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Ashley Hicks

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Ashley Hicks

Ashley Hicks
Born Ashley Louis David Hicks
(1963-07-18) 18 July 1963
London, England
Occupation Author, architect, and interior and furniture designer
Spouse(s) Marina Allegra Federica Silvia Tondato
Children Angelica Margherita Edwina Hicks
Ambrosia Maria Elizabeth Hicks
Parents David Nightingale Hicks
Lady Pamela Hicks

Ashley Louis David Hicks (born 18 July 1963) is a British author, architect, and interior and furniture designer. He is the only son of Lady Pamela Hicks (née Mountbatten) and David Nightingale Hicks.[1] Hicks designs architecture and interiors in Europe, the United States, and the United Kingdom. He divides his time between designing private residential interiors and occasional commercial work.[2]

Hicks is the grandson of Edwina Mountbatten, Countess Mountbatten of Burma and her husband Louis.[1] Through Countess Mountbatten's paternal ancestral line, Hicks is the third great grandson of Anthony Ashley-Cooper, 7th Earl of Shaftesbury. Through his maternal grandfather, Hicks is the second cousin of Charles, Prince of Wales. He is also the godson of Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh.

Personal background

Hicks was born on 18 July 1963, in King's College Hospital in Denmark Hill, London. He is the son and second child of David and Lady Pamela Hicks. He is the younger brother of Edwina Brudenell. He is the older brother of India Hicks, author, television host, fashion model, and fragrance designer.

Hicks was raised at Britwell House, an 18th-century house in Britwell Salome, that served as the family's home, as well as his father's showplace. It was there that his father designed elaborate landscapes that were "virtual outdoor rooms with carefully framed vistas".[3] During the school year, Hicks boarded at the private, Stowe School.[4]

In 1978, the success of his father's business waned, forcing them to sell Britwell, their stately country house in Oxfordshire. Hicks attended the three-day Sotheby's house sale, 20–22 March 1979, with a friend from school who bid for a David Hicks table. After the auction, the Hicks family moved to the Grove, a smaller house on the estate, as well as a set of rooms at the Albany, the legendary early-19th-century London apartment building in Piccadilly.[3]


Hicks is the grandson of the former Countess Mountbatten of Burma, born Edwina Ashley, who was one of Britain's richest women when she inherited most of the £7.5 million fortune of her grandfather, Sir Ernest Cassel.[1] Through Countess Mountbatten's paternal ancestral line, Hicks is the third great grandson of the 7th Earl of Shaftesbury. Through his maternal grandfather, the 1st Earl Mountbatten of Burma, Hicks is the second cousin of Charles, Prince of Wales. He is also the godson of Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh.

Family tragedy

Hicks used to spend Christmas holidays at the Sligo Castle in Ireland and the Mountbatten family ancestral home at Broadlands in Hampshire, where the royal family were frequent guests. When Hicks was 16 years old, his grandfather and his cousin Nicholas Knatchbull were killed, when his grandfather's fishing boat, the Shadow V, was blown up by a Provisional Irish Republican Army (IRA) bomb on Donegal Bay.[5][6] "I didn't go on the boat because I went to buy some cigarettes. It was a beautiful summer's day and I was with India, watching television. We had the windows open and then we heard this big bang."[7]

Marriage and family

On 18 October 1990, Hicks married Italian designer, Marina [1] Allegra Federica Silvia Tondato (born Turin, Italy, 20 May 1960), a daughter of inventor Carlo Tondato and his wife, the former Rosy Maza, in Wheatley, Oxfordshire. They met in 1988, at the Café de Paris in London, when he was a student at the Architectural Association and she was studying the history of art at Sotheby's.[6] He proposed to her over "Twiglets and apple juice at the Groucho Club" in Soho, London.[8]

The Hickses had two children:

  • Angelica Margherita Edwina Hicks was born on 16 September 1992, in St Mary's Hospital, Paddington, London
  • Ambrosia Maria Elizabeth Hicks was born on 23 January 1997, in St Mary's Hospital, Paddington, London

After their wedding, Hicks and his wife lived in a renovated building in New York City that belonged to the artist Marc Chagall's grandson. It was near Fifth Avenue, surrounded by the lofts and studios of local artists. While the building was renovated, the interior of their home was rather low scale, lacking air conditioning. Allegra said of their home, "Although it was a glamorous address it was, for us, more about the people who lived there."[9] They lived in New York from 1991–92.[2] In May 2009, the couple announced the end of their marriage.[1][6] Today, Hicks divides his time between London and his family's old converted carriage house in Oxfordshire.[10]

Professional background

Hicks cites his first decorating experience took place when he was 15 or 16 years old, when he decorated his room in a checkered black-and-white motif. Everything in his room had to be either black or white, including the ceiling and carpet.[10][11]

Influenced by his father, Hicks studied painting and fine art, graduating from the Bath School of Art and Design and trained with the Architectural Association School of Architecture, in London.[11] He then worked briefly for his father's interior design house, before establishing his own architectural firm, designing interiors and furniture.[12]

In 1997, Hicks began designing furniture at the Gem Palace in Jaipur, India. His first piece was his interpretation of a Greek Klismos chair, based on a 1920s drawing by an architect. The chair is rendered in Burmese teak, with a seat made of interwoven straps of saddle leather.[10] He describes the chair as "far more like the ancient Greek ones in its construction, than the Neoclassical revivals".[11] When Hicks initially designed in India, he designed under the moniker of "Jantar Mantar". Hicks explains, "It means abracadabra, also hocus pocus, and is local slang for the Jaipur Observatory."[11]

In addition to interior and furniture design, Hicks produces a line of fabric, wallpaper, and carpeting entitled "David Hicks by Ashley Hicks".[11] In 2002, along with his wife, he wrote Design Alchemy, which provided an overview of the interiors and products they designed. Hicks produced a series of Allegra Hicks shops, which offer a wide collection of home accessories.

In addition to his design catalogues and books, Hicks wrote and illustrated a children's book written for his daughters and friends. The book, Bebe Blue and the Evil Gangsta Rappers, was published by Smartleby Books in 2006.

Published works

  • Hicks, Ashley. David Hicks: A Life of Design, Rizzoli, 2009. ISBN 978-0-8478-3330-6
  • Hicks, Ashley. David Hicks: Designer, Scriptum Editions, December 2002. ISBN 978-1-902686-19-6
  • Hicks, Ashley; Hicks, Allegra; and Irons, Jeremy (foreword). Design Alchemy, Conran Octopus, May 2002. ISBN 978-1-84091-193-0
  • Hicks, Ashley. Bebe Blue and the Evil Gangsta Rappers, Smartleby Books, 2006. ISBN 978-1-59971-388-5



  1. ^ a b c d Tim Walker 10:00PM BST 21 May 2009 (21 May 2009). "Allegra and Ashley Hicks to go their separate ways after 19 years of marriage". London: Telegraph. Retrieved 2011-03-02. 
  2. ^ a b "The artists | profiles | Ashley Hicks". 5 June 2006. Retrieved 2011-03-02. 
  3. ^ a b Viladas, Pilar (12 March 2006). "Male-Pattern Boldness". The New York Times. 
  4. ^ Ashley Hicks. "The Destination For Fine Furnishings Since 1823". Retrieved 2011-03-02. 
  5. ^ O'Brien, Brendan. The Long War: The IRA and Sinn Féin 1985 to Today (Irish Studies), Syracuse University Press, page 55. ISBN 978-0-8156-0319-1
  6. ^ a b c "A life redesigned: Allegra Hicks on life after divorce | Life & Style". 10 December 2010. Retrieved 2011-03-02. 
  7. ^ "My father the control freak". Retrieved 2011-03-02. 
  8. ^ Deakin, Annie. "Our London; Interior designer Ashley Hicks", The Evening Standard (London, England), 27 April 2007
  9. ^ Williams-Akoto, Tessa (16 January 2008). "My home designer, Allegra Hicks". The Independent (London). Retrieved 2011-03-02. 
  10. ^ a b c "London Design Power Couple Reigns in the Post-Taste Age | The New York Observer". 18 July 1999. Retrieved 2011-03-02. 
  11. ^ a b c d e Freyberg, Annabel. "Ashley Hicks World of Interiors", World of Interiors Magazine, January 2011
  12. ^ "Profile". Retrieved 2011-03-02. 

Further reading

  • Hoey, Brian. Mountbatten: The Private Story, Sidgwick & Jackson, 1994.

External links

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