Wednesday, April 10, 2019

At Home, with Flowers

My, it's been a while since I last blogged.  Holidays, family commitments, and, most of all, a book tour have kept me away.  I'm going to try to get back into the swing of things, and what better way to do so than by featuring a couple of my favorite new book releases.

First up, John Richardson: At Home (Rizzoli New York), a memoir of the many homes inhabited over the years by art historian, writer, and Picasso biographer John Richardson.  I know that many of us have been waiting anxiously for the release of this book, and trust me when I say it was well worth the wait.  Over the years, I have saved any photograph I could find of Richardson's homes, but my tear-sheet file on the art historian and his homes was always paltry at best.  But now, to have photograph after photograph of Richardson's many residences compiled in one book, well, it is really more than I could ever have wished for.  His set at Albany, the Chateau de Castille in France (which he shared with his former partner, the art collector Douglas Cooper), and his two most recent homes, a Fifth Avenue loft and a Connecticut house, are all here, as well as a few others. Perhaps even more enticing is that the principal photography is by François Halard.

What made Richardson's homes so beguiling is that they were filled with art, antiques, and oddities, which he collected and amassed over many years.  Some things he purchased, while others were given to him by his famous friends, and although occasionally the visual effect was somewhat cluttered (or, as some might prefer to say, layered), the overall impression was really quite dazzling.  His homes were immensely personal and cultured, something that distinguishes these interiors from so much of what we see today.  If you do buy this book, be sure to read the text.  Written by Richardson himself, it is intelligent and witty.  Considering that Richardson died just a few weeks ago, this book is really a fitting tribute to a life well-lived in some very captivating homes.

John Richardson: At Home by John Richardson, © Rizzoli New York, 2019; principal photography by 
François Halard, including those images seen here

Every design library needs at least a few books that spark happiness, and Margot Shaw's debut book, Living Floral (Rizzoli New York), is one that did just that for me.  As the founder and editor in chief of Flower magazine, Margot has dedicated her publication to celebrating beauty in many forms: interiors, gardens, entertaining, and, of course, flowers.  It is a winning combination that has made the magazine a success and one that is the focus of her new book.

Each chapter profiles a talented individual, such as an architect, floral designer, interior designer, or creative type, and shows how that person incorporates flowers into their lives and their homes.  Some have chosen to be surrounded by floral prints on their walls and upholstery.  Others set charming tables laden with fresh flowers or floral-patterned china.  However these people choose to live with flowers, they all do so stylishly and graciously.

The book contains really delightful images of interiors, table settings, outdoor entertaining, and more than a few lucky dogs.  (As you can see below, I'm partial to those images featuring our four-legged friends.)  But what you won't find in this book is condescension.  The book's text never speaks down to readers, but rather thoughtfully encourages them to enjoy the beauty and perhaps adopt a few ideas and tips for themselves.  If you're looking for some inspiration and how-tos on decorating, floral arranging, and entertaining, this is the book for you.

Margot Shaw

Living Floral : Entertaining and Decorating with Flowers by Margot Shaw, © Rizzoli New York, 2019


  1. So glad you are back. You're part of my morning routine while having my coffee. Both books look stunning. Have been enjoying YOUR book the most!

    1. Thank you so much! That means the world to me. :)

  2. After so much bloody nonsense currently going on all over the world, it's so nice
    to see your post. Both your books grace our livingroom bookshelves.

    Thank you and welcome back!

    1. Thank you! I'm finding myself spending more and more time engrossed in books as a way to escape all of the chaos in the world. Reading a design book or cozy mystery keeps me sane.

  3. Hello Jennifer, How delightful to see your post, and the Richardson book is equally as welcome. I love his use of color, and the inclusion of so many interesting objects, especially now that I am starting to consider how to arrange my own collections.

    I hope that you will have a little more time now so that these pleasant surprises can come more often.

    1. Thank you, Jim. It's nice to be back, and I hope my posts will be more frequent than they have been.