The Café Royal, London by William Orpen (1912) © First Night Vintage—Available as Posters, Cards, and Prints
There were many disadvantages to living in the early years of the 20th century, not least the coming of the ‘War to End All Wars’, which was anything but. Nevertheless, I can’t help dreaming of swanning around in an Edwardian frock or a Twenties flapper dress and the wherewithal to enjoy the delights of London theatre, fine dining and exquisite conversation. My recent post, Café Royal Rose, set me on a journey. But before I could do but a soupçon of research, I was stopped short by finding a copy of William Orpen’s painting on Wikimedia.
I could not pass by without downloading it and working magic with my resizing software (OnOne) to be able to sell it on First Night Vintage. I don’t think any regular followers will be in the least surprised!
Those creditors’ losses were London’s gain for the couple created a fine establishment that acquired an enviable reputation with a wine cellar admired the world over and which introduced London to French cuisine. Café Royal’s survival to this day is proof of its legendary status.
Oh, the joy I would have had mixing with the likes of Augustus John (‘The King of Bohemia’) or D H Lawrence, Virginia Woolf or Noël Coward, or even Walter Sickert — very heaven. Earlier still and I might have been able to dine on the wit of Oscar Wilde. That is, of course, if any of them had been gracious enough to include me in their gatherings. Reputation suggests that Augustus John would have taken me to his bosom and possibly literally! My mother nearly had one such encounter. In her memoir, she writes about her disappointment at my grandmother’s refusal to let her sit for the artist as he had requested.
- Café Royal Regent Street (official site)
- Café Royal (Wikipedia)
- Augustus John
- Walter Richard Sickert
- The Virginia Woolf Society of Great Britain
- D H Lawrence
- The Noël Coward Society
- The Official Website of Oscar Wilde
Take care and keep laughing!