TRANSYLVANIAN FAMILIES

Modern Folk is pleased to announce it's forthcoming exhibition, Transylvanian Families, running from the 13thto 30thSeptember 2018. The show will explore the folk culture of Transylvania, a region in Romania with a rich heritage that goes far beyond its infamous fictional vampires. It will celebrate the different communities that occupied the area - Romanians, Hungarians, Saxons, Roma and Russians. Each of these 'families' had a distinct culture, but in Transylvania they lived side-by-side, drawing inspiration from each other to create one of the most diverse areas of folk tradition in the world.

Transylvania’s distinctive style can be seen in the eye-catching antique furniture offered by Modern Folk. Painted with vibrant details, William Morris-esque furniture from Tara Călatei gives you an idea why this area of Hungarian heritage was known as ‘fancy country.’ Choose from a wardrobe painted with a tree of life (£1,450), or a dresser embellished with colourful wooden tassels dated 1943 (£2,400). Or indulge your romantic side with one of the 19th century wedding chests – a rustic carved pine ark from the Saxon community (£850) or a chest painted to mark a wedding in 1891 (£950). Whilst they may look very different each chest is covered in the same ancient symbols of protection, an important feature of Romanian folk art.

Transylvania's folk textiles are just as spectacular as its furniture. A group of hand-made jackets (£180 each) illustrate the diversity of the region, ranging from ostentatious Roma examples to an elegant navy velvet piece worn by the Russian community. Quirky and stylish, these vintage jackets are a great way to add a unique piece of wearable folk art into your wardrobe. For a bold statement, try an exquisite Hungarian horsewoman's outfit, circa 1900 (£425). The sweeping skirt was designed to be tucked in at the waistband, allowing the rider to move freely.

Transylvanian Families will also include decorative art works from the early 20th century to the present day. A group of reverse glass paintings will be offered with prices starting at just £65. Brightly coloured and delightfully naïve, these icons are fast acquiring a cult status with art collectors and interior decorator’s alike. Terracotta pots shaped like strange animals, and carved wooden musicians illustrate the vivid folk imagination of the region (from £45). These sculptural pieces would add a touch of character to any house or garden, and look great nestled amongst plants. 

Together these pieces reveal Transylvania’s rich folk heritage, on display in the UK for the first time. Modern Folk founder Kitty Walsh says ‘I’m delighted to bring a slice of Transylvania to London. Transylvanian art is so vibrant and joyful, and it’s barely known outside Romania. This is a great opportunity to snap up some spectacular pieces before the international collectors catch on.’

Kitty Walsh