Shakespeare said “All the world’s a stage”, and it was certainly a night of theatrics as we treated a small group of guests to an exclusive, luxury experience with fellow creative and writer Ann Morgan, hosted at our Bluebird gallery in Chelsea. Ann transported a captivated audience back in time to the year 1619, casting new light on the legend of natural indigo, an ancient dye once reserved only for kings, and a key ingredient of Timothy Oulton’s Noble Souls collection. All the while, guests enjoyed fine wine and champagne as they relaxed on the softest Noble Souls sofas – akin to ‘pillows of air’ and swathed in indigo linens – as Ann beguiled us with a witty monologue of where this mesmerizing material comes from, and its unique history.

Read a taster below or Watch Ann’s full story


“Indigo. The colour of adventure, of richness, of travel. That empress among pigments surprised from the sap of a plant more centuries ago than anyone can guess and used to adorn the robes of kings, burial cloths and pottery. Along the Pepper Coast in Africa, they say the knowledge of how to obtain it came from a seeress who ate a piece of sky, while in the East Indies the whisper goes that it contains black magic.

“It is the stuff of dreams and legends. And this we see before us is no exception. Inspired by artisans in the remote hills of the Great Ming Empire, a place where dyers have plied their craft for hundreds of years, it bespeaks a dedication to quality and keeping faith with the ancients that transcends petty regulations and rule books.

“It is right, friends, that, trepidatious though we may be, we should put aside thoughts of personal safety and gather to pay tribute to such majesty, that we should admire Master Oulton’s ingenious and beauteous comfortable seats as they deserve. In so doing, just like those whose techniques coloured their fabric, we put our paltry, brief lives second to the timelessness of processes that enchanted our forebears since before even the great City of London itself was conceived.”

Ann Morgan is a writer, editor and TED speaker, and the author of two critically acclaimed books. The first, Reading the World: confessions of a literary explorer, was inspired by her project to read a book from every country on Earth in 2012.


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