Is there a particular room that you’ve taken huge inspiration from? NH:
The hall at Sanssouci Palace in Potsdam outside Berlin. It’s one of the most extraordinary rooms. I love that German version of French almost more than I love French. Also the landing at Pavlovsk [near St. Petersburg], the pink landing with great piles of armorial cannonballs and things made of plaster. It is absolutely breath taking.
What’s the most surprising place you got inspiration from? NH:
It is called West Kennet Long Barrow, it’s a Neolithic thing in Wiltshire- like Stonehenge, underground. It’s absolutely extraordinary; rows and rows of stones beams all under the ground.
In your opinion, what interior designers, past or present have the most originality? NH:
Stephen Sills in America is a genius. He’s wonderful. For a different look? There aren’t many in England really as it’s quite safe for decorating. In the past, Jean-Michel Frank and Emilio Terry in France. They changed the rules. That’s the best thing about decorating.
What is originality to you? NH:
Well there is so little originality. I suppose taking the dare is originality, not saying ‘I can’t do that’. That’s original –just saying ‘I’ll do it!’
If space weren’t an object, what would you collect? NH:
I don’t really collect very much, I think it’s boring to have a fixation about getting something all the same like 400 snuff boxes or 800 shells. I like just funny little things that amuse me. I’ve started collecting 18th century prints of children playing for some reason. I just find them very charming.
Do you have a favourite artist? NH:
If I could have a Richard Parkes Bonington, a real one; that would be pretty wonderful. He’s an amazing painter.
What art movement inspires you the most? NH:
The romantic state portraits like those by Batoni - these wacky, huge portraits of people in wonderful clothes.
What is the most glamorous hotel in the world? NH:
The Carlisle in New York used to be very glamorous – it’s going off, but it was pretty glamorous when I lived there in the 60s.
What is your favourite market in the world? NH:
I only go to one. It’s called Blackbushe Market and it’s near my Hunting Lodge in the country. It’s full of boys with Pitbulls and hoodies. They sell clothes, pots and pans, terrible carpets and fake mobile phones. It’s fun to go to on Sunday morning.