The commission to build a unique new structure was requested by a client who desired a proper setting for the splendidly costumed Harem figures created by the talented James Carrington of London. The inspiration came from favorite recordings and distant echoes: namely, the glorious voice of Sarah Brightman on her Harem album, and also from Mark’s visit to Istanbul many years ago, where the fantastic glittering palaces along the Bosphorus intrigued him immensely. The imperial Harem at Topkapi, palace of the Ottoman sultans, offered veiled glimpses of a mysterious life in that ancient city. Sarayi is Indian for Princess. A Turkish Saray is a castle or palace, and this unusual miniature interpretation is just a small oasis, a glimmer from the pages of history in a faraway place.


Stylistically, we took some license with this project. The decorative elements of Sarayi include individually hand laid glass rather than ceramic tiles. There are unique patterns using two color schemes of jewel tones, with a distinct palette for each level. Parallel mirrored walls bounce infinite reflections of detailed woven trim with threads of gold, and of the crystal and ruby chandelier. Dark fabric covered ceilings of starry skies add to the mystery, and an elegant skylight by Sharon Sipma-Hammell invites moonbeams to grace the interior. The lower level "Room with a Fountain", is connected to the upper level by an exterior staircase. The upstairs apartment overlooks a decorative indoor pool below, and also includes a small outdoor terrace. One can imagine colorful roses floating in the pool, the fragrance of rose petals gently tossed from the balcony, drifting in the air. Music descends from the rooftop lounge, where seekers look out toward distant mountains, dunes and the unknown.


The first set of photos shows Sarayi as finished by the artist and delivered to the collector, followed by photos of the harem furnished by the owner, with resident characters comfortably at home in this miniature palatial setting.
 
Construction is solid pine with birch plywood, hand painted.
 
Dimensions: 20" wide, 22" high, 16" deep. Sold.


Click on the thumbnail views below to enlarge the photos and start the slideshow.