In French, “trompe l’oeil” means to deceive the eye. How well one “deceives the eye’ by imitating wood, marble or any other natural matter depends on the painter’s scope and ingenuity. The form and ‘the effects’ all come from nature. When the tree is cut the wood reveal its veins, shapes and forms within or when the stone is cut and polished then the pattern and the colour of the marble is revealed. The painter doesn’t copy nature but improves and flatters it like an artist doing a portrait. The scale of the portrait has no limits. Only the walls do.
In the context of refined interior décor, specialist paintwork is an essential accompaniment to one’s choice of fabrics and furnishings. It enables the decorator, the interior designer, to control nuance, colour and visual effect in an artistic way, as well as offering richness.
Many of these techniques in specialist paintwork were learnt at l’école de peinture supérieure de Van der Kelen-Logelain in Brussels in Belgium. The following images show studies for Pompeian fresco, imitation marble and panelled woodwork, columns and pilasters painted in the Chateau de Saran in Champagne for Moët et Chandon, table designs and painted French ceilings.