Friday, October 23, 2009

Tulips and David Hicks

One way or the other blue and white threaded through my posts this week and it is perhaps fitting I end the week with a variation on the same theme.

I associate blue and white china with my time in Holland, especially with William and Mary whose palace, Het Loo, before they became joint monarchs of the United Kingdom was the depository of Mary's great collection of blue and white.

I knew that David Hicks had a section on Het Loo in his My Kind of Garden published ten years ago. Once I picked this book of my shelves totally intending to take another track, as it were, I realized that this book is my favorite of his. I own copies of David Hicks Style and Design, David Hicks on Decoration with Fabrics and David Hicks: Designer, but My Kind of Garden tops them all - equally as opinionated as the others, but for me certainly the most intriguing.

I like gardens but no longer have any interest in gardening. Usually liking gardens goes hand in hand with creating gardens but having once bought a house for the garden and seen everything disposed of by the climate and fauna, I know its not for me. I cannot say that in this book there are any gardens that are single-owner-dug as it were - they all seem to require staff, if not machinery and staff.

However, today, one photo in the book stood out above all the others. Another day it might have been something else but this one summed up what I'm seeking today - peace and quiet, solitude and time to reflect.

This is part of a garden Hicks designed at Hyde Park, a house in Johannesburg, South Africa. The perfectly magical mirror: the main of a number of crossing canals, in a shade-dappled garden; the perfect place to wander, sit and end the week.


  1. Oh gosh, that is perfection! And brilliantly surreal. You are ending the week on a fabulous note. (p.s. would love to see what catches your eye next week...)

  2. Like you I can many times find the perfect garden in a book- Very luck- us. I do have this one- Glad I got the best so says Blue. Have a great weekend. la

  3. It's the symmetry. His hallmark, really.

  4. I agree - have you seen the new book?

  5. No, unfortunately, I haven't. I am a great fan of his style, and it was pioneering in it's day. If there's anyone who influenced my own interior design style the most, it was Hicks.

    I was then hugely disappointed when I met him at a private intime lunch. Such a serious name dropper, (although the irony of my dropping his is not lost on me!), and not particularly interesting or amusing. I think he probably had a rather sad life, trying to live up to his wife's elevated position in British society, combined with the need to be closeted. But talent quite often manifests itself through sadness, I suppose.

  6. I, too, was enormously disappointed in meeting Mr Hicks in the early 90s. He was a complete -- well no need to resort to vulgar names. Perhaps it was that he had lost his looks, and the social impact of his marriage had run its course. Certainly being overshadowed in the U.S. by his former protege Mark Hampton might have played a part as well.

  7. JT - thank you. I understand and concur.