Rounded corner

Ashley Havinden room

Cast your eye over this lovely room designed by Rodney Thomas for graphic designer Ashley Havinden in 1932.

Now you might be forgiven for thinking Shelf Appeal is in danger of becoming the Ashley Havinden blog. I have posted about his socks and his business card. This is my 3rd post on him. It wasn’t intentional. I was leafing through the 1945 book Colour Schemes and Modern Furnishing by Derek Patmore and spotted the room and his name. I’d not made the connection before.

I then see the room is also featured in the nice Havinden catalogue from National Galleries of Scotland. But quoted there as being from a review by Patmore in The Studio magazine of 1932. The catalogue also tells us the super BP poster in the frame is from Havinden’s campaign design for them of 1930. And propped open on the shelf is Havindens’ copy of the book Staatliches Bauhaus in Weimar 1919- 1923.

The room is painted light cream and has rounded corners ‘to prevent them gathering dust.’ And ‘colour is introduced by means of a scarlet silk cord around the joins in the walls and furniture, instead of the ordinary beading.’ So that’ll be where the dust gathered, then.

The designer of the room, Rodney Thomas, is a really interesting character himself. Part of the Crawfords advertising agency mafia. The super over-the-top clock on the wall is his design. Does it read twenty to eleven? I’m not entirely sure.



Gorgeous as that is, I fear for his back if he had to work on that drawing board and that stool.

shelf appeal

I did wonder about the stool, it looks like a Pel or Thonet tubular design. Beautiful, but, as you say, probably not ergonomic 🙂


Oh yes that is really rather fine isn’t it. Although I would worry that the gas fire was going to gently bake my books…


I love those 30s low built-in bookshelves, especially when they incorporate furniture or act as a room divider, and the clock is great. By coincidence I bought the Havinden catalogue on wednesday from The Dean Gallery in Edinburgh, and largely on the strength of the choice bits and pieces of his work that you’ve put up.

Jennifer Corner

This is wonderful setup. The color of the floor, walls and curtain is really nice. This give true 1930s classic feeling. The metallic stool, however, is somewhat ‘modern’ compared to other items in the room.

For the clock, I also think it’s twenty to ten.


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