Personal Luxuries | Perfect Weekend

Bryan Ferry’s perfect weekend

The lead singer of Roxy Music brought out his first solo album in 1973. His latest, Olympia, features his first original compositions to be released in nearly a decade.

November 24 2010
Helen Chislett

“I normally go out on Friday night, so on Saturday I wake up quite late in my studio house in Chelsea. I like to stroll through the backstreets, which are very quiet at weekends. A typical route would take me past the Chelsea Physic Garden, over Albert Bridge, through Battersea Park, then back over Chelsea Bridge and up towards Pimlico Road. There is a farmers’ market here on Saturday morning, selling all kinds of fresh fish and vegetables – very Provençal. My old friend, Piers von Westenholz, has a shop here and I have bought quite a few bits from him over the years. I might stop for lunch at Olivo in Eccleston Street, where Mauro offers excellent Sardinian food in a very relaxed setting.

Then I head for Mount Street – one of the great streets of London – where I visit Rubinacci, a splendid tailor from Naples who always has wonderful fabrics, and also Anderson & Sheppard, a stalwart of Savile Row. My shirtmaker, Sean O’Flynn, is close by, as is the great bespoke shoemaker, Berluti.

Saturday afternoon is a good opportunity to visit galleries, such as my friend Simon Lee’s and Gagosian. I don’t buy much contemporary art myself, but I like to see what’s showing. My collection is mainly early-20th-century British art – Augustus John, Walter Sickert, Paul Nash and Wyndham Lewis. I love the Bloomsbury Group, especially Vanessa Bell and Duncan Grant, whose paintings were, of course, conceived in Sussex.

I like to have dinner with friends on Saturday evening in London – Bellamy’s in Bruton Place is a favourite. Then I drive down to Petworth in my Audi A8.

The first thing I do when I arrive home is light the fires and greet the dogs – Oscar, a very old Labrador, and Bobby, a border terrier (pictured). I bought the house in 1976 – it is not an architectural beauty, but the garden is very special. It has beautiful views of the Downs and there is a stream running through, as well as a pedimented temple and other ornamental stonework by Clough Williams Ellis, who built Portmeirion. He didn’t live here, but was a great friend of one of the previous owners. I have about 30 acres, including a beautiful orchard with masses of apple varieties, and also pears, plums and crab apples. At present, I am growing roses up through some of the old trees, which looks very pretty.

If it is warm enough, I play tennis before lunch. My four sons – Otis, 27, Isaac, 25, Tara, 20, and Merlin, 19 – also like to play, and they are sometimes around on a Sunday. They’ve all left home now, but Isaac works with me at the studio and Tara played drums on the new album. Sunday lunch is important to me, perhaps because of coming from the North – it was the time of the week when families would listen to the radio and eat together. I like entertaining friends for lunch, too – it’s a good excuse to go to the cellar and get out some decent wine. Otherwise, I take them to the local pub, The Welldigger’s Arms, or to The Kennels at Goodwood, a private members’ club.

On Sunday afternoon, if the boys are around, we may watch football. They support Newcastle, but I am also a bit of a Chelsea fan as I have lived most of my life in the Royal Borough. I’m happy to stay in my own garden rather than go out, but if I have guests, I take them for a walk through Petworth Park to see the landscape that Turner loved to paint. At sunset, it is particularly lovely as I drive back to London on Sunday evening, usually stopping at Riva restaurant, run by the genial, well-read Andreas Riva. When I get home, I read or watch a bit of TV, but I don’t stay up late because it’s back to work in the morning. It’s important in life to find a balance – it can’t all be fun and games.”

See also

Bryan Ferry