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Barrymore Avignon Chair: A Love Story

Barrymore Avignon Chairs on Saxon Henry
Barrymore’s Avignon Chairs, French classicism in Love.

Petrarch and Laura: Unrequited Profundity

Oh, fateful town in France! While communing in your Sainte-Claire d’Avignon, I saw her. Laura. The name that would haunt me for the rest of my days; the visage I would spend every waking hour longing to glimpse once more, knowing I was doomed to never look upon that face again.

See me here; hear me loud and clear—I, Petrarch, bow down to her beauty, dreaming I might manage even a moment with the limbs flowing from that glorious body—my fingers on the arch of her foot or the curve of her ankle would have been enough but she was out of reach from the start and she has now passed over to a heavenly plane befitting her beauty. I make my way through the world in my normal way of being but my soul stays bent, just so, on one knee in honor of this eternal enthrall.

I practice no art except to love utterly, to trust utterly, to feign nothing, to hide nothing, and in a word to pour out everything into my friends’ ears—it all comes from my heart. Ah, Laura: to see you seated in that beautiful Avignon chair with its button back opposite me!

To see your lovely torso framed by the fabric inset into such delicate wood delineations handcrafted in Italy—each tiny detail forming a match made in heaven deserving of a love story for the ages, just like ours! I will always humbly be your devoted admirer. I will be here, waiting, on the occasion you might show yourself, even briefly.

Francesco Petrarca on the Saxon Henry blog
Portrait of Francesco Petrarca (1304-1374), Italian poet and humanist.

This creative riff was inspired by the the company’s Avignon chair, produced by the Canadian manufacturer’s skilled artisans using kiln-dried hardwood, double-dowelled and corner-blocked joinery, eight-way hand-tied springs, cotton felt, and high-density soy-based seating foam.

The Toronto-based company has been manufacturing sofas, sectionals and chairs for 95 years. If you attend High Point Market, stop in and see their furniture at their showroom on the third floor of The Factory, a handsomely renovated building at 400 W. English Road in High Point.

I chose Francesco Petrarca as my voice for this narrative because he became besotted with Laura in a church in Avignon, France, and, as they say, the rest is (poetic) history—his Il Canzoniere were born and one of the world’s greatest tales of unrequited love was recorded for posterity. It came to me when I saw the tilted chair tipped toward the other that it could be him kneeling, his demeanor worshipful and besotted.

His love poems to Laura are published as The Rime sparse in case you would like to have a read. To see other Barrymore releases from the fall #HPMkt, hop over to this post on Productrazzi where I’ve paired the Marilyn sofa and the Cooper sofa with two sexy celebrities. If you like this type of post, leave me a comment and let me know you’d like to see others in this vein. And thanks so much for stopping by!

The Diary of an Improvateur and this literary design encounter © Saxon Henry, all rights reserved. Saxon is an author, poet and journalist, as well as a contributor to Architizer. Her books include Anywhere But Here, Stranded on the Road to Promise and Four Florida Moderns.

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