Showing posts with label Nicholas Haslam. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Nicholas Haslam. Show all posts

Tuesday, October 05, 2010

A British Design Primer

You know how I love 1930s design, and I really don't think that a week goes by in which I don't reference the era. But what I've realized over the last few months is that while I feel as though I have a firm grasp on American design from this decade, I'm not quite as comfortable writing about British design between the World Wars. Oh sure, I know quite a bit about John Fowler and slightly less about Sibyl Colefax. But what about Derek Patmore? Basil Ionides? Esmé Gordon? Do these names ring a bell?

Syrie Maugham a few weeks ago made me realize just how little I know about this period in British design. Pauline Metcalf's book obviously educated me on the finer points of Maugham's work, and for that I am grateful. But more importantly, it made me want to learn more- a lot more- about the talented English designers who decorated at this time.

I decided that who better to turn to than the sophisticated and erudite Nick Harvill to provide me with a reading list to help me with my education. In case you're not familiar with Nick, the West Hollywood based antiquarian book dealer has an amazing website,
Nick Harvill Libraries, that concentrates on all kinds of wonderful antique, vintage, and out of print books about interior design, architecture, travel, and society- just to name a few subjects. I could spend hours perusing his website. (Wait, I do!) That in and of itself is an education. Nick was kind enough to compile a list of books that he feels will assist me in becoming well-versed in Anglo design from between the wars.

So, with great appreciation to Nick, here is the list accompanied by a few photos from each book and an explanation as to why he recommends each one. Enjoy, and start reading!

(To purchase the books listed below or to learn more about them, please click on each link; they will take you to Nick's website. To read more about Nick's favorite books, click here to read my post about his top ten book list.)

Twentieth Century Decoration, Stephen Calloway, 1988. Nick feels that this book should be in every design library. I agree; I just need to get my copy. What's in it? Cecil Beaton's Circus Bedroom at Ashcombe (with caricatures on the walls done by Oliver Messel and Rex Whistler); Vanessa Bell and Duncan Grant's Music Room; Lady Leucha Warner's living room as decorated by Ronald Fleming; and Great Hundridge, the home where Nicky Haslam was raised.

The Circus Bedroom at Cecil Beaton's Ashcombe.

Lady Leucha Warner's Living Room as decorated by Ronald Fleming.

London Interiors, From the Archives of Country Life, John Conforth, 2000. This is actually one of the few British design oriented books that I own, and I feel it's worth owning for the photos of Chips Channon's Amalienburg Dining Room alone. Thank goodness that many of the featured interiors were photographed as quite a few did not survive WWII. Iconic rooms such as Lady Mountbatten's Boudoir (replete with Rex Whistler murals) and Diana Cooper's Bathroom as well as work by prominent decorators Lord Gerald Wellesley and Oliver Hill are included.

Chips Channon's Amalienburg Dining Room that was inspired by the Bavarian Rococo Amalienburg Palace in Munich. Unfortunately, it did not survive the war.

An Oliver Hill designed bathroom for Mr. Robert Hudson. According to Harvill, Hill was a favorite designer of Country Life magazine, appearing in its pages often. The only designer/architect featured more often was Sir Edwin Lutyens.

The Thirties, British Art and Design Before the War, Joanna Drew, 1980. This catalogue accompanied an exhibition at the Hayward Gallery that focused on British decor, furniture, jewelry, and other aspects of design from the 1930s. It must have been some exhibit as Tilly Losch's bathroom was actually reconstructed for the 1980 show.

Actress Tilly Losch's bathroom designed by Paul Nash

The Modern English Interior by R. Randal Phillips, 1939. According to Nick, this book features English rooms from the 1920s and 30s that reflect "modernism as applied to British tradition." Work by Basil Ionides, Sir Edwin Lutyens, and Philip Tilden are included.

A Sitting Room by Sir Edwin Lutyens

Basil Ionides designed this room with landscape paper panels.

Decorative Art, The Studio Year Book, 1943-1948; Rathbone Holme, editor. The work covered in this anthology of design in both England and abroad reflects the effects of WWII. Wartime rationing and high post-war taxes resulted in decoration that was lacking in much of the luxury that was found in later British design.

An exhibition living room designed by Esmé Gordon.

Calf hide covered barrel chairs by Modernage Furniture Corporation.

A Decorators Notebook by Derek Patmore, 1952. Though written in the early 1950s, Patmore's book- intended as a how-to decorating guide- includes images and examples of his work during the interwar years.

A Patmore designed bar for the Earl of Jersey. The bar was made of cut-glass bricks, and the photo mural depicted snapshots of Spanish bull-fights.

An illustration of a woman's bedroom with Baroque motifs.

(Image at top: a Regency library by Lord Gerald Wellesley, a major Vogue Regency decorator.)

Wednesday, December 02, 2009

Darling Nicky

How easy it is to forget about preparing a blog post when you're reading Nicky Haslam's new memoir Redeeming Features. Forget delving into my design archives and actually researching something scholarly. I've only been interested in reading about things that are a bit more prurient.

I had anxiously awaited my copy because I knew it would be provocative. Actually, I ordered both
Redeeming Features and The Queen Mother: The Official Biography, but I passed the Queen Mum along to my mum because I wanted to read the book with the naughty bits first. In the first three chapters alone, Haslam has gained more, um, experience than most garner in a lifetime and has spent the weekend with Tallulah Bankhead- all this by the time he was a young teenager. Hmmm....

So, while I continue to read about who did what with whom and where, I leave you with a few photos of Haslam's work from his previous tome
Sheer Opulence.

The salon in a New Orleans home designed by Haslam. The design of the magnolias on both the wallpaper and armchair fabric was taken from a hunting schloss. Haslam lacquered corrugated paper and hung it beneath the room's chair rail.

The entrance hall in a London mansion apartment. Haslam says that he got the idea to drape the stairwell in white fabric from Christian Dior's Paris home.

A London dining room. The wallpaper is actually "cheap" textured paper that Haslam had silvered and hand painted.

Haslam installed the overscaled columns and pillars in this London dining room. What I find most interesting is the chinoiserie panel that can be seen in the mirror. It was inspired by the Chinese Palace at Oranienbaum (more on that this week) and was made of silver mica paper made to look like beadwork.

The study in Haslam's former London apartment. The wallpaper was painted by George Oakes, the famed decorative artist who worked with John Fowler. Can you imagine anything more comfortable than curling up in this room and reading a book? Perhaps a book like "Redeeming Features"?

(All photos with the exception of the image at top from Sheer Opulence)

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Living with Louis

Decorating with luxury good logos is something that divides people into two camps. To some, it's quite chic, while to others it's nothing short of declassé. For the record, I tend to avoid logos in my rooms, but I also think that if surrounding yourself with "LV"s makes you happy, then by all means knock yourself out.

A few Hermès boxes tucked discreetly into a bookshelf provide a nice pop of rich orange. And for the record, I'm guilty of this decorating virtue or vice, depending on which side of the fence you're on.

Those trays painted to resemble the Hermès logo appeared in homes quite often over the last few years. (Available at Donna Parker Habitat Limited)

And of course we can't forget about Louis.

The market for vintage Vuitton trunks and suitcases is always hot, especially when decorators like Miles Redd incorporate them into interiors.

And let's not forget Vuitton leather wrapped lamps. (From Jon Vaccari Antiques)

But something the other day gave me pause....

Louis Vuitton bedecked dressing room doors courtesy of Nicky Haslam. Now let me just say that I'm a fan of both Haslam's interiors and his acerbic tongue. He really tells it like it is, and that's pretty refreshing. I'm just not sure that I could face living with Louis' initials on a daily basis. Now if those doors were covered with Hermès leather (no logo mind you, just plain leather), that would be divine.

(Image of Haslam doors from Sheer Opulence)