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On my Bookshelf: Charley Harper's Animal Kingdom

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Aniimal Kingdom2

An unusually beautiful book landed on my desk recently and I couldn't wait to share it with you. After rediscovering Ohio-based illustrator Harper's work in 2001, American designer Todd Oldham dove deep into previously unseen work left behind by the late artist. This new book, Charley Harper's Animal Kingdom, is a companion to the monograph Charley Harper: An Illustrated Life.

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The never-before-published animal illustrations are so graphic, they're perfectly suited to this large format book.What I really love about Harper's work is that the animals retain their integrity: They don't all look like cartoon animals and don't have an ounce of Disney-esque cuteness. It's an exuberant tribute to an exuberant artist, and a lovely antidote to a gray winter day.

Book Friday: An Elegant Wilderness

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Before Palm Beach, the Hamptons, St. Barts and St. Tropez, the American elite whiled away their summer months in a place a little more rustic: the Adirondacks. Though Upstate New York is no longer the getaway it used to be, there are still remnants of its rich past left in the architecture of its grand lodges. In "An Elegant Wilderness" a new book out from Acanthus Press, author Gladys Montgomery explains the Adirondack architectural style within the context of the time period, from 1855-1935.

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The book is a stunning account of a time gone by, with nearly 300 black and white photographs of the lodges, including the exteriors, interiors and the people who spent time in them. It's really interesting to see how these families decorated their homes to reflect both the wilderness around them and the aesthetics of the early 20th century. The images act as a time-machine back to another era, and the houses are quite inspirational. They would be great for anyone planning to decorate their own second home, or just bring a little more nature into their urban dwelling.

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A great two-tier porch. Knollwood in 1899.
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1 A great two-tier porch. Knollwood in 1899. ("An Elegant Wilderness," Gladys Montgomery)

What an eclectic dining room. The bathroom looks a little more peaceful. Interior of Camp Inman, c. 1890. (

2 What an eclectic dining room. The bathroom looks a little more peaceful. Interior of Camp Inman, c. 1890. ("An Elegant Wilderness," Gladys Montgomery)

An expansive boathouse. This family must have spent a lot of time on the water. Boathouse at Topridge. (

3 An expansive boathouse. This family must have spent a lot of time on the water. Boathouse at Topridge. ("An Elegant Wilderness," Gladys Montgomery)

A very dramatic front gate. Entrance to Litchfield Park. (

4 A very dramatic front gate. Entrance to Litchfield Park. ("An Elegant Wilderness," Gladys Montgomery)

I like the simple sophistication of these rooms. Camp Wild Air in 1895. (

5 I like the simple sophistication of these rooms. Camp Wild Air in 1895. ("An Elegant Wilderness," Gladys Montgomery)

The layering of many different Native American motifs makes this room a bit busy, but in a good way. Topridge lodge. (

6 The layering of many different Native American motifs makes this room a bit busy, but in a good way. Topridge lodge. ("An Elegant Wilderness," Gladys Montgomery)

I'm sure that boathouse patio was a popular entertaining spot. The boathouse at Camp Inman, c. 1923. (

7 I'm sure that boathouse patio was a popular entertaining spot. The boathouse at Camp Inman, c. 1923. ("An Elegant Wilderness," Gladys Montgomery)

The incorporation of oriental pieces is very reminiscent of the period. Jesswin Camp on Fourth Lake. (

8 The incorporation of oriental pieces is very reminiscent of the period. Jesswin Camp on Fourth Lake. ("An Elegant Wilderness," Gladys Montgomery)

Even the tents look pretty luxurious. Raquette Lake Camp, c. 1910. (

9 Even the tents look pretty luxurious. Raquette Lake Camp, c. 1910. ("An Elegant Wilderness," Gladys Montgomery)

There's something great about the simplicity of log cabin design. Camp Bluff Point in 1885. (

10 There's something great about the simplicity of log cabin design. Camp Bluff Point in 1885. ("An Elegant Wilderness," Gladys Montgomery)

The front porches of this camp would be perfect to unwind from the stresses of the city. Camp Bluff Point, in 1885. (

11 The front porches of this camp would be perfect to unwind from the stresses of the city. Camp Bluff Point, in 1885. ("An Elegant Wilderness," Gladys Montgomery)

I can see why this lake was popular. The stillness is so calming to look at. Boat House at Stokes Camp, c. 1890. (

12 I can see why this lake was popular. The stillness is so calming to look at. Boat House at Stokes Camp, c. 1890. ("An Elegant Wilderness," Gladys Montgomery)

The incorporation of tree branches is so whimsical. It's like sleeping outside–without all the bugs. Kamp Kill Kare, c. 1935. (

13 The incorporation of tree branches is so whimsical. It's like sleeping outside–without all the bugs. Kamp Kill Kare, c. 1935. ("An Elegant Wilderness," Gladys Montgomery)

Some lodge decorating can go a bit over the top with the use of wood, but I actually like the natural material of this desk. It's very simple and straightforward. Wonundra in 1930. (

14 Some lodge decorating can go a bit over the top with the use of wood, but I actually like the natural material of this desk. It's very simple and straightforward. Wonundra in 1930. ("An Elegant Wilderness," Gladys Montgomery)

I love the use of animal furs in decorating (though I prefer faux). It really warms up a room. Kamp Kill Kare, c. 1935. (

15 I love the use of animal furs in decorating (though I prefer faux). It really warms up a room. Kamp Kill Kare, c. 1935. ("An Elegant Wilderness," Gladys Montgomery)

Book Friday: Hotel Il Pellicano

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The Hotel Il Pellicano is what everyone dreams to find when they vacation on the Italian coast. It’s a paradise enveloped in the pine trees, overlooking the sea from atop a cliff. For nearly 50 years it has been a retreat for international socialites and royalty alike. Even I was lucky enough to visit it once.

In "Hotel Il Pellicano", a new book  published by Rizzoli, three photographers construct the hotel’s lifetime, from the black and white groundbreaking images by Slim Aarons, to the contemporary fêtes captured by Juergen Teller.

Funny thing is, most of the images are not of the hotel but of the occupants. The Graham family who constructed it, the Sció family who now own the home, and their guests. The images are stunning but they are family albums none the less.

Though the book covers over 4 decades, the images are very much consistent. Sunbathers recline by the water, men smoke cigars, meals are held al fresco, boats cut through the clear sea, children jump on trampolines and eat ice cream, and the ambitious play tennis and read books. It appears as if the Pellicano exists outside of time. As one-time visitor Bob Colacello explains in the introduction “The place has an aristocratic naturalness to it, as it if has always existed. You feel very secure, safe.”

More than anything, the book proves that vacations aren’t about price or extravagance, but spending time with family and friends. Colacello describes a typical day at Pellicano as “living in your bathing suit, reading a fat royal biography or slim avant-garde novella, breaking for dips in the warm clean, emerald sea or in the very civilized saltwater pool.” Sounds like the perfect summer day at any other beach.

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Original proprietors Patricia and Michael Graham.

1 Original proprietors Patricia and Michael Graham. "Hotel Il Pellicano", Rizzoli

Title page of the album of photographs created by John Swope. I love the font on the sign.

2 Title page of the album of photographs created by John Swope. I love the font on the sign. "Hotel Il Pellicano", Rizzoli

Pan of Porto Ercole.

3 Pan of Porto Ercole. "Hotel Il Pellicano", Rizzoli

Michael Graham.

4 Michael Graham. "Hotel Il Pellicano", Rizzoli

July, 1967.

5 July, 1967. "Hotel Il Pellicano", Rizzoli

John Good and Ginny Bell. The design on her shirt sends my mind spinning.

6 John Good and Ginny Bell. The design on her shirt sends my mind spinning. "Hotel Il Pellicano", Rizzoli

7 "Hotel Il Pellicano", Rizzoli

August 1967. La Rocca Spagnola, the fortress on the hill in the distance, was built by Philip II of Spain in the 16th century.

8 August 1967. La Rocca Spagnola, the fortress on the hill in the distance, was built by Philip II of Spain in the 16th century. "Hotel Il Pellicano", Rizzoli

9 "Hotel Il Pellicano", Rizzoli

What a color palette in this family portrait. August 1967. A young family is pictured in the shade of the bougainvillea; Prince Allesandro 'Tinti' Borghese with his wife, Contessa Fabrizia Citterio, and their two children, Alessandra and Fabio Borghese, at Il Pellicano. Borghese, owner of the Monto Argentario estate, sold the land to the Grahams on which the hotel was established, after first building a house nearby as a gift to Queen Juliana of the Netherlands (1909-2004).

10 What a color palette in this family portrait. August 1967. A young family is pictured in the shade of the bougainvillea; Prince Allesandro 'Tinti' Borghese with his wife, Contessa Fabrizia Citterio, and their two children, Alessandra and Fabio Borghese, at Il Pellicano. Borghese, owner of the Monto Argentario estate, sold the land to the Grahams on which the hotel was established, after first building a house nearby as a gift to Queen Juliana of the Netherlands (1909-2004). "Hotel Il Pellicano", Rizzoli

August 1973. Guests enjoy relaxing by the heated seawater pool, or lounging around the jetty by Il Pellicano's shore -- taking out a small craft or dangling their feet in the water. 'Hotel Il Pellicano

11 August 1973. Guests enjoy relaxing by the heated seawater pool, or lounging around the jetty by Il Pellicano's shore -- taking out a small craft or dangling their feet in the water. 'Hotel Il Pellicano", Rizzoli

Keeping everything ship-shape and harmonius on deck, topping up a tan ... Elisabetta Catalano, August 1969.

12 Keeping everything ship-shape and harmonius on deck, topping up a tan ... Elisabetta Catalano, August 1969. "Hotel Il Pellicano", Rizzoli

I'm seeing a beach towel design.

13 I'm seeing a beach towel design. "Hotel Il Pellicano", Rizzoli

If you've seen my story in Boundless Beauty you'll know I love pattern on the ceiling. Contessa Rattazzi, at home in Santa Liberata, Porto Ercole, August 1980.

14 If you've seen my story in Boundless Beauty you'll know I love pattern on the ceiling. Contessa Rattazzi, at home in Santa Liberata, Porto Ercole, August 1980. "Hotel Il Pellicano", Rizzoli

These two rooms are beyond fab. Contessa Giuppi Pietromarchi in her garden room at La Ferriera, her family's Capalbio Villa, September 1986 (top). Contess Lili Gerini at the Gerini villa, Santa Liberata, Porto Ercole, August 1973 (bottom).

15 These two rooms are beyond fab. Contessa Giuppi Pietromarchi in her garden room at La Ferriera, her family's Capalbio Villa, September 1986 (top). Contess Lili Gerini at the Gerini villa, Santa Liberata, Porto Ercole, August 1973 (bottom). "Hotel Il Pellicano", Rizzoli

An 80kg tuna caught by local fisherman and prepared as sashimi for the Hotel Il Pellicano Globetrotters' Party on 13 June.

16 An 80kg tuna caught by local fisherman and prepared as sashimi for the Hotel Il Pellicano Globetrotters' Party on 13 June. "Hotel Il Pellicano", Rizzoli