Mark Hampton

great style, great books

I'm fairly bursting with a million blog posts in my head. I can scarcely keep them straight. For today I'm going to tell you about these books. Well, a peek at two of them anyway. I came home one day recently and my beloved husband had all 5 of these waiting or me. Was it my birthday? No. Our anniversary? No. Just Saturday. He's pretty incredible that way -- wonderful, thoughtful gifts just appear. I'm very lucky. I've said before that so many books are beautiful objects in their own right. Well, check out this one (in the middle of the stack above):

Isn't it so very pretty? I've decided that green is my signature colour (cooking up a whole separate blog post on that!). Have long been a stripes nut. And the giant blooms....delish. And most interestingly -- co-authored by none other than Nina Campbell. Can't wait to dig in for a great read. And check out the endpapers:

Vittoria chintz, RubelliFern Chintz, Lee Jofa

Also love everything Mark Hampton did. Not only was he a very talent designer, but he was also a great writer and his watercolours of rooms are just dreamy. I would die to own one. But for now his book Legendary Decorators of the Twentieth Century will have to satisfy. The book is 22 chapters, each devoted to one of the Greats, and he has illustrated some of their most famous rooms. I'm sure I will be contravening a million copyright laws by doing this, but I can't resist sharing some of the room renderings with you. The illustrations are so wonderful and the rooms themselves would look just as stylish today as they did when first designed -- genius!

A living room by Billy Baldwin featuring a Syrie Maugham sofa, Jean-Michel Frank table and Frances Elkins colour scheme.The famous Cole Porter library by Billy BaldwinA Parisian apartment by Madeleine Castaing. That blue was her signature.This, of course, is by John Fowler, prince of decorators.The mastery of David Hicks - his own home. Makes me want to paint a room pink!

In an era when there is increasing despair over the inhumanity of the world around us, the concerns of decorating rather than seeming vain and irrelevant provide for me a wonderful refuge. This work has to do with people and beauty and the timeless activities of domestic life. At least our private worlds can reward us with peace and pleasure.

Mark Hampton On Decorating, 1989

I'll never forget going to a talk given by Alexa Hampton and hosted by Architectural Digest. She's not only an amazingly talented designer but part standup comedian, too! Anyhoo, story goes like this: she and her hubby were reading in bed and he was kvetching about some matter of the design of their home. She turns to him and says, "I'm sorry, remind me where I've seen your design work published?" CLASSIC -- love it. But then he kept on complaining and she said. "Fine, if you can tell me, without looking, the subject matter and artist name of the artwork above the headboard, then you can have your way." Surprise surprise, he couldn't answer. HA! 

Well, here's the bed in which that amusing tale transpired:

Visit Alexa Hampton's website here.