Something really mixed up caught my attention in the August issue of Elle Decor. In the All Things Considered article, an 18th-Century Parisian apartment packed with colonial-era artwork was highlighted for its dedication to more grandly styled centuries past.
There was a intricately molded office with a collection of peering eyes portraits by Thomas Frye.
An antique map of Cuba that is believed to be one of the oldest around; previously owned by Sir Thomas Phillips, the greatest book collector of all time… also sometimes called a vellomaniac.
There also were antique botanical prints in the dining room which may be appetizing to some… not me but still fitting to the design.
Disclaimer: I do have an appreciation for old American colonial and European regency artwork depicting great wars, kings and queens, pilgrims and little chubby white babies. They add intriguing contrast to more modern spaces; however, this Left Bank apartment was a little overboard on the oldies for my liking. I tend to veer away from too many portraits of dead white folks that may have owned my ancestors.
But what really caught my attention was a collection of Mexican casta paintings depicting mixed-race families. Casta was a Spanish/Portuguese term used to describe interracial Spanish persons, post-conquest. I had never heard of such but I found them most fascinating. In a quick Wiki search I learned that there were more than 100 categories of castas which were used to classify individuals both economically and socially.
I had to share this because even today I hear some red, white and blue-blooded citizens whispering their disgust of interracial couples and families as they peacefully walk past. This is and has been the norm for much longer than many would like to imagine. Hince, the term castas has been around since the 17th and 18th centuries.
When the most nostalgic American morning treat, Cheerios, places a biraccial family in its advertising campaign….. it is time for everyone to get their hearts and heads on board. Welcome to the New World.