The Englishwoman's Bedroom, edited by Elizabeth Dickson, photographs by Lucinda Lambton (Chatto, £14.95) The English Room by Derry Moore and Michael Pick (Weidenfeld, £12.95) THERE is something rather fascinating about other people's bedrooms. Writers go to extraordinary lengths to have a peek at them, and for your average reader there is "A Room of my Own", "A Day in the Life of . ." and so on in endless glossy magazines.
Elizabeth Dickson, ably assisted by the camera of Lucinda Lambton, provides us with less of a selection of boudoirs, than many different shades of the same — heavy curtained four poster beds, chaises longues of ample proportions, a bit of leopard skin here (Viscountess Astor), a touch of chintz there (Lady Annabel Goldsmith), a mass of lacey opulence (Virginia Wetherell), and my favourite, the stark simplicity of TV producer Diana Potter's attic garret, in her eighteenth century Gothic gatehouse. A word though for the splendiferous Zandra Rhodes and her sparkling purple, lily shaped wash basin. I just couldn't concentrate on brushing my teeth.
The English Room is much the same as the bedroom, save that those who have chosen to open their doors to Derry Moore and Michael Pick are on the whole blue-blooded. Clutter, worn sofas, rose patterns, plunging drapes, a real fire and of course grandmama's aspidistra in a brass pot are the salient landmarks of the English drawing room in its quintessential form.
Again, acting as an arbiter, my natural inclination is towards simplicity and light — as in the Surrey home of Patrick Gwynne with its open staircase, huge windows and black and white aspect.