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Antique Dealers and Master Decorators
10 April 2015

This week Charlotte and I were invited to Leighton House to celebrate the launch of Gilly Newberry’s wonderful new book ‘Geoffrey Bennison, Master Decorator’

Lord Weidenfeld’s apartment photographed by Derry Moore for Architectural Digest

We were really upset not to be able to go, especially as we were in the antithesis of such sophistication: Disneyworld Florida, where we had taken our children for Easter.

We have a special connection to Bennison Fabrics as it was through Gilly that I came to meet my wife Charlotte. She was working for Gilly at the Bennison showroom in New York and I was on a buying trip for antiques when we met through a mutual friend. It was eleven years ago, whilst spending a drunken night together in Balzathar, that Charlotte told me she was ready to come back to England after three years. Jamb was in its infancy and I needed someone to run it and so it came to be that she moved home and started working with me.

Every so often an antique dealer comes along who changes the way people view interior decoration. Geoffrey Bennison was an example of this, and Gilly summarises his vision and ever lasting influence in her book published by Rizzoli.

Geoffrey Bennison’s London apartment photographed by Christopher Simon Sykes

He changed the way people decorated their houses, more interested in atmosphere than provenance ( which is probably why he worked so well with the more bohemian elite, notably the Rothchilds and the Goldsmiths). I love how he played with scale, putting large scale objects in small spaces. He created sumptuous environments by setting the tone with colour and textiles. Geoffrey layered and mixed eighteenth and nineteenth century textiles with his own textiles, breaking the rules and setting a new platform by challenging colour and pattern combinations.

Lord Weidenfeld’s apartment, photographed by Derry Moore for Architectural Digest

Gilly has created a wonderful book: Fascinating, amusing and beautiful.

David de Rothchild’s Normandy house photographed by James Mortimer for World Of Interiors