Thanks Angus


Houses where people live, as opposed to the National Trust or statelies which never show you the real living rooms, change the whole time. We buy new things, we change the colours of the walls, we move the furniture around. Last month, we bought a large bookcase (here being loaded up) from Soixante Neuf, a Framlingham antique shop. It has three shelves in two sections and, temporarily has swallowed up our surfeit of books. This is the trouble if you are a reviewer like me, you get yards of them all the time. Not that I’m complaining.

It is a splendid bookcase, carved to look as though it was made from bamboo with knuckles in the wood. Furthermore, it is painted in soft grey with accents where the leaf branches would have been. Because it came from a shop which specialises in French furniture, we assumed it had come from across the Channel.

But no, this was an original piece of furniture made by Angus McBean when he lived in Flemings Hall, also in Suffolk. McBean was a great photographer having shot portraits of Elizabeth Taylor, Marlene Dietrich and Vivien Leigh. He discovered Audrey Hepburn. Earlier, however, he worked at Liberty’s department store in London – some say ‘making’ their antique furniture. On leaving, he grew a strange beard to show that he would never again be a wage slave. He died in 1990 and now we have his bookcase – a genuine antique. I hope he would approve.