Saturday, September 6, 2014

Harold R. Simmons, Jr.

The life of Harold Simmons, one of the great influences in my career, was celebrated today in East Hampton, New York.  He passed away peacefully in his home on August 12, 2014, after the challenges of hip cancer.

Peter van Hattum (left) and Harold Simmons (right)
at The Hampton Designer Show House,
11 May, 2004
Photo via Patrick McMullen.
Harold was formerly the Senior Vice-President at Parish-Hadley Associates in New York City where he worked for 21 years.  Among his many responsibilities, Harold headed the Design Studio which numbered as many as seven architects during my time there in the 1980s.  Each of us was responsible for one or more of the architectural projects underway, often of tremendous scope for clients such as Rockefeller and Getty, but always under the direction of Harold Simmons.
Hertenhof (Deer Court), Harold and Peter's home
that Harold designed and had built in East Hampton.
2009 photo via Black Tie Magazine.
Harold's knowledge in the fields of interior design and architecture was vast and of the highest level of taste, that combination being a relative rarity in the profession.  And there was never hesitation to share that knowledge.  The list of items to be considered was a long one, from the plan of the furniture to the balance of the lighting to the physical allowances for window treatments, and on and on.  But Harold Simmons knew all the answers and taught that same level of competency to his staff.

Peter van Hattum, Joan Worth, and Harold Simmons
at a charity event reception held at Hertenhof, 2009.
Photo via Black Tie Magazine.
Harold R. Simmons, Jr., was known as "Young Harold" in his hometown of Clarksdale, Mississippi, because his father had the same name, Harold R. Simmons.  After graduating from Ole Miss, Harold worked for one year at the celebrated Memphis design firm owned by Kenneth Kimbrough and his partner Robert Bedford who insisted that he should get a degree from Parsons School of Design in New York if he wanted to be a design professional.  (Bobby Bedford, now in his mid-90s, is a cherished friend of mine because of the connection with Harold).

The Mausoleum of Emperor Diocletian, Spalato,
as drawn as a conjectural restoration by
Robert Adam, 1764.
After graduating from Parsons in 1965 and specializing in Interior Architecture, Harold first worked for the architectural firm of Alfred Easton Poor.  In 1966, he joined the decorating firm then known as Mrs. Henry Parish, 2nd, as the personal assistant to Albert Hadley.  Harold once told me that, on his first day on the job, he went with Mr. Hadley to an enormous apartment that was to be extensively renovated; Mr. Hadley began marking big "X"-es on the walls to be demolished, noting new locations for electric outlets on the walls, etc., all instructions soon to be lost when the construction process began.  Harold brought a level of order and professionalism to the office, contributing much to making it one of the most respected full-service design firms in the 1980s. 

View of the tomb of Caius Cestius by Piranesi.
After leaving Parish-Hadley in 1987, Harold joined his long-time partner Peter van Hattum (whom he had met his first week in New York in 1962) to found the firm Van Hattum and Simmons.  Their work included embassies in South America and numerous fine residences in New York, Washington, DC, and London, among other locations.  Also, their work was highly regarded in numerous Kips Bay Decorator Show Houses and Southampton Decorator Show Houses.  Harold and Peter were married in 2012.

The combination of charm, wit, and talent is far too rare, so it is especially sad to lose someone like Harold.  Memorial gifts may be made in honor of Harold Simmons to East End Hospice, P.O. Box 1048, Westhampton Beach, New York 11978.  My deepest sympathy goes to Peter, another remarkable individual, and their family.

1939 to 2014

Friday, August 15, 2014

Jonathan Myles-Lea Residential Portraits

A bird's eye view of Dream Acres
painted by Jonathan Myles-Lea
for Country Life magazine.
Image via Arabella Lennox-Boyd
The Devoted Classicist first learned of the exceptional talents of contemporary artist Jonathan Myles-Lea when his remarkable composite views of Daylesford came to light during the research for the blog essay that was the Carole and Anthony Bamford part of the series about that quintessential country house. 

A detail of the painting of Daylesford,
the Bamford estate, showing the main house
by S.P. Cockerell, the Orangery by Sanderson Miller,
the Gardener's Cottage and the large Kitchen Garden.
Image rights are the property of Jonathan Myles-Lea

Myles-Lea has been described as the successor to painter John Constable and the extraordinary muralist Rex Whistler.  While this is certainly understandable, Jonathan Myles-Lea's delightful paintings remind me of my favorite house portraits by the seventeenth-century master Johannes Kip and the twentieth-century genius Felix Kelly.

Jonathan Myles-Lea.
Photo by Juan F. Bastos.

Jonathan has a Bachelors Degree in The History of Art & Architecture from the University of London, which was undoubtedly a factor in his portraits of historic homes and gardens.  Friendships with artist Francis Bacon, art expert (and jazz singer) George Melly, and portraitist Lucien Freud led to advice that influenced his work as well.

Pen and Ink.
The Rectory at Litton Cheney: in-progress.
Image rights are the property of Jonathan Myles-Lea
This series of images for The Rectory at Litton Cheney is a 'straight-on' rather than aerial view, but shows the steps Myles-Lea goes through to produce the layers that give the finished results.

The Rectory at Litton Cheney: in-progress.
Image rights are the property of Jonathan Myles-Lea.
The Rectory in Dorset was the home of noted English engraver Reynolds Stone from 1953 until 1979.

The completed oil paintng, 30" x 60".
The Rectory at Litton Cheney.
Image rights are the property of Jonathan Myles-Lea.
In 1991, he painted a friend's house in North Wales, Plas Teg, that has led to over 60 commissions in ten countries.  In the United States, paintings have been commissioned by Evelyn Lauder, Norman Lear, and Oprah Winfrey.  In Great Britain, clients in addition to Lord and Lady Bamford include David Armstrong-Jones, Lord Linley; The Cliveden Estate, and Lady Victoria Leatham at Burghley House.  A friendship with one of Britain's greatest garden designers, Sir Roy Strong, led to a 1994 commission of his garden, The Laskett; Strong was credited with introductions to potential clients that led to more commissions.

The Laskett.
The garden of Sir Roy Strong and his late wife
Julia Trevelyn Oman in Herefordshire is the largest
formal garden in England planted after 1945.
Image rights are the property of Jonathan Myles-Lea.
In 2007, Prince Charles commissioned the pen and ink drawing of his country house, Highgrove, that appears on the cover of a limited-edition, leather-bound book written by the Prince of Wales and Bunny Guiness.  In addition to the aerial view, there are various garden features forming a border.  Myles-Lea also designed a crest for this map that included items to represent the Prince's hobbies: polo-sticks, apples, an artist's palette, gardening tools, and a basket of eggs.  Jonathan Myles-Lea's map also appears on other merchandise available in the Highgrove shop in addition to the book HIGHGROVE: A GARDEN CELEBRATED.

Image rights are the property of Jonathan Myles-Lea
Country Life magazine commissioned an aerial view in 2009 of the fantasy 10 acre country estate, Dream Acres, that was designed by Arabella Lennox-Boyd and Jonathan Self for a series of articles for the weekly publication.  "For the painting of Dream Acres, I used the sweep of the main drive to lead the eye to the house, and then on to the stream at the end of the lawn.  I wanted to make the composition as dynamic as possible so that the viewer's eye travels through the picture -- as if they were taking a stroll through the garden."  It was the first time in the long history of the magazine that an illustration had been used for a cover.

The April 29, 2009, cover of Country Life
featuring Jonathan Myles-Lea's view of
the fantasy country estate, Dream Acres.
The artist's personal archives, consisting of several thousand compositional drawings, sketches, letters, and photos are in the process of being acquired by The Bodleian Library at The University of Oxford.  A book is in the works, expected to be published in January, 2015.

The back and front cover of the new book on
Jonathan Myles-Lea.
Jonathan Myles-Lea, with studios both in England and in the United States, may be commissioned to paint a portrait of your own beloved home and garden.  For details and particulars, contact the artist directly through his website.

Friday, August 8, 2014

Aged in Wood

The prop lobby poster for the play in
"All About Eve"
From the collection of Jane Withers.
Sold $10,000 November 9, 2013.
Julien's Auctions
Fans of the 1950 film "All About Eve" will recognize "Aged in Wood" as the title of the play starring Margo Channing (Bette Davis) at the beginning of the story.  But it could also be used to describe the new furniture carved by Jonathan Sainsbury.  There are many makers of reproduction furniture, but Jonathan Sainsbury Ltd is a stand-out because they hand carve directly from period examples with little if any 'interpretation' and give the new pieces an authentic finish to match the original or to suit the decor, whether water-gilded, waxed, or an aged paint finish.

A pair of reproduction William Kent
console tables, carved pine and aged gesso
by Jonathan Sainsbury Ltd.
Image via Semperey.
The original Kent console table
made in the 1720s, formerly at Chiswick House,
now in the Victoria & Albert Museum.
Image via V & A.
A watercolor view of the Chiswick Gallery
by William H Hunt, 1828.
Image via The Bard Graduate Center.
The Sainsbury family started a business as timber merchants in the early 18th century and branched out as cabinet-makers in 1918 with a shop in Bournemouth.  In 2004, Jonathan Sainsbury established his own business to make furniture to meet a demand where the original was either too costly or impossible to find.

The Nostell Priory Mirror
as made by Jonathan Sainsbury Ltd.
(A reduction of height may be seen when compared
to the original by Thomas Chippendale).
Image via Decorex.
Thomas Chippendale's mirror
in the State Bedroom of Nostell Priory.
National Trust Images/Andreas von Einsiedel
via Treasure Hunt blog
Many of the reproductions are mirrors in the ELG range (English Looking Glasses).  But there are all sorts of chairs, benches, beds, brackets, lamps, center tables and console tables.  In addition to Kent and Chippendale, there are a number of pieces reproduced from originals by Robert Adam, Matthias Lock and Thomas Hope, among others from the 18th and 19th centuries.

The Brighling Park table as reproduced by
Jonathan Sainsbury Ltd.
Image via Decorex.
The George II table from Brightling Park
possibly made by William Hallett.
Image via Bonhams.
Several pieces were commissioned by Carolyne Roehm for Chisholm House, her home in Charleston, South Carolina.  In addition, Sainsbury is carving a fireplace surround and overmantle inspired by the fantastic Chinese Room at Claydon; you will want to see the photos and read more about that on her blog here.

Restoration work is also undertaken by
Jonathan Sainsbury Ltd.
Read more about William Kent, the Ultimate Tastemaker, in an earlier post of The Devoted Classicist here.  See more examples of the work by Jonathan Sainsbury Ltd on their website.

Friday, August 1, 2014

Gracie Mansion

Gracie Mansion, official home of the mayor
of New York City.
Photo via Architectural Digest.
There has been a storm of Sharknado intensity in the social media this week about the donation of $65,000 worth of furniture from the mall/mail-order store West Elm for Gracie Mansion, the official residence of the mayor of the City of New York.  Attention-getting headlines such as this one from Curbed New York, "De Blassios Swap 300-Year-Old Antiques for West Elm at Gracie," incited indignation that the comparatively uncouth new First Family of NYC would not appreciate the relatively lavish refurnishing untaken during the Bloomberg years, all paid for by private sources including a significant amount donated by Bloomberg personally.  But it must be noted that the West Elm furnishings were for the private quarters of the residence and were given to the Gracie Mansion Conservancy, the non-profit group that supports the historic and decorative aspects of the property.

The Entrance Hall in 1946.
Image via Corbis.
The Gracie Mansion Conservancy was founded in 1981 at the start of a $5.5 million renovation that was carried out 1981 to 1984 during the administration of Ed Koch.  Two interior designers at their peak of popularity, Albert Hadley of Parish-Hadley Associates and Mark Hampton of Mark Hampton LLC, were invited to donate their services to decorate the mansion.  Albert was to create a viable décor for the public rooms in the historic part of the house, essentially the Entrance Hall, Parlor, Sitting Room and Dining Room in addition to the State Guest Room suite.  Mark was to decorate the Visitor's Entrance Hall, the Banquet Hall, and the Ballroom, all in the 1966 addition designed by architect Mott B. Schmidt and named in honor of former Mayor Robert Wagner, Susan, who had worked towards the creation of the wing but died before it was completed.
A 1983 sketch of a hall by Albert Hadley.
Image via One Kings Lane.
I worked at Parish-Hadley in the 1980s and assisted Mr. Hadley in the aspects of the Gracie Mansion project that required architectural input from designing the improvements to the State Guest Suite to locating electrical outlets and reviewing construction plans as they impacted the interior design.  The sketch titled "The Hall" above may or may not have been intended for Gracie Mansion but it is indicative of the drawings Mr. Hadley used to convey his ideas for committee approval and stir up support from his deep-pocketed friends.  And it is from the same time period as his involvement at Gracie Mansion.

The Entrance Hall circa 1985.
Photo via City of New York.
Although Mr. Hadley was not opposed to painting the floor in two tones of gray as a checkerboard, the results as carried out under the direction of the Conservancy (and executed by a compensated family member of the committee) were too theatrical, including the marbleizing of the stair risers (painted out in a later refurbishing) and the non-relating compass star. 

Albert Hadley's conceptual sketch of the Parlor
at Gracie Mansion.
Image via One Kings Lane.
Albert Hadley's concept for the furnishing of Gracie Mansion was not unlike that carried out for the second floor rooms at the White House for the Kennedys that he had worked on twenty years before with Sister Parish, later becoming her business partner in the legendary firm Parish-Hadley Associates.  The idea was to take some historic pieces of Mid-Atlantic, if not New York, origin of the late 18th and early 19th century and supplement them with quality new furniture and comfortable upholstery to allow these rooms to be realistically used on both daily and official entertaining occasions, not a museum setting despite the historic nature of the mansion.  It was not unlike how the Kennedys used the Yellow Oval Room, Family Dining Room and the adjacent hallways in the White House, decorated to be attractive enough for distinguished guests but comfortable enough for family use.

The Dining Room at Gracie Mansion, circa 1985.
Photo via City of New York.
Despite being known later as the Albert Hadley Refurnishing of the historic part of the mansion, very little of the work he proposed was actually realized.  Although Mark Hampton seemed to have fared better in the Wagner Wing, the Conservancy committee approved but prevented most of Albert Hadley's contributions from being realized.  The Dining Room was the one space where Mr. Hadley's ideas were clearly evident.  All the furnishings were donated by Hadley supporters including the scenic wallpaper.  Among Albert's own donations, in addition to his time, were the simple gauze curtains hung from stamped gilt metal valances; the committee fought him on those, insisting much more formal window treatments would be better suited for the room.  The final straw was the fitted carpet;  the multi-colored striped carpet had been selected for the adjacent sitting room and a durable dark green moire-patterned plush-cut carpet was specified for the Dining Room.  When the carpet company brought the goods (donated because of Mr. Hadley) to be installed, some ladies of the committee made a last-minute Executive Decision to switch the goods as the rooms were of similar size and the striped carpet could be stretched a bit to make up the difference.  Since there was not any patterned fabric in the room, they thought the more colorful carpet was better.  By the end of the day, Albert Hadley officially resigned from the effort and the committee was left to "play house" as it wished.

The visitor's entrance to Gracie Mansion
showing the 1966 Susan Wagner Wing.
Photo by John Foreman for
the Big Old Houses blog.
Despite press reports to the contrary, Mayor Ed Koch did not live in Gracie Mansion on a regular basis, preferring his rent-controlled apartment in Greenwich Village.  A rule that allows that the only overnight guests may be the immediate members of the First Family and the official guests of the City of New York prevented Mayors Guiliani and Bloomberg from cohabitating there with their girlfriends.  Mayor Bloomberg did contribute some of his own funds, however, to the $7 million restoration in 2002 with the interior design carried out by his decorator of choice, Jamie Drake.  Those interiors may be seen as photographed by Architectural Digest here.

Gracie Mansion as it appeared circa 1900
(prior to the 1923 restoration)
Image from Bettman Archives via Corbis.
More can be read about the history of Gracie Mansion on John Foreman's Big Old Houses blog here and on the official website of the City of New York here.  In summary, the mayors bring their own furniture for their private rooms and it looks like the Gracie Mansion Conservancy arranged for this donation by West Elm to supplement the De Blassios' belongings although the furniture officially belongs to the Conservancy.

Tuesday, July 29, 2014

Artificial Flowers

Branches of white pear blossoms
made of painted metal by Carmen Almon
for Deeda Blair's New York City apartment.
Photo by Julia Netta for T Magazine.
As a preschooler, one of my favorite songs was Bobby Darin's "Artificial Flowers" which was a hit in 1960 despite coming from the unsuccessful Broadway show "Tenderloin" which is set in the red-light district of Manhattan in the 1890s.  I did not know anything about that, although I did get that the lyrics were about a poor orphan who froze to death making artificial flowers.  But it was a time when lyrics could be understood and they painted an impression that I could comprehend, even as a young child.  And I loved the up-beat, jazzy, big band accompaniment.  You will understand if you watch Bobby Darin's YouTube video performance here.
A pineapple plant made by Carmen Almon
set in an antique brass container
in a detail from a photo by Carolyne Roehm.
Despite growing up with gardens and houses filled with containers of cut flowers, ever since that song I have had an interest in artificial flowers as a permanent element in decoration.  Of course, the chances of this going completely wrong are positively stinking-ly overripe with possibilities, and I have always encouraged my clients not to depend on floral arrangements, either real or artificial, to carry a room.  So you will understand my recent joy in seeing a pair of pineapple plants made by Carmen Almon that were decorating the Bird Room in Chisholm House, the lovely-though-work-in-progress Charleston home of Carolyne Roehm.

A detail of Carmen Almon's
pineapple plant.
Photo by Carolyne Roehm
Pineapple plants are very expensive to buy yet very easy to grow.  But they grow fast so it would almost take a plantation to keep a supply of potted plants in this stage of growth.  And, of course, Carmen Almon's works are not replicas of nature but her own artistic impression.  She mostly uses 17th and 18th century botanical books as her guide rather than actual plants or photographs.
A basket of prunus branches by Carmen Almon
in the Fifth Avenue apartment of Howard Slatkin.
Photo by Jeff Hirsh for NYSD.
I really began to take note of Carmen Almon's work with the publication of  Howard Slatkin's Fifth Avenue apartment; he must have a couple of dozen of her works.  She was the first employee he hired when he opened his Manhattan business in the early 1990s, according to a T Magazine article in 2013.

Carmen Almon's clematis trained on a form
is joined by additional works in pots
in Howard Slatkin's apartment.
Photo by Jeff Hirsh for NYSD.
Carmen Almon was a botanical watercolorist 25 years ago when style icon Deeda Blair asked her to restore some 1960s tole pieces that she collected.  When Mrs. Blair moved to New York City in 2005, she commissioned the white pear blossom branches seen in the first image in this post of The Devoted Classicist.  "It's the same Bradford pear I had in Washington," she was quoted in an article by Jean Bond Rafferty for a NY TIMES article published 08/25/2013.  "I became obsessed photographing flower clusters and branches and sending them back and forth to Almon.  The branches were dark wood, covered in lichen and moss."

Carmen Almon in her Bordeaux apartment
photographed by Fabrice Fouillet for
T magazine, August 21, 2013.
Almon, 63, born in Guatemala to a Spanish mother and an American diplomat father, attended several art schools in Europe.  Her second husband, a sculptor, taught her how to solder in the late 1990s.  Using brass and copper tubes, she cuts copper sheeting with several kinds of nail scissors and employs an assortment of vises and pliers to create the petals and leaves.  Working on each art piece over a period of three months or so, she applies layers of color with washes of enamel and oil paint thinned with turpentine.  A bug is often added to complete the composition.

A Saturn peach with a Callithea butterfly by Carmen Almon.
A 2012 charity auction to benefit the New York Botanic Garden offered a floral sprig donated by Almon which was valued at $850.  A show at New York City's Chinese Porcelain Company in October, 2013, had prices ranging from $3,500 for a nectarine blossom sprig to $40,000 for very large pieces.

An almond tree by Carmen Almon.
More may be read about Carmen Almon in an article in the January, 2006, issue of HOUSE & GARDEN.  In addition to Howard Slatkin's FIFTH AVENUE STYLE: A DESIGNER'S NEW YORK APARTMENT, more examples of her work may be seen used as part of the décor in room settings in CHARLOTTE MOSS: A FLAIR FOR LIVING and in CHARLOTTE MOSS DECORATES: THE ART OF CREATING ELEGANT AND INSPIRED ROOMS.

A note for Devoted Readers wanting to leave a comment: while this is a non-monetized blog that does not accept advertising, there is an effort to impose ads - out of the Bloggers control and without the Blogger's benefit - before allowing a comment to be submitted.  If this happens, do not click on the ad but just keep typing in four numbers and that should allow the submittal after three or four tries. 

Sunday, July 27, 2014

Eyford Park, Reprised

The manor house of Eyford Park, Gloucestershire.
Photo via Number One London.
There apparently has been a glitch in the publishing of the previous post for readers of The Devoted Classicist who subscribe to receive these essays via Follow By Email; "Eyford Park, England's Favorite House" was not sent out, or at least, it was not received by all.  The service is out of the blogger's control, but if the post has been missed, this should solve the problem by clicking on the link here.

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Eyford Park, England's Favorite House

The entrance to Eyford Park, Gloucestershire,
designed by Guy Dawber and built 1911 to 1912.
Photographed by Paul Barker, published 2004.
Country Life Picture Library.
Concluding - at least for now - the series of a dozen consecutive posts with a connection to the quintessential English country house Daylesford (starting with Pat "Bubbles" Rothermere here from April, 2014), Devoted Readers are asked to consider the house known as Eyford Park.  Country Life magazine named the private residence "England's Favorite House" in a 2011 contest of over more than 150 properties judged by Emma Bridgewater, Annabel Astor, Charlie Brooks and "Downton Abbey" creator Julian Fellowes.

Eyford Park, the entrance (north) front,
photographed by Paul Barker, published 2004.
Country Life Picture Library.
Although not the grandest or even the most architecturally significant, Eyford Park has "that elusive quality, a homely [editor's note:  yes, this is correctly used; see comments] warmth that simply makes you want to live there.  This is a testament to the skills of the family that has owned it for three generations," the Country Life committee said in a press release.  Sir Cyril Kleinwort with Lady Kleinwort bought the estate in December, 1972, with their giving up nearby Sezincote to one of their daughters.  Later, Eyford Park was bequeathed to their daughter Charlotte Herber-Percy who lived in the main house until about 2010 when she passed it on to her daughter Serena Prest.  Mrs. Heber-Percy then moved to the converted stable block.

Eyford Park, aerial view from the south.
English Heritage, View Finder.
Local legend has it that John Milton began writing Paradise Lost in the first house on the property, built as a retreat in the 1640s.  A second house was built, this time in the location as the present house, as an Italianate mansion in the 1870s by the Cheetham family.  Although the lodge still remains, that house was demolished by John Cheetham to build the current house, commissioned in 1911 from architect Guy Dawber.

A portrait of the architect Sir Guy Dawber
by William Orpen, 1930, from the RIBA collection
via BBC Public Catalog Foundation.
Guy Dawber became a great admirer of the vernacular architecture of the Cotswolds early in his career, working as clerk of the works during the construction of Batsford Park (later inherited by the father of the famous Mitford sisters) near Moreton-in-Marsh after an apprenticeship in Dublin.  Dawber started his independent practice in 1890 in London, soon becoming well known for middle-sized stone country houses, often in the revival Tudor or Late Stuart styles.  In 1925, Dawber founded the Council for the Preservation of Rural England after writing extensively on the vernacular buildings of the Cotswolds, Kent, and Sussex.

The west end of Eyford Park.
Country Life Picture Library.
While it can be tricky to apply a label of architectural style on every house, The Devoted Classicist would called this an Arts & Crafts house of the later period where classicism become more into play than the more medieval aspects that were hallmarks of the early days of the movement.  Some would call it (English) Queen Anne (which is different from the earlier period of that name in the U.S.) and some would call it Edwardian.  In any case, there is no question that it is anything less than a spectacularly handsome house.  It is Grade II listed.

An oblique view of the south (garden) front
of Eyford Park.
Country Life Picture Library.
Although there are some quirky features that resulted from an apparent pre-construction revision to make the house slightly smaller, compromises are not immediately evident on the entrance (north) front or the garden (south) front.  Inside, some of the uses of the rooms have changed to suit the needs of the current owners and some spaces have changed with opening of walls and rearranging partitions.

The north garden at Eyford Park
in a 2008 photo by Paul Barker.
Country Life Picture Library.
"What I've been trying to do is to modernize it and make it more child friendly," Mrs. Prest told Country Life.  "I hope we've hit the right note, with baths that work (they never really did in my grandmother's time) and yet none of that modern, hotel-like feel of interior design.  Eyford is not a Chatsworth or a Blenheim - it only has six bedrooms - but it's really alive.  Each day, I pinch myself at how lucky I am to live in such a beautiful, peaceful, yet practical house."

A detail of the site plan of Eyford Park.
The area in pink indicates a proposal for an indoor
swimmng pool in a portion of the converted stable block.
Drawing via public documents.
Guy Dawber laid out the gardens in the 1920s, but the Kleinworts brought in Graham Stuart Thomas in 1976 to improve the landscaping, as he had done at Sezincote; he returned again during the ownership of Mrs. Heber-Percy.  And John Fowler of Colefax & Fowler was consulted on the decoration, as also he had done at Sezincote.

The proposed floor plan for Eyford Park.
(Not as built)
"Recent Designs in Domestic Architecture"
The Billiard Room and the Housekeeper's Room were deleted, along with the Kitchen wing.  The Drawing Room was made longer, but the fireplace was left off-center.  Later, a flat roof garage was added on the east end; it now has a rooftop conservatory.  The Hall was later made into the Dining Room and the Business Room was later made into the Breakfast Room.  Presumably, the original Dining Room is now a Family Room.

The garden side of Eyford Park as originally
proposed in a circa 1910 rendering.
"Recent Designs in Domestic Architecture"
"About 60% of the carpets and curtains and 90% of the furniture are my grandmother's," Mrs. Prest told Country Life.  It is not difficult to see the influence of John Fowler in the Drawing Room, for example.

The Drawing Rom of Eyford Park
as photographed by Paul Higham,
and published in 2011.
Country Life Picture Library.
In 2004, Penelope Reeve was brought in to paint murals on the walls of the space that became the Dining Room.

The Dining Room, originally the Garden Hall.
Country Life Picture Library.
A series of scenes inspired by the canals of Venice cover the walls and incorporate the members of the family, including the housekeeper.

A detail of the current Dining Room
in Eyford Park.
Country Life Picture Library.
The Breakfast Room was apparently intended as a home office for the original owner, a diplomat often in foreign service, explaining its relatively formal proportions and detailing.

The current Breakfast Room of Eyford Park.
Country Life Picture Library.
An archway was added to connect the Kitchen and Breakfast Room as a concession to modern living.

A view from the Kitchen to the Breakfast Room
in a photo by Paul Higham published in 2011.
Country Life Picture Library.
More evidence of Penelope Reeve's murals line the passage outside the Dining Room at the staircase.

A detail of the staircase at Eyford Park
in a photo by Paul Higham, published 2011.
Country Life Picture Library.
The paneling of the staircase is painted in three glazed straw tones as one comes to expect from a Colefax & Fowler scheme to highlight the architectural detailing.

The staircase at Eyford Park
in a photo by Paul Higham, published 2011.
Country Life Picture Library.
The attic (not shown) was converted to additional family use, giving "rooms where a million dogs or children can mill around."

The upstairs landing at Eyford Park.
(Photo by Paul Higham not used)
Country Life Picture Library.
Despite the accolades, Eyford Park is not particularly well-known.  The house is not open to the public but charity-related events have sometimes been held on the grounds.  Eyford Park appears on the dust jacket of Clive Aslet's book THE EDWARDIAN COUNTRY HOUSE, A SOCIAL AND ARCHITECTURAL HISTORY and the same image along with another appears inside, but other than captions, there is no accompanying text.  It is an excellent book, however, and highly recommended for those interested in the country houses built in Britain between 1890 and 1939.  Note must be made that it is a rewrite of sorts, or a new, expanded edition of Clive Aslet's 1982 book THE LAST COUNTRY HOUSES.  These titles as well as others by Clive Aslet are available for order at a discount from the published price here.

by Clive Aslet, published November, 2012.
If reading this in a format other than the standard on-line version, visit the main blog site to leave a comment, learn more about The Devoted Classicist, search the archives, and read other posts in this series with a connection to Daylesford.  And lastly, a special thanks to Devoted Readers TB and TW who generously contributed advice and images for this post.