This summer I had the pleasure of attending the Attingham Summer School program with Emily Eerdmans, whose book Regency Redux was published this month by Rizzoli. A copy landed in my mailbox this weekend ~ and not only is it a luxuriously beautiful publication, but it is wonderfully well written and informative. When Emily agreed to send along an annotated list of her top five design books (all with a decidedly anglophile bent), I was thrilled. I hope you enjoy it as much as I do:
* Authentic Décor: The Domestic Interior 1620-1920 (1984), by Peter Thornton: Bar none, this is the bible of interior decoration and design history: period watercolors, prints, and sketches of European and American interiors are accompanied by an in-depth and highly readable commentary on the evolution of style, decoration, architectural planning, and more.
* At Home with Books: How Book Lovers Live with and Care for Their Libraries (1995), by Estelle Ellis, Caroline Seebohm, and Christopher Simon Sykes: Besides offering advice on how best to clean, light, display, and reach books, this beautifully illustrated book takes you inside the libraries of the great and the good. My favorite photo is of the late 11th duke of Devonshire snoozing on a sofa in the library at Chatsworth with newspapers askew. Also included are Michael Graves, Bill Blass, Paul Getty, and Keith Richards!
* The Decorative Twenties and The Decorative Thirties, by Martin Battersby: Battersby began his career as an assistant to Cecil Beaton, and shared Beaton’s understanding of the confluence of fashion, décor and design. In these two books on the 1920s and 30s, Battersby examines everything from jewelry to interior decoration. Written in 1969 and 1971 respectively, they are among the first books to look at this period and unusually give equal weight to the revival of period styles at this time as to the development of modernism.
* Rooms (2006), with photographs by Derry Moore: The subjects of the Earl of Drogheda’s signature square format photographs are from another world ~ gilded, sumptuous and eccentric. It is what I call the World of Interiors’ decaying elegance with layers of patina and history. The rooms of Duff and Diana Cooper, Madeleine Castaing (with wig strap), and Pauline de Rothschild are some of my favorites. The text (very lively) and the unusual design are by the people behind the iconic (and sadly defunct) Nest. For more on Moore, see here.
* Colefax and Fowler (reprinted 2000), by Chester Jones: Inevitably whenever I’m looking for inspiration for paint colors, curtain ideas, or furniture placement, this is the book I come back to again and again. Honorary mention also goes to Interior Inspirations by Roger Banks-Pye, a C&F designer, and also to The Art of Decoration by Nina Campbell, another C&F alum.
Some of you may recall that Emily also did a wonderful post over on Style Court in September about Regency style in the movies. I am so grateful she was able to enlighten us again in this final installment of book week. Thank you to Emily, KDM (for his wonderful White House list), and the ever-inspirational Inkslinger (for her fiction suggestions). You have all helped make this past week so rich and fascinating. Stay warm this winter and happy reading!