L&S BlogA series on people and things which delight and inspire us

Herbert James "Burt" Munro

Herbert James "Burt" Munro (25 March 1899 – 6 January 1978) was a New Zealand motorcycle racer, famous for setting an under-1,000 cc world record, at Bonneville, 26 August 1967. This record still stands today; Munro was 68 years old, and was riding a 47-year-old machine when he set his last record.

Working from his home in Invercargill, New Zealand, he worked for 20 years to highly modify the 1920 Indian motorcycle that he had bought that same year. Munro set his first New Zealand speed record in 1938 and later set seven more. He travelled to compete at the Bonneville Salt Flats, attempting to set world speed records. During his ten visits to the salt flats, he set three speed records, one of which still stands.

Munro's interest in speed began at an early age, riding the family's fastest horse across the farm, despite the complaints of his father. Trips via train to the port at Invercargill were a rare source of excitement, and the arrival of cars, motorcycles and aircraft added to Burt's eagerness to join the world outside of his farm. He became a professional speedway rider, but returned home to the family farm at the start of the Great Depression. Finding work as a motorcycle salesman and mechanic, he raced motorcycles and rose to the top of the New Zealand motorcycle scene, racing on Oreti Beach and later in Melbourne, Australia.

Munro's Indian Scout was very early off the production line, being only the 627th Scout to leave the American factory. The bike had an original top speed of 55 mph (89 km/h). But this did not satisfy Munro, so in 1926 he decided to start modifying his beloved Indian.

The biggest two challenges for Munro to overcome while modifying his bike were his lack of money and the fact that he worked full-time as a motorcycle salesman. He would often work overnight on his bikes (he had a 1936 Velocette MSS as well), then he would go to work in the morning, having had no sleep the night before.

Because Munro was a man of modest means, he would often make parts and tools himself instead of having them professionally built. For example, he would cast parts in old tins, make his own barrels, pistons, flywheels, etc. His micrometer was an old spoke.

The Bonneville Salt Flats in northwestern Utah are known worldwide for their many miles of flat, compacted salt; perfect for testing speed machines. During Speed Week, usually in mid-late August, vehicle enthusiasts from around the world gather at Bonneville. Munro travelled to Bonneville ten times, the first time for "sightseeing" purposes. In the nine times he raced at Bonneville, Munro set three world records: first in 1962, again in 1966, and once more in 1967. He also once qualified at over 200 mph (320 km/h), but that was an unofficial run and was not counted.

In March 2013 Indian Motorcycles made the surprise announcement that it was producing a custom-built streamliner named the Spirit of Munro, with the help of Jeb's Metal and Speed in Long Beach, California. The motorcycle was built to showcase the Thunder Stroke 111 engine to be used in one of the 2014 road models. The company said the Spirit was a tribute to Munro's achievements with the Indian Scout, and to all Indians of old. The Spirit of Munro was completely handcrafted by Jeb Scolman, with some help from father and son Byrd and Dual Anderson of Lawndale, CA. The project was completed in 90 days.

Mary Petre

 

A quite remarkable woman, the Hon. Mrs. Victor Bruce, born Mildred Mary Petre on 10 November 1895 (and pictured above in the middle with Amy Johnson on the left in 1931), drove and flew herself into the history books; Rallye Monte Carlo, Brooklands and a single-handed flight to Japan and beyond, all figured among the long list of achievements.

Her illustrious career got off to a bad start when, aged just fifteen, she was stopped for speeding whilst riding a motorcycle. The result; six shillings costs, and for not having a licence, a 12-month ban. Motor cars arrived in 1920 when she purchased a rare Enfield-Allday. Obviously not a slow car, she appeared at Bow Street Magistrates Court three days running.

In February 1926 Mary Petre became the Hon. Mrs. Victor Bruce, presumably just days after Victor had returned from his triumph on Rallye Monte Carlo, where driving a ‘works’ AC he became the first British driver to win the event.

The following year saw Mary intrepid adventurer embark on the first of many epic adventures when she signed up with AC Cars to personally drive the famous ‘Rallye’, with Victor navigating and a riding mechanic squeezed into the back seat. She drove single-handed to Monte Carlo (seventy hours and twenty minutes), winning the Coupe des Dames but, instead of returning home, continued south as part of a publicity stunt, to Morocco. Then it was back to Paris via Gibraltar and Madrid. At Montlhery circuit, south of the French capital, she averaged 60mph in the AC for a further one thousand miles. The drawn out episode finally came to a conclusion back in London with a special lunch at Hotel Cecil, organised by governing director of AC Cars, the Australian, Selwyn Edge.

To some this may have satisfied the urge to conquer new worlds, but not the Hon. Mrs. Victor Bruce. In July she ventured North, heading for Lapland and the Artic Circle, and much later, in December, she returned to Montlhery where, after covering some 15,000 miles and 13,000 laps at an average speed of 68mph, the plucky lady gained seventeen world records. Mr. Edge was well pleased.

In 1928 after competing on the Alpine Trial, but failing to win a cup, she raced at Brooklands driving a ‘works’ Alvis in the ‘Double Twelve’, joining the likes of John Cobb (also in an Alvis) and Sir Henry Seagrave.

In June 1929 she returned yet again to Montlhery, this time breaking the 24-hour, solo, land speed record (89.57mph over 2,164 miles), using a 4.5-litre Bentley supplied and supported by Wolf Barnato. The achievement resulted in Lord Howe recommending honorary life membership of the British Racing Driver’s Club.

What does one do when bored with rallying? Of course, go speed-boat racing. In October 1929 and hitting over 40 knots the Hon Mrs. Bruce raced her Mosquito power-boat in a return crossing of the English Channel between Dover and Calais in 1 hour and 47 minutes, a new fastest time. This was followed by another successful record attempt, to cover the longest distance within a 24-hour stint; using the Solent as a race course and avoiding the liners arriving and departing Southampton, she covered a total of 694 nautical miles.

Everything to date could justifiably be described as ‘small fry’ compared with what came next – a trip around the world, solo and in a single engined-biplane with a maximum speed of 75mph. Crazy people do crazy things. She bought a plane advertised in a London West End shop window, returned it to Blackburns, who fitted a long range tank, and purchased an atlas from Stamfords map shop on which was plotted the route. The next few weeks included a rudimentary pilot’s course, mastering the art of navigation, christening the aircraft ‘Bluebird’ and dealing with a pessimistic press. Then, just eight weeks after first clapping eyes on the aeroplane, she was sitting in the cockpit ready for take-off. It was dawn on the 25 September 1930. The Hon Mrs. Bruce circled Heston airfield (now Heathrow) and with the sun rising behind her, set course for Munich.

She landed in Germany four hours later. Four days later Bluebird was casting a slow-moving shadow across the Persian Gulf. Then, with the Bay of Bander Abbas appearing on the horizon and thoughts of setting a new record between London and India in mind, the engine seized. A long glide, followed by a crash landing, resulted in no more than a broken propeller and luckily, as is the way of things, a new one was included in the spares package. Three days later and with help from more than a few natives Bluebird was back in the air.

Then it was Calcutta, Rangoon and Bangkok before another mild crash landing somewhere in French Indo China, caused by fuel starvation. No problem; clean the filters, change the plugs, take a deep breath and, just enough room between the trees to make an escape, destination was Hanoi, then on to Hong Kong, Shanghai, Korea and finally, Hiroshima followed by Tokyo in Japan.

The wings of Bluebird were folded across the fuselage on 4 December ready for the crossing of the Pacific Ocean, by boat to Canada. From Vancouver she flew via San Francisco, Los Angeles and Texas, target New York. Unfortunately, she misjudged her take-off from Baltimore and crashed, luckily, outside the Glenn Martin Aircraft factory. Five days later she was in New York with Bluebird.

Once more Bluebird was packed up ready for a sea voyage by boat, the liner Ile de France depositing them in Le Havre. From here the Hon. Mrs. Bruce flew to Croydon where she was greeted by none other than Amy Johnson. Thousands turned out for the occasion and Blackburn exchanged Bluebird for a new one, exhibiting the battered original at Charing Cross in London.

In 1933 the Hon. Mrs. Bruce joined an air circus. The British Hospital Air Pageant toured the UK with 16 pilots and a parachutist. She purchased an ex WW1 Fairey Fox bomber, obtained a passenger licence, and preceeded to thrill the general public by giving joy rides that included a ‘death dive’ at 15 shillings for a five-minute flight.

Purely as a business venture the Hon. Mrs. Bruce then created Commercial Air Hire Ltd to carry ‘air’ mail between Croydon and Paris, Le Bourget. This included delivering the daily newspapers. One day the airplane suffered a loss of power so one-by-one bundles of newsprint were dispatched over the side, starting with the Daily Mail, then the Times and Herald, until finally French readers were left with just the Daily Express.

There followed in 1936 a passenger service, for up to 16 passengers plus a stewardess carried at any one time, in an Avro 642. This was called the ‘Blue’ plane, named after the famous train. The airline also won a contract to carry gold bars after a competitor had the misfortune to lose its precious cargo when the floor of their aircraft gave way. Apparently it took two days to locate the bullion.

Another interesting extension to the business was the introduction of a flying ‘bus’ service known as the Inner Circle Airline, two De Havilland Rapides that flew a ring around London, stopping off at airports on the way. Children could be delivered to school far faster than by car and a season ticket was only £1 2s 6d a week. Two of the 23 aircraft were also converted into the first air ambulances. During WW2 Commercial Air Hire Ltd continued to operate under a government contract, employing 700 people in their repair section.

Of course, it was essential to have some fun along the way, so in 1938 the Hon. Mrs. Bruce decided to learn to ride a horse, not just ride but to take part in the ‘Horse of the Year’ show. She did, and finished second in the Daily Mail Gold Cup.

The story continued and in her late seventies/early eighties she took to the race track in a Ford Capri and aged 81, after taking a pilot’s refresher course, carried out a series of aerobatics that included looping the loop in a RAF De Havilland Chipmunk. Mildred Mary Bruce divorced in 1941 and died aged 94 in 1990. She had led what one could positively describe as a ‘full’ life.

Six months!

...have passed since I last got the chance to sit down and write for the blog. I'm currently in Dublin Airport, the very swish Terminal 2, waiting for a plane back to Cornwall.

I've been over in Ireland for a few reasons, but one of the main ones is the inspiration that this wonderful country continually provides. Some recently discovered Edward Burne-Jones stained glass windows in Athboy, the site of the Battle of the Boyne in Meath, the greens of a Dublin Park, the oak pannelling of Tullynally Castle, the illuminated panels of the Book of Kells... all have sparked ideas that I think may make really striking pieces.



I've also been over here promoting our new Wedding Chair idea. We will provide you with a classic boudoir chair, covered in our unique cleanable fabric that also doesn't cause the pens we supply to spread their ink, and all you need to provide is the friends and family to presonalise it on your big day.

So as an unexpected heatwave hits Ireland I raise my glass of Guinness to you all... Slainte!

End of Year address

 

It's always good to be able to end a year saying 'best year for sales yet' and I'm pleased that I actually can say that, and indeed have been able to every year since Lambert & Stamp began. With two chairs to deliver this coming weekend to round off a truly inspirational year, I can only reiterate that I never take for granted the position I find myself in - to be able to create classic pieces and sell them to people who want and appreciate the Lambert & Stamp idea.

This year has seen quite a surge in Union flag chairs (I've got in trouble for calling them Union Jack chairs in the past, so I hope you'll forgive my still advertising them as such on the website, it's only for ease of communication) many of which went to both past and present servicemen. To produce these chairs is always a privilege and I often get to meet the recipients and shake their hand, quite an honour for me I can tell you. I've literally travelled the length and breadth of the country this year delivering our chairs - Scotland, Cumbria, Lincolnshire, East Anglia and Cornwall spring to mind - and on each occasion it's been lovely to be able to meet people with whom I've had an email correspondence for (on occasion) several months!

We've also been very pleased to be able to supply more businesses this year than ever before, as the recognition of using a Lambert & Stamp chair as a marketing tool has taken hold. We've supplied architecture firms, wine bars, hotels, shops and galleries, showing that the popularity of our chairs as a statement and thing of beauty carries on!

We've also teamed up with the very wonderful Lefroy's General Store in Fordingbridge, Hampshire (http://www.lefroys.com) so our chairs can be seen and prodded for workmanship and quality before purchasing!

Lastly I can only thank my extremely dedicated and impressive co-workers Debbie, Sadie, Roy, John and Peter without whom this hugely enjoyable occupation would be denied to me. Thank you all.

With very best wishes for a happy, healthy and peaceful Christmas and New Year to you all!

Edward Le Froy

GnT Style

This amazing photo of a Ferrari 412P led us to the very excellent GnTstyle blog of Gian and Teo, two guys who provide an excellent website with some very interesting articles. Perfect for whiling away an hour or two every now and then and coming away with an interesting nugget or two! They can be found at http://gntstyle.net

Arne Jacobsen


Arne Jacobsen was born on 11 February 1902 in Copenhagen. He first hoped to become a painter but was dissuaded by his father who encouraged him to opt instead for the more secure domain of architecture. After a spell as an apprentice mason, Jacobsen was admitted to the Architecture School at the Royal Danish Academy of Fine Arts where from 1924 to 1927 he studied under Kay Fisker and Kaj Gottlob, both leading architects and designers.

Still a student, in 1925 Jacobsen participated in the Paris Art Deco fair, Exposition Internationale des Arts Décoratifs et Industriels Modernes, where he won a silver medal for a chair design. On that trip, he was struck by the pioneering aesthetic of Le Corbusier's L'Esprit Nouveau pavilion. Before leaving the Academy, Jacobsen also travelled to Germany, where he became acquainted with the rationalist architecture of Mies van der Rohe and Walter Gropius. Their work influenced his early designs including his graduation project, an art gallery, which won him a gold medal. After completing architecture school, he first worked at city architect Poul Holsøe's architectural practice.

In 1929, in collaboration with Flemming Lassen, he won a Danish Architect's Association competition for designing the "House of the Future" which was built full scale at the subsequent exhibition in Copenhagen's Forum. It was a spiral-shaped, flat-roofed house in glass and concrete, incorporating a private garage, a boathouse and a helicopter pad. Other striking features were windows that rolled down like car windows, a conveyor tube for the mail and a kitchen stocked with ready-made meals. A Dodge Cabriolet Coupé was parked in the garage, there was a Chris Craft in the boathouse and an Autogyro on the roof. Jacobsen immediately became recognised as an ultra-modern architect.

The year after winning the "House of the Future" award, Arne Jacobsen set up his own office. He designed the functionalist Rothenborg House, which he planned in every detail, a characteristic of many of his later works. Soon afterwards, he won a competition from Gentofte Municipality for the design of a seaside resort complex in Klampenborg on the Øresund coast just north of Copenhagen. The various components of the resort became his major public breakthrough in Denmark, further establishing him as a leading national proponent of the International Modern Style. In 1932, the first item, the Bellevue Sea Bath, was completed. Jacobsen designed everything from the characteristic blue-striped lifeguard towers, kiosks and changing cabins to the tickets, season cards and even the uniforms of the employees. The focal point of the area was supposed to have been a lookout tower, more than a hundred metres high with a revolving restaurant at the top but it was abandoned after huge local protests. Still, it is reflected in the overall arrangement of buildings in the area which all follow lines that extend from their missing centre.

Despite considerable public opposition to his avant-garde style, Jacobsen went on to build Stelling House on Gammeltorv, one of Copenhagen's most historic squares. Although the modernistic style is rather restrained and was later seen as a model example of building in a historic setting, it caused virulent protests in its day. One newspaper wrote that Jacobsen ought to be "banned from architecture for life".

Today, Arne Jacobsen is remembered primarily for his furniture designs. However, he believed he was first and foremost an architect. According to Scott Poole, a professor at Virginia Tech, Arne Jacobsen never used the word 'designer', notoriously disliking it.
His way into product design came through his interest in Gesamtkunst and most of his designs which later became famous in their own right were created for architectural projects. Most of his furniture designs were the result of a cooperation with the furniture manufacturer Fritz Hansen with which he initiated a collaboration in 1934 while his lamps and light fixtures were developed with Louis Poulsen. In spite of his success with his chair at the Paris Exhibition in 1925, it was during the 1950s that his interest in furniture design peaked.

A major source of inspiration stemmed from the bent plywood designs of Charles and Ray Eames. He was also influenced by the Italian design historian Ernesto Rogers, who had proclaimed that the design of every element was equally important "from the spoon to the city" which harmonized well with his own ideals.

In 1951, he created the Ant chair for an extension of the Novo pharmaceutical factory and, in 1955, came the Seven Series. Both matched modern needs perfectly, being light, compact and easily stackable. Two other successful chair designs, the Egg and the Swan, were created for the SAS Royal Hotel which he also designed in 1956.

Other designs were made for Stelton, a company founded by his foster son Peter Holmbl. These include the now classic Cylinda Line stainless steel cocktail kit and tableware.
Other interior design is a line of faucets and accessories for bathroom and kitchen,created after he won a competition in 1961 for his design of the National Bank of Denmark. This classic design is still in production today by Danish company Vola.

According to R. Craig Miller, author of "Design 1935-1989, What Modern was", Jacobsen’s work "is an important and original contribution both to modernism and to the specific place Denmark and the Scandinavian countries have in the modern movement" and continues "One might in fact argue that much of what the modern movement stands for, would have been lost and simply forgotten if Scandinavian designers and architects like Arne Jacobsen would not have added that humane element to it".

Margaret Hamilton

This month’s L&S person is Margaret Heafield Hamilton, born August 17, 1936. Regular readers will know of L&S’s interest in the space programmes of the late 1960s, and Margaret was critical in these missions. Without her, there is a good chance that Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin would never have reached the moon. Read on...

In 1960 Margaret took an interim position at the Massachusetts Insitute of Technology (MIT) to develop software for predicting weather on the LGP-30 and the PDP-1 computers. At that time, computer science and software engineering were not yet disciplines; instead, programmers learned on the job with hands-on experience.

From 1961 to 1963, she worked on the SAGE Project at Lincoln Labs, where she was one of the programmers who wrote software for the first AN/FSQ-7 computer (the XD-1), to search for "unfriendly" aircraft; she also wrote software for the Air Force Cambridge Research Laboratories.

Margaret then joined the Charles Stark Draper Laboratory at MIT, which at the time was working on the Apollo space mission. She became Director of the Software Engineering Division of the MIT Instrumentation Laboratory, which developed on-board flight software for the Apollo space program. She eventually became the director and supervisor of software programming for Apollo and Skylab. At NASA, Hamilton's team was responsible for helping pioneer the Apollo on-board guidance software required to navigate and land on the Moon, and its multiple variations used on numerous missions (including the subsequent Skylab). The picture above shows her with the self-testing code her team wrote for the Apollo 11 mission, and running a rather fabulous line in geek-chic!

 

 

Critically, Margaret’s work prevented an abort of the Apollo 11 Moon landing, the spaceflight that landed the first humans on the moon. Three minutes before the Lunar lander reached the Moon's surface, several computer alarms were triggered. The computer was overloaded with incoming data, because the rendezvous radar system (not necessary for landing) updated an involuntary counter in the computer, which stole cycles from the computer. Due to its robust architecture, the computer was able to keep running; the Apollo onboard flight software was developed using an asynchronous executive so that higher priority jobs (important for landing) could interrupt lower priority jobs. Without Margaret’s work, there is a good chance Apollo 11 would never have landed!

In 1986, she became the founder and CEO of Hamilton Technologies, Inc. in Cambridge, Massachusetts. The company was developed around the Universal Systems Language based on her paradigm of Development Before the Fact (DBTF) for systems and software design. She has published over 130 papers, proceedings, and reports concerned with the 60 projects and six major programs in which she has been involved.

Hamilton is credited with coining the term "software engineering".

 

Jane Morris

You might have thought you wouldn't recognise Jane Morris, wife of William Morris, but you’ve seen her face a thousand times!

Jane Morris was born Jane Burden in Oxford in 1839. Her mother Ann was illiterate and probably came to Oxford as a domestic servant. Little is known of her childhood, but it was poor and deprived.

In October 1857, Jane and her sister Elizabeth attended a performance of the Drury Lane Theatre Company in Oxford. She was noticed by Dante Gabriel Rossetti and Edward Burne-Jones who were members a group of artists painting the Oxford Union murals, based on Arthurian tales. Struck by her beauty, they asked her to model for them. She sat mostly for Rossetti as a model for Queen Guinevere and afterwards for William Morris, who was working on an easel painting, La Belle Iseult, now in the Tate Gallery. Like Rossetti, Morris used her as the model for his painting of Queen Guinevere. During this period, Morris fell in love with her and they became engaged, though by her own admission she was not in love with Morris. They were married in Oxford on 26 April 1859. After the marriage, the Morrises lived at the Red House in Bexleyheath, Kent. While living there, they had two daughters, Jane Alice "Jenny", born January 1861, and Mary "May" (March 1862 – 1938), who later edited her father's works. They moved to Queens Square in London and later bought Kelmscott House in Hammersmith as their main residence.

Jane's education was limited and she had probably been destined to go into domestic service. After her engagement, she was privately educated to become a rich gentleman's wife. Her keen intelligence allowed her to recreate herself. She was a voracious reader who became proficient in French and Italian and became an accomplished pianist with a strong background in classical music. Her manners and speech became refined to an extent that contemporaries referred to her as "Queenly". Later in life, she had no trouble moving in upper class circles and was possibly the model for the heroine in the 1884 novel Miss Brown by Vernon Lee upon which was based the character of Eliza Doolittle in Bernard Shaw's play Pygmalion (1914) and the later film My Fair Lady. She also became a skilled needlewoman who would be later renowned for her embroideries

In 1871 Morris and Rossetti took out a joint tenancy on Kelmscott Manor on the Gloucestershire-Oxfordshire-Wiltshire borders. William Morris went to Iceland leaving his wife and Rossetti to furnish the house and spend the summer there. Jane had become closely attached to Rossetti and became a favourite muse of his. Their relationship is reputed to have started in 1865 and lasted, on differing levels, until his death in 1882. They shared a deep emotional relationship, and she inspired Rossetti to write poetry and create some of his best paintings. Her discovery of his dependence on the drug, chloral hydrate taken for insomnia, eventually led her to distance herself from him, although they stayed in touch until he died in 1882.

In 1884, Jane Morris met the poet and political activist Wilfrid Scawen Blunt at a house party given by her close friend Rosalind Howard (later Countess of Carlisle). There appears to have been an immediate attraction between them. By 1887 at the latest, they had become lovers. Their sexual relationship continued until 1894, and they remained close friends until his death.

Jane was an ardent supporter of Irish Home Rule.

A few months before her death, she bought Kelmscott Manor to secure it for her daughters' future, although she did not return to the house after having purchased it. Jane Morris died on 26 January 1914 while staying at 5 Brock Street in Bath. She is buried in the churchyard of St. George's Church in Kelmscott, West Oxfordshire.

To be the woman who inspired so much art, and for her own artistic skills as well, she deserves recognition.


Cornwall Today

 



There's a nice piece about Lambert & Stamp in this month's Cornwall Today magazine, reproduced above; it's a little hard to read from the image so here's a transcription!

'When he inherited a lorry-load of antiques of various shapes and sizes in 2010, Marazion-based designer Edward Lefroy wasn't sure what to do. Inspired by the forthcoming Diamond Jubilee, he worked with local textile printers to redesign one of the armchairs, using the Union Jack. The effect was stunning and, urged by family and friends, he experimented with other chairs. They were an instant hit, attracting the attention of buyers in Cornwall and London who were seeking traditional shapes with original and even eccentric designs, and were keen to be involved in 'upcycling'.

That same year, Lefroy launched Lambert & Stamp, a bespoke furniture company. "We were first stocked by a department store in Edinburgh, but decided to be based in Cornwall and branch out from here" he explains from his Marazion studio, where he's discussing floor plans for a contemporary object fair at London's Saatchi Gallery with a colleague in London. He is charmingly laid-back about this afterwards, saying mysteriously that things are "looking good" for Lambert & Stamp in 2015.

In December 2014 Timothy Everest - a London outfitter to many red carpet A-listers - hosted a Lambert & Stamp show in his Spitalfields atelier. As we meet, Lefroy has just returned from closing the show and meeting potential buyers. Lefroy met Everest several years ago; the latter was captivated by the cool, classy style of the Lambert & Stamp brand and joked on his Facebook page recently that "Lambert & Stamp.... really put the 'up' in upholstery".

More seriously, Everest has pointed out that what characterises Lambert & Stamp chairs is that, after being given "just enough restoration to keep their essential character intact", they are then personalised, using Lefroy's own design style. This is as inspired by old book covers or record sleeves as it is by posters, paintings or the beautiful views of St Michael's Mount from his office window. "Marazion has a kind of magic that is timeless," he comments. "It's easy to become blase living in a place like this, but when I return from trips upcountry, and come over Rose Hill to see the Mount and Mount's Bay laid out below me, it never fails to inspire a sense of awe."

Lefroy started a popular skate clothing company in London in his twenties, and has experience in fabric printing and design. "This started as an exciting and creative hobby," he recalls. "I was dividing my time between running Global Boarders, and thinking of designs to suit the different shapes and styles of the various antique chairs we had." Global Boarders is the Cornwall surf holiday company he started in 2005; it also used surfing to engage with primary and secondary school-aged children with challenging behaviour. Lefroy sold Global Boarders in 2013, and was free to concentrate on Lambert & Stamp.

He set up production with various Cornish companies nearby, sourcing chairs all over the country and designing seasonal collections to suit the feeling of the time and current events. "First and foremost, it's an environmentally sustainable idea to bring pre-loved furniture back into the 21st centruy. This spring, we have a Tour de France chair in the collection, which has simplicity but is also fluid and graphic."

Recent pieces include the sweeping, ski-themed Les Portes Du Soleil chair; and the Amazon Chair, with its brightly-coloured birds and different coloured feet that transport the sitter to a shaded, leafy jungle canopy. Other chairs resemble the Art Nouveau railway posters of the 1920s, with their narrow headlines and crisp graphics. Because these are vintage chairs, each design is one-of-a-kind. While they come in all different colours, shapes and sizes, the Lambert & Stamp style is instantly recognisable, which may also contribute to their success. They al have traditional shapes, but are also extremely up-to-date, in colour and design.

"I would describe my style as classic modern", explains Lefroy. "That means that while respecting traditional styles and bringing out well-loved design details, there is a clarity and crispness that catches people's eye. The idea of curling up into a beautiful armchair and being transported away also really appeals to me."

Finally, you're no doubt wondering who the titular Lambert & Stamp are. Do they exist? Yes and no. "I was watching a documentary about The Who, and their managers were Kit Lambert and Chris Stamp," Lefroy recalls. "The narrator kept saying 'Lambert and Stamp did this' and 'Lambert and Stamp did that'. I liked the ring of the names - it sounded very English!".


Margaret Calvert



If you live in the UK, you live with the work of Margaret Calvert every day. Margaret (born 1936) is a British typographer and graphic designer who, with colleague Jock Kinneir, designed many of the road signs used throughout the United Kingdom, as well as the Transport font used on road signs, the Rail Alphabet font used on the British railway system, and an early version of the signs used in airports. The typeface developed by Calvert and Kinneir was further developed into New Transport and used for the single domain GOV.UK website in the United Kingdom.

Born in South Africa, Calvert moved to England in 1950, where she studied at the Chelsea College of Art. Kinneir, her tutor there, asked her to help him design the signs for Gatwick Airport, where they chose the black on yellow scheme for the signs after researching the most effective combination.

In 1957, Kinneir was appointed head of signs for Britain's roads. He then hired Calvert to redesign the road sign system and she came up with simple, easy-to-understand pictograms, including the signs for 'men at work' (a man digging), 'farm animals' (based on a cow named Patience that lived on a farm near to where she grew up), and 'schoolchildren nearby' (the girl in the school children crossing sign is based on a picture of herself; she didn't like the grammar school overtones of the earlier sign, which featured a boy wearing a cap and carrying a satchel. Calvert thought this sign was like an ‘illustration from Enid Blyton’. "There was a different attitude to schooling coming in and I thought, wouldn't it be nice to turn it around and have a girl leading a small boy.").

The graphic designers standardised the road network, created many of its signs and their two new typefaces, Transport and Motorway, are still the only two typefaces permitted on UK road signs. “It required completely radical thinking. The information wasn't there in terms of reading distance, clarity and letter spaces. We had to make up the signs and then test them. It was instinctive." They were tested in an underground car park and in London's Hyde Park, where they were propped up against trees to determine the most effective background colours and reading distances.

One of their biggest decisions, which caused upset among conservative commentators at the time, was to opt for a combination of upper and lower case letters. "The actual word shape was the most distinctive thing because if you had Birmingham in capitals, from a distance, it's difficult to read but in caps and lower case you have word shape. The last thing you want to do when you're driving along at 77mph is think 'look at that lovely L or T'. All you want to do is be told where you are and where you turn. The key is not noticing it. When you are designing a typeface for signage, you know you have done well when no-one comments on it.“ says Calvert. "That was fundamental."

Jock Kinneir, who died in 1994, was resigned to this fact. In 1965, he acknowledged that his and Calvert's designs fulfilled their function so efficiently that the public would take them for granted.

In addition to her road signs, she has designed commercial fonts for Monotype, including the eponymous Calvert font, which she created in 1980 for use on the Tyne and Wear Metro system. She was awarded an honorary degree by the University of the Arts London in 2004.


2015 is go!

It's been a busy start to the L&S year with a lot of interest coming from the show we co-hosted with Timothy Everest at his atelier in London at Christmas. There are some pics of the pieces on show below. We've had a lot of enquiries about the Tour De France and TT Chairs, which really seem to have hit the mark, so there will be more in the vintage sport vein coming along in the production process. Instagram has really taken off for us, and to any aspiring upholsterers out there I would certainly recommend this as a B2B platform. We have made very interesting forays into collaborations in three countries!

We've also been intereviewed by a couple of magazines so we're looking forward to seeing those in print. And finally Ed has signed up to do a week long unpholstery course in March - no more hiding behind the drawing board!

 

 

 


John Pasche

L&S person of the month is graphic designer John Pasche. Born in 1945, John designed designed the "Tongue and Lip Design" logo in 1971, which was originally reproduced on the Sticky Fingers album. In August 2008, the design was voted the greatest band logo of all time in an online poll. In what was perhaps one of the first cases of rock brand marketing, Mick Jagger reportedly approached the Royal College of Art in 1969 looking to commission images for the band. Pasche designed the logo and ended up working for the Stones from 1970 to 1974. “Face to face with him, the first thing you were aware of was the size of his lips and his mouth,” Pasche said.

He also designed posters for many Rolling Stones tours, namely the European tours of 1970 and 1973, and the American tour of 1972. He made a promotional sticker for Goats Head Soup (the image being an actual pot of soup being made with a goat's head) and the single sleeve for the single "She's So Cold".

For United Artists, Pasche has done considerable design work. Among these he has designed album and single sleeves, as well as concert posters for The Stranglers; The Raven (1979), The Stranglers IV (1979), La Folie (1981), Live (X Cert) (1979), "Duchess" (1979) and "Peaches" (1979). He created the single disc picture for Fischer-Z's "The Worker" (1979) and the album cover for Going Deaf For A Living (1980). He made the album cover for The Vapors 1980 album New Clear Days, as well as a 1979 Dr. Feelgood single, "As Long As The Price is Right".

Apart from this, he has also done work for Chrysalis Records, mainly for Art of Noise (1985–87), Les Enfants (1985), Innocence (1990), Into Paradise (1991), Kingmaker (1991), and Jethro Tull (1987).
His freelance work includes designs for noted performers like Jimi Hendrix (1977), Judas Priest (1975), David Bowie (1976), The Who (1975), Van der Graaf Generator (1975) and the Bay City Rollers (1975).

John’s work has helped shaped our modern graphic thinking and is undoubtedly in your record collection so may have helped shape yours. Thanks John!

A short word on inspiration!

From Ed Lefroy

What is Lambert & Stamp?

I’ve been asked a lot recently where my inspiration comes from, and this prompts the response that it would be a good idea to try and refine what it is I, and therefore L&S, try to convey through my designs.

It’s a melting pot. Take a dash of classic English fireside armchair design, a smidgeon of early twentieth century European and US graphic design aesthetic, a pinch of pop art and fun, and slowly mix with subject matter to appeal to the market that seeks Englishness in its design want essentials, and you have our brand.

One of my early contract-breakers when I was thinking up designs was that I never want to see any of our finished pieces on a skip, or in a house clearance sale. I want my pieces to be so special that they will remain for generations, that they’ll convey some part of the personality of the person that bought or commissioned them with them to future generations and living spaces.

Of course any designer worth their salt will tell you that inspiration can come from anywhere, and that their tastes, influences and designs morph from year to year and day to day. But L&S has an aesthetic that sits very well with me, that I feel comfortable in, and I hope I can make you feel that way too.

Madeleine Castaing

 

L&S person on the month is the legendary French decorator and antiques expert, Madeleine Castaing (1894-1992). A wonderfully eccentric and eclectic designer, Mme Castaing married an heir from Toulouse, the art critic Marcellin Castaing who was twenty years older than she was. Their meeting was concluded by the "kidnapping" of Madeleine, barely sixteen at the time. During the fifty years of their marriage, he remained his wife's great love, according to all the couple's friends, including the writer and photographer François-Marie Banier, who remembers "Madeleine's legendary love for her husband".

In the 1920s, Madeleine Castaing made her debut as a silent film actress, then gave up this career to follow her vocation for interior design. She was the friend and the sponsor of many artists, including Cocteau, Modigliani, Picasso and Soutine, the latter of whom painted her portrait in 1928. Original, even whimsical, she revolutionized the world of decoration. Her style favoured a wonderful mixture of Regency styles, ocelot carpets and shocking colours, and her shop (now sadly gone) on the corner of the Rue Jacob and Rue Bonaparte was a haven for those seeking the Castaing style, which is now a design reference. If you have five minutes feast your eyes on the Madeleine Castaing pinterest page here

 

Christopher Lee

It seems apt in Remembrance Week that L&S person of the month is Christopher Lee. A 6'5" tall world champion fencer who speaks six languages, does all of his own stunts and has participated in more on-screen sword fights than any actor in history, Lee also served for five years defending democracy from global fascism as a British Commando in World War II.

His mother was an Italian Countess who was actually descended from the line of Charlemagne, and his father was a distant relative of Robert E. Lee and was multi-decorated war hero who'd served as a Colonel in the 60th King's Royal Rifle Corps during World War I and the Boer War. Growing up, Lee studied Classics at Wellington College, where he was also a champion squash player.

In 1939 Christopher Lee caught a boat to Finland and enlisted in the Finnish Army to help them fight off the Soviet invasion of Finland. He didn't see much action, returning home in 1940 to deal with a much bigger and more England-centric problem: Nazis. He enlisted in the Royal Air Force in 1940, where he worked as an intelligence officer specializing in cracking German ciphers. In North Africa he was attached to the Long Range Desert Patrol, the forerunner of the SAS. After working with the LRDP, Lee was assigned to the Special Operations Executive. His service records are sealed and Lee doesn't talk much about his service (when pressed on the subject, he reportedly asks his interviewer, "Can you keep a secret?". When they excitedly say yes, he leans in close and says, "So can I"), but we do know that by the time he retired as a Flight Lieutenant in 1945 he'd been personally decorated for battlefield bravery by the Czech, Yugoslavian, English, and Polish governments.

Christopher Lee went into acting in 1948 and finally got a big break in 1957, when he got paid $1,300 to play Frankenstein's Monster for Hammer Films. He took the Dracula role the next year and his career took off from there. In addition to his iconic, definitive role as Dracula, Christopher Lee has also portrayed some of the most memorable villains of all time. Everyone knows him as Saruman the White from The Lord of the Rings, but for our money it doesn't get any better than when he played the ultimate Bond Villain in The Man with The Golden Gun -- a role he got thanks in no small part to the fact that Bond creator Ian Fleming was not only his cousin, but the two men had fought together in the SOE during WWII.

He's portrayed Englishmen, Egyptians, Spaniards, Transylvanians, Frenchmen, Greeks, Poles, Chinese, Indians, Italians, Wallachians, Romans, Germans, Arabs, Gypsies, and Russians, played the lead role in the biography of Mohammad Ali Jinnah, the founder of Pakistan, speaks English, German, Russian, Swedish, Italian, and French and sings everything from opera to death metal in a bass voice. IMDB credits him with 274 acting roles, Guinness says he's appeared in more films than anyone ever. If that's not enough, Lee's movies have grossed more than any actor ever – his top five alone grossed $4.4B (number two is Harrison ford with $3B).

Lee also belongs to three stuntman unions, does all of his own stunts, once cut his face badly smashing head-first through an actual plate glass window for a scene, injured himself falling into an open grave while portraying Dracula, and once had his hand slashed open during a drunken sword fight with Errol Flynn.

On the subject of swordfights, Lee has appeared in more on-screen sword duels than any other actor ever. A masterful fencer, he's been in everything from cutlass fights on the decks of waterlogged pirate ships to rapier duels in seventeenth-century France to taking on a couple guys one-third of his age with a lightsabre. He is also a master golfer who once played with Jack Nicklaus and is the only actor to be a member of the Honourable Company of Edinburgh Golfers, the most prestigious country club in the world. He's been married to the same Danish model wife for 44 years, is the Commander of the Order of St. John's of Jerusalem, a Knight Bachelor of the Order of the British Empire, and once received a medal from Mikael Gorbachev.
He's still acting at 90 years old.

Of his wartime experiences, Lee has this to say: “During a war, people are taught to kill and they have the blessings of the authorities to do so, so if it's your life or somebody else's, you want to be quite sure it's not yours."

Oscar de la Renta

Sad to hear of the death of Oscar de la Renta, the Dominican-American fashion designer.Trained by Cristóbal Balenciaga and Antonio del Castillo, he became internationally known in the 1960s as one of the couturiers to dress Jackie Kennedy. His eponymous fashion house continues to dress leading figures, from film stars to royalty, into the 2010s.

In 1963, de la Renta worked for Arden for two years before he in 1965 went to work for Jane Derby and launched his own label. When Derby died in August 1965, de la Renta took over the label. From 1993 to 2002, de la Renta designed the haute couture collection for the house of Balmain, becoming the first Dominican to design for a French couture house.

In 1977, de la Renta launched his fragrance followed by an accessories line in 2001 and a homewares line in 2002. The new business venture included 100 home furnishings for Century Furniture featuring dining tables, upholstered chairs, and couches. In 2006, de la Renta designed Tortuga Bay, a boutique hotel at Puntacana Resort and Club.

Of the cancer that killed him, de la Renta was pragmatic. “The only realities in life are that you are born, and that you die. We always think we are going to live forever. The dying aspect we will never accept. The one thing about having this kind of warning is how you appreciate every single day of life.”

Mark Powell

 

You've only got to follow him on Facebook to realise that a shoe-in for the latest L&S person inspirer and delighter is legendary London tailor Mark Powell, whose dandyism, keen sense of fashion history and mix of references from the Edwardian era to the present day has been recognised as contributing to the resuscitation of "great British bespoke”.

Powell started his fashion career at King's Road retro boutique Robot in the late 1970s and developed an interest in made-to-measure when commissioning garments from the Robot outlet in Floral Street. In 1984 Powell opened his first shop, Powell & Co, in Soho's Archer Street, stocking suits and menswear in the style of the sharp East End characters of his childhood. This was the first manifestation of what was later to become known as "gangster chic"; among Powell's clients were the incarcerated Kray twins!

By the early 90s, when he was operating from a top-floor studio in D'Arblay Street Powell had a customer base including Mick Jagger, Bryan Ferry, Vic Reeves, who sported Powell's neo-Edwardian suits for his TV appearances, and George Michael, who wore a Mark Powell suit for his performance at The Freddie Mercury Tribute Concert.

In 2000 Powell was installed at a studio in Brewer Street where visitors for fittings included the DJ/actor Goldie, and L&S favourite singer-songwriter Kevin Rowland, who commissioned Powell outfits for the 2003 live reunion of his group Dexys Midnight Runners.

Powell also created collections for Marks & Spencer's Autograph range and his clothing has featured in such films as Absolute Beginners, Shopping and Gangster No. 1. His emphasis on bespoke tailoring has gained a celebrity clientele with custom from actors George Clooney, Daniel Radcliffe and Martin Freeman, rock stars and style icons Bryan Ferry, Mick Jagger and Paul Weller and supermodel Naomi Campbell.
His latest venture is the shop Mark Powell Bespoke in Marshall Street, London, W1. You can see his site here www.markpowellbespoke.co.uk/

Pauline Boty

 

L&S person of the month is Pauline Boty (6 March 1938 – 1 July 1966), a founder of the British Pop art movement and the only female painter in the British wing of the movement. Boty's paintings and collages often demonstrated a joy in self-assured femininity and female sexuality, and expressed overt or implicit criticism of the "man's world" in which she lived. Her rebellious art, combined with her free-spirited lifestyle, has made Boty a herald of 1970s feminism.

Boty was born in suburban south London in 1938. In 1954 she won a scholarship to the Wimbledon School of Art which she attended despite her father's disapproval (Boty's mother, on the other hand, was a frustrated artist, having been denied parental permission to attend the Slade School of Fine Art herself). Boty earned an Intermediate diploma in lithography (1956) and a National Diploma in Design in stained glass (1958). Encouraged by her tutor Charles Carey to explore collage techniques, Boty's painting became more experimental. Her work showed an interest in popular culture early on. In 1957 one of her pieces was shown at the Young Contemporaries exhibition alongside work by Robyn Denny, Richard Smith and Bridget Riley.

She studied at the School of Stained Glass at the Royal College of Art (1958–61). She had wanted to attend the School of Painting, but was dissuaded from applying as admission rates for women were much lower in that department. Despite the institutionalized sexism at her college, Boty was one of the stronger students in her class, and in 1960 one of her stained glass works was included in the travelling exhibition Modern Stained Glass organized by the Arts Council. Boty continued to paint on her own in her student flat in west London and in 1959 she had three more works selected for the Young Contemporaries exhibition. During this time she also became friends with other emerging Pop artists, such as David Hockney, Derek Boshier, Peter Phillips and Peter Blake.

The two years after graduation were perhaps Boty's most productive. She developed a signature Pop style and iconography. Her first group show, "Blake, Boty, Porter, Reeve" was held in November 1961 at A.I.A. gallery in London and was hailed as one of the first British Pop art shows.

The following spring Boty, Peter Blake, Derek Boshier and Peter Phillips were featured in Ken Russell's BBC Monitor documentary film Pop Goes the Easel, which was aired on 22 March 1962. Although the documentary placed Boty at the centre of the nascent British Pop art movement, unlike her male peers she did not get an opportunity to speak directly and intelligently about her work during the film.

Her unique position as Britain's only female Pop artist gave Boty the chance to redress sexism in her life as well as her art. Her early paintings were sensual and erotic, celebrating female sexuality from a woman's point of view. Her canvases were set against vivid, colourful backgrounds and often included close-ups of red flowers, presumably symbolic of the female sex. She painted her male idols—Elvis, French actor Jean-Paul Belmondo, British writer Derek Marlowe—as sex symbols, just as she did actresses Monica Vitti and Marilyn Monroe. Like Andy Warhol, she recycled publicity and press photographs of celebrities in her art. Her 1963 portrait of her friend Celia Birtwell, Celia and Her Heroes, shows the textile designer surrounded by a Peter Blake painting, a David Hockney portrait and an image of Elvis Presley. She exhibited in several more group shows before staging her first solo exhibition at Grabowski Gallery in the fall of 1963. The show was a critical success. However, Boty continued to take on additional acting jobs. She was a presenter on the radio programme Public Ear in 1963-64, and in the following year she was typecast yet again in the role of 'the seductive Maria' in a BBC serial.

In June 1963 she married the literary agent Clive Goodwin (1932-1978) after a mere ten-day romance. Boty and Goodwin's Cromwell Road flat became a central hang-out for many artists, musicians, and writers, including Bob Dylan (whom Boty brought to England) David Hockney, Blake, Michael White, Kenneth Tynan, Troy Kennedy Martin, John McGrath, Dennis Potter and Roger McGough.
In June 1965 Boty unexpectedly became pregnant. During a prenatal exam a tumour was discovered and she was diagnosed with cancer[20] (malignant Thymoma). She refused to have an abortion and also refused to receive chemotherapy treatment that might have harmed the foetus. Instead she smoked marijuana to ease the pain of her terminal condition. She continued to entertain her friends and even sketched The Rolling Stones during her illness. Her daughter, Katy Goodwin, was born in February 1966. Her last known painting, BUM, was commissioned by Kenneth Tynan for Oh, Calcutta! and was completed in 1966. Boty died at the Royal Marsden Hospital on 1 July that year. She was 28 years old.

Jean Seberg

 

Effortless style and beauty from Jean Seberg. She starred in 37 films in Hollywood and in France, including the classic Breathless with Jean Paul Belmondo (1960). She committed suicide in August 1979 at the tragically young age of 40.

Miles Davis and Juliette Greco

If it's a lazy holiday Monday then the soundtrack has to be 1957's The Birth Of The Cool... the incomparable Miles Davis pictured here with his paramour Juliette Greco.

Jack Nicholson

Easy Rider, One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest, The Witches of Eastwick, The Shining, Terms of Endearment, About Schmidt, As Good As It Gets... how many of our favourite films has Jack NOT been in?

JFK

Lot of JFK stuff around, with his tragic death being 50 years ago today. But we were wondering, what did he actually DO? A quick net search revealed some great things, and here are our top five:
1. Started the ball rolling to finally land man on the moon.
2. Averted nuclear war with Russia! (maybe this should be number 1...)
3. Ended segregation on public transport
4. Established a limited nuclear test ban treaty with the USSR
5. Wore bass weejuns to golf in

Tony Wedgewood Benn

L&S person of the week is Tony Benn, who died today aged 88.

The son of a Labour Cabinet minister who became a peer, Benn first made his mark on national politics more than 60 years ago, when he fought a long and successful battle to be the first Briton to renounce a hereditary peerage. He was also the main driving force behind the decision to hold the first referendum in British history, in 1975, over membership of what is now called the EU.

Having been a conscientious Cabinet minister in the 1960s, Benn veered to the left in reaction to the political and economic crisis of the early 1970s, becoming an iconic figure for the political left, and the main author of the manifesto on which Labour fought the 1983 election, and suffered its worst post-war defeat. Harold Wilson, the first of a series of Labour leaders to clash with Benn, once claimed that he ‘immatured’ in middle age.

A political firebrand who was at times vilified by the right, his views once led The Sun newspaper to question whether he was "the most dangerous man in Britain".

He emerged, however, as one of the most respected MPs of the last 50 years. As a man of principle he was unwavering, and for that alone he should be remembered.

James Hunt

This month's man of the match is really two men - James Hunt and Niki Lauda. Rush is a great movie, which stays with you, although perceived opinion is that it plays up the rivalry between Hunt and Lauda a little too much. Indeed Niki Lauda is quoted as saying "People always think of us as rivals, but he was amongst the very few I liked and even fewer I respected".

 

 

 

Art Gallery Clothing interview

There's a quick interview with Principle Designer Edward Le Froy on the Art Gallery Clothing website - click here to read it.

Alan Whicker

Whicker was born to British parents in Cairo, Egypt. Whilst his travel presenting and writing made him famous, it's less well-known that he left school at 16 during the Second World War and was commissioned as an officer in the Devonshire Regiment of the British Army. He then joined the British Army's Film and Photo Unit in Italy in 1943, filming at Anzio and meeting such influential figures as Field Marshal Bernard Montgomery. He was also responsible for taking into custody British traitor John Amery. He revealed in his series Whicker's War (2004) that he was one of the first in the Allied forces to enter Milan and that he took into custody an SS general and troopers who were looking after the SS vault of money. Whicker also shot footage of the body of Benito Mussolini.

After the Second World War, Whicker became a journalist and broadcaster, acting as a newspaper correspondent during the Korean War (during which time his death was mistakenly reported), and after joining the BBC in 1957, was an international reporter for their Tonight programme. In 1959, this led to him presenting the television programme for which he is best known, the long-running documentary series Whicker's World which was filmed all over the globe. Whicker continued to present the series for more than 30 years up until 1990.

The classic English gentleman, Alan Whicker will be remembered not just for his wry delivery but also his classic pipe and cardie combos. He'll be sadly missed.

Dennis Severs

Our L&S person this month is Dennis Severs, who died in 1999 aged 51 and who was the creator of one of London's hidden gems, the time capsule house at 18 Folgate St EC1, also known as the Huguenot House.

As a dreamy and imaginative child, he was regarded at one of his several schools as somewhere between "exceptional" and "mentally retarded." Arriving from California in 1967, Dennis tried to bring the past alive in the dark and strange living house museum he created inside 18 Folgate Street, on the edge of London's East End. It became, as he described it, "a famous time-machine" in which those prepared to enter his empathetic historical imagination and to suspend disbelief (never mind mundane considerations of historical fact, conventional museum practice or conservation philosophy) could find themselves transported into a dream which illuminated the complicated and poignant social history of that ancient part of London.

Although sneered at by many who suffer from what he would have dismissed as "pigeonholed styles of intelligence" inhibiting creativity, Severs was a true original, an artist of perverse genius who created a three-dimensional historical novel out of bricks and mortar and timber and the objects he picked up for a song on countless stalls.

The social historian Raphael Samuel considered it "a magical mystery tour which dazzles the visitor with a succession of scenes more crowded with memorable incident than the mere facsimile of what passes in the museums as a period room".

Storytelling earned him the respect of his peers, while the mania to collect began early. "Down deep," he recalled, "I always believed that one day I would travel past picture frames and into the marinated glow of a warmer, more mellow and more romantic light. There was one such light in particular, one that I saw in the combination of old varnish and paint, and that appealed to me as my ideal. By the age of 11, it was identified as English."

As he put it, he did not want so much to "restore" the house with its panelled rooms, "but to bring it to life as my home. With a candle, a chamber pot and a bedroll, I began sleeping in each of the house's 10 rooms so that I might arouse my intuition in the quest for each room's soul.

"Then, having neared it, I worked inside out from there to create what turned out to be a collection of atmospheres: moods that harbour the light and the spirit of various ages in Time."

He cleverly combined low and high tech: real guttering candles co-existed with concealed taped sound-effects in settings which he constantly refined. Nor was this frivolous or cynical: visitors who giggled or who were otherwise unable to enter into the spirit of the enterprise would be summarily ejected.

Although Dennis has been dead 15 years, his remarkable house can still be visited: check www.dennissevershouse.co.uk/

Clarissa Dixon Wright

"I used to say that all I had left in life was my integrity and my cleavage. Now it’s just my integrity.”
For that quote alone we would have the recently departed Clarissa Dickson Wright in our pantheon of L&S people; her divisive personal politics and views on the countryside were strongly held but integrity is something we all need a bit more of these days. However the second reason would be her having eleven (count them) Christian names - Clarissa Theresa Philomena Aileen Mary Josephine Agnes Elsie Trilby Louise Esmerelda - and the third would be her being an accredited cricket umpire! A great British character, and one whose departure makes life just that little bit duller.

Thomas Heatherwick

Our man of the month is designer Thomas Heatherwick (born 17 February 1970), founder of London-based design practice Heatherwick Studio. Since the late 1990’s Heatherwick has emerged as one of Britain’s most gifted and imaginative designers. Since 2010 he has exhibited a knack for projects that are intimately connected to a sense of national or local identity. These include the Olympic Cauldron, the New Bus for London, the first new double decker bus commissioned for London in 50 years, and the UK pavilion at Expo 2010. Other notable works include The Rolling Bridge, East Beach Cafe, and a plan for a biomass power station in BEI-Teesside.

To keep a fresh perspective on large scale projects is something you can't learn. Looking forward to a ride on that bus!

Jean Seberg and Jean-Paul Belmondo

Effortless cool... Jean Seberg and Jean-Paul Belmondo in Jean-Luc Godard's Au Bout De Souffle (1960). Who else worked that cigarette-in-the-corner-of-the-mouth look? Guilty....!

Emma Watson

Great quote and attitude from one of the best actresses of her generation, Emma Watson:
“I find the whole concept of being ‘sexy’ embarrassing and confusing. If I do an interview with photographs people desperately want to change me - dye my hair blonder, pluck my eyebrows, give me a fringe. Then there’s the choice of clothes. I know everyone wants a picture of me in a mini-skirt. But that’s not me. I feel uncomfortable. I’d never go out in a mini-skirt. It’s nothing to do with protecting the Hermione image. I wouldn’t do that. Personally, I don’t actually think it’s even that sexy. What’s sexy about saying, ‘I’m here with my boobs out and a short skirt, have a look at everything I’ve got?’ My idea of sexy is that less is more. The less you reveal the more people can wonder.”

Gio Ponti

Our man of the week is Gio Ponti (18 November 1891, Milan – 16 September 1979), one of the most important Italian architects, industrial designers, furniture designers, artists, and publishers of the twentieth century.

He designed the 32-story Pirelli Tower in Milan, and he also designed The "Due Foglie" Sofa, the "Superleggera" chair, and also founded Domus and Stile magazines. Rumours that he spent his later years doubling for Anthony Hopkins remain to be proved!

Amelia Earhart

The American aviation pioneer and authorAmelia Mary Earhart (1897 – 1937) disappeared 75 years ago. She was the first aviatrix to fly solo across the Atlantic Ocean, and received the U.S. Distinguished Flying Cross for this record. She set many other records, wrote best-selling books about her flying experiences and was instrumental in the formation of The Ninety-Nines, an organization for female pilots. Earhart joined the faculty of the Purdue University aviation department in 1935 as a visiting faculty member to counsel women on careers and help inspire others with her love for aviation. She was also a member of the National Woman's Party, and an early supporter of the Equal Rights Amendment.

During an attempt to make a circumnavigational flight of the globe in 1937 in a Purdue-funded Lockheed Model 10 Electra, Earhart disappeared over the central Pacific Ocean near Howland Island. Fascination with her life, career and disappearance continues to this day.

Dave Brubeck

RIP Dave Brubeck. As well as producing some of the best jazz of the century, he was at the forefront of integration, playing black jazz clubs throughout the deep South in the ’50s, a point of pride for him.

"For as long as I’ve been playing jazz, people have been trying to pigeonhole me,” he once told the Tribune. "Frankly, labels bore me."

Well said that man!

Patrick Moore

RIP Patrick Moore. An L&S hero not just for his astronomy skills, but also for the fact that started to wear a monocle and smoke a pipe at age 16 - the same age that he managed to join the RAF aged 16 as a Bomber Command Navigator at the start of the World War II. He lied about his age, ‘fiddled’ — in his words — his medical, and turned down a place at Cambridge University to join up.

We need more like him!

John Malkovich

Great dresser, polymath (actor, fashion designer, writer, director)... John Malkovich is always watchable (The Glass Menagerie, Dangerous Liaisons, Johnny English....!). And he takes a good picture!

Paul Smith

Happy birthday Sir Paul Smith! After over four decades as a menswear icon to continue producing eye-catching and quality work is a testament to talent indeed. Couple this with a genuinely likeable persona and a great sense if humour and you have an L&S inspiration!

Ray Davies

Happy birthday Ray Davies! 68 today. Why this man - one of the few people who deserve the term genius - hasn't been knighted, earled and royalled we don't know!

Peter O'Toole

We've always loved the style of Peter O'Toole. He first achieved stardom in 1962 playing T. E. Lawrence in Lawrence of Arabia, and then went on to become a highly-honoured film and stage actor. He has been nominated for eight Academy Awards, and has won four Golden Globes, a BAFTA, and an Emmy. In a BBC Radio interview in January 2007, O'Toole said that he had studied women for a very long time, had given it his best try, but knew "nothing."

Charlie and Shirley Watts

Charlie and Shirley Watts, 48 years married this year! Charlie always looks great, emulating his idols Duke Ellington, Elvin Jones and Kenny Clarke, and Shirley is a successful racehorse owner in her own right. All power to them!

The Dalai Lama

A lesson in humility for those that receive bonuses... The Dalai Lama received the 2012 Templeton Prize yesterday. The Tibetan Buddhist spiritual leader was given the $1.7m prize at St. Paul’s Cathedral in London. He immediately gave most of the money to Save the Children, and the rest to two charities which provide research and education.

Jamie Oliver

A man putting his money where his mouth is, Jamie Oliver deserves recognition for his work in the disadvantaged sector (fifteen) and his ongoing school dinners lobbying. Arise Sir Jamie!
http://www.jamieoliver.com/school-dinners

Caroll Shelby

RIP Carroll Shelby! Pictured here in an early small-block Shelby Cobra. The one-time chicken farmer had more than a half-dozen successful careers during his long life. Among them: champion race car driver, racing team owner, automobile manufacturer, automotive consultant, safari tour operator, raconteur, chili entrepreneur and philanthropist. A great life to have led!

Visal Sassoon

RIP Vidal Sassoon (pictured here with Mary Quant), the stylist famed for inventing the geometric “wedge” hairdo of the 1960s. He was born to a Jewish family in London's East End and spent eight years in an orphanage before becoming a stylist.
He will be remembered as one of the world’s most creative coiffures.

Brian Cox

Brian Cox - anyone who can get young people thinking large thoughts and also possesses the secret of eternal youth (he's 44) is an inspiration in our book!