Masters & Muses
Interview by Camilla Frances
Images from Miguel Flores-Vianna and Peter Hinwood
British design legend Peter Hinwood has come a long way since rising to fame playing Rocky in the 1970s cult classic, The Rocky Horror Picture Show. Eschewing the attention that followed, Peter, then in his 20s, turned to his greatest love – art and antiques – and reinvented himself as an antiques dealer, working both independently and with his business partner, the late antiques dealer and collector, Christopher Gibbs. In the decades since, Peter has created museum-worthy homes in London and Morocco and sourced art and antiques for clients all over the world. Peter shares with Cabana his experiences, inspirations and obsessions.
The best party I’ve ever been to:
This has to be a party in the '70s at the Chelsea home of the model, Nicky Samuel, held for the fashion designer Ossie Clark and his then wife, textiles designer Celia Birtwell. Previously the studio of the important British artist, Augustus John, the property was furnished for Nicky by Christopher Gibbs. An uplifting gathering of friends in a wonderful interior, filled with rock stars and beautiful girls modelling Ossie’s dresses; a happy occasion that continued until dawn, with everyone high as kites.
The most memorable trip I've taken:
In my early 20s I bought a second-hand Ford Mustang V8 Convertible for very little money and set off alone through France and Spain to explore Morocco for three months. The trip was so memorable that ever since I have considered Morocco as my second home.
A moment that defined my career:
Cutting myself off completely from the public eye – after the over exposure of performing as Rocky in The Rocky Horror Picture Show – to work with Christopher Gibbs in his Bond St gallery.
The greatest challenge I’ve overcome:
Taking on the Rocky role despite having no acting experience whatsoever.
The possession I treasure most:
A jardinière created from dozens of Iznik tile fragments, which I discovered at an antiques fair.
The best gift I've ever received:
A still life watercolor, by my lifelong artist friend Nicolette Meeres, of a yellow cuerda seca flowery Safavid tile propped against a vase of flowers on a green tiled Moroccan table.
My favorite flea market:
London’s Portobello. Something wonderful still appears there from time to time (although I don’t believe in bargain hunting at dawn) and it’s always good to see familiar faces.
Ideal interiors in three words:
Portray owners' personality.
Distasteful interiors in three words:
Toffee Apple (leather) sofas.
My proudest achievement:
The colorful Aladdin’s Cave I have created as my home. It contains a lifetime of memories, diverse objects and pieces of furniture that talk to each other, and me, in an uplifting and interesting manner.
I feel most confident wearing:
T-shirts and jeans, striped shirts, fresh colors. I hate designer logos in any form, including belt buckles. I still have the odd well-tailored jacket for special occasions.
My signature scent:
Geo F. Trumper's L'Eau de Portugal or West Indian Extract of Limes, plus essential oils.
My all-time favorite fabric:
Striped cottons from Moroccan tent suppliers.
The person I call for good advice:
The wonder woman Jane Rainey (nee Jane Ormsby Gore), who inspired Mick Jagger to sing, in 1966, "My sweet Lady Jane, when I see you again, your servant I am and will humbly remain."
The person I call for a good time:
Manolo Blahnik, my loyal friend for decades. We have so many happy memories.
The person I owe the most to:
Christopher Gibbs, whose knowledge of history, sense of humour and eye for beauty guided me onwards and upwards to prove that, in a brotherly way, we formed the perfect partnership.
I would describe my childhood as:
I was raised in an artistic environment; my mother and grandmother were painters and my great grandfather, Adolph Tidemand, was a notable Norwegian artist [1814-1876]. We were a regular church going family; I went to Sunday school and holidays were spent in Bridport, Dorset, my father’s birthplace. My first family trip abroad was to Brittany aged 13, where I discovered ancient sites and medieval churches under my father’s guidance.
My next weekend-away destination:
This would be Chilham Castle in Kent, the home of the beautiful Wheeler girls – Sarah, Charlotte and supermodel Jacquetta – since their father, Stuart, died. I have very happy memories there; Christopher and I originally furnished the castle with the aid of Jane (Rainey).
Interior images from Haute Bohemians by Miguel Flores-Vianna, Vendome Press.