The My Library series discovers the books loved by the people we meet. Editor-at-large of Wallpaper* magazine Henrietta Thompson shares hers.
“My book collection, bless its heart, assumes that I live in a vast mansion house with a huge and beautiful library. Until I have that, it has to live in the Welsh countryside, where my father has actually tried dry stone walling with my books in an attempt to stop them taking over every single room of his house. To my family my books are like the fun relative you might initially love to have to stay. But who invariably seriously overstays their welcome.”
She might try to convince herself it’s for professional reasons, but Henrietta has a personal weakness for huge, glossy, coffee-table tomes of art, design, photography and architecture. And magazines. And exhibition catalogues.
“I love them. I always have. It’s why I do what I do for a living. But they do rather weigh you down, and they don’t easily fit with compact London living.”
So, pending the next house move and the gigantic library that will hopefully bring, the books she now keeps at home are essentials only.
“No old books. No fiction if I’ve already read it. No recipe books unless I love them. Every now and then I donate a pile to charity, or local companies.”
The books seen here are ones Henrietta bought recently, and fell in love with. Then there are the books that are personally valuable to her, such as the Magnum compendium, signed by several of the photographers, and Jake Chapman’s stories signed with rude doodles.
“There’s also a book of Korean photographs, sent as a present all the way from Seoul after I met the artist. We’d been having a conversation about a photography project he’d done in a place called Book City. I’m now thinking of building a mini version of that place, in North Wales… ”