Interior decorating and agriculture!

On 4th July I was invited to a Summer lunch by Country Life and was able to solve a question. Some twenty years ago a new manufacturer Jim Lawrence, started issuing full page ads featuring light fittings and various artifacts aimed at Interior designers. Surprised by the fact that I had never heard of Jim Lawrence, I asked someone about him and the reply was laconic; “he’s a farmer” I was told and there was no further explanation.

It just seemed surprising at the time, and I have often wondered about the connection between agriculture and interior decoration. On Tuesday I found myself sitting next to the real Jim Lawrence, ready to explain that he was indeed a farmer, that he had changed direction but that he still ran Belted Galloways on his land. So there we were, both heavily involved in the world of design and both devotees of Belties, cattle that I used to breed. There was much to discuss!

On my left was charming Becky Metcalfe, who works in the offices of Chelsea Harbour and opposite was Penny Whitlock who works for her father’s firm, Primeoak. Later I checked out a very attractive website featuring country architecture. Acting hostess was Kathryn Bradley Hole; I have seen a lot of her work but had not had the privilege of meeting her; so lunch was not only interesting but inspiring.

Later in the week I attended the AGM of the British Institute of Interior Design where I found more friends. The Institute was started around 1961 in Milner Street at a lunch I gave for David Hicks, John Siddeley and Jon Bannenberg. Michael was uncertain about the whole idea, and the others were surprised by it but I pointed out that America was well ahead of the UK in its understanding of and support for the Interior design profession and we should follow that example. The school was already started and we needed to regulate the practice and disciplines of designers. Siddeley organised a larger meeting which was received with general enthusiasm but no decisions were taken and no Chairman elected. Unhappily the stars all wanted to be chairman and none of them wanted to do the work!

I should take this opportunity then, to thank and congratulate those hardworking presidents who have brought the BIID to its successful accomplishments and have defined the status of its members.

Jacqueline Duncan, Dean