On a recent visit to Eltham Palace in Greenwich, London I was interested to find antique brass stair clips in a dull dark-grey, almost pewter finish, gracing the gently curving staircases. I was standing in the ‘lineresque’ entrance hall, complete with circular 1930s geometric-styled rug.
Decorative stair rod clips
‘Sweeping’ does come to mind when describing the staircases but certainly not grand. The stair clips look period pieces and original and presumably held the original carpet in place on the stairs. The front section seems to pivot, similarly to how they are made today, but I noticed they were fitted some distance from the edge of the runner, unlike the current trend. Today, the clips are purely decorative and contribute to the Art Deco-with-touches-of-Swedish styling of the entire house.
Eltham Palace throws up quite a few surprises architecturally and design-wise, not least because the Courtaulds 1930s Art Deco house adjoins a medieval palace. From the outside, the juxtaposition looks bizarre and I can’t help but feel that planning has progressed since the couple were given permission to build their new dwelling on what was a leased, crown property.
Once inside, and ignoring the medieval hall next door, I found the styling of the 1930s constructed house appealingly eclectic. It was a family home for Virginia and Stephen for just a few years and today provides an interesting insight into the couple’s wealthy lifestyle, complete with pet lemur. I think it must be rare to find such a complete example of an Art Deco designed home, especially in London where bombing damage destroyed so much from that era.
Rather like many of us splatter family photos around our homes, references to the couple’s yacht catch the eye and made me smile. There is also a fascinating piece of artwork, achieved in leather, in Virginia’s office or sitting room, which captures the rural geography of the surrounding area in its day. And, my particular favourites were the lacquered dining room doors sporting birds and animals, exquisitely decorated in gold.
Art Deco revision to Victorian design
But, coming back to the stair clips, I’m pleased to have seen them in the Art Deco setting. Whilst the design features a stylised fleur-de-lys, much as the more traditional Victorian ones did, the clips at Eltham feature a simple circle motif traced into the metal and giving a nod to the 1930s. What they are actually made of, I couldn’t tell.
Where to buy antique brass stair clips today
If you’d like to emulate the look, try these quality stair clips, which are made in solid brass and offered in a number of metal finishes, including pewter.