Furniture maker and honorary chairman of Christie’s, the Earl of Snowdon loves a historical book or a good biography


Mapp & Lucia by

  E.F. Benson

In my childhood, there were lovely escapist books that I used to adore and couldn’t put down. Mapp & Lucia was a book my grandmother (the Queen Mother) suggested I read when I was ill. Benson is a fabulous bit of old English nonsense along the lines of P.G. Wodehouse. At school, there was a bit of poetry, which I still enjoy – particularly limericks. H.M.Bateman’s cartoons alongside Hilaire Belloc or Edward Lear are fantastic.

Eastern Approaches by

  Fitzroy Maclean

I tend to find historical books of increasing interest. I found the subject matter of Eastern Approaches gripping – the person was a fantastic storyteller and the dialogue was of interest to me. There was a hint of James Bond. In fact, I think James Bond was based on Ian Fleming’s friendship with Fitzroy Maclean

The Lives of Lucian Freud

  by William Weaver

I’ve just discovered Audible, so lengthy tomes like The Lives of Lucian Freud – something I would never have contemplated reading – is a much more likely event. Reading isn’t something I would naturally do. My father (photographer Lord Snowdon) was hell bent against anyone reading a book because he decided it was a waste of time – ‘you should be making something’, he used to say. Also, in the old days, I would be much more workshop based and not have time to read a lot, whereas now, I can sit in a car and listen to an entire book down the motorway – so it’s not a waste of time.

The Sorcerer’s Apprentice

  by John Richardson

I like biographies and enjoyed The Sorcerer’s Apprentice. Picasso was a genius and listening to a historian having the time to be there with him was kind of amazing.

The Art of Looking Sideways

  by Alan Fletcher

The Art of Looking Sideways [a guide to visual awareness] is fun to read because it’s a story a page. You can just dip into it.

Personal View and Private

  View by Lord Snowdon

Obviously, from my perspective, there’s my father’s books on his career, Personal View and Private View which is fantastically interesting – a social and historical document of the art world in the Sixties. People at Christie’s come into my office and say, ‘Can we borrow that book, Private View because we have a picture coming out in the sale that was being painted when your father photographed the artist’.”