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Pictures not words



Ben

PART I

Hanging on the wall of my office is a poster I bought a few years ago at the Museum of Modern Art in Stockholm, by Andy Warhol. I am sure you’ve seen it: “I never read, I just look at pictures”.  I think that’s my mood this evening. It’s been the quietest weekend imaginable down here in Dorset, a relief after two pretty intense weeks on the go (including Decorex and all that went with it last weekend… apologies for not having time to write).

I forgot to bring a camera this weekend to Dorset, a regular occupational hazard, luckily saved by my iPhone, which it turns out takes some nice photos just at the moment. I was sure you would want to see the latest in dahlia heaven, and a few updates of Mavis, Percy and Henry, so I popped out this afternoon. As for the rest, there’s not much I can mention – we hardly left the house. Bliss.img_4052 img_4053 img_4058 img_4059 img_4062 img_4063 img_4064 img_4066 img_4068 img_4072 img_4073 img_4075 img_4076 img_4077 img_4081 img_4082 img_4094 img_4095 img_4103 img_4106 img_4121 img_4124 img_4133 img_4134 img_4196 img_4199 img_4208 img_4220 img_4228 img_4233 img_4236 img_4237 img_4238 img_4239 img_4265

PICTURES NOT WORDS: PART II

Also (quietly) this week… my latest book was published. Very exciting! If you haven’t bought a copy, I thought you’d enjoy seeing a few pages here.

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It opens with photographs of our flat in London.img_4141 img_4142 img_4143 img_4144

An innovation this time, I persuaded the lovely publishers and art director at Ryland Peters and Small that what we needed was page after page of full-size photographs – with no distracting text – all the better to absorb ourselves in Jan Baldwin’s beautiful imagery.  Captions are gathered together at the end of each chapter. Much neater:img_4145

My friend Maisie’s house, with its glorious 70’s kitchen:img_4146 img_4147 img_4148

Lulu Lytle’s kitchen with its beautiful turquoise tiles:img_4149 img_4150 img_4152

Kim Wilkie’s serene flat in St. James’s:img_4153

The next section is called ‘Country’, img_4154

and opens (surprise!) with the Parsonage. img_4155 img_4156 img_4157 img_4158

My great friend Kate’s parents’ house – up the valley – insanely beautiful.img_4159 img_4160 img_4161

Edward & Jane Hurst:img_4162 img_4163 img_4164 img_4165 img_4166 img_4167

Veere Grenney, dream house:
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We end with four country houses, starting with a romantic, incredible house in Northumberland….img_4170 img_4171 img_4172

Of all the pictures in the book, I’m obsessing over this chair at the moment. I think we might start doing every piece of furniture in the decoration office in loose covers (of fern printed linen).img_4173 img_4174 img_4175

Beautiful Herringston, which I have written about on this blog, as long-term readers will know.
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Wardington, home of Bridget Elworthy and the Land Gardeners, which will also be familiar to regular readers.img_4180 img_4181 img_4182 img_4184 img_4185 img_4186 img_4187

And Trematon Castle, home of Julian and Isabel Bannerman, who’s own ravishing book on gardens is about to be published this week.img_4188 img_4189 img_4190 img_4191

It was a lot of fun writing this book, and pulling together the houses and friends that make it.img_4192

But, if I am honest, it is even more fun reading it, and holding it in my hands.  I’ve been signing hundreds of copies, it seems, for the shop, so it’s a good thing I decided that I’d better not sign any copies elsewhere (with the rare exception).  And if you’d like a personal dedication, just let the nice people at the shop know when you place your order.

In the afterword, pictured above, I refer to that Andy Warhol poster – pictures, not words – because really, after all, that’s what the book is about, and what I think the blog is really about too. So having said all that, then… Thank you for reading this far.

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