Tuesday, 31 January 2023

Helena Bonham Carter Throws Major Shade At Harry: 'The Crown Shouldn't Continue After His Memoir'

‘I don’t think they should carry on’: Helena Bonham Carter says Netflix should have ended The Crown in 2020


‘I should be careful,’ show’s former star said while sharing controversial view


Jacob Stolworthy



Helena Bonham Carter has said she thinks Netflix should have ended The Crown before the latest season.


The actor made the claim despite starring in the show just two years ago.


Bonham Carter joined the cast for its third season, succeeding Vanessa Kirby as Princess Margaret.


Her time on the show came to an end when season four was released in November 2020, following which she was replaced by Lesley Manville.


However, the Harry Potter actor, who said she “should be careful” with how she words her opinion, believes the show should have ended with season four.


“I don’t think they should carry on, actually,” she told The Guardian.


“I’m in it and I loved my episodes, but it’s very different now.”


She continued: “When The Crown started, it was a historic drama, and now it’s crashed into the present. But that’s up to them.”


Bonham Carter has long been vocal about her belief that the show had a “moral responsibility” to add disclaimers to the start of each episode to indiciate it is a work of “dramatised” fiction.


“I do feel very strongly, because I think we have a moral responsibility to say, ‘Hang on guys, this is not … it’s not a drama-doc, we’re making a drama,’” she said while promoting the series in 2020.


Helena Bonham Carter doesn’t think ‘The Crown’ should still be on


However, she praised showrunner Peter Morgan for his extensive research, which she called “amazing”, adding: “That is the proper documentary. That is amazing and then Peter switches things up and juggles.”


The latest season of The Crown focuses on the breakdown of Charles and Diana’s marriage, and the sixth and final season will controversially feature scenes depicting Diana’s death.


Bonham Carter will next be seen playing TV star Noelle Gordon in Russell T Davies’ Nolly. it will be available to stream on iTVX from 2 February.

Monday, 30 January 2023

The female tailors of Savile Row


Cutting it: the female tailors shaking up Savile Row

By Chloe Street

28 February 2022



The world of bespoke suit and shirt-making has traditionally been a man’s world, says Chloe Street. But change is afoot, and these brilliant women are tearing up the rulebook at the seams


Say the words ‘bespoke suit fitting’ and the image conjured will likely be one of two men: the male client, trying on his made-to-measure tailoring, and the other a male tailor, pins and tape measure in hand.


But times are a-changing, and not only are more and more women embracing the delights of bespoke suiting, but there are increasing numbers of talented women joining the industry, many of whom are specifically focused on catering for them.


“Women have been present in the back rooms of the tailoring profession as finishers and assistant tailors for centuries,” says Kathryn Sargent, who runs an eponymous tailoring house on Brook Street near Savile Row. It’s “tradition, class systems and protocol” she says that have kept them from the front of house.


Daisy Knatchbull, founder of female-only tailoring specialists The Deck, thinks part of the problem has been a lack of obvious routes and role models for women wanting to enter the industry, “as well as unfortunate prejudices, sometimes not always conscious.”


However, not only are the barriers to entry being dismantled by a few pioneering women leading the way, but the increasing appetite from female clients means there’s increasing appetite for female tailors, as many women would rather be measured and fitted by another woman. “I think bespoke tailoring has become more accessible, more open to people, the myths have been debunked and people feel like exploring, expressing and investing in themselves,” says Sargent.


Not only does a bespoke suit have obvious appeal in terms of fit, but as we all become more eco-conscious, they’re growing in popularity as a sustainable, timeless investment that can be passed down for generations. “We’re seeing consumer tastes move away from the ‘more is more’ 90’s lifestyle to more considered, thought-through purchases,” says Phoebe Gormley, of Gormley & Gamble tailors. And Knatchbull agrees that people are “consolidating their wardrobes and looking to invest in longevity, versatility and durability. We have seen a huge increase in sales post-lockdown as the more conscious consumer is choosing to purchase high quality investment pieces such as a suit from The Deck.”


Feeling tempted? These are the female tailoring maestros to know…


Daisy Knatchbull, of The Deck


The Deck

Launched: 2019


The story: Knatchbull worked on Savile Row in her twenties, where she was “lucky enough to experience the empowering nature of a tailored suit young - something many women have never had the chance to experience in their life,” she says. Then, in 2016, she became the first woman to wear top hat and tails at Royal Ascot. The positive reactions she received inspired her to set up her business, with a mission to bring the magic of bespoke tailoring to more women. She is the first women-only tailor to have a shop address actually on the street Savile Row.


The service: She caters for a purely female client base, from ages 18 to 80, which is fairly unique on Savile Row. “We wanted to give women the chance to be focused on exclusively within tailoring and challenge the conception that being tted for a suit is an intimidating process by offering an empathetic women-for-women service; understanding their needs and emotional relationship with clothing,” she explains. “There are very few places making for women compared to men, and almost none for women only.”


The Deck offer four signature suit styles – the ‘suits of The Deck’ – which between them aim to offer something for every woman, regardless of shape or size. Each design is made to a client’s measurements as well as their cloth, lining and button preferences. They also offer waistcoats, skirts and dresses too with more categories in the pipeline.


“The process begins with us learning everything we can about the client - what she does, where she goes, what she likes - and together we ensure we are creating something that will last a lifetime in her wardrobe,” says Knatchbull. “Each suit tells a unique story, written by each of the women that wear one.”


Why she loves it: “For me the best part of my job is the moment a client tries on their finished suit, particularly a woman who has struggled their whole life to find trousers or a jacket that has ever fitted them because of their size, height or shape,” says Knatchbull. “I’ve had many women burst into tears, and women who cannot stop staring at themselves. It’s the most rewarding feeling. So I guess proud of making women feel more confident, strong and empowered in themselves. That’s what gets me out of bed each day!”


Kathryn Sargent, of Kathryn Sargent


Kathryn Sargent

Launched: 2012


The story: Sargent started at Gieves & Hawkes in the mid 90s and rose to the position of head cutter (the most senior role), becoming the first woman in the history of Savile Row to do so. “I always dreamed of my own atelier so that was the next logical move,” says Sargent, who became the first, and only, female Master Tailor in the Savile Row area when she opened her year-long seasonal store on Brook Street in 2016.


The service: Sargent, who’s been in the business 25 years, has trained in all aspects of tailoring and pattern cutting from the ground up in a traditional bespoke tailoring house, which gives her an unparalleled know-how. “I think my feminine qualities and being a very chatty person from Leeds has helped relax clients,” she says. “By getting to know them I can really make something that suits their lifestyle and body shape, making them them.”


Her clients are 50-50 male to female and number everyone from professionals to brides and grooms to be, NASA scientists, opera singers and famous athletes. She purposely doesn’t have a house style, but instead focuses on pieces that suit the client. “The beauty of bespoke tailoring is that it gives the wearer freedom to develop their own signature look that is completely unique to them,” she explains. “A beautifully tailored jacket frames your face in how the collar, shoulder line, shape of the lapel all relate to each other.  The cut should be in the correct proportions and flattering so the result appears effortless.”


Why she loves it: “I fell in love with Savile Row and Mayfair the first time I walked around, the sense of London history, it is the number one global destination for the craft of true bespoke tailoring,” she says. “Now it’s my world, I have many many friends throughout the area, it’s a little village, a community.” For Sargent, the best part is “to be able to create every day, meet amazing clients and, build the relationships I’ve built with clients, work with my amazing team.  I never know what the next commission will be!”


Phoebe Gormley, of Gormley & Gamble


Phoebe Gormley

Launched: 2014


The story: Phoebe Gormley started making clothes when she was 14, and ended up falling in love with cutting up her father’s old suits. She soon discovered Saville Row where she did several internships before heading to university. “With one hour of lectures per week I became bored enough to start writing a business plan,” she says, “and on seeing the viability of one women’s wear only tailors in a city with thousands of menswear tailors; I decided to take the gamble.” Gormley invested the money that was meant for her final year’s tuition fees (hence the gamble in the name) and opened G&G when she was 20, seven years ago.


“I stood out like a sore thumb as a woman and someone under 25,” she remembers. “The naivety of youth meant I didn’t know quite how much I would stick out until it was too late to turn back! So, I powered on.” Within a year she’d taken on a space just off Savile Row on Maddox Street, becoming the first women’s wear only tailors in the area in its 200-year history.


The service: Gormley caters to an entirely female client base and the majority of what they request can be split into three parts. The first is classic workwear: the second is occasion wear – “I adore making suit and separates for brides and guests,” says Gormley, “whether that’s a cream silk tuxedo to wear to the registry office or a perfect jacket to go over the already-found dress, there is so much passion and excitement in occasion wear, it’s always fun,” – and the final category is beautifully tailored pieces that aren’t suits.


“Womenswear is often confined within the measly scope of sizes XS, S, M, L, XL, whereas men’s has short, regular, long, classic fit, slim fit and extra slim, all of a size 36,” she says. “So we make lots of silk shirts, cashmere blazers, the perfect winter coat, for people who care about clothes that fit properly. I also love working with silk and mixtures of patterns, textures and materials, everything from Loro Piana wool/cashmeres to Liberty print silks, it’s all possible in womenswear,” says Gormley, who dresses everyone from princesses to schoolgirls, CEOs, brides and bright-eyed graduates.


Why she loves it: For Gormley, its all about empowering women. “When a woman says ‘nothing fits me’ she blames her body. When a man says ‘nothing fits me’ he thinks, ‘so I’ll have it made’. Your body isn’t wrong, it’s not too curvy, too straight, too long or too short, your shoulders aren’t too big, your boobs aren’t too big. Off-the-peg sizing is a joke, and you are a goddess,” she says. I adore giving women a place to resolve this total failure of off-the-peg sizing, partnering it with immaculate customer service, and hundreds of years old heritage craftsmanship and British manufacturing, and making heirloom pieces that last a lifetime, not just a season. It’s a total joy to do my job.”


Emma Willis MBE, of Emma Willis


Emma Willis

Launched: 1999


The story: Having worked for other menswear brands, Willis launched her own label in 1989, focusing on bespoke shirts made in England from the finest materials. Initially she sold her bespoke shirts in City offices before putting down roots on Jermyn Street in St James in 1999.


All her shirts are designed, cut, stitched and finished at Bearland House in the centre of Gloucester – “British bespoke shirt making is rare as is having one’s own manufacturing employing and training locally,” says Willis, who also established a charity Style for Soldiers in 2008, which provides smart clothing to injured service personnel.


The service: Willis, who employs an all-female team of cutters, makes beautiful bespoke shirts using the very best Swiss and Italian fabrics in quiet, elegant designs and colours. Her clients are mainly men, and span everyone from film producers to hedge fund managers, farmers and property dealers, but she has many female customers too and a ready-to -wear collection on Net a Porter.


Why she loves it: “Our shop is very social with our customers often meeting and befriending one another,” she says. “I get visitors from all over the world and post pandemic this has been even more enjoyable with the sense of relief to be able to see each other again and meet new people.”


For Willis though, the best part is the people she meets in her shop. “I never know who it may be next and all those amazing contacts have enabled me to do with my charity and other initiatives.”

Saturday, 28 January 2023

Everything you should know about King Charles's coronation

Dumfries House: Preserving Scotland's Heritage

Dumfries House was finally purchased as a whole after Charles, Prince of Wales (later Charles III) heard about the campaign from the writer and campaign member James Knox, who made "an impassioned impromptu speech" at one of the Prince's bi-annual conservation conferences at Holyrood House in Edinburgh. On 27 June 2007, it was announced that a consortium headed by the Prince, and including various heritage charities and the Scottish Government (who contributed £5m), had raised £45 million to purchase the house and contents (along with its roughly 2,000-acre (8.1 km2) estate) and endow a trust for maintaining it.


The trust was set up with the name "The Great Steward of Scotland's Dumfries House Trust", a reference to the title Great Steward of Scotland then held by Charles in his role as Scottish heir apparent. A major element of the financial package was a £20m loan backed by The Prince's Charities Foundation. It was reported that the contents of the house had already been removed, and were being transported to London when the sale was agreed.


The trust's intended model is to have the estate become a self-sufficient enterprise, in the process revitalising the local economy. The project was to be achieved through donation and sponsorship of various renovation projects around the estate, as well as through revenues from the construction of an 'eco-village' in the grounds, a planned community called Knockroon.


In 2008, the advent of the global financial crisis had a major impact on the project, affecting the prospects for the Knockroon development and thus the recouping of the £20m loan. The Prince faced much media criticism for putting the Foundation's other projects at risk for what was seen as a vanity project, prompting a response in 2010 describing the risk as "manageable and fully covered."After switching to a model of private and corporate fund raising, the £20m loan was repaid by 2012, with a further £15m backing having been raised for the various renovation projects and ongoing maintenance bill for the estate.


Following restoration, Dumfries House itself opened to the public for guided tours on 6 June 2008. From mid-2009, supermarket chain Morrisons began funding the restoration of the meat and dairy farm attached to the estate, both to become a research and education tool into sustainable farming methods, but also with the intention of its becoming profitable by 2014, part of the chain's vertically integrated supply chain. Renovation of the former coach house and associated stable block began in winter 2010. It reopened in 2011 as a catering facility, as both a visitor cafe and bistro dining facility. The first phase of the Knockroon village opened in May 2011.


In October 2011, work was started on clearing the area that used to be the Walled Garden, which had fallen into disuse and become overgrown. In April 2012, the six-bedroomed guest house Dumfries House Lodge opened, to provide guest accommodation for wedding parties and other events. It was created by renovating a derelict farm building on the estate. The estate's former water-powered sawmill has been renovated to full working order, and with the addition of a larger workshop building, has re-opened as the Sawmill Building Skills Centre, a traditional skills education facility.


King Charles, while Prince of Wales and known in Scotland as the Duke of Rothesay, continued to support Dumfries House. In September 2012, with Camilla, then the Duchess of Rothesay and known as the Duchess of Cornwall, and Alex Salmond, then the First Minister of Scotland, Charles attended Ladies' Day at Ayr Racecourse in aid of the Trust.


In 2017, the Prince of Wales celebrated 10 years of Dumfries house; he was quoted in Dumfries House Magazine  as saying, "We now have over 150 employees and thousands of individuals using the estate. My hope, therefore, is that this publication can help to involve a wider audience of supporters by providing an insight to all that happens on this estate and to its even more important outreach work."


In May 2018, "The Great Steward of Scotland's Dumfries House Trust" was renamed "The Prince's Foundation".


In October 2022, the King featured in a special edition of the BBC TV programme The Repair Shop filmed at Dumfries House, sharing objects from the collection in need of restoration.

Dumfries House brought back to life by the Prince of Wales

 Dumfries House is a Palladian country house in Ayrshire, Scotland. It is located within a large estate, around 3 kilometres (1.9 mi) west of Cumnock. Noted for being one of the few such houses with much of its original 18th-century furniture still present, including specially commissioned Thomas Chippendale pieces, the house and estate is now owned in charitable trust by the The Great Steward of Scotland's Dumfries House Trust, who maintain it as a visitor attraction and hospitality and wedding venue. Both the house and the gardens are listed as significant aspects of Scottish heritage.
The estate and an earlier house was originally called Lochnorris, owned by Craufords of Loudoun. The present house was built in the 1750s for William Dalrymple, 5th Earl of Dumfries, by John Adam and Robert Adam. Having been inherited by the 2nd Marquess of Bute in 1814, it remained in his family until 7th Marquess decided to sell it due to the cost of upkeep.
Due to its significance and the risk of the furniture collection being distributed and auctioned, after three years of uncertainty, in 2007 the estate and its entire contents was purchased for £45m for the country by a consortium headed by Charles, Prince of Wales, including a £20m loan from the Prince's charitable trust. The intention was to renovate the estate to become self-sufficient, both to preserve it and regenerate the local economy. As well as donors and sponsorship, funding is also intended to come from constructing the nearby housing development of Knockroon, a planned community along the lines of the Prince's similar venture, Poundbury in Devon.
The house duly re-opened in 2008, equipped for public tours. Since then various other parts of the estate have been re-opened for various uses, to provide both education and employment, as well as funding the trust's running costs.

The estate was finally purchased as a whole after Charles, Prince of Wales heard of the campaign after the writer and campaign member James Knox made an impassioned impromptu speech at one of the Prince's bi-annual conservation conferences at Holyrood House in Edinburgh. On 27 June 2007 it was announced that a consortium headed by the Prince and including various heritage charities and the Scottish Government (contributing £5m) had raised £45 million to purchase the house and contents (along with its roughly 2,000-acre (8.1 km2) estate) and to endow a trust for maintaining it. The trust is called "The Great Steward of Scotland's Dumfries House Trust" — a reference to the title Great Steward of Scotland held by Charles in his role as Scottish heir apparent. A major element of the financial package was a £20m loan backed by The Prince's Charities Foundation. It was reported that the contents of the house had already been removed, and were being transported to London when the sale was agreed.
The trust's intended model is to have the estate become a self-sufficient enterprise, in the process revitalising the local economy. The project was to be achieved through donation and sponsorship of various renovation projects around the estate, as well as through revenues from the construction of an 'eco-village' in the grounds, a planned community called Knockroon.
The breaking in 2008 of the global financial crisis had a major impact on the project, affecting the prospects for the Knockroon development and thus the recouping of the £20m loan, for which the Prince faced much media criticism for putting the charities other projects at risk for what was seen as a vanity project, prompting a response in 2010 describing the risk as manageable and fully covered. After switching to a model of private and corporate fund raising, the £20m loan was repaid by 2012, with a further £15m backing having been raised for the various renovation projects and ongoing maintenance bill for the estate.
Following restoration, Dumfries House itself opened to the public for guided tours on 6 June 2008. From mid-2009, supermarket chain Morrisons began funding the restoration of the meat and dairy farm attached to the estate, both to become a research and education tool into sustainable farming methods, but also with the intention of it becoming profitable by 2014, part of the chain's vertically integrated supply chain. Renovation of the former coach house and associated stable block began in winter 2010. It reopened in 2011 as a catering facility, as both a visitor cafe and bistro dining facility. The first phase of the Knockroon village opened in May 2011. In October 2011 work started to clear the area that used to be the Walled Garden, which had fallen into disuse and become overgrown. In April 2012, the six bedroomed luxury guest house Dumfries House Lodge opened, to provide guest accommodation for wedding parties and other events. It was created by renovating a derelict farm building on the estate. The estate's former water powered sawmill has been renovated to full working order, and with the addition of a larger workshop building, has re-opened as the Sawmill Building Skills Centre, a traditional skills education facility.
The Prince of Wales continues to support Dumfries House. In September 2012, with the Duchess of Cornwall and Alex Salmond, he attended Ladies' Day at Ayr Racecourse in aid of the Trust.

 Dumfries House: a Sleeping Beauty brought back to life by the Prince of Wales
Saved by Prince Charles from the auctioneer's hammer, Dumfries House - a time capsule of 18th-century furnishing - has been restored to its former glory

By Annabel Freyberg 27 May 2011 in The Telegraph / http://www.telegraph.co.uk/property/8533968/Dumfries-House-a-Sleeping-Beauty-brought-back-to-life-by-the-Prince-of-Wales.html

Dumfries House has been portrayed as an 18th-century Sleeping Beauty. Adam-designed and Chippendale-furnished, it remained untouched for 250 years, so the story goes, before being kissed by a prince and startled into trembling new life. Astoundingly, this fairy tale is largely true.
Until this gem of an estate was 'saved for the nation’ in June 2007, few people even knew of its existence. Yet its contents, dating from the mid-1750s, when it was built by the 5th Earl of Dumfries, include at least 50 pieces by the great British furniture maker Thomas Chippendale – some specially made for the house – along with the finest surviving collection of carved Scottish rococo furniture.
It took a last-minute pledge of £20 million from the Prince of Wales, allied to £25 million raised from other sources, to prevent its contents being dispersed around the world. In fact, less than two weeks before the threatened sale at auction by its owner, the 7th Marquess of Bute, much of the furniture had been packed up, ready to be taken to London. It was a close call.
No time has been wasted since then to make best use of the house’s riches. Its infrastructure has been improved at a cost of £1.5 million, rooms re-presented and gentle conservation embarked on (also to the tune of £1.5 million – much of it donated by individuals keen to see particular works restored, with a further £1.5-2 million spent on outbuildings for imminent use).
The scale of work is a curator’s dream,’ Charlotte Rostek, Dumfries House’s curator since April 2008, says. 'And we have been able to carry out a level of conservation work of which most other museums and stately homes can only dream.’
Indeed, there has never been a historic house project like it. A crucial element is the desire to kick-start regeneration in this impoverished part of east Ayrshire – a version of the Guggenheim effect, perhaps, whereby dramatically designed museums have drawn millions into previously depressed towns such as Bilbao in Spain.
'It’s not solely about Adam and Chippendale, it’s about jobs,’ confirms the writer James Knox, an Ayrshire neighbour who was involved in the campaign to save the house. 'And giving people a sense of belief in themselves locally, and being heard.’ This is not merely talk. When, shortly after the fate of Dumfries House was announced, the Prince of Wales visited the nearby former mining town of Cumnock, he was mobbed in the street by ecstatic long-term unemployed people.
Today, in sunny late April, visitors to Dumfries House are welcomed by clouds of pink blossom from two magnificent cherry trees on the drive. The shorthorn cattle grazing in front of the house are part of the 900-acre farm partnership between Dumfries House and Morrisons supermarket.
The Prince – or the Duke of Rothesay, to give him his Scottish title – has just dropped in to mark the new season’s opening to the public. (He had never been here when he contributed millions to saving the estate, but has made up for it since by visiting every couple of months, and even has a bedroom in the house.)
There has been a major winter overhaul over five breakneck (and freezing) months while the house was closed to the public: 1930s and even some Edwardian electrics have been replaced, the building replumbed from top to bottom, and a vast biomass boiler installed, which will control temperature and humidity levels and be self-sustaining. 'Furniture is susceptible more to humidity levels than temperature,’ Rostek says.
In the grounds, builders are putting the final touches to the new cafe in the converted Coach House. In the 600-acre woods, a team from the East Ayrshire Woodland Group has been working on a programme of replanting for the past 18 months, financed by the Government’s Future Jobs Fund. Fuel for the biomass boiler will come from the estate’s trees; it needs to be dried for a year first, then chipped.
Near Cumnock, a new model eco community – in some respects a Scottish Poundbury – is taking shape on Dumfries estate land. Knockroon, 'a walkable neighbourhood encouraging social interaction and a strong sense of community’, has been designed by the architects Lachlan Stewart and Ben Pentreath for the Princes Foundation for the Built Environment, and is 'inspired by local architecture that was built between the late 17th and mid-19th centuries’.
It is being overseen by Andrew Hamilton, who for the past 20 years has coordinated the Poundbury project, and was in the Prince’s mind from the beginning of his negotiations over Dumfries House. Planning permission for 600 homes was granted in January.
There is much more in the pipeline: traditional building skills workshops in the old saw mill; an educational food centre for children; a conference centre in the stable block; the restoration of the walled garden; even a hotel in the grounds. Yet the atmosphere of the 2,000-acre park is peaceful, as are the revitalised but not over-primped interiors.
Rostek acknowledges that though the house’s treasures are only one aspect of the whole picture, they have inevitably been the focus. It is a rich seam for scholars and restorers alike.
Most exotically, the flamboyant Chippendale four-poster is back from London where it was newly redressed in its original style of blue silk finery, thanks to a feat of archival detective work. While Christie’s insisted that the hangings were originally green, Rostek pored over 18th-century invoices to discover that they were actually blue. The textile historian Annabel Westman then oversaw about 20 craftsmen in three different specialist workshops as they restored the intricately carved cornice and covered it skin-tight in blue silk damask.
A tour of the formal ground-floor rooms reveals the extent of carefully researched housekeeping achieved over the past four years. In the Blue Drawing Room, the first Adam room the paying public come to, a suite of Chippendale elbow chairs and sofas has been reupholstered in a specially woven startling blue damask by Humphries Weaving, and the ruched curtains have been resplendently remade in the same fabric by the expert curtain maker Janette Read (who has redone the curtains throughout the house).
The surprisingly modest padauk Chippendale bookcase – the most valuable piece of furniture in the house (bought for £47 5s in 1759 and valued at £4 million in 2007) – was restored in situ over three weeks by the Edinburgh furniture restorer James Hardie.
The bold Axminster carpet covering the entire drawing-room floor dates from 1759, and is one of the first the company ever produced. Between the windows hang a pair of joyous and intricate pier glasses by William Mathie of Edinburgh (he, Francis Brodie and Alexander Peter are the three great Scottish cabinetmakers, all represented here). On the wall opposite is a pair of full-length Raeburn portraits of members of the family who lived here in the second half of the 18th century.
When Rostek is asked to give talks about the furniture of Dumfries House, she always declares that she can’t do it without reference to the people who lived here. These portraits are a good starting point. They depict the strikingly kind-looking Patrick McDouall-Crichton, 6th Earl of Dumfries, with his ward Flora, Countess of Loudon, and Margaret, his wife, with their daughter, Lady Elizabeth Penelope Crichton. Both Flora and Elizabeth are relevant to the story.
In 1768 Patrick inherited Dumfries House from his uncle, the 5th Earl (his portrait hangs in the Pink Dining Room), who had built and furnished it in 1754-9, commissioning the architects Robert and John Adam, and using pink sandstone quarried on the estate.
Elizabeth married the eldest son of the 1st Marquess of Bute in 1792 and had two sons. Soon afterwards, her husband was killed in a riding accident, aged 27, and she died three years later. (The story of the Butes is littered with early deaths.) For the next few years the boys were raised by their maternal grandparents, alongside Flora.
The eldest boy, John, was nine when his grand­father died in 1803, and 20 when his other grandfather died, and he became the 2nd Marquess of Bute. From that point on, Dumfries House became the family’s secondary home, with Mount Stuart on the Isle of Bute their main residence.
This is one of the astonishing facts about Dumfries House and one of the reasons its original interiors are so well preserved – and remained a secret for so long. For 250 years the family who owned the estate took good care of it, constantly upgrading, modernising and making it more comfortable, but only rarely living there. There were certainly changes over the years (the Axminster was 'cleaned and shaved’ in 1846, for example; the Chippendale bed refurbished in 1869), but the original scheme remained intact.
It was the 2nd Marquess who made the family fortune by turning the fishing village of Cardiff into a major port. (This wealth meant that the family never needed to sell Dumfries House.) His first marriage was childless, but by his second wife, Sophia Hastings – the daughter of Flora, his childhood companion – he fathered a son at the age of 52, then died when the child was six months old. Dumfries House fell into another slumber.
The 3rd Marquess continued to develop Cardiff, but is best known as a spectacular patron of the arts, responsible for recreating Cardiff Castle and Castell Coch to the north of Cardiff. He made substantial additions to Dumfries House too, installing a Turkish bath (now the Billiard Room) and a Byzantine chapel (he was a devout Catholic convert). In 1877 Mount Stuart burnt down, and while it was being built anew as a gothic-revival fantasy, the 3rd Marquess and his family spent more time at Dumfries House. In the 1890s he hired the leading Scottish Arts and Crafts architect Robert Weir Schultz to build a pair of large wings at the back – doubling the house in size without making this apparent from the symmetrical Palladian front. He described Dumfries House as the 'homeliest’ of his many homes.
While the 4th Marquess finished the extensions started by his father, the last person to call Dumfries House home was Lady Eileen Bute. The wife of the 5th Marquess, she came here as a young bride in 1932.
The family moved out during the Second World War when the house was requisitioned by the Army, but she returned after her husband died in 1956 (aged 49), and was popular with locals until her death in 1993.
'She had a group of friends known as the Ayrshire widows,’ James Knox says. 'They were all very good-looking women and had a lovely time chain-smoking, drinking whisky and playing poker in those wonderful rooms. They were mad on racing and Lady Eileen would have huge house parties for the Ayr races.’
After her death, Dumfries House went back to sleep. A few months later her son, the 6th Marquess of Bute, died, and his son, the racing driver Johnny Dumfries, now the 7th Marquess (and known as Johnny Bute), was hit with double death duties. The sale of Dumfries House looked inevitable.
In 1994 he approached the National Trust for Scotland. They weren’t enthusiastic – partly, it appears, because Paxton House, another Scottish Adam house also with Chippendale furniture, had recently opened to the public. By now Johnny Bute was fully occupied with opening Mount Stuart to the public for the first time (in 1995), and for nearly a decade nothing happened. Bute even put a new roof on Dumfries House, for which the current custodians are extremely grateful.
The National Trust for Scotland was offered the chance to acquire Dumfries House again in 2004, and negotiations dragged on, with Sotheby’s brought in to value the contents for the trust, and Christie’s for the Marquess (later, Bonhams arrived on behalf of the council). Such was the scale of the task that Christie’s experts spent 18 months cataloguing the collection. When negotiations with the trust failed, an exasperated Johnny Bute was forced to look at alternatives, and in April 2007 he instructed Savills to sell the house and Christie’s its contents.
For several years, a number of art lovers had been monitoring the situation at Dumfries House. As soon as its sale was announced they launched a public appeal to preserve it as an independent charitable trust under the auspices of Save Britain’s Heritage. Generous funding was lined up from charitable bodies such as the Monument Trust, the Art Fund and the Garfield Weston Foundation. But it still wasn’t enough.
The turning point came in May 2007, when Historic Scotland (the Scottish equivalent of English Heritage) declined to support the campaign financially and declared that Dumfries House could not be saved. Every two years, the Prince of Wales convenes a conference at Holyrood House in Edinburgh for the great and the good of the conservation world in Scotland.
James Knox used the opportunity to make an impassioned impromptu speech about the importance to the region of preserving Dumfries House. It was not a popular move. 'Nobody really wanted to talk about Dumfries House,’ Knox says. 'They thought it was too big, too expensive, too impossible, too controversial. I sat down to stony silence.’
But the campaign had caught the attention of the Prince, who wanted to know what he could do to help. With only weeks before the sale of house and contents, the Prince took a huge risk and arranged a loan of £20 million secured against the Prince’s Charities Foundation.
The Scottish government came on board to the tune of £5 million, and the estate was handed over to the newly formed Great Steward of Scotland’s Dumfries House Trust (after one of the Prince’s other Scottish titles). The Prince likes to quote the 5th Earl of Dumfries, who declared of his decision to build the house, '’Tis certainly a great undertaking, perhaps more bold than wise, but necessity has no law’, adding, 'I felt rather the same some 250 years later.’
The Prince’s involvement is hands-on. Last month he met the first couple planning to marry at Dumfries House – a new moneyspinner – and his watercolours line what will be the groom’s room. He was involved in the design of a new sunken garden, and the Pink Dining Room is likely to stay that hue for the moment (it was painted pink in about 1955) because it is his favourite room.
Dumfries House opened to the public in June 2008, and is beginning to establish itself on the tourist trail (it is 15 miles away from the popular Culzean Castle), and new events are springing up locally too – last weekend saw the first Boswell Book Festival at neighbouring Auchinleck House.
'We have a five-year plan, and we aim to be self-sustaining,’ Rostek says. 'We’re not cash rich, and we don’t have an endowment, but the Prince makes it work through his leadership. It’s a journey from an idea to reality – it has to work and pay its way.’

Friday, 27 January 2023

Gieves & Hawkes back in British ownership / Gieves & Hawkes №1 Savile Row, London



Gieves & Hawkes back in British ownership



Gieves & Hawkes, one of the most famous names in tailoring, is back in British hands after being bought by Mike Ashley’s Frasers Group. The iconic business, with its main store at No 1 Savile Row, was sold to Ashley last November by the Hong Kong-based owner Trinity Group after it fell into administration at the beginning of last year. All five of Gieves & Hawkes’s UK stores will be part of the deal. Frasers Group, which already owns Sports Direct and House of Fraser, emerged as a potential buyer last September and sealed the deal for an undisclosed sum in November. Hong Kong conglomerate Trinity Ltd took over Gieves & Hawkes in 2012 but Trinity was subject to a winding-up petition for debt in September 2021. Michael Murray, chief executive of Frasers, said: “We are delighted to have acquired Gieves & Hawkes, securing a long-term future for an iconic 250-year-old brand. This acquisition further adds to our portfolio of strategic investments in luxury and premium brands.”


Gieves & Hawkes, which has held Royal Warrants since 1809, has made clothes for King Charles III, George VI and George V, as well as the princes William and Harry. It also dressed Lord Nelson, the Duke of Wellington and Winston Churchill. The firm moved to the Georgian townhouse at 1 Savile Row after Gieves acquired the Hawkes brand in 1974. Gieves was founded in 1785 and Hawkes in 1771.

Wednesday, 25 January 2023

Turnbull & Asser :130 Years - By Royal Appointment


Turnbull & Asser is a British shirt-maker that was established in 1885. The company has its flagship store on Jermyn Street in the St James's area of London, and its bespoke store around the corner on Bury Street. Turnbull & Asser also has a location at 4 Davies Street in Mayfair. In addition to the three London stores, the company has a shop in New York City.



The business was founded in 1885 by John Arthur Turnbull, a hosier and shirt-maker, at 3 Church Place, St James's. Turnbull met Ernest Asser, a salesman, later on in 1893. Together, they opened a hosiery under the name "John Arthur Turnbull" in St James's located in England. As the neighborhood was the site of numerous gentlemen's clubs and high-end haberdashers, the business flourished. The name was changed to "Turnbull & Asser" in 1895.


In 1903, after continued success, Turnbull & Asser moved to its present location at the corner of Jermyn Street and Bury Street. In 1915, during World War I, Turnbull & Asser developed a raincoat which doubled as a sleeping bag for the British military. It is known as the Oilsilk Combination Coverall & Ground Sheet.


Between the 1920s and the 1970s, Turnbull & Asser grew its London business from a haberdashery to a clothier, expanding into sportswear, clothing (both bespoke and ready-to-wear), and ready-to-wear shirts. As its symbol, it used a hunting horn with a "Q" above, which it called the Quorn, a name it shares with one of the oldest hunts in England. Many of Turnbull & Asser's articles were called by this name, such as the popular "Quorn scarf".


During the 1960s, Turnbull & Asser was known for catering to the Swinging London set, with vibrant colors and modern designs. In 1962, Turnbull & Asser began to outfit the cinematic James Bond as first portrayed by Sean Connery, whose dress shirts had turnback cuffs fastened with buttons as opposed to cufflinks, referred to as "cocktail cuffs" or "James Bond cuffs".


In the 1970s and 1980s, Turnbull & Asser began reviving some of the more traditional aspects of its business. The company found that Americans increasingly were buying its wares, so it began offering trunk shows at the Grand Hyatt in New York City. Beginning in 1974, Turnbull & Asser sold ready-to-wear shirts in the United States through department stores Bonwit Teller and Neiman Marcus. For a brief period beginning in 1979, Turnbull & Asser even operated a small store in Toronto. Turnbull & Asser also opened a location in Beverly Hills in 2003 before closing several years later.


In February 2018, Turnbull & Asser posted a £1.2 Million pound loss, leading to a £1m equity injection from its owner, Ali Fayed.


Royal Warrant

Charles III has bought shirts from Turnbull & Asser since his youth. When, in 1980, the then Prince of Wales was granted the power of bestowing royal warrants, his first issue was granted to Turnbull & Asser. He also wears Turnbull & Asser suits, made by the former Chester Barrie factory in Crewe, Cheshire. Following the retirement of Paul Cuss, the Royal Warrant was passed down to Steven Quin, who currently heads the bespoke department in Bury Street.



Shirts and ties are still made in its Gloucester factory.


In addition to its retail stores, the company hosts seasonal bespoke shirt trunkshows in key cities around the world, including Los Angeles, Chicago, Toronto, Mumbai, Seoul, Tokyo, Singapore, Hong Kong and more.


In response to the COVID-19 pandemic, Turnbull & Asser dedicated its Gloucester workroom to making medical-grade uniforms for National Health Service personnel.



Profits slip slightly at Royal shirt-maker Turnbull & Asser

Turnbull & Asser has made shirts for members of royalty, world leaders, entertainers and captains of industry

By Joanna Bourke

28 November 2018



Shirt-maker Turnbull & Asser might count Prince Charles as a client but even royal patronage can’t protect it from High Street woes.


The St James’s firm, founded in 1885, on Wednesday admitted that “the general trading environment was tough last year and continues to be so”.


The business — owned by Ali Fayed (younger brother of former Harrods boss Mohamed Al-Fayed) and his sons — posted a £1.2 million loss for the year to February 3, compared with a £1.1 million loss a year before.

Prince turns tailor during factory visit

Monday, 23 January 2023

BBC Two Trailer: Agatha Christie Lucy Worsley on the Mystery Queen / Agatha Christie by Lucy Worsley review – in search of the elusive author


Agatha Christie by Lucy Worsley review – in search of the elusive author


The historian shines a light on the modernity of Christie’s crime fiction and debunks the myths surrounding her disappearance


Alex Clark

Wed 31 Aug 2022 09.00 BST



If Agatha Christie remains elusive, it’s not for the want of those trying to find her. Janet Morgan’s official biography of 1984 and Laura Thompson’s equally detailed but ultimately more impressionistic portrait of 2007 have both been updated and reissued; and there are numerous other analyses that try to understand how the woman who routinely described herself as a housewife became Britain’s bestselling novelist of all time. Enter historian Lucy Worsley, whose declared intention is to rescue Christie, who died in 1976 at the age of 85, from the misperceptions that cling to her life and her works of fiction.


In service of the former, she revisits the most notorious episode of Christie’s life: her disappearance for 11 days in December 1926, prompting blanket media coverage, an extensive police search and, after she had resurfaced at a hydropathic hotel in Harrogate, widespread suspicion that her tale of memory loss was an elaborate publicity stunt. In terms of the novels, Worsley’s focus is on debunking the assumption that Christie invented and epitomised what has become known as “cosy” crime fiction, pointing to the darker elements of her work, its modernity, and its increasing interest in psychological themes.


Is she convincing? Up to a point. These ways of thinking about Christie are not entirely new or unfamiliar, and although Worsley has evidently done due diligence among her subject’s correspondence and personal records, there are no major revelations. It’s more, perhaps, that she brings a clear-eyed empathy that allows her to acknowledge Christie’s limitations and prejudices without consigning her to the silos of mass-market populist and absentee mother.


Sometimes, this is a stretch. Worsley is correct to argue that dismissing the books as formulaic – algebraic, indeed – is a way of diminishing Christie’s power to graft an apparently impenetrable mystery on to an evocatively imagined and interestingly peopled setting, and to repeat the trick over and over again; such reductive ways of characterising the work of popular writers are still very much in evidence. Her gift for dialogue and for manipulating social stereotypes, as Worsley demonstrates, was formidable, keenly attuned to the proliferating class anxieties of the 20th century; numerous characters are, interestingly, transitional or dispossessed in some way, at odds with one view of her as a writer of the country-house elite. (This approach gets only so far when it comes to discussing her reliance on racist tropes, and particularly antisemitic slurs, on which Worsley maintains that we must accept her as a product of her class and time, but also that we must squarely face the reality of what she writes and not try to excuse it. The issue here is that, fundamentally, the circle cannot be squared and rests largely on whether one believes bigotry is, at some level, historically inescapable.)


This doesn’t quite amount to the claims made in one eyebrow-raising passage in the biography, in which Worsley appears to argue that Christie has common ground with the modernists whose defining moment came as her first novels were published: “What if the middlebrow and the modernist could actually be the same thing?” she writes. “A more inclusive definition of modernism might mean that you can also find it in works that don’t necessarily bludgeon you in the face with the shock of the new in the manner of Ulysses.” If you are going to rescue one writer from misunderstanding, it’s as well not to visit the same ignominy on another. And as much as The Murder of Roger Ackroyd’s ingenuity relies on the disruption of accepted narrative convention, I don’t think it has a lot in common with Virginia Woolf’s Jacob’s Room.


A Very Elusive Woman does, however, paint an intriguing picture of Christie as an upper-middle-class Victorian and Edwardian child whose life, then and later, encompassed significant losses and reversals of fortune, emotionally and materially. Perhaps counterintuitively, Worsley’s plummy-chummy tone bolsters rather than detracts from the seriousness with which she has evidently taken her task, as if she’s attempting to translate the sensibilities of a bygone era and mindset to contemporary life. Of Christie’s first husband, Archibald, whose adultery sparked that 1926 flight, she confides that a photograph of him impressed on her “an essential fact” that she hadn’t hitherto appreciated: “He was incredibly hot.” When Agatha is patronised by a chemist from whom she’s trying to learn about poisons, Worsley simply says: “Urgh”.


Where Worsley excels is in her descriptions of Christie’s day-to-day life; we hear virtually nothing of her political opinions as she lives through two world wars, for example, but we do glean a sense of her exceptionalism in the news that she consistently ignored air-raid sirens and simply turned over in bed. And she reports Christie’s almost compulsive buying of properties, her quiet, near-clandestine funding of her second husband’s archeological career and her love of rich food in a way that allows us to understand the version of home, love and stability she was trying to recreate. This may be the first biography I’ve read where my attention was genuinely piqued by the discussion of the subject’s tax affairs. Has Lucy Worsley tracked down Agatha Christie? Not quite, but her nose for diverting byways may suffice.


Agatha Christie: A Very Elusive Woman is published by Hodder & Stoughton(£25). To support the Guardian and Observer, order your copy at guardianbookshop.com. Delivery charges may apply.

BBC’s Agatha Christie: Lucy Worsley on the Mystery Queen - viewers ‘adored’ first episode on famous author


Historian Lucy Worsely delves into the life-tellings of Agatha Christie in new BBC documentary


Will Millar

By Will Millar

26th Nov 2022, 11:02am



Historian Lucy Worlsey delves into her mysterious life-tellings of the world’s most-famous detective writer in Agatha Christie: Lucy Worsley on the Mystery Queen. The BBC three-part documentary series aired last night and viewers are loving it.


Many Christie fans have paid good money to follow in the footsteps of the much-loved author, with countless tours taking place across the country at all times. Last night, viewers got to enjoy the experience at home as Lucy Worsley told a fantastic historic tale of the elusive Queen of crime.


In the BBC factual series, Worsely explores the life of Dame Agatha Mary Clarissa Christie - a renowned novelist who has only been outsold by Shakespeare and the Bible. Christie wrote 75 novels, plays and countless short stories before she died in 1970, dedicating her life to the detective fiction genre.


Isokon Flats / How Agatha Christie spent the war in Hampstead

How Agatha Christie spent the war in Hampstead

18th May 2021




By Bridget Galton

Features Editor and Associate Editor



Agatha Christie's wartime stay at the Isokon flats - with fur coat, hot water bottle, and pillow over her head to drown out the blitz - is explored in a new exhibition.


Despite having homes in west London, Oxford and Devon, the famous crime writer and her Sealyham terrier James spent 1941 to 1947 living in a 25 metre square flat in what was advertised as the "safest building in London."


An exhibition opening on May 22 reveals how she enjoyed a prolific stage of her career, writing novels, stage plays, a memoir and radio play for Queen Mary's 80th birthday - which later became The Mousetrap - while living in Britain's first apartment block made from steel reinforced concrete.


By day she did her bit for the war with a part time job in University College Hospital's dispensary, then returned to her flat to write, often on two books simultaneously. At night she put a pillow over her head to block out the falling bombs and clutched her "two most treasured possessions" her water bottle and fur coat.



Christie's Devon home Greenway had been requisitioned by the American Navy, her archaeologist husband Max Mallowan posted to Egypt, and in the first week of the blitz, her Holland Park home was bombed.


Jack Pritchard, who commissioned Wells Coates to build the Lawn Road flats in 1934, promised residents a new, modern way of life. With a celebrated restaurant and bar, run by Philip Harben, it attracted an extraordinary community of intellectuals, artists and writers, and newly arrived exiles fleeing Nazi Germany.


"Pritchard took out an ad in The Times claiming he had the safest building in Britain - it wasn't true, if a bomb had landed on it it wouldn't have stood it," says Magnus Englund, Chair of the Isokon Gallery Trust.


He visited Christie's only grandson Mathew Prichard to sift through the family archive for references to the Isokon.


"I have a bomb map of Belsize Park and there were quite a few, a big one fell on the tennis courts at the back of the flats. During raids, residents gathered in the Isobar which had sandbags, but Christie stayed in her flat and continued to write in her fur coat with a pillow over her head. Extraordinary!"


In letters Christie wrote: “Coming up the street the flats looked just like a giant liner which ought to have had a couple of funnels, and then you went up the stairs and through the door of one’s flat and there were the trees tapping on the window.”


She also wrote: “I never found any difficulty writing during the War, as some people did; I suppose because I cut myself off into a different compartment of my mind. I could live in the book amongst the people I was writing about, and mutter their conversations and see them striding about the room I had invented for them."


Over six years Christie moved three times to bigger flats eventually knocking 16 and 17 together. She was also the only resident allowed a dog.


"I think Jack Pritchard gave her special dispensation because she was famous."


Sadly a claim that Christie's only spy novel N or M was inspired by Soviet spy recruiters who were residents is untrue. "It's the most common misunderstanding, but she wrote more than one book about spies, they were published in America just before she moved in, and the spies had all moved out by then."


Englund adds: "It was a revelation that she had written what became The Mousetrap at Lawn Road. On his seventh birthday Mathew asked for a bicycle and his grandmother gave him what he thought a very dull bit of paper - it was the rights to The Mousetrap.


"She is the most sold author in the world and lived there for six years, but no-one had ever looked at this period much before. Now we are telling the whole story."


The Agatha Christie exhibition runs May 22 until October 2022 at The Isokon Gallery in Lawn Road. Entry is free no booking required. The museum is dedicated to the story of the Grade I listed building and its famous former residents. Opening times 11-4pm every weekend.



Isokon Flats


The Isokon building

Isokon Flats, also known as Lawn Road Flats and the Isokon building, on Lawn Road in the Belsize Park district of the London Borough of Camden, is a reinforced concrete block of 36 flats (originally 32), designed by Canadian engineer Wells Coates for Molly and Jack Pritchard.


Pre-war years

The designs for the flats were developed between 1929–1932 and opened on 9 July 1934 as an experiment in minimalist urban living. All of the "Existenzminimum" flats had very small kitchens as there was a communal kitchen for the preparation of meals, connected to the residential floors via a dumb waiter. Services, including laundry and shoe-polishing, were provided on site.


The building originally included 24 studio flats, eight one-bedroom flats, staff quarters, a kitchen and a large garage. The Pritchards lived in a one-bedroom penthouse flat at the top with their two sons Jeremy and Jonathan next door in a studio flat. Plywood was used extensively in the fittings of the apartments; Jack Pritchard was the Marketing Manager for the Estonian plywood company Venesta between 1926 and 1936, while he also operated the Isokon Furniture Company, originally in partnership with Wells Coates.


Celebrated residents included: Bauhaus émigrés Walter Gropius, Marcel Breuer, and László Moholy-Nagy; architects Egon Riss and Arthur Korn; Agatha Christie (between 1941 and 1947) and her husband Max Mallowan, art historian Adrian Stokes, the author Nicholas Monsarrat, the archaeologist V. Gordon Childe, modernist architect Jacques Groag and his wife textile designer Jacqueline Groag. The communal kitchen was converted into the Isobar restaurant in 1937, to a design by Marcel Breuer and F.R.S. Yorke. The flats and particularly the Isobar became renowned as a centre for socialist intellectual and artistic life in Hampstead and regular visitors to the Isobar included nearby residents Henry Moore, Barbara Hepworth and Ben Nicholson.



A number of Isokon residents were later identified as Soviet agents and in the 1930s and Cold War period the building was subject to surveillance by the British security services In the mid-1930s Flat 7 was occupied by Dr Arnold Deutsch, the NKVD agent who recruited the Cambridge Five and Soviet spy Jürgen Kuczynski lived at Isokon while teaching economics at London University.


Post-war years

The Isokon furniture company ceased trading with the outbreak of World War II, but was restarted in 1963. The British architect Sir James Frazer Stirling was a resident during the early 1960s. In 1969 the building was sold to the New Statesman magazine and the Isobar was converted into flats. In 1972 the building was sold to Camden London Borough Council and gradually deteriorated until the 1990s when it was abandoned and lay derelict for several years.


Rescue and refurbishment

In 2003 the building was sympathetically refurbished by Avanti Architects, a practice which specialises in the refurbishment of Modernist buildings, for the Notting Hill Housing Association who purchased it from Camden London Borough Council. Notting Hill Housing Association remains the freeholder. During the comprehensive restoration, the services were completely renewed, heating and insulation discreetly upgraded and the later overcoat of render removed from the exterior. The building now has a smooth external finish and is the palest tint of pink in colour, like it first was when it opened, and not pure white as is often assumed from back and white historical photos. The building is now partly occupied by key workers under a shared-ownership scheme whilst the larger flats have been sold outright.


Isokon Gallery

As part of the refurbishment, an exhibition gallery was created in the former garage, run since 2014 wholly by volunteers as a non-profit micro-museum to tell the story of the building, the social and artistic life of its residents and Isokon furniture company. The gallery is open weekends only, 11.00 a.m. to 4.00 p.m. from the beginning of March until the end of October. Flats in the Isokon building are private and cannot be visited, except during Open House in September each year.



The building was designated a Grade I listed structure in 1999, placing it amongst the most significant historic buildings in England. An English Heritage blue plaque was fixed in 2018 to commemorate the residence of the Bauhaus masters Gropius, Breuer and Moholy-Nagy.