For the love of symmetry, nostalgic edition

Our room, in the old house, was called “La chambre rose” (the pink room). It must have been, at some point, pink, but my great-grand-mother had it redone in delicate tones of pale yellow, coral and bottle green, sometimes in the fifties. It was a complicated affair of wallpaper with large bouquets and ribbons in delicate shades, and stripy bayadère fabric in green white and red. Two red butterflies fluttered from one bouquet to another, and bugged me a little because they were not drawn in the perfect, round geometry I wanted from a butterfly drawing. They were light and happy and very much something an adult would draw. I think I was a little jealous.


I was drawing this Cymbalaria muralis and hawthorn design from old botanical books and noticed that the way I was drawing the shapes reminded me of this wallpaper. It wasn’t coming as well as I wanted. Too many colours and shapes, too much details, or not enough. I was a bit frustrated. Butterfly frustrated, actually. So I went online and researched French wallpapers from the period I had in mind, took a close and happy look, closed my computer, and went to sleep.

This morning I modified the design, and for additional fun, made it look like an antique roll of wallpaper. I also added, from memory, the butterflies of my youth. After all, I’m an adult now.

“Le souvenir d'une certaine image n'est que le regret d'un certain instant” Marcel Proust, du Côté de chez Swann, 1913

Delphine Doreau