Friday, 20 May 2016

'English Style'

What can I say about this superlative book?  Written by Mary Gilliatt and published by Bodley Head in 1967 it is a truly beautiful thing to behold.  Not only is the photography, by Michael Boys, simply wonderful and often very atmospheric, but the design, by John Bigg, is terrific.  In all a really stylish, well considered production.  I have coveted this book ever since it appeared on my friend Ben Pentreath's blog, and finally, now, I have my own, my very own copy.  Anyway here is my selection from this lovely book - not an easy task not only due of the sheer quality of the photography alone but because I could happily spend quality time in any one of the homes illustrated.  However there are, obviously, some I prefer to others. In fact Mary Gilliatt's selection is incredibly diverse, disparate even.  (A notable omission, I've just realized, is John Fowler.)  What, however, does hold them together is a common thread of eclecticism - a sort of portmanteau of styles and artifacts that is witty and clever and urbane and for her that is the English Style.  It displays the innate conservatism of English taste and it's rejection of High International Modernism.  Or a least a deeply ambiguous attitude to it. It is also in the last analysis humane.

For those discerning few who read both this blog and Ben's I hope this isn't too repetitious a post.

The Chelsea home of  Robin & Lucienne Day

The weekend cottage, in Suffolk, of Terence and Caroline Conran

The London home of architect Mr Nicholas Johnston

In the home of architect Mr Roger Dyer

The London flat of Mr & Mrs Peter Hall

The London flat of Mr John Vaughan, critic and photographer

The flat of design consultant Kathleen Darby

In the London flat of Mr Klein Lichtenstein

The Oxfordshire home of Mr David & Lady Pamela Hicks

The London flat of Miss Anne Trahearne

The dining room in the Kensington Palace apartment of HRH Princess Margaret and Lord Snowdon

The bedroom of Professor & Mrs Fleming, Zoffany House, London

The London drawing room of Mr Hardy Amies

Bedroom by Jon Bannenberg

Daneway House, Gloucestershire

Stratton Park, Hampshire, designed by Billy McCarty

The London house of Mr David & Lady Pamela Hicks

A London flat designed by Billy McCarty

The Hampstead flat of Mr Leslie Waddington

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