I’m not normally one for fantasy. I like to keep my feet planted on the ground, I guess, and I’m more interested in reality than dreams.
But this week, can we make an exception? Browsing in my favourite magma bookstore on Clerkenwell Road, I found (a week early) the new Tim Walker book that is the catalogue for the much-anticipated Story Teller that will be arriving at Somerset House in October.
This is not, as we know, really a blog for the fashion-conscious; I suppose if anything we’re making a fashion out of being anti-fashionable over here aren’t we? But I first came across Tim Walker in these two, now iconic photographs, of balloons rising out of the windows of Eglingham Hall in Northumberland, and tents in the Library at Chanters House, Devon, and they have stayed in my mind ever since. Could the country house be made more romantic? No, it could not.
So let us briefly luxuriate in this magnificent vision, of country houses and gardens, of ancient oak staircases filled with hawthorn branches, of sugar crystal roses, of biplanes made from loaves of bread, and spitfires crashing through faded drawing room walls. From the beautiful, cloud-laced, blue-sky endpapers, to the final image of a rotting ship in the desert, each image is arresting, absorbing, entrancing.
For me: the most striking photographs of all? The floating dinner party in the Cheviot Hills in Northumberland, shown here:
Bravo, Mr Walker: let the dream time begin!