The wonderful world of Mr Walker

30 September 2012
Ben Pentreath

I’m not normally one for fantasy. I like to keep my feet planted on the ground, I guess, and I’m more interested in reality than dreams.

But this week, can we make an exception?  Browsing in my favourite magma bookstore on Clerkenwell Road, I found (a week early) the new Tim Walker book that is the catalogue for the much-anticipated Story Teller that will be arriving at Somerset House in October.

This is not, as we know, really a blog for the fashion-conscious; I suppose if anything we’re making a fashion out of being anti-fashionable over here aren’t we? But I first came across Tim Walker in these two, now iconic photographs, of balloons rising out of the windows of Eglingham Hall in Northumberland, and tents in the Library at Chanters House, Devon, and they have stayed in my mind ever since. Could the country house be made more romantic? No, it could not.

So let us briefly luxuriate in this magnificent vision, of country houses and gardens, of ancient oak staircases filled with hawthorn branches, of sugar crystal roses, of biplanes made from loaves of bread, and spitfires crashing through faded drawing room walls.  From the beautiful, cloud-laced, blue-sky endpapers, to the final image of a rotting ship in the desert, each image is arresting, absorbing, entrancing.

For me: the most striking photographs of all? The floating dinner party in the Cheviot Hills in Northumberland, shown here:

Bravo, Mr Walker: let the dream time begin!

22 comments on this post

The book looks great, awesome photography. I especially like the one with the tents inside the house and the one where the dining tables are hanging from the trees.

I always turn to you when in need of inspiration and escape. Thank you. Most delicious photography! I agree – the floating dinner party is wicked!

First photographer I ever assisted 13 years ago!!! ( and one of the last ) a wonderful book! Fantasy is FAR more fun Ben, as we can see, the thing is to make it reality : )

Oh how amazing, thanks so much for introducing me to an interesting man! Im off to research more……

Just awesome work. Really appreciating.

what an exciting and inspiring book! will pre-order straight away, thank you!

Your Australian following is increasing I think. Maybe we need a visit and book signing in the antipodies.
Thanks for the inspiration cilla rule

Lucy Claytonsays:

Swooooon. Tim Walker – the inspiration for many a party. It’s how life SHOULD look…

Gideon Watsonsays:

wow Ben, that’s so cool…. Cecil Beaton on Acid. Gid

wowie zowie! very special, so exciting!


Your Dorset nephew, lately of Rushmore. We all had a really over-the-top hot chocolate together last week. He very kindly offered me his last 24p to help pay for such extravagance!


I will remember that at Christmas!!!

wow! amazing. The one with the tents inside the traditional room is awesome.


Oh excellent – an exhibit to see and a new-to-me bookstore to visit when next in London over the holidays. Thanks for the rec.


This book looks spectacular and so glad you like Magma, it is my (ex and amiable) brother-in-law’s shop. I will pass it on. (And your nephew is my son Ed’s great friend…)


It is a fantastic shop! My Dorset nephew or my Bath nephew?! what a small world!! Ben


So lovely, reminds me of stories my late Grandfather used to tell about the boys at the school he used to teach in. On the last day of each year the sixth-form leavers would play a prank on the headmaster and fill his office with unusual things like popcorn (halfway up the room); or turn the contents of the room upside down; one year they even dismantled a mini and rebuilt it in the middle of the room…


I love this and personally, I can never dream enough!


A great way to start a wet Monday morning – Smiling!


Love – and his set designer Shona Heath


Dear Ben
I live in Australia and came across your wonderful blog by accident, although I was searching out beautiful blogs such as yours and glad I found it. It is truly beautiful, I love the photographs and your way of capturing the moment in words takes me away. I love the UK and have visited and walked around many of the places that you have been and photographed – I particularly loved the piece on the Lakes, where I stayed two years ago and did some lovely walks. I have ordered your book and now I have just investigated this book by Tim Walker and have placed an advance order through book depository. Thank you so much for sharing your gorgeous part of the world with others. Regards, Michelle



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