Janice Blackburn talks personal taste: Part One

The design doyenne has curated contemporary craft and design exhibitions at Sotheby’s and Chatsworth

Janice Blackburn at home in west London.
Janice Blackburn at home in west London. | Image: Matt Munro

My personal style signifier is my hairstyle – a straight bob with a fringe and plum-coloured streaks. I go to Ivan at Josh Wood in Holland Park. 6 Lansdowne Mews, London W11 (020-3393 0977; www.joshwoodcolour.com).

The last thing I bought and loved was a wonderful porcelain pot by the young Chinese artist Zhenhan Hao, whose work I saw at an RCA graduate show. He explores the complexity of imitation, for which China has often been so condemned, and how to transform it into an act of creativity. 9/9A Leyden Street, London E1 (020-7655 4825; www.leydengallery.com). www.haozhenhan.com.

Blackburn’s throw by Sabyasachi Mukherjee
Blackburn’s throw by Sabyasachi Mukherjee | Image: Matt Munro

And the things I’m eyeing next are the beautiful Trophy Cups by Vika Mitrichenka, a potter I discovered at a wonderful gallery in Amsterdam called The Frozen Fountain. They are a tribute to her father, who was one of the Soviet national swimming team’s best coaches, but are also a reflection on ambition, success and happiness. €1,275; Prinsengracht 645, 1016 HV Amsterdam (+3120-622 9375; www.frozenfountain.nl).

The site that inspires me is the Statue of Liberty. My father was in textiles, with business in America, and when I was a child, we used to go back and forth on all the great liners. Everyone would rush up on deck to get the first glimpse of the statue and it always made me cry.


The best gift I’ve given recently was a fig tree from Clifton Nurseries to some close friends who had moved house. My husband’s Aunt Queenie gave us a maple tree years ago, which has become part of our household. She’s been dead for more than 20 years, but the tree lives on and I wanted our friends to have something that would last. 5A Clifton Villas, London W9 (020-7289 6851; www.clifton.co.uk).

And the best one I’ve received was a beautiful new Alice Cicolini ring. It’s a fire opal in an enamel setting by one of the last 15 Meenakars in Jaipur. www.alicecicolini.com.

Her Alice Cicolini rings
Her Alice Cicolini rings | Image: Matt Munro

The beauty staples I’m never without are Boots No 7 Protect and Perfect and Elizabeth Arden Eight Hour Cream; I’m not very high maintenance. By Terry’s Eclat de Teint is the best concealer, and an actress friend put me onto a great concealer palette from Screenface, which is brilliant for extra camouflage when things are desperate. By Terry Eclat de Teint, £36; www.spacenk.com. Elizabeth Arden Eight Hour Cream, £26 for 50ml; www.elizabetharden.co.uk. No 7 Protect and Perfect, £23.95 for 30ml; www.boots.com. Screenface Concealer Wheel, £11.95; www.screenface.co.uk.

The last music that I downloaded was The Motown Songbook by the Jamaican R&B singer Ruby Turner. She has the most rhythmic and rich yet mellow voice and we sometimes go along to hear her perform at Ronnie Scott’s. 47 Frith Street, London W1 (020-7439 0747; www.ronniescotts.co.uk). www.rubyturner.com.

The Bagan plains in Myanmar
The Bagan plains in Myanmar | Image: Richard Taylor/4Corners/4Corners Images

An indulgence I would never forego is eating out with friends. I come from a family for whom eating is a social occasion and I love going to the River Café or having brunch at The Wolseley. The River Café, Thames Wharf, Rainville Road, London W6 (020-7386 4200; www.rivercafe.co.uk). The Wolseley, 160 Piccadilly, London W1 (020-7499 6996; www.thewolseley.com).

An unforgettable place I’ve travelled to in the past year is Myanmar, a magical country quite different from anywhere else. The stunning Inle Lake and pagodas strewn across the plain at Bagan look like something from Raiders of the Lost Ark.

One of Vika Mitrichenka’s Trophy Cups
One of Vika Mitrichenka’s Trophy Cups

And the best souvenir I’ve brought home is a wonderful throw by Sabyasachi Mukherjee, a designer in Calcutta who is obsessed with keeping Indian traditions alive. We go to India every year and I always come back with some beautiful textiles. I also go to Delhi’s Khan Market for exquisite old saris and borders (+9133-4031 6000; www.sabyasachi.com).

A recent “find” is the new Parisian branch of Shang Xia. I first came across this Hermès-owned Chinese brand in Shanghai and was taken aback by the quality of its porcelain and cashmere. 8 Rue de Sèvres, 75006 Paris (+331-4222 5362; www.shang-xia.com).


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