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John Fowler: Prince of Decorators Hardcover – November 1, 2007


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John Fowler: Prince of Decorators + Nancy Lancaster: English Country House Style
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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 240 pages
  • Publisher: Frances Lincoln (November 1, 2007)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 071122711X
  • ISBN-13: 978-0711227118
  • Product Dimensions: 1 x 9.3 x 11.3 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 3.5 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (14 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #274,705 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Review

A must for devotees of great decoration. -- Veranda Magazine

John Fowler (1901-1997) was by far the most influential designer of the 20th century. With his partners in the firm Colefax and Fowler, he is credited with creating the English country house style. Frances Lincoln has released the ultimate guide to Fowler and his work. "John Fowler-Prince of Decorators" by Martin Wood features 400 lush color photos and watercolors as well as historic black and white photos. This is the very first book devoted to Fowler. It presents lots of material that has never been published before about his projects.

The author explores the influences that shaped Fowler's life and career. Readers will find in-depth details on each of the individual projects. The profiled projects serve to document the evolution of his signature style over his lifetime. Following his retirement from the firm, he focused primarily on his work for the National Trust. He created designs that provided a feeling of comfort of security that have stood the test of time. The appendix has a list of his published projects.

Fresh flowers and floral designs of all sorts, including topiaries, were one of the features that were used throughout Fowler's designs. One look at the cover of this book shows that to be the case. Flowers are a signature feature of the English country style. These are used in every type of room from club rooms to libraries and entertainment areas. --Bellaonline.com

About the Author

Martin Wood is a designer of textiles, interiors and gardens who also has a winning way with words.

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Customer Reviews

4.3 out of 5 stars
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Those with an interest in twentieth century design will treasure this keepsake volume.
Gail Cooke
John Fowler has always been someone whose work I admire, and this book does an excellent job of charting his background and development as a designer.
R. Scott Pettit
I was dissapointed with the lack of quality "full page color photos" inside this book.
colorful-one

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

43 of 45 people found the following review helpful By Gail Cooke HALL OF FAMETOP 500 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on November 12, 2007
Format: Hardcover
With a remarkable memory for the smallest detail, imagination, and an appreciation of beauty, John Fowler was called "the Prince of Decorators." He may well have deserved that sobriquet, but in this lushly illustrated 240 volume we also learn that he was not a prince of a fellow.

Early in his career Fowler worked as a painter for Thornton Smith, commercial decorators. It was there that he learned to paint "the Chinese wallpapers that were so fashionable at the time", and also how to grime and distress furniture. Later, in 1928 or 1929 he set out to work on his own, often freelancing for other decorators. Following a series of commissions, a 1938 House Garden article placed Fowler among England's leading decorators. Rising from a salaried painter to this position in a decade was quite a feat.

More success followed as he joined Sybil Colefax in 1938. He was 32; she who enjoyed stature as a society hostess was 64. However, their alliance was dramatically affected with the outbreak of war when decorating all but stopped. After Sybil Colefax's death the firm of Colefax & Fowler was acquired by Nancy Lancaster, a Virginian whose work is thought of as "English style." She was to teach Fowler much about comfort and scale, "how large houses could be used and enjoyed in the modern world."

Fowler, who died in 1977, had an enviable client list. He transformed some of the most famous houses in England, and was commissioned by Buckingham Palace. The style created by the team of Colefax & Fowler endures today, English Country House Style represents not only decoration but a way of life. Many try to emulate it but none capture it as did John Fowler.

Those with an interest in twentieth century design will treasure this keepsake volume.

- Gail Cooke
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16 of 18 people found the following review helpful By R. Scott Pettit on November 27, 2007
Format: Hardcover
I'm addicted to "house books", just as I'm addicted to houses. John Fowler has always been someone whose work I admire, and this book does an excellent job of charting his background and development as a designer. It's not necessarily a book you'll buy to get ideas for curtains from - but you'll understand better why his rooms were more comfortable, suitable and attractive than anyone else's before or since.
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25 of 30 people found the following review helpful By colorful-one on December 17, 2007
Format: Hardcover
I was dissapointed with the lack of quality "full page color photos" inside this book. One can not get a sense of the cozy details in Fowler's designs, in the pics represented within. I found the book mostly a biographical story rather than an inspirational journey through Fowler's career. Don't be fooled by the intimacy presented on the cover...once inside you might be surprised by the lack of warmth.
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25 of 31 people found the following review helpful By John Witherspoon on November 24, 2007
Format: Hardcover
OH, HOW I WISH TODAYS "INTERIOR DESIGN" GRADUATES AND MANY PRACTITIONER'S COULD OWN THIS BOOK AND DEVOUR ALL THE PHOTOS FOR THEIR CLASSIC BEAUTY!! THIS WAY THEY WILL KNOW WHAT GOOD DESIGN IS. THE INTERIORS DO STAND THE TEST OF TIME AND WHAT A WONDERFUL WAY TO LIVE...IN THIS DAY AND AGE IT IS ALMOST UNAFFORDABLE ON A LARGE SCALE TO DUPLICATE WHAT GENIUS JOHN FOWLER DID. IT CAN BE DONE ON A SMALLER SCALE.

RIGHT AT THIS MOMENT IN TIME WE LIVE IN AN ERA OF THAT HORRIBLE 50'S 60'S AND 70'S MODERN, WHICH IS SO COLD AND UNINTERESTING; AND LIKE A JACK DENST WALLCOVERING,THE LOOK IS DATED IN A MATTER OF MINUTES.

EVENTUALLY THE PENDULUM WILL SWING BACK TO GOOD DECORATING; WITH WARMTH. I WISH WE COULD GET BACK TO REALLY BEAUTIFUL DECORATING AND STOP THIS MADNESS OF PROMOTING TARGET AND WALMART CHEAPNESS.

JUST THROWING A BUNCH OF "STUFF" TOGETHER WITHOUT A PLAN AND A COMMON DENOMINATOR DOES NOT MAKE SENSE..THERE ARE TOO MANY SO CALLED "STARS" OF THE TV WORLD THAT PROMOTE BAD DESIGN AND DO NOT REALIZE THEY ARE MISGUIDING THE PUBLIC. THEY ARE JUST IN IT TO MAKE THEMSELVES FAMOUS....RIDICULOUS!!!
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Patricia C. Caldwell on March 16, 2010
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I recently ordered the book, Prince of decorators which was about John Fowler, a famous interior decorator. I knew he was a great decorator but I learned so much more from this book. I have to admire his skill and talent especially during the war years when any kind of supplies were limited or of poor quality. Mr. Fowler not only was extremely talented but he had a creative imagination that is beyond belief. Amy one who can take army blankets, dye them and make beautiful elegant formal fancy drapes out of them has to be admired for his talent and imagination. He was the type of decorator who could walk into a room, memorize every bit of it and not need to see it again and still remember every single detail of that room. He could also see in his mind how a room would look completely finished, especially huge rooms that are hard to decorate even with today's availability of most anything we could possibly want.
I was surprised that he was also an expert in mixing paints to get the exact color he wanted, some times using unexpected ingredients to make his paints. He didn't have the use of the paints we are so accustom to using today. Talent like this is rare and only comes from being born with it.
This was a totally delightful book on the history and talent of John Fowler and the large colorful pictures of some of the rooms he decorated in his life time, well, they say a picture is worth a thousand words and in this case that holds true. Mrs. C.
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