Nightingale – not Florence.

No less an intellectual than Sylvester Stallone once quipped “if bad decorating was a hanging offense, there’d be bodies in every tree.” Mr. Stallone, if nothing else, is a consistent paradigm of taste, and hardly one to suffer inadequate interior decoration.

In deferene to Rocky’s interests, your editorial staff here presents the story of David Nightingale Hicks, the late British interior designer known for boldy pairing antique furniture and modern art.

Mr. Hicks was born in Coggeshall, Essex, to stockbroker Herbert Hicks and Iris, his wife. He was educated at Charterhouse School and the Central College of Art, both terribly English spots, then launched his career designing cereal boxes. He decorated himself and his mother a London home on the side, and its profile in the British magazine House & Garden was sufficient to elevate his design career beyond the realm of breakfast.

He subsequently lent his talents to a home designed for Lord and Lady Londonberry, on Park Lane, alongside the architectural firm of Garnett Cloughley Blakemore, and another for the film producer Lord Barbourne, coincidentally brother-in-law to Mr. Hicks (who had married Lady Pamela Mountbatten – of those Mountbattens). A London residence for his father-in-law, the Earl Mountbatten, followed.

He went on to produce carpets for Windsor Castle and design the Prince of Wales’ first apartment at Buckingham Palace. By the end of his career, his projects also included Manhattan townhouses and the King of Saudi Arabia’s yacht.

Vociferous in his pursuit of tobacco, Mr. Hicks died from lung cancer when he was 69 years old. His body, per his precise instructios, “lay in state” on the ground-floor of his garden pavillion, before being buried in a coffin he had designed himself.


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