Style | The Aesthete

Matthew Carey-Williams talks personal style

Matthew Carey-Williams is the director of Haunch of Venison gallery, which has reopened in its original Mayfair premises.

September 27 2011
Emma Crichton-Miller

My personal style signifier is scarves, in all colours, all materials. At the moment I wear scarves by Agnès B. I have one that is essentially big enough to be a picnic blanket. If I want to be a little more splashy, I go to Loro Piana and treat myself to a summer scarf. I don’t wear ties any more, now that I work for the gallery, so this is my new thing.

An unforgettable place I’ve travelled to in the past year is the Forbidden City in Beijing. It has extremely specific décor, unique, I think, to this Chinese artistic sensibility. It’s how they achieve a sense of majesty, being so minimal, and I liked that very much. European interpretations of majesty – Versailles, or the White Drawing Room at Buckingham Palace – have a lot going on, but there doesn’t need to be for a place to feel imperial.

The best souvenir I’ve brought home is 10 cases of Château La Nerthe, from Châteauneuf-du-Pape, from my honeymoon. It’s a heavenly reminder of the wonderful day we had. We’re about a third of the way through it now.

An object I would never part with is John Russell’s biography of Francis Bacon, the First Edition (1964), dedicated to a friend of Bacon’s, and signed by Francis on the front page. My mother gave it to me quite a few years ago. I keep it in a box in my living room and I am almost terrified to take it out in case something should happen to it. It’s like a relic.

The grooming staples I’m never without are hair clay made by the hairdresser Adee Phelan, and a blancmange of eye creams to try to keep the crows away, including creams by REN.

The last item I added to my wardrobe is a Richard James shirt. I really like that look – tailored, very English, with a twist, not afraid of pattern or colour. So I bought a shirt with a light-brown shark-skin pattern, slightly shiny. It’s the sort of thing I could wear to work, but would definitely wear out.

An indulgence I’d never forego is one more Black Pearl at Claridge’s. Not one; one more. One is acceptable, two are acceptable, one more is an indulgence. It is vodka, what appears to be fresh blackberry juice and other yumminess. The artist Keith Tyson introduced me to it, and it is delicious.

The books on my bedside table include Imperial Bedrooms by Bret Easton Ellis. I’ve read all his novels and, apparently, you are expected to have done so before you read this one, as it refers to characters way back from Less Than Zero. Roger’s Profanisaurus, from the makers of Viz comic, has also been there for years. It’s a dictionary of imaginary swearwords, presided over by a character called Roger Mellie, who’s renowned for being rather disgusting in his role as a journalist. It neatly fits my ongoing need for smutty, very below-the-belt humour.

In my fridge you’ll always find chablis and mustard. I’m a mustard freak. I have 15 to 20 varieties in my fridge in Wiltshire. Mustard with horseradish, with beer… I pick them up at delis and markets. The wine is always unopened and the mustards invariably about to run out.

A recent “find” is an Argentinian restaurant, Casa Malevo, not far from where I live. It is one of those places that looks inviting so you always want to go in, but because it’s where you live, you don’t. The food is fantastic. I ate probably the best steak I’ve ever had in London. 23 Connaught Street, London W2 (020-7402 1988;

The best gift I have given recently is an iPad 2 to my husband. We’re now a double-iPad family, which means we have secured the greatest recipe for our marriage, which is that we now rarely talk to each other. If we do, it is to compare scores on Angry Birds or to figure out the best connectivity. From £399,

My favourite websites are Artforum, Artinfo and The Art Newspaper. The Daily Mash, a satirical magazine, makes me laugh uncontrollably. I occasionally pick myself up after a stressful day by reading it.