The Aesthete: Joseph Walsh talks personal taste

The master craftsman’s sinuous wooden furniture is highly sought-after by private collectors and cultural institutions the world over

Joseph Walsh at home in Ireland
Joseph Walsh at home in Ireland | Image: Tristan Hutchinson

My personal style signifier is brown leather Oxford shoes by Salvatore Ferragamo. Formed from a single piece of leather, they wear well and look beautiful. From £725;

Walsh’s Salvatore Ferragamo Oxfords, from £725
Walsh’s Salvatore Ferragamo Oxfords, from £725 | Image: Tristan Hutchinson

The last thing I bought and loved was a custom-made, tan leather briefcase with brass fittings from bespoke shoemaker Scheer in Vienna. This extraordinary atelier is run by the seventh generation of the same family and its pieces are timeless and functional.


And the thing I’m eyeing next is a winter coat to replace the long, brown Canali one I bought in Amsterdam years ago. I am very attached to it, but I’ve worn it so thin it’s getting embarrassing.

Walsh’s custom-made leather briefcase from Sheer in Vienna
Walsh’s custom-made leather briefcase from Sheer in Vienna

An unforgettable place I’ve travelled to in the past year is the 2000-year-old Shinto Tsubaki Grand Shrine in rural Japan, where I had an exhibition last year. Witnessing the everyday rituals going on around us made it so special.

The Shinto Tsubaki Grand Shrine in Japan
The Shinto Tsubaki Grand Shrine in Japan

A recent “find” is Ulysses Rare Books in Dublin. The books are a joy and some are so exquisitely bound they become beautiful objects. I like to think I can still discover things in them that can’t be found online.

Pork belly and rhubarb at Bastion restaurant in Kinsale
Pork belly and rhubarb at Bastion restaurant in Kinsale | Image: Denis Minihane

The best gift I’ve given recently was a set of Cuttings V wine glasses by Martino Gamper for J Hill’s Standard, which I gave to a friend. Anike Tyrell established the company to regenerate the image of Waterford glass and invited international designers like Gamper to collaborate with master glasscutters from the area. The results are stunning. €135 per glass;

Walsh’s Omega Seamaster watch that belonged to his grandfather
Walsh’s Omega Seamaster watch that belonged to his grandfather | Image: Tristan Hutchinson

In my fridge you’ll always find a large stock of lemon curd from Chatsworth House farm shop – I bring some home each time I deliver a piece of furniture to the Duke and Duchess of Devonshire; it’s delicious on fresh bread. And natural yoghurt from Glenilen, a small dairy farm in Cork. £3.99; £1.59 for 500g;


If I had to limit my shopping to one neighbourhood in one city, I’d choose Via Montenapoleone in Milan. It’s full of my favourite Italian labels, such as Prada for impeccable shirts. But there are incredible lesser-known brands too. I love Fedeli and Falconeri for the understated quality of their knitwear. My days are so full of decision-making that I like simple, reliable clothes. Pasticceria Marchesi is perfect if I’m in the mood for a refined afternoon coffee and a pastry. Falconeri, Via della Spiga 3 (+3902-7601 4755; Fedeli, Via Montenapoleone 8 (+3902-7602 3392; Pasticceria Marchesi, Via Montenapoleone 9 (+3902-7600 8238; Prada, Via Montenapoleone 8 (+3902-7602 0273; 

The last meal that truly impressed me was at Bastion, an unassuming restaurant in Kinsale. The chef, Paul McDonald, is exceptional: his food is contemporary but doesn’t try too hard, and dishes are made with exquisite, locally sourced ingredients, including Irish cheeses, such as goat’s, that easily rival French varieties.

My favourite room in my house in Kinsale is “Ed’s room”. I asked the painter Ed Miliano to produce an artwork in the 18th-century parlour of our family farmhouse after some restoration work a few years ago, and he painted a mural of an abstracted forest that wraps around the entire room. It’s magical.

An object I would never part with is my Omega Seamaster watch. It belonged first to my grandfather, then to my mum, who gave it to me in 2015 when I received an honorary doctorate from University College Cork. It reminds me of both of them, so I like to have it with me – especially when I

My favourite website is, I guess! Flights are the only things I buy online and I don’t use apps, much to my friends’ dismay.

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