Hicks, defining figure of interior design, dies

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DAVID HICKS, one of the defining figures in the world of interior and garden design in Britain since the Second World War, has died, aged 68.

Mr Hicks died peacefully at home in Oxfordshire, looking out, according to his death notice on the garden he had fashioned since moving there in the late Seventies.

Hicks, with the late John Fowler, turned interior designing in Britain, once the domain of powerful society women such as Syrie Maugham and Sybil Colefax, into a profession in which a dedicated practitioner worked on projects alongside architects.

Hicks was propelled into the public eye in 1960 when he married Edwina Mountbatten, the younger daughter of Earl Mountbatten of Burma, thus becoming part of the extended world of the Royal Family and Sixties cafe society also inhabited by Princess Margaret and Tony Snowdon.

His first book, David Hicks on Decoration, appeared in 1966. The house that the Hickses made for their family at Britwell Salome, with its strong colours, and rich furnishings, was definitive of the style which he also employed at Baronscourt, the seat in Northern Ireland of the Duke of Abercorn, where he adapted a series of rooms of parade into a home for modern life, with a kitchen rounding off the sequence of grand reception rooms.

He also produced interiors for the QE2, a royal yacht for King Fahd of Saudi Arabia and a new library at the Lutyens British Embassy in Washington DC when it was redecorated room by room by British designers. In the Seventies and Eighties Hicks turned increasingly to garden design, publishing books on Living with Design and Garden Design in the 1980s.

Hicks's younger daughter, India, has made a name as a model, while his son, Ashley, has gone into the same world as his father, as an architect in private practice in London.