Wednesday, November 28, 2012

The Sincerest Form of Flattery

An Albert Hadley pin-up bulletin board
for a Southampton showhouse in the mid-1980s.
Photo:  Phillip H. Ennis
ALBERT HADLEY:
THE STORY OF AMERICA'S
PREEMINENT INTERIOR DESIGNER
Albert Hadley celebrated his inspirations for design with his famous pin-up bulletin boards.  The one in his office that was covered with images clipped from mazazines and newspapers that inspired his design sensibilities became very popular and a similar feature was often requested by clients for their own homes.  After all, interiors are not so much about the designer as they are the design.  Mr. Hadley was familiar with the great designers, cetainly, but provenance did not carry as much weight as an object with its own personality.

Albert Hadley's bookcase from the mid-1930s.
A drawing by Van Day Truex hangs adjacent.
Photo:  John T. Hill
ALBERT HADLEY:
THE STORY OF AMERICA'S
PREEMINENT INTERIOR DESIGNER
Despite his love of the unique, Albert Hadley was not adverse to reproductions.  Durning my tenure at Parish-Hadley, we often had one-of-a-kind pieces of furniture designed and fabricated, of course. (In the early 1990s, there was even a small Parish-Hadley collection for Baker Furniture company).  But also for Parish-Hadley clients, some of Mr. Hadley's designs were made in limited editions as were some pieces from his own collection of antiques.  One item reproduced was a very unique bookcase made in Germany in the mid 1930s and decorated with Olympic motifs.

Details of the decoration on Albert Hadley's bookcase.
Photos:  John T. Hill
ALBERT HADLEY;
THE STORY OF AMERICA'S
PREEMINENT INTERIOR DESIGNER
It was not unusual for rare and costly antiques to be brought to the Parish-Hadley office for client presentations, but this piece was brought in for Michael T. Shell to measure and draw to scale for a copy to be made, but I do not recall anymore details.  Although I really liked the form, I would have thought it would have limited marketability.  It just goes to show what I know, however, because there are not just one but two models based on Albert Hadley's bookcase currently being marketed.
The Olympia Etegere by Beeline Home.
www.bunnywillliams.com
It is no secret that The Devoted Classicist considers Bunny Williams one of today's finest decorators, and now a dealer of her own line of home furnishings as well.  Bunny worked for Parish-Hadley for over twenty years, so it is not surprising that her version by her furniture company BeeLine Home captures the essence of the original.  In reference to the decoration of the original, it is called the Olympia Etegere.

The Roosevelt Bookcase by Noir.
www.noirfurnitureela.com
A very similar model has been introduced by Noir, but a bit more vertical than pyramidal.  Simplified but undeniably inspired by the same original, it is called Roosevelt Bookcase.

Would the late Mr. Hadley be pleased that one of his favorite belongings has inspired a whole pyramidal bookcase movement?  I think so.  Adam Lewis' book ALBERT HADLEY:  THE STORY OF AMERICA'S PREEMINENT INTERIOR DESIGNER may be ordered at a discount here.



My own pyramidal bookcase with steeply sloped sides for Parish-Hadley clients probably will not see mass-market production.  It will be featured in a future post of The Devoted Classicist, however.

4 comments:

  1. Style icons like this bookcase or the Baldwin ones are doubly interesting because they are appreciated for their looks while paying homage to design lineage of their originators.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Parnassus, I agree. Why not take inspiration from the past. Thank you for commenting.

      Delete
  2. Great posting John- I miss Albert so much, as I am sure you do as well, what a talent!

    Dean

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Yes, Dean. Albert Hadley will continue to be a source of design inspiration for some time to come, I think. I appreciate your comment.

      Delete

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