As a film designer who’s worked on the Harry Potter series, Titanic and a number of James Bond films, you’d be correct in assuming that Peter Francis has a keen eye for style. When his house, an early 20th-century delight standing amid an acre of Lakeland countryside, came up for sale in December 2007, Peter snapped it up straight away.
Designed by renowned architect MH Baillie Scott and built in 1910, the structure is typical of its era. Constructed in a time when the Arts and Crafts movement was flourishing in the Cumbrian countryside, Peter’s home is a striking example of its principles and still has the original in-built oak furnishings, local slate and walls painted in grey-tinted neutrals.
While he was determined not to disturb the internal handiwork of Baillie Scott, Peter wasn’t quite so reserved when it came to his own collections. ‘I’m a natural collector and a bit of a hoarder. I like early and mid 20th-century pottery, especially Hornsea, which I began buying 20 years ago,’ he says. Set against the Arts and Crafts backdrop of brown shelving units and oak ledges, Peter’s owl-shaped Hornsea Pottery preserve jars becomes a standout display.
Peter is also an avid collector of Swedish Gullaskruf glass. The brightly-coloured bottles and vases have been grouped together on window ledges, allowing the natural light to shine through and create an impressive arrangement. The collection began with a large smoky blue piece. ‘I found it in a gallery in London several years ago and the collection has kept on growing,’ says Peter.
Travelling the world as a film and television designer has given Peter plenty of opportunities to find unusual antiques and he’s always on the lookout. He is currently searching for an all-singing, all-dancing cuckoo clock. MH Baillie Scott’s 150th birthday is coming up in October and we can’t think of a more timely gift for Peter to celebrate with.
Photographs: David Parmiter