The Luck of the Irish – Symbols of Good Fortune
We’d like to create some escapism and give you something uplifting to enjoy. With St. Patrick’s Day having just been, we have taken the opportunity to explore symbols of good fortune within our interiors.
Celebrated each year on 17th March, St. Patrick’s Day was traditionally a day where religious services and feasting took place to honour the patron saint of Ireland, but over time this day has also become a celebration of all things Irish.
On St. Patrick’s Day green is typically worn to lament the failed rebel uprising of the late 1700’s and this colour remained illustrative for Irish nationalism leading up to the country’s independence in 1922. If wearing the colour green brings good luck, then surely sleeping in a green bedroom also does too! This Terrace Suite at The Whitby Hotel has one of our favourite green schemes.
During a recent fabric haul, we spotted this delicate green gentaine design that encompasses lucky four-leaf clovers. Although four-leaf clovers are usually uncommon, it is believed that Ireland is home to more of them than any other place, giving meaning to the phrase ‘the luck of the Irish’.
Another clover print we love is this Lucky Leaf wallpaper designed by Kate Hawkins for Common Room. In this attic bedroom the wallpaper adorns not just the walls, but the ceiling too which transforms this space into a playful and romantic bedroom.
Symbols of good fortune go further than Irish associations and are deeply rooted in many other different cultures and forms. For many years the shells of cowries have been associated with prosperity and the power of destiny. The Indian Ocean has a rich supply of cowrie shells and in the past were used as a form of currency when they were washed-up on African shores. At Ham Yard Hotel, we have added mirrors with cowrie shells to the walls of Soholistic Spa. Their organic form and optimistic meaning complement the spa’s calming environment.
In Norway, an acorn is a token of good luck stemming from Viking folklore. This is because in Scandinavian mythology the oak tree was the ‘tree of life for the mighty god of thunder’, Thor. To protect their homes from being struck by lightning, people would gather acorns for luck and protection. In the aptly named Oak Leaf Suite at Ham Yard Hotel, an appliquéd headboard shows beautiful details of multi-coloured oak leaves.
Here in room 205 at Crosby Street Hotel we have upholstered the headboard with ‘Oakleaves’ in its ‘Forest’ colourway by Blithfield and have included cushions made with Molly Mahon’s ‘Oak’ fabric which has block-printed acorns. Spending a night in this bedroom is destined to bring feelings of calm, safety and prosperity.
Our limited edition ‘Heart of Oak’ cushion designs for Fine Cell Work are symbolic of good fortune as well as our love of colour and hand embroidery. The stitching is a combination of French knots, stem stitch and chain stitch onto a thick British boiled wool from Savile Row.
One of the oldest superstitions is that crossing paths with a black cat will bring bad luck. For many years they were allegedly associated as ‘witches’ companions’ and were perceived to be ominous creatures. However, this superstition is undeserved as black cats have also been a symbol of love, fertility, and luck for many years. This rhyme translated from ancient Welsh folklore certainly confirms this harmonious relationship with our feline friends…
A black cat, I’ve heard it said,
Can charm all ill away,
And keep the house wherein she dwells
From fever’s deadly sway.
In Japan, China, and other Asian cultures, all cats are seen as a symbol of good luck. So when walking past the Botero black cat sculptures at The Soho Hotel and Crosby Street Hotel, they will also bring good fortune and protection to all.
Another animal associated with luck is the magnificent elephant. In many cultures they are symbols of power, wisdom, fertility and luck. They are also closely linked with Buddhism and feng shui and people often place ornaments of them by entrances to their homes to invite good fortune.
In the Drawing Room at Ham Yard Hotel, beautiful antique wood-carved elephants are on display for all to enjoy. According to feng shui, they bring feelings of protection and comfort. Perfect for our cosy Drawing Room.
With Spring around the corner, why not add some extra cheerfulness to your home with these Happy Go Lucky bedspreads and cushions from the Kit Kemp for Annie Selke collection. This joyful design features pops of lively colour and daisy chains which have long been associated with new beginnings and good luck.
We hope these schemes, textiles and interiors have left you feeling full of luck and good fortune!