Tour Sir John Richardson’s English Country House & Garden

Recently I stumbled across a short, little video online and I was smitten. It was an interview with Sir John Patrick Richardson, a British art historian who has written three serious tomes chronicling the life of Pablo Picasso whom he came to know very well when he moved to southern France (Provence) in 1952. At the age of 90, (WOW, 90!) he’s currently working on his fourth and final Picasso biography. I’m just hoping I can still write my name by the time I’m 90!

The interview takes places at Sir Richardson’s country home in Connecticut and it’s a fun read, even made me laugh out loud a few times.

Sir John Patrick Richardson's Connecticut Estate


But it was the video that really got to me. Sir Richardson has created a little paradise for himself, the gardens are wild and wonderful.

John Richardson's English Country House in Connecticut


My most favorite quote from Sir Richardson during the video interview is when he’s talking about his garden and says, “Hideous things, I think it’s important to have a few really hideous things, otherwise it looks like too much ghastly good taste.” I am so memorizing that line and using it every chance I get! Ha! I love it!

In 1960, Sir Richardson moved back to New York where he created a “nine-gallery Picasso retrospective.”

John Richardson's Garden English Country House


He also opened the New York office of Christie’s and ran it for the next nine years. It was in 1980 that he began writing.

English Country House of John Richardson


Sir Richardson’s garden feels very natural and free-flowing. He mentions in the video that the garden was not created from a plan, he’s just added to it as he wished over the years.

Garden of John Richardson


It looks so private doesn’t it?

In The Garden With John Richardson


John Richardson's Garden and Connecticut Estate


There are two homes on Sir Richardson’s Connecticut estate. One is a guest home he purchased in 1970 from an interior decorator. The home was originally modeled after an 18th century garden folly found on the ground of Syon House in London.

John Richardson's English Country Estate in Connecticut


Beautiful entry…

John Richardson's Beautiful Connecticut Estate


As I toured the guest house and the other one-room home on Richardson’s estate, I kept thinking how much it reminded me of another home I just read about this past summer…that of Furlow Gatewood seen in the wonderful book, One Man’s Folly.

John Richardson's Country House in Connecticut


Inside the guest house are two, very large 18th century Dutch landscapes that came from one of the Vanderbilt houses.

Tour John Richardson's Connecticut Estate


At first I thought that might be a teacup collection we see in the background, but I think those are actually bowls.

John Richardson's English Country House


The dining room…

Country Estate of John Richardson


The other home on the property is a single room where Sir Richardson actually lives. He refers to it in the video as “the library.” He designed it himself with the help of an architect and it was inspired by an early 19th century villa in Berlin. Inside it has the feel of a grand English country house.

John Richardson, Country House in Connecticut


In the video Sir Richardson says two of the most important things in his library are the two “hugely tall columns from Rome by Piranesi.” You’ll notice a lot of columns throughout the home in both the architecture and in the art he has collected. Sir Richardson’s style of decorating is dramatic and somewhat theatrical.

Connecticut Home of Sir John Richardson


I loved seeing his desk. Notice how he has two lamps on his desk, though the space is limited. Even though it’s a workspace, it’s still styled and decorated to the hilt! 🙂

It’s also nice to see little worn spots on his desk chair. It reminds me of what Bunny Williams said in her book, An Affair With A House, about living with things you love even when they become a bit worn.

Art Historian, John Richardson's Desk, Connecticut Estate


Another view of the desk from the video.

John Richardson's Desk In His English Country House CT


Sir John Richardson’s bed is marked with the Versailles stamp. I love how they left it kind of messy for the photo shoot.

Canopy Bed, John Richardson's Country Home in Connecticut


Be sure and check out the video here: Tour Sir John Richardson Connecticut Country Estate, Homes and Gardens You have to hear him say my favorite quote for yourself! 🙂

John Richardson's Master Bedroom in English Country House


Pictures in this post are from the article and video found at the link above.

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  1. I looked and looked but couldn’t find anything hideous!

  2. Well, the hideous thing to me, was the clutter!! I would go mad in that house, but I did adore the gardens.

  3. Love, love this post!! To me, his house is very a-typical for what most Americans prefer, but that lends to its charm. It reminds me very much of a English country manor house, and the gardens are glorious. Thank you for sharing!

  4. I love English country. Always will, I am sure! I like a little clutter, it makes a home much more interesting. Otherwise you see the room in two seconds and are looking for something else.

  5. pam ~~ crumpety cottage says

    Charmingly messy. 🙂

  6. Oh Susan,
    I love this post! Isn’t it funny how Sir Richardson is showing his cautions against “too” much tasteful decorating? WHAT?! lol
    I wonder if we are touring the home of a gentleman who tries to show us what really matters to him and doesn’t pretend to be just the interior decorator of his home and finally only a “guest” in his own home, but rather shows the everyday life and a few things that might seem inconvenient or bothersome to others, but he doesn’t care! All the mouldings in that home are TDF and the garden and the rest of the home is kept immaculate, but his bed is a bit messy? His leather desk chair is a bit worn on the arm and on the seat? There are even medicine bottles and pill containers on his nightstand? He doesn’t care! He is 90 years old and so genuine and pure, and I love genuine people! I love them even more when they could be my (grand)parents but still have dreams in their life.
    Kudos to that Sir Richardson! 🙂
    Oh, and of course, I adore those floral window treatments! ♥
    They are sooo English country stylish! 🙂
    ~Hugs to you~

    • I do, too Cecilia. I feel most comfortable around people like that, always have. Those window treatments were beautiful! I love the softness they add to the room(s).

  7. Oh, my…I purchased that book “One Man’s Folly” and purposefully have NOT opened it…waiting for the “messiest day” out doors to read and view the wonderful photos while indoors. Quite the amazing fellows these Englishmen! franki

  8. Fun post and the gardens are lovely. The house is interesting. I don’t know if I could live with all that, but I would be willing to try!

  9. Jim Macardell says

    YEARS AGO a friend of mine took me around to meet John Richardson in his flat near SWIFTY”S restaurant! You think this is wonderful you should have seen that flat !!! A “bit of heaven” on earth! By the way Sir John is a delight !

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