The Desmond Guinnesses

31 October 2011
Ben Pentreath

A friend emailed me this morning with a copy of the Sunday Telegraph’s ‘20 Best Interiors Blogs‘. It turns out I’m number 4 on the list, goodness, I thought, how exciting… before realising that they are alphabetically arranged (so I am glad that, unlike school, first names come first).

Nonetheless it occurred to me that perhaps there should therefore be a blog about interiors. Enough about my grey mood yesterday; enough about the European crisis. Perhaps we all need a bit of escapism right now?

For real interiors daydreaming, can I recommend my pen-friend Katy Elliott’s engrossing musings on restoring her 18th century Marblehead house; or, more escapist still, the brilliant ‘Peak of Chic‘ that still provides the real inspiration to the power that is Bridie?

In the meantime, do you recall a little while ago I wrote about Horst’s Book of Houses, Gardens, People? At the time, I promised to write one day about my favourite house of all in the book, Leixlip Castle in Ireland. I haven’t forgotten.  But I have finally got around to taking some photographs.  They really speak for themselves, as of course does Horst’s brilliant text: “It is the great house of Irish fiction, with grandoise ground-floor salons and high-ceilinged bedrooms, hunters and ponies grazing behind park railings rusty suits of armour in the stables, and geese ranging free over the lawn”. Are you transported yet?

But could we have a moment to delight in the wine-bottle dark walls, and pure white joinery, in the hall; in the brilliant clarity of the library, with its leather book-lined shelves, Irish mahogany furniture, and ticking upholstery (perfectly matching the Guinness-blue eyes); or in the vivid scarlet walls of the sitting room? We could. Perfect. I do not know more inspirational rooms.

Buy your copy here. Time to start saving.


10 comments on this post

dear Mr Pentreath, I have arrived at your delicious space by way of the Telegraph list! So glad to have found you delighting in the fact that having only just made your acquaintance I have an archive of over 2 years to look back on and enjoy, I have already started and am in awe of your stunning garden ! and interesting posts! i look forward to visiting often.

robert plantsays:

Dear Ben, I really enjoy your pics etc. Live in Devon but must come to your shop sometime. Robert

Congratulations on being mentioned in The Telegraph! There are two books that I covet above all else: Houses, Gardens, & People and Jansen Decoration. Hopefully I will own both someday soon. In the meantime, thank you for the peek.

Congratulations! I adore The Peak of Chic blog and look forward to discovering Katy Elliot as well as all your previous posts.


Anyone whose imagination is captured by these photographs would enjoy the biography of Mariga Guinness by Carola Peck. Fascinating and oh, so sad.

I have that book and that is one of my favorite houses too! i especially love that skirted vanity

Memories of a Sunday lunch with Desmond Guinness at Leixslip Castle, about 20 years ago: Snow white hair, turquoise blue eyes and a warm immediacy; pre-lunch drinks in a well lived-in, book-lined octagonal study; roast beef in a banquet hall hung with heraldic banners and scattered with sulky beautiful teenage grandchildren; the tall thin Knight of Glin; the Mitford portraits by William Acton hung like a totem pole in the drawing room; a double fronted furnished Georgian doll’s house; a marble bath tub under a mullioned window with a butterfly perching on the edge… Time suspended, but all too fleeting.

Congratulations! I found your blog through Katy Elliott. I can see why you love Leixlip Castle so much. It’s gorgeous! So is your blog!

LOVE that striped couch! That pic could be in a magazine today.

And congrats! Not surprised at all.

I love what you do in this space. It’s real. Don’t change. Love the inspiration in this book. Congrats on the making the list, well deserved!

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