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; Cashmere jumpers, from £179; Cashmere scarf, £79; Architect shirt, £45; Suede loafers, from £295;

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”.


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;

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;

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;

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.


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;

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;

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.

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.

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