Sunday, 1 December 2013

An English Room by Derry Moore

Book review: An English Room

This collection of photographs invites readers into the favourite rooms of some of our most beloved celebrities. Everyone has a treasured place to read, study, work, and dream – but there’s something special about an English room.

In this handsome volume, filled with perceptive photographs, some of the nation’s most renowned figures share their favourite spaces and their personal musings about Englishness and English rooms. Benedict Cumberbatch reveals his favourite place to read a script; Jeanette Winterson describes why she adores the Shakespeare and Company bookstore in Paris; actress Harriet Walter is photographed at the bottom of her stairs; and fashion designer Paul Smith wallows in his book-lined study. Gilbert & George invite you into their Queen Anne house, while Alan Bennett explains his rumpled existence in Primrose Hill, north London.

Derry Moore’s discerning eye captures the essence of the English room, whether in a country cottage, large estate, ancient chapel, or artist studio – at home or abroad. All those with an interest in English culture, society, design, and fashion will take pleasure in this unique view into the private lives of some of our most public figures.

Review of An English Room by Derry Moore
Derry Moore is a world renowned portrait photographer whose work has appeared in Men’s Vogue, Architectural Digest and whose photos appear in the collections of the Metropolitan Museum of Art and the National Portrait Gallery. In An English Room he shoots a diverse group of Britain’s finest in their favourite ever places, their personal sanctuary, the place they go to work, read, relax and get away from it all. Through his photos he attempts to discover what makes the essence of “An English Room”.

An English Room is a beautiful hard copy book that would look fine on many a coffee table. Moore shoots his subjects in their choice of room with accompanying text explaining why they love it so. Each room also gets an additional two page spread of photographs. The photos are, as you would imagine, superb - beautifully lit and composed making the architecture come alive. What is particularly impressive is how he manages to imbue his photos of the empty rooms with the personality of the person who loves them. It’s like they’re haunting the rooms after they’ve left.

The book covers a diverse array of individuals from various different fields. We see author Jeanette Winterson embracing the joys of book shop Shakespeare and Company in Paris, actress Harriet Walter in her elegant home framed by a wallpaper of trees rising high into the sky, Alan Bennett in the room he decorated in Primrose Hill 40 years previously, Paul Smith in his studio surrounded by art and vintage toys - a room “full of lovely things”, Stephen Fry in his dressing room at the Apollo Theatre nesting amongst his books and photographs and the Duchess of Northumberland in a tree house that she has built at Alnwick Castle - festooned with fairylights and grander than my flat.

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