One fall book release that I have anxiously been awaiting is David Hicks: A Life of Designby Ashley Hicks. And right about now, many of you may be rolling your eyes and thinking "yet another book on David Hicks?" I realize that the Hicks revival of a few years back has run its course, so why this book?
First, this book has much more biographical information than the previous Ashley Hicks project. That book gave you a glimpse into the life of David Hicks, but this tome really fleshes out the story of how Hicks got his start and created his design empire. Hicks was certainly ambitious (perhaps one could say aggressively so), and when opportunity knocked on his door, he didn't hesitate to make the most of it. Perhaps that's not such a bad thing as we are still talking about Hicks today.
The other point I'd like to make is that Hicks' work went beyond that mod, graphic, zingy look that he is so associated with. Much of Hicks' later work is actually restrained, elegant, and even at times subdued. I think that this phase of his career is often overlooked, and it's one that should be explored by young designers.
Granted, many of the photographs included in this book appeared in Ashley Hicks' earlier book as well as many of David Hicks' own books. However, there are Hicks interiors that I have never seen before, especially those of his early career. If you are a Hicks fan, or if you collect monographs of great designers, I think this book will be a worthy addition to your collection.
The ballroom at Claridges transformed for an event by David Hicks and this then business partner Tom Parr, c. 1957.
A Hicks Parr room from the 1950s.
The Belgravia drawing room of Princess Guirey, designed by Hicks in the 1950s.
One end of the Long Gallery at Baronscourt, the seat of the Duke of Abercorn, c. 1978.
(All images © David Hicks: A Life of Design by Ashely Hicks, Rizzoli, 2009.)