Yesterday I came into possession of two large, soft, squidgy, purple velvet sofa cushions from Timorous Beasties, a brand I’ve wanted to buy something from for years.
Timorous Beasties is a Scottish company known for its gothic interpretations of traditional designs. Most famous is probably their cityscape Toile de Jouy wallpapers which depict scenes of muggings, prostitution, urinating ASBO teenagers and drunken tramps rather than the more traditional French peasants.
Many of their designs draw on nature with moths, bees and thistles making a regular appearance. On first look the fabrics and wallpapers seem to be a funked up version of standard flora and fauna designs but on closer inspection the strong macabre undertones reveal themselves and you are drawn into a world of Victorianesque decay and destruction.
Iguanas being strangled by vines, dense thickets of spiky thistles, blankets of moths and swarms of bees for me create a disturbing image of Miss Haversham’s overgrown garden. Even the pineapple, the happiest of motifs, is made to appear sinister, foreboding and prickly.
Timorous Beasties has a strong Scottish theme, from the Edinburgh and Glasgow Toile de Jouy to the thistles and even the name which is from the Robert Burns poem To a Mouse. The design work of all of their products takes place in their Glasgow studio where many of their fabrics and wallpapers are hand printed.
I really like Timorous Beasties, they are entirely unique and unexpected, but many of the products creep me out and I’m not sure I’d want them in my house as I think they would give me nightmares. Quite frankly the intricate lace panel revealing a demon’s face terrifies me. So for now, lily livered as I am, I’ve settled for a couple of humble bees on a piece of luxury velvet.