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Wool House



To decorate a room for Wool House in Sir William Chambers' masterwork, Somerset House, was so exciting, even if it was only there for ten days. My Study was inspired by an imaginary client, one of the classic English gents of the civil service who worked in the rooms for so many years, with walls of sober, pin-checked grey flannel like their business suits, and sudden flashes of bright pinks and reds like their braces, socks and handkerchiefs suggesting some hidden flamboyance. He'd left the room for a moment, leaving Chambers' drawings for the building on his red lacquered desk. 


I designed the Chain carpet specially for the room when the intended carpet supplier let us down, and our wonderful friends at Alternative Flooring stepped in and wove this in a week! On the desk, an iPad resting on - what else? - my Trepad.


Behind the desk I wanted a lovely bookcase groaning with books, but the budget didn't allow. Instead we made a simple black box stuck with my photographs of museum treasures, a faux Collector's Cabinet. Above it, real art: a wonderful Grayson Perry print from Paragon Press.


A flower watercolour by Ambrosia Hicks sat on an easel with a sinister bit of dried palm tree from the Bahamas and a lamp from Vaughan, on my red perspex table.


Looking from one corner, past my red perspex table and Teasel wool-covered chair, with a cushion in a smart geometric-printed wool by Olicana. The various bits of 'sculpture' are, I'm afraid to say, made by me: decorative objects, not art!


In front of the sofa, a Chinese teapot, ready for William Chambers whose fame began with his Chinoiserie work after serving in the Swedish East India Company, and an odd object made by me with a stone from Oxfordshire into whose natural hole I stuck a twisted bit of old rootwood from Patmos, looking like smoke.


The sofa, in grey wool almost matching the walls, and my Crystal low table in terracotta steel and pale oak. Above it, another witty, marvellous Grayson Perry. In the corner, a cream obelisk from my living room.


The carved and bronzed animal leg of the pink, faceted-top console and the gilded mirror above, I made myself, in 'weekend amateur carver' mode, while John Weiland did the gilding. I also painted the folding radiator screen. 


A detail of my Collector's Cabinet, with my pictures of Renaissance armour and Chinese lacquer overlaid with a fake 'reflection' of the window's view of the Somerset House courtyard. On top were three gilded flames made by me.


The full view of the room with the lights on, showing my new Melograno print in white on the grey wool blinds. I'd have very happily lived there forever, in my cosy study in Georgian London's great Palace of the Arts.