ll share w you a picture of moi wearing one if your wonderful dresses…

    • Dear Mari,
      Thank you for your very kind words. As this blogging is not much of a business endeavor for me other than to showcase some of my work it means a lot to me that when people say these posts make them happy or offer some beauty in their world. thank you again. carolyne

  3. Love your books, your writing and especially your post about chinoiserie. Your impeccable taste and style never fails to brighten my day. So wish you would create workshops for us mere amateurs…am in South Africa but would definitely travel to learn from you and your team.

    Keep inspiring! Look forward to your next post.

  4. Oh my, I have limited words for your post this morning. It has taken my breath away.
    I admire your talent and gifts so much. It is a posting I will keep and look over often. It is a feel good, wonderful environment to stay in forever.
    Thank you so much for all you contribute to the world we strive to live in.

  5. Oh Dear Carolyne – Like many have said it is a treat to wake up to one of your posts. And this time…absolutely. I’ve been in love with Chinoiserie for some time and have found (for me) it’s all about editing as my home is what I call ‘dressy traditional’ and too much might look kitsch. But, Oh what a few well chosen pieces that suggest the genre can do to make me so HAPPY. But then again, when you do it in an ‘all – over’ theme as in Charleston… I adore that too. P.S. Loved your latest on Quintessence after your newest book – I follow that blog and the ones you’ve done are my favorite of any – truly. Be well.

  6. Thank you for taking me to the house in Potsam, Germany. I did not know such a beautiful place existed , and your photos got me closer then I would on a tour. I am going to look up Boucher, the painting has so many stories going on it could be a book. I am not a gold person ( I love sterling silver , and enjoy polishing flatware, before the holidays), but I will look out for something that with flowers I can create a small display.

  7. Thank you, for taking us on a tour of the house in Potsdam, Germany. Your photos got us closer then we would have been on a tour. I am going to look up Boucher – there are so many stories going on in the painting they could be made into a romantic book.

  8. OH BOY!
    DOWN THE RABBIT HOLE I GO AND I DON’T EVEN LIKE ORIENTAL ART!!!!!!!!
    THOSE EARRINGS ARE SPEAKING TO ME!
    REMIND ME OF THE FIRST CENTURY ROMAN STUFF!!!!!!
    OFF I GO TO EXPLORE………..
    THANK YOU FOR STILL KEEPING ON!!!!!!!!!!
    XO

  9. I took the night to PONDER………I want each piece!
    I cannot decide on the WHITE EARRING or THE RED for CHRISTMAS…………I LOVE THE WHITE!
    I would want THE RUBY RING!
    The BRACELETS are LOVELY TOO!!!!WOULD MAKE ME THINK OF YOU!
    GOSH DARN THE ITALIAN is AWAY and I’m afraid to wait for FEAR YOU will sell OUT!
    But YOU will get MORE right……….?
    I was thinking SANTA COULD BRING THE WHOLE BLOODY SET!!!!!!!
    I’m going to ORDER the earrings NOW and I will wait until TUESDAY to sit and SHOW HIM cause HE WILL NEVER FIND YOUR SHOP AND THE ITEMS HERE!!!!!!
    THE BAGS ARE WONDERFUL AS WELL………will order those too for me and girlfriend!!
    I have a fun story to tell you about one of your dresses………..in your new book!
    PAGE 60.
    I had bought fabric VERY similar to the skirt you are wearing in a gold/green color.My idea was a CAFTAN.
    But NOW If I have your PERMISSION I would like to COPY your STYLE HERE for MY CHRISTMAS DRESS!??
    I doNot SEW!Have a Lovely GAL who GETS ME who can whip UP what I explain with MY HANDS!(She has made COATS for me out of VINTAGE FLORAL CURTAINS with a LARGE FRONT RUFFLED POCKET for collecting THE CHICKEN EGGS!So more like a ROBE!)
    I think The WHITE EARRINGS might BE BEST with THIS OUTFIT?WHAT DO YOU THINK?I am a BURNETT LIKE YOU!
    When I SAW THIS PHOTO OF YOU IT TOOK MY BREATH AWAY………..and made me go get that material I had stashed away!Let me know your thoughts………By NO MEANS do I want to UPSET YOU and of course it wouldn’t be IDENTICAL and I’m 5’10’ tall……just learned I shrunk an INCH!!!!!!
    I CAN ALWAYS GO BACK TO MY CAFTAN IDEA………..have had the thought NOW for YEARS TO MAKE CONTESSA CAFTANS but I don’t SEW so thats NOT going to HAPPEN!WHY DON’T YOU DO THAT NEXT???YOU would go THAT EXTRA MILE to ADD an EXTRA BIT of GORGEOUSNESS………….think about it!PLEASE!XX

  10. Ms. Roehm, will you be speaking in Palm Beach this upcoming winter season? I heard women speaking about it last year when I was there and would love to know if you will be there.

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