Category Archives: At home with…

At home with Harry Smith

Harry Everett Smith checked out of New York’s Chelsea Hotel in 1991, forwarding address unknown, and like William S. Burroughs and Herbert Huncke, his face and voice advertised a life which by rights should have ended some time before.

At home with Harry Smith

Harry Everett Smith checked out of New York’s Chelsea Hotel in 1991, forwarding address unknown, and like William S. Burroughs and Herbert Huncke, his face and voice advertised a life which by rights should have ended some time before.

The house of Wittgenstein

Haus Wittgenstein is a Modernist white cube of such unornamented austerity that it’s like a splash of ice cold water after the whipped-cream architectural confections that dot central Vienna.

The house of Wittgenstein

Haus Wittgenstein is a Modernist white cube of such unornamented austerity that it’s like a splash of ice cold water after the whipped-cream architectural confections that dot central Vienna.

The double life of Evan Morgan

He was an occultist, yet chamberlain to two popes; gay, yet husband to two women. He was a friend to Augustus John, john to Denham Fouts, bogey-man to the Establishment. He mixed with royalty and rabble, and there was a Jekyll-and-Hyde polarity within his own personality.

The double life of Evan Morgan

He was an occultist, yet chamberlain to two popes; gay, yet husband to two women. He was a friend to Augustus John, john to Denham Fouts, bogey-man to the Establishment. He mixed with royalty and rabble, and there was a Jekyll-and-Hyde polarity within his own personality.

Strange Flowers guide to London: part 3

The choice of blue plaque honourees is leadenly conservative and sometimes bafflingly perverse, celebrating lesser colonial administrators known only to their mothers. Or it may be that current residents would rather not have their homes associated with drunks, deviants and diabolists.

Strange Flowers guide to London: part 3

The choice of blue plaque honourees is leadenly conservative and sometimes bafflingly perverse, celebrating lesser colonial administrators known only to their mothers. Or it may be that current residents would rather not have their homes associated with drunks, deviants and diabolists.

Strange Flowers guide to London: part 2

Fitzrovia was a stone’s throw from Bloomsbury but a world away in temperament. According to the Times Literary Supplement, Fitzrovia was “a world of outsiders, down-and-outs, drunks, sensualists, homosexuals and eccentrics”. In short, the spiritual home of Strange Flowers.

Strange Flowers guide to London: part 2

Fitzrovia was a stone’s throw from Bloomsbury but a world away in temperament. According to the Times Literary Supplement, Fitzrovia was “a world of outsiders, down-and-outs, drunks, sensualists, homosexuals and eccentrics”. In short, the spiritual home of Strange Flowers.

Strange Flowers guide to London: part 1

There are infinite ways to dissect London, endless psychogeographical narratives which can be overlaid on the city’s map. This is an account of absence as much as presence, but let’s think of it as a stroll which gives us a chance to chat about our favourite freaks.

Strange Flowers guide to London: part 1

There are infinite ways to dissect London, endless psychogeographical narratives which can be overlaid on the city’s map. This is an account of absence as much as presence, but let’s think of it as a stroll which gives us a chance to chat about our favourite freaks.

At home with Ronald Firbank

“…when Sacheverell spoke appreciatively of his latest novel, Caprice, he turned his head away, and remarked, in a choking voice, ‘I can’t bear calceolarias! Can you?’”

At home with Ronald Firbank

“…when Sacheverell spoke appreciatively of his latest novel, Caprice, he turned his head away, and remarked, in a choking voice, ‘I can’t bear calceolarias! Can you?’”

Let them eat kuchen

So after I posted a couple of days ago about Ludwig II I remembered I had some photos kicking around somewhere of the palace Herrenchiemsee and its surrounds which I visited almost 10 years ago. Situated between Munich and Salzburg,

Let them eat kuchen

So after I posted a couple of days ago about Ludwig II I remembered I had some photos kicking around somewhere of the palace Herrenchiemsee and its surrounds which I visited almost 10 years ago. Situated between Munich and Salzburg,

Rex Luna

Both Ludwig and Sissi took the abstractions of Romanticism and not only made them reality but practised them at the level of an extreme sport. In so doing they inspired the Decadent writers who furthered the Romantics’ cult of self.

Rex Luna

Both Ludwig and Sissi took the abstractions of Romanticism and not only made them reality but practised them at the level of an extreme sport. In so doing they inspired the Decadent writers who furthered the Romantics’ cult of self.

James and the giant artichoke

For an outsized entrée it had an impressive pedigree, designed by Sir Hugh Casson, later responsible for shaping the architecture of the Festival of Britain, and Christopher Nicholson, who numbered a studio for Augustus John among his long list of projects.

James and the giant artichoke

For an outsized entrée it had an impressive pedigree, designed by Sir Hugh Casson, later responsible for shaping the architecture of the Festival of Britain, and Christopher Nicholson, who numbered a studio for Augustus John among his long list of projects.

Prince of tides

Although better known in his lifetime as a writer and adventurer, Pückler-Muskau saw the Saxon park as his greatest monument. It was an expression of his lifetime passion for landscape gardening, into which he poured his entire fortune.

Prince of tides

Although better known in his lifetime as a writer and adventurer, Pückler-Muskau saw the Saxon park as his greatest monument. It was an expression of his lifetime passion for landscape gardening, into which he poured his entire fortune.

Thin white archduke

Ludwig was getting reckless and had a reputation for spending hours in the Centralbad, a prestigious complex of Orientalist steam baths, where his (no doubt pruny) hands were apt to wander…

Thin white archduke

Ludwig was getting reckless and had a reputation for spending hours in the Centralbad, a prestigious complex of Orientalist steam baths, where his (no doubt pruny) hands were apt to wander…

Each man kills the thing he loves

The Great Lafayette was like a warm-up act for the great camp variety turns of the media age. Liberace arriving onstage in a chauffeured limousine? Lafayette had done it decades earlier, motoring to his mark in a mauve Mercedes fitted with gas lamps.

Each man kills the thing he loves

The Great Lafayette was like a warm-up act for the great camp variety turns of the media age. Liberace arriving onstage in a chauffeured limousine? Lafayette had done it decades earlier, motoring to his mark in a mauve Mercedes fitted with gas lamps.

The Shrine of Turin

Strange things happen in Turin. Giorgio de Chirico’s canvasses were haunted by the “nostalgia of the infinite” he sensed in the piazzas of this neo-classical northern Italian city; it’s also where Nietzsche went nuts and supposedly boasts the Gates of Hell among its landmarks.

The Shrine of Turin

Strange things happen in Turin. Giorgio de Chirico’s canvasses were haunted by the “nostalgia of the infinite” he sensed in the piazzas of this neo-classical northern Italian city; it’s also where Nietzsche went nuts and supposedly boasts the Gates of Hell among its landmarks.

“Scholar, connoisseur, drunkard, poet, pervert…”

The count’s bedroom featured a pentagram over the bed, and there he would smoke opium and play piano late into the night, emerging the next day – late, naturally – in a dressing gown with a snake wrapped around his neck.

“Scholar, connoisseur, drunkard, poet, pervert…”

The count’s bedroom featured a pentagram over the bed, and there he would smoke opium and play piano late into the night, emerging the next day – late, naturally – in a dressing gown with a snake wrapped around his neck.

Dress-down Friday: Madeleine Castaing

In her long life, French decorator Madeleine Castaing had a huge influence on interiors, helping to revive interest in 19th century styles long out of fashion. She took relatively cheap materials and mis-matched furniture and combined them in virtuoso arrangements

Dress-down Friday: Madeleine Castaing

In her long life, French decorator Madeleine Castaing had a huge influence on interiors, helping to revive interest in 19th century styles long out of fashion. She took relatively cheap materials and mis-matched furniture and combined them in virtuoso arrangements

A medley of extemporanea

Stephen Tennant’s narcissism was so pure and open and unabashed that it belongs almost to a different category. “You were very beautiful this evening Stephen,” reads one diary entry.

A medley of extemporanea

Stephen Tennant’s narcissism was so pure and open and unabashed that it belongs almost to a different category. “You were very beautiful this evening Stephen,” reads one diary entry.

Boni and the Palais Rose

After bagging his heiress in 1895, Boni de Castellane embarked on a spending spree which stood out even by the profligate standards of the Belle Époque, snapping up a schooner and a couple of chateaux and once hiring the entire Bois de Boulogne for a party.

Boni and the Palais Rose

After bagging his heiress in 1895, Boni de Castellane embarked on a spending spree which stood out even by the profligate standards of the Belle Époque, snapping up a schooner and a couple of chateaux and once hiring the entire Bois de Boulogne for a party.

Salon queen

Natalie Barney would become the 20th century’s greatest saloniste. Visitors to her Friday afternoon meetings included Ernest Hemingway, Ezra Pound, F. Scott Fitzgerald, Gertrude Stein, James Joyce, T.S. Eliot, André Gide, Jean Cocteau, Colette and Rainer Maria Rilke.

Salon queen

Natalie Barney would become the 20th century’s greatest saloniste. Visitors to her Friday afternoon meetings included Ernest Hemingway, Ezra Pound, F. Scott Fitzgerald, Gertrude Stein, James Joyce, T.S. Eliot, André Gide, Jean Cocteau, Colette and Rainer Maria Rilke.

Paul and Paulette

Proust was fascinated by the then-novel all white interior of the Helleus’ home, and it was there that the young Paulette met the author; other visitors included the artist Boldini, Robert de Montesquiou and aristocratic bon vivant Boni de Castellane.

Paul and Paulette

Proust was fascinated by the then-novel all white interior of the Helleus’ home, and it was there that the young Paulette met the author; other visitors included the artist Boldini, Robert de Montesquiou and aristocratic bon vivant Boni de Castellane.