16 JUNE 1990, Page 32

The Card House

No map exists of the familiar rooms, no armchair, tantalus, or tinsel-tree, no silver tray with its brocade of crumbs, no souvenirs of the imperial sea, no trivial pursuits, no party games no harbour where impassive sailors keep close watch over the dangerous bergs of sleep and guard the sacred objects with their names.

Instead, the sudden heat of undreamt mazy corridors, tight offices and cabinets, card-thin partitions over Piranesi cellars. Niches, alcoves, oubliettes.

Blow down the cards: there's still the sense of place.