Theo Fennell talks personal taste: Part One

Fine artist-turned-jeweller Theo Fennell is known for the detailed craftsmanship of his witty, narrative‑based designs and silverware

Image: Jude Edginton

My personal signifier is my work uniform of black, white and pink. Usually black jeans by 7 For All Mankind, which I buy from Selfridges, black Shipton & Heneage suede loafers and a white Boden Architect shirt. The pink can be anything – a cashmere jumper from N Peal perhaps, or a scarf from Harvie & Hudson. Off-duty, though, I dress as loudly as possible. 7 For All Mankind jeans, from £140; www.selfridges.com. Cashmere jumpers, from £179; www.npeal.com. Cashmere scarf, £79; www.harvieandhudson.com. Architect shirt, £45; www.boden.co.uk. Suede loafers, from £295; www.shipton.com.

Harvie & Hudson cashmere scarf, £79
Harvie & Hudson cashmere scarf, £79

The best gift I’ve given recently is a carved coral skull ring, to my wife Louise for our 35th wedding anniversary. I discovered it was a coral anniversary in the nick of time; it has the crown of an empress on it and the Latin for “till death do us part”.

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And the best one I’ve received is a ukulele, from my two daughters. It’s lovely and was very unexpected. It inspired me to start playing so now they’re bitterly regretting it as I’m permanently leaning on a lamppost, strumming. I expect it’ll be confiscated soon. From £21.95; Kensington Chimes Music, 9 Harrington Rd, London SW7 (020-7589 9054; www.chimesmusic.com).

Theo Fennell’s ukulele
Theo Fennell’s ukulele | Image: Jude Edginton

An indulgence I would never forego is my caddy Dave at Sunningdale Golf Club, who carries my clubs and is one of the most enjoyable companions imaginable. Ridgemount Rd,Sunningdale, Berkshire SL5 9RR (01344-621 681; www.sunningdale-golfclub.co.uk).

A Spy Among Friends: Kim Philby and the Great Betrayal by Ben Macintyre
A Spy Among Friends: Kim Philby and the Great Betrayal by Ben Macintyre

The last meal that truly impressed me was dinner at La Villa des Orangers in Marrakech. I went for the local option, which is rare for me: foie gras with olives followed by lamb tagine and the most delicious pudding I think I’ve ever eaten. It was a Middle Eastern cake of cream, fruit and honey – a day’s calories in the size of an Oxo cube but worth every bite. 6 Rue Sidi Mimoun, Place Ben Tachfine, 40000 Marrakech (+212524-384 638; www.villadesorangers.com).

Christian Dior Eau Sauvage, £66 for 100ml EDT
Christian Dior Eau Sauvage, £66 for 100ml EDT

The best souvenir I’ve brought home is a nodding Chairman Mao, which I bought from a market stall in Shanghai. At home it sits next to my nodding Obama in a Hawaiian skirt, given to me by Ruby Wax. I like a bit of kitsch, especially if it’s well done.

La Villa des Orangers restaurant in Marrakech
La Villa des Orangers restaurant in Marrakech | Image: © Serge Detalle

An object I would never part with is a cricket bat signed by Sir Jack Hobbs, who is one of my great heroes. It was given to me by my father, who was given it as a boy.  It is beautifully made and has a lovely patina.

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The books on my bedside table are the children’s book Shiverton Hall: The Creeper, written by my daughter Emerald, Solo by William Boyd and The Goldfinch by Donna Tartt. I’ve just finished A Spy Among Friends: Kim Philby and the Great Betrayal by Ben Macintyre and now I’m reading Philby’s autobiography. I find poetry very relaxing so I’m also re-reading WH Auden; sometimes I like him, sometimes I don’t.

The grooming staple I’m never without is Dior’s Eau Sauvage, which I’ve worn since I was 18. And recently Louise and I were at Galeries Lafayette in Paris and I found a bottle of Dior’s Patchouli Impérial. I love the smell; it reminds me of Kensington Market in the 1960s. Dior Eau Sauvage, £66 for 100ml EDT, and Patchouli Impérial£165 for 125ml EDT; Galeries Lafayette, 40 Blvd Haussmann, Paris 75009 (+3319-6939 7575; www.galerieslafayette.com).

The one artist whose work I would collect if I could is Joseph Wright of Derby. I went to art school, originally to study portraiture, and his work is among the best in the British canon, along with Reynolds and Gainsborough. Fine-art dealer Guy Morrison is a great place to peruse wonderful paintings. 58 Jermyn St, London SW1 (020-7495 4163; www.guymorrison.com).

In my fridge you’ll always find Heinz salad cream and Heinz sandwich spread, which I buy wherever I can find it, usually Harrods’ food hall. And really fresh lettuce for my Marmite sandwiches. The Marmite percolates through the bread; it’s food fit for a king. www.harrods.com.

My favourite websites are always related to craftsmanship, such as the Society of Designer Craftsmen. I’m always on the lookout for people who make unusual things you never thought were possible. www.societyofdesignercraftsmen.org.uk.

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