This is my ninth post concerning inspirations in art and design.
In my last post, I reminisced about the Gustav Klimt and Art Deco-inspired Kelaty rugs, from my days working at the David Morgan department store in Cardiff; today, I am taking a further detour from painting, to study one of the great influences of the aforementioned movement, namely Egyptian Art.
My particular focus is on hieroglyphics, an ancient ‘code’ whose meaning escaped historians of various eras, until the discovery of the Rosetta Stone (1799).
Evidence of the usage of Egyptian hieroglyphs reaches as far back as the fourth century BCE and they continued to be applied until the fourth century CE, when the spread of Christian beliefs rendered them obsolete.
Egyptian hieroglyphs differ from modern alphabets in that they are largely pictorial. They are based, rather like the Welsh alphabet, on sounds instead of individual letters. Hence, there is a ‘letter’ for each of the following: ‘Kh’, ‘Sh’, ‘Th’, and ‘Sh’.
I feel I can compare this to the Welsh language, Cymraeg, which also has the distinctive ‘sounds’ for letter combinations, such as ‘dd’, ‘ll’, ‘au’, ‘ff’, ‘ch’, ‘ae’ and ‘oe’. The impact of these lilts is to add a lyrical almost melodious tune to the words as they form on the tongue.
Having previously studied Classical Civilisations, I have been lucky enough to see the Rosetta Stone in location, at the British Museum, London. Here it is surrounded by many wondrous artifacts, all very mysterious and exotic in nature. I often wondered, could I take some of that Egyptian magic and place it within a domestic interior?
And this is something I succeeded in doing.
Going back about a decade or so ago, while employed as an interior designer, I had the honour of creating a bathroom with a distinct Egyptian-theme. I felt inspired in doing so by the mythology surrounding Cleopatra, the last ruler of the Ptolemy Empire, who loved to bathe. You will find a few pictures from this bathroom design – mainly focusing on the tiles – just below this post.
Although the images on these tiles are lovely, it’s still the hieroglyphs that fascinate me the most. And so it is these from which my final picture is inspired. I’d love to know what you think of the outcome.
Once again, thank you for reading.