Thursday, June 11, 2015

Parish-Hadley Tree of Life

PARISH-HADLEY TREE OF LIFE
is a new book to be published October, 2015.
 
There is a new book in the works, PARISH-HADLEY TREE OF LIFE: AN INTIMATE HISTORY OF THE LEGENDARY DESIGN FIRM, being developed by Brian J. McCarthy and Bunny Williams that will focus not only on the firm, but will also feature thirty-one of the former employees who have gone on to successful careers on their own.  Because of the unique learning environment created by Sister Parish and Albert Hadley, the "graduates" of Parish-Hadley are known in the design profession as "alumnae" with their experience compared to an advance degree in design.  Each of the 31 alumni interviewed have a chapter in the book giving a personal reflection of the firm with illustrations of their work past and present.

The Parish-Hadley story is an very unique one; no other interior design firm - ever- has produced so many designers who left to establish their own studio.  Brian had the idea for the book about eight years ago.  He developed an outline and discussed it with Mr. Hadley (who passed in 2012 following Mrs. Parish's death in 1994) who was very excited about the project.  But Brian's own book, LUMINOUS INTERIORS: THE HOUSES OF BRIAN McCARTHY, came first.  When Brian told Bunny about his idea when they were both at the Nashville Garden & Antiques Show, she was very enthusiastic and promised her full support.  The next week, Bunny was in a meeting at Abrams and happened to mention the idea; the publishers jumped on it, giving the book an immediate green light for Stewart, Tabori and Chang, using the same book agent Jill Cohen, art director Doug Turshen and creative team that both Bunny and Brian had used before on their own books. In addition to the very readable text, the book also promises to be visually interesting.  Advances in digital imagery will avoid the muddy results of historic black & white photos that have plagued design books in the past.  Plus there are many new color never-before-published images.

The image used for the book jacket (and that may change) is one of my favorites of the Parish-Hadley projects, the Living Room of Nancy Pyne in Peapack, New Jersey.  Both partners had a hand in the design and the result is quintessential Parish-Hadley -- comfortable yet refined and with an architectural sensibility in the furnishings without being too rigid.

The title of the book expresses Albert Hadley's appreciation of the traditional motif, the Tree of Life.  The mythology of the sacred tree dates back to a number of ancient civilizations including the cultures of pre-Islamic Persia and ancient Egypt as well as other Asian, European, and Native American beliefs.  The motif gained wide-spread exposure as a popular design on 17th century printed cotton bedcoverings from India, the palampores which often featured a Tree of Life as a central figure.  The Tree of Life motif was also developed in Persia and China in the 18th century with adaptations for the European market where various goods were marketed.  Crewel embroidery was also used to represent the motif in England, often a natural color wool yarn on a colored background;  a wallpaper representation of this was an Albert Hadley favorite.

And not insignificantly, there will be a short chapter on John J. Tackett that Devoted Readers will not want to miss.  Plans are for an October 13, 2015, release with Hearst Publications -- Elle Décor, Veranda, and House Beautiful -- hosting a gala launch on that date.  So there will be plenty more about the book in the magazines in the coming months.  But for those who cannot wait to see the book on store shelves, pre-ordering at a discount price is available here.

23 comments:

  1. I am looking forward to this and knowing that you are in the book also gives it more significance. Congratulations, John.

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    1. Thank you, Blue. I think this book will be a stand-out that you will appreciate.

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  2. I see you sneaking in the chapter about yourself. How fun!! Can't wait to see this book :-)

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    1. Me, too, Stefan! I have only seen my chapter and one other. But I am really looking forward to the October release.

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  3. Replies
    1. Dean, I understand Tice Alexander is included as well.

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    2. John,
      You are a mind reader! I had the nerve to send Brian a letter (not an email) about that very thing! Thanks to you I can now sleep better. Am reading Columns by the Sea, about Roper House, in Charleston. What a genius that Richard Jenrette is !
      Dean

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  4. Wonderful idea, that book! Lovely jacket image, too. Truly, I'd buy it for the cover alone...

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    1. Toby, it WOULD look nice on a coffee table, no? Thank you.

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  5. Congratulations for being part of this important book. Because of your enviable place in that creative Parish-Hadley milieu, I am looking forward to seeing your own contributions to it.
    --Jim

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    1. Thank you, Jim. I enjoyed my tenure there and truly learned a lot.

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  6. Very exciting news indeed! As you mentioned, John, the quality of fine designers that came from Parish-Hadley is astonishing!

    xoxo
    Karena
    The Arts by Karena

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  7. It's not everyone's Vision that is made eternal thru the Printed Word...aside from those practicing self promotion and self publication in this day and age. You've been bestowed with the gift of Immortality by request rather than design...truly THE most appreciated form of Honor. Can I say, Mr. Hadley's signature dark floors sans carpets does lack in the teaching principles of layering all forms of Art within the Shell that houses the Soul in my opinion...not too mention the chronic dust seen as the light rakes the floor. There is something comforting about being able to sit upon chairs and not slide nor have rubber scuff marks upon wood not too mention the ARTISANAL beauty of hand loomed rugs wrought by hands long gone - the dyeing of wools and silks, the yarn spinners, and those nimble fingers tirelessly engaged in monotonous activity all the while envisioning a complicated pattern. Let's not forget the sensual sensation of walking upon the warmth of a rug or laying upon one while reading a good book...that includes your chapter!

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    1. Thank you for commenting, T.S. There are some designers, today, whose work is unmistakably easily to identify in magazines (and books); even the same fabric schemes are repeated. Not that it is necessarily bad to have a Signature Look, but one of my favorite things about Parish-Hadley was the range (albeit not completely unrecognizable). Despite some stories of design determination, both Parish and Hadley did listen to their clients' preferences, and if that meant a bare (or almost bare) floor, then that was a consideration. Of course this particular room is just one of thousands over almost forty years of the P-H partnership, so I would not say that bare floors were a typical feature (though certainly not unheard of). But, in this case, I would say that it was a decision that was very successful in terms of both client satisfaction and aesthetics.

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  8. The Other Bill BlassJune 14, 2015 at 11:31 PM

    The link to the earlier post shows the next Pyne Living Room that had a bare floor too. And Albert Hadley's friend, Bill Blass, had very handsome bare floors, by the way.

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    1. I want to go on record to say that I love good rugs, carpeting, and floor coverings (and curtains), but it is nice to see some good-looking exceptions. And yes, Albert Hadley (and Sister Parish) were great friends with fashion designer Bill Blass and undoubtedly an influence in his taste in decoration (and collecting); more about the three of them in a future post.

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  9. Thank you for the heads up! I am looking forward to seeing the formerly unpublished photos and improved versions of ones many of us are familiar with. Congratulations to you as well!

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    1. Roy, thank-you. I appreciate your commenting.

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  10. It seems to me, that the whole point of the Hadley room
    shown on the proposed book wrapper, is, or was, the complete absence of carpeting.

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    1. Indeed, Toby. Just as some rooms are all about the carpet, the opposite can be true. Thank you for commenting.

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  11. Replies
    1. Q., I have seen only my own chapter, but it should be an interesting book. Thanks for your comment.

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