I just got through reading the upcoming release, John Fowler: Prince of Decorators. If you're a student of interior design or design history, a lover of the English country look, or someone who is inspired by photos of beautiful interiors, then you truly must read this book. Written by author Martin Wood, this work is also the perfect companion piece to his previous book, Nancy Lancaster: English Country House Style.
Of course, Fowler is best known for creating the English country house look around the time of World War II (with some help from Lancaster, of course). This look, which has often been imitated to varying degrees of success, is one that is adored by some, admired by many, and dismissed by a few. What's important to remember, though, is that when Fowler developed this style, it was actually rather revolutionary. It was certainly in stark contrast to the modern look that was prevalent prior to WWII. It was also a novel way in which to decorate a stately British home, which tended to be the type of home on which Fowler worked.
The foundation of the English country look was beauty and comfort- two very noble design goals. Fowler achieved both by using comfortable and sometimes humble fabrics, charming prints, and painted furniture. This was truly a far cry from the stiff fabrics and mahogany furniture that had been the standard for these great homes. It was "good" design, not historical accuracy, that Fowler strove for.
The drawing room of the Bruces at the Albany, London, designed by Fowler. Christopher Spitzmiller cites this home as the inspiration for his New York apartment.
Another celebrated Fowler room- the saloon at Daylesford, designed in the 1950s.
The drawing room at Hambleden. According to the author, this room has remained the same color for 40 years, proving how timeless Fowler's designs were.