Oriel Harwood's audacious pieces - neither furniture nor ornamentation, but something in between - are not made for meek persons or clinically Noughties interiors. They are heroic, flamboyant, unashamedly ostentatious outpourings from the creative mind of Harwood, some 25 years in the business of recreating her fantasies: chandeliers of branches and thick oak leaves moulded over frosted glass, androgynous heads with flames or feathers shooting from their tonsures, six-foot-high unicorn's horn cast in clear glass, fantastical fire places, mirrored dining tables...

Fey her art may seem; its construction is not. Her dusty and overstuffed Walworth studio looks like a cross between a car body shop and a stonemason's. Her work has become refined in its very surface: the clay models are now gouged with naturalistic channels, inspired by close-up photographs of vegetative forms. Her art is growing into something feral and neo-romantic. It is both European and English, fantastic and surreal, and comes from a covert culture of excess, the aesthete's aesthetic offensive, flying in the face of what is considered "good taste" in an expression of flagrant escapism. It follows a "secret history" of taste which draws on notions of otherness, a family tree of flamboyance from the 18th-century Gothic of Walpole's Strawberry Hill and Beckford's Fonthill to Wilde's "house beautiful" and Beardsley's black and-red-painted Pimlico drawing room; from Robbie Ross Half Moon Street rooms painted "dull gold" in 1917 as a protest against the war to the Sitwells ("big heroes", says Oriel) and their Carlyle Square dining room, where green walls and grotto furniture gave visitors the feeling of being under water. (from an article by Philip Hoare for "the Independent")

Oriel Harwood

66/68 Camberwell Road, London SE5 0EG

e-mail: orielharwood@yahoo.co.uk