Monday, November 24, 2008

Mark Hampton circa 1992




I mentioned a while back that I thought Mario Buatta deserved to have a book published about his life and work. I still do, and I think I need to add Mark Hampton to that list. Not only did Hampton have style in spades, but it seems as if he was quite knowledgeable and smart as a whip too. Why a book on Hampton has not yet been published is a mystery to me. Let us hope that someone remedies this situation soon! In the meantime, here is a Manhattan apartment decorated by Hampton that was published in HG, Sept. 1992. I think the look here is quite classic and comfortable, but I also know that this style of interior decoration has fallen out of favor a bit. Do you think we'll ever come back to this look??

I also might add that Hampton seemed like the type of designer who would have kept up with the times. Were he alive today, don't you wonder what his aesthetic would be like?


(Apologies for the not so crystal clear photos. Alas I'm having scanner issues.)











21 comments:

  1. I think this is not a look, excuse me, it is rather a status. Not for everyone, although, because you have to be able to spent lots of money, or to inherrit a lot of art and antiques.

    It is beautifull, timeless, expensive. Mark Hampton must have had a lot of funny, and lots of breakdowns too, collecting and decorating these gorgeous rooms.

    I agree with you. Is time to publish a book on M Hampton.

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  2. Antonio- You make a good point. It's a look that requires money or an inventory of fine pieces. I so wish someone would publish a book on him!

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  3. In this case Mark Hampton was working with his ideal
    clients, the S.Carter Burdens, who were connoisseurs in the true sense of the word. In other words: that rare thing, monied people with intelligence and taste. But for the most part Mark Hampton's work had a crisper, more edited feel, which was imparted to disciples like Markam Roberts.
    Let's allow the great Mr Hampton another post please, perhaps when that scanner is adjusted?

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  4. Toby- Thank you for the inside scoop on this apartment. Yes, MH definitely deserves another post!

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  5. I think the thing about the late Mr Hampton's look is that it was more about his client's lives than his ego. This particular piece is about the house of a connoisseur — ergo, the quality of the pieces is going to be extraordinary.

    The best example of his work, I think, is his own house, which exuded warmth above all else.

    When Ashley Hicks came out with his book, I thought perhaps Alexa Hampton would follow suit. Maybe, you need to email her, and let her know that there are people who are interested in her father's work?

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  6. Jennifer -- I agree with all your points. The book idea, Hampton's knowledge.

    With patterned walls and tufted furniture "back" in vogue, I can see that last image appearing in a shelter mag today. These rooms are so cozy, smart and inviting. The cozy part is what we see less of today, I think. I mean his brand of highly sophisticated "cozy."

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  7. I absolutely agree. MH absolutely deserves a big, splashy, gorgeous book. His Anglophile approach and firm belief in comfort influenced me (and millions of others) greatly. And he should go down in history for that spare Anne Bass apartment alone, don't you think?

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  8. Toby Worthington beat me to it! Carter Burden had incredible style. I love comparing these rooms to the ones that he and his first wife, Amanda Burden, had, that were decorated by Parish-Hadley.

    I think Mark Hampton's ability to be varied within his own genre quite amazing--in his way, he was truly a genius.

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  9. Anonymous11:25 AM

    I believe Mrs Hampton is working on a book about him, but I don't know if it's about his decorating, his art, or his whole life.

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  10. Among a certain group of people--myself included, except for the part about having money--this look will never lose its appeal. Not everyone, of course, likes his decor quite as dense as this particular example, and a lot of his clients were probably new-money people who hired him simply because of his fashionability at a certain point in time, rather than because they were drawn to the look by anything deeper, but one can't deny his influence. He absolutely needs a book of his own. Actually, this would be the perfect opportunity for a boxed set like the big Carrere & Hastings issue of a few years ago: him & Mario. The fact that they didn't really work together (except on Blair House) is irrelevant, because they were like the matched bookends of 8Os decorating. Fortunately, Mario's still going strong.

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  11. Well, it sounds like a book may in the works, but maybe we should start a letter writing campaign to make it happen!

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  12. Anon.. I think any or all of his life would be a great read!

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  13. Magnaverde- That's an excellent idea!!!

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  14. Does anyone remember the HB spread concerning
    Gayfryd and Saul Steinberg's Long Island House?(March 2001) Perfect example of Mark Hampton's clean precision,only it was anything from sterile!
    And I quite agree that either of his daughters could write a book about him but preferably along the lines of Ashely Hicks's book about his father David Hicks...though not sure such exceptional candor (honest but not sensational) is possible in US circles

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  15. Toby- I don't remember that article, but I'm dying to see it.

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  16. Great article, Jennifer, and I quite agree that it's time for a book.

    Mark Hampton was a genius, and I don't believe that this look will ever go out of style, because it's so timeless. It doesn't pertain slavishly to any specific time period or style, but is a mix that looks just as fresh today as it did back when these rooms were first designed.

    If you look at some of the top designers of today, you will see the similarities - Michael S. Smith, Jeffrey Bilhuber, and Elissa Cullman, to name just a few.

    The classics endure because no one has ever improved on the lines, proportions, and details that make them, well, the classics. Virtually all good design is based in some way on these antecedents, and that is why they still look current - and why the best of more contemporary design still seems familiar, and will in turn become timeless. The classics have formed the foundation of everything that has followed in some way.

    Wendy Hoechstetter, Allied Member ASID

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  17. Jennifer - While elements of these rooms certainly endure, there is something that reads, if not dated, then not-quite-current. Patterned rugs and the curtain confection are a tell-tale sign of the late 80's early 90's to me, but...replace the rugs with sisal? Simple panels and hardware? All the other pieces seem to make the transition nicely.

    I'd be first on the list for Hampton retrospective. His On Decorating holds a special place in my heart and my bookshelf.

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  18. Since Alexa Hampton is carrying on her father's business, then can't we assume that what she's doing IS the updated Hampton look? For those who remember it, Mark and Duane Hampton's dining room with all that cranberry glassware is still a holiday table setting worth emulating!

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  19. He had a great talent for layering that few have surpassed. His rooms are chock-full of interesting things to look at, but never feel cluttered. (Wish I could say the same for mine!)

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  20. Anonymous5:36 PM

    Sisal? It already feels like shtick to me, like something people will look back on and say, "That is so 2005."

    "Patterned rugs" on the other hand: I would never lump them together, as if era or ethnicity or pattern or material didn't matter, and condemn them all as a trend that is dated. It's like saying "realistic art" is dated. Way too sweeping.

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  21. Stefani Fascio2:36 AM

    There really is such thing as timeless, classic design and it can be achieved even if you don't have a Fifth Avenue budget. I think Mark Hampton would agree. The whole notion of "what's in and out" is out. People need to surround themselves with what they love and are comfortable with. The cycle of taste is so whimsical it's like arguing about hem-lines. Like the saying goes-"everything old is new again."tiffy08@charter.net

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