Style Court

Textiles, Art History, Gardens, and a Little Mental Traveling with Courtney Barnes 2006-2016

9.13.2006

Legendary Rooms: Billy Baldwin


The watercolor above, painted by decorator Mark Hampton, is an illustration of the famous brown lacquered library designed by Billy Baldwin for Cole Porter. Baldwin mixed dark walls, created to look like tortoiseshell, with brass bookcases and fawn-colored leather upholstery. Totally chic then and now.

This watercolor is actually one of 22 included in Hampton's 1992 book, Legendary Decorators of the Twentieth Century. Other decorators highlighted include David Hicks, Elsie de Wolfe, Sister Parish, and Jean-Michel Frank.

Baldwin's 1972 book, Billy Baldwin Decorates, was supposed to be reissued last month but unfortunately it seems the publication has been delayed. Luckily, some vintage copies can still be found for under $60, unlike many older decorating books that now sell for $400 and up :(

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