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Oliver Messel: In the Theatre of Design

Rizzoli's book, Oliver Messel: In the Theatre of Design

Rizzoli's book, Oliver Messel: In the Theatre of Design

I’ve long admired the multifaceted genius of the English artist, Oliver Messel, whose many talents included stage and costume design, interior design as well as architecture.

Messel’s theatrical sets actually received standing ovations, making the great mass of ensuing commissions to decorate homes, hotels and shops seem like the most natural progression. (Incidentally, my own early career found me designing fanciful sets as well, but in my case, these were actualized within the walls of the Ralph Lauren showrooms, and the clients I met there also facilitated my transition into full fledged interior design).

Health issues drew Messel to the West Indies, and the island of Barbados, which quite by accident (not sure if that’s the right word) led him to his role as architect, building tropical retreats for his many affluent clients. Of particular note are the super chic Leamington Pavilion in Barbados which I’m planning to rent, as well as the fabulously fantastical Turkish style great house he designed for Lord Glenconner.

Leamington Pavilion

Messel's Leamington Pavilion

On the grounds of the Turkish style great house for Lord Glenconner

On the grounds of the Turkish style great house for Lord Glenconner

Whether I’m designing interiors here or in the tropics, I often look to Messel’s vision for inspiration, and so it probably goes without saying that Oliver Messel: In the Theatre of Design, is on the WIJW must-own list. It’s packed with glorious images of the complete range of his work, and we’re sure you too will find inspiration within its pages.


  1. Love the dinning room! I was in Barbados many years ago, it´s a beautiful place to spend vacations, specially if there is such a beautiful place like this!

    Big Hug,


  2. Lola Montes says:

    I adore this kind of Interior Design!

  3. Christiane von Könemann says:

    Lieber James,

    Das ist traumhaft! Ich würde sehr gerne meine Ferien in Barbados verbringen, sag mal wird diese wunderschöne Villa vermietet??



  4. Martina says:

    Qué hermoso lugar James, sabes a dónde deberías venir? a Ixtapa aquí en México, te encantaría!

  5. Lil´Lilly says:

    James! I hope that when you rent this beautiful house you make a huge party in Barbados and invite me!

  6. Pink Cinammon says:


  7. Mara Helmrich von Elgott says:

    Mein Gott, das ist ja super schön! Nächstes Jahr fahre ich auf jeden Fall nach Barbados, ich hab genug von Sylt!

    Herzliche Grüsse,

    Deine Mara

  8. James Andrew says:

    Dear Christian,

    I adore Barbados, certainly one of the more stylish islands of the Caribbean.

    I can’t wait to go and spend a week at Leamington Pavilion.

    Thanks for all your interest and support!



  9. Monaco Girl says:

    Great destination!!!

  10. Tom Cavendish says:

    Have heard a lot of Barbados, I used to spend my vacations in St. Lucia, have you been there James? Anyway, I would love to visit Barbados too.

    Best Regards,


  11. My favorite book of 2011. Inspiration galore!! I love Barbados, too! The Leamington Pavillion looks perfect. I look forward to your post-Pavillion posts!

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