much has been written about the new book MARK HAMPTON AN AMERICAN DECORATOR, all well deserved and well done. I admire this decorator-& in the book's title there are immediate clues as to why.Why?
Mark Hampton- was quintessentially American- He was the BILL BLASS of decorating-Style, Grace, Insight-both men possessed, and their spot on eye produced some of the most memorable rooms and fashion loaded with that Style and Grace. More importantly Mark Hampton loved his work-He was a decorator and proudly so. That is the proper word for every good-make that great practitioner. Some scoff-at DECORATOR-and run from the word- preferring DESIGNER or Interior Designer. The title elevates? All well & good-just remember-Anyone can be One. That phrase from the famously beloved musical- you know it- " ME, A NAME, I CALL MYSELF." It is a good feeling to be a designer-It is a great feeling to be a Decorator. The term HOLDS a wealth of meaning, I think of Elsie de Wolfe as she declared:
"I am going in now for interior decoration. By that I mean supplying objets d'art and giving advice regarding the decoration of their houses to wealthy persons who do not have the time, inclination, nor culture to do such work for themselves. "
It is a good thing, a Great thing. All the drafting, space planning, specifications galore- can not Charm. Can not Make the Room. Mark Hampton did a beautiful job- Making A Room. He said it best:
Dining room in a Napa Valley Tuscan-style villa decorated by Mark Hampton.
Photo by Michael Mundy
"We all know that interior decoration is seen by many as a frivolous career, full of ruffles and flourishes and preposterous fashion statements. Yet to transform the bleak and barren into welcoming places where one can live seems to me an important and worthwhile goal in life. Sometimes this transformation can stun the ee, sometimes simply gladden it, but theses are not frivolous pursuits.
In an era when there is increasing despair over the inhumanity of the world, the concerns of decorating, rather than seeming vain and irrelevant, provide for me a wonderful refuge. The work has to do with people and beauty and the timeless activities of domestic life. At least our private worlds can reward us with peace and pleasure."
We all seek beauty- we may see it differently and find it different places. It may be a priceless work in oil on canvas encased in wood and gilt or a pebble smoothed by hundreds of years on the ocean floor, slowly moving to shore.
Decorator. It is a noble profession-one that needs No gloss, No dross.
Being a Good designer is fine,
Being a Great decorator is divine.