Last week I shared with you the exteriors of some famous Romanian writers’ houses, but it’s much more difficult to show you what it looks like inside. Most of the houses were nationalised and converted into schools or other public buildings. Even the ones that were transformed into museums had little of the original furnishings left. So I have had to include a few writers from elsewhere to make up a decent number of writers’ studies or libraries. What strikes me is how bare and functional most of them are. Clearly, a fancy location does not mean better output!
You saw the grand house with a tower that belonged to Mihail Sadoveanu in Iasi, but his desk is a relatively modest affair – perhaps he didn’t want to be facing a window so that he wouldn’t get distracted from his work (but I would have made my study in the tower). From turistintaramea.blogspot.com
Cezar Petrescu’s lovely mountainside villa was filled with books, many of them from France. From Lumina newspaper.
This is how I remember many flats of intellectuals in Romania during the Communist period, crammed full of objects in not very much space. This is the flat of poet Ion Minulescu. From vacanteleluimircea.wordpress.com
Mircea Cartarescu in his living room/library, from Adevarul.ro
Japanese writers are equally cramped for space, this is the study of Yoshimura Akira. From vivelalenteur.typepad.com
Rudyard Kipling in the study of his house in Vermont, from Arts and Thoughts.
Ah, well, there’s nothing like coming from a wealthy family after all! Pushkin’s study/library in St Petersburg, where he died after being wounded in a duel. Actually, it was merely an apartment that Pushkin rented in the house of the aristocratic Volkonsky family. From Visit Petersburg site.
Can you just imagine what masterpieces I might write at these super-tidy desks if I didn’t have random pieces of paper, piles of books, ten leaky pens, heart and car crafty pieces by my sons and a million other things competing for space on them? How did that saying go about a clear desk leading to a clear mind – or an empty one, possibly?
This is the picture that kicked off the dream – a desk set in a landscape of calming green, what more could you want. From dwell.com
Of course, if you have a corner, you might want to make the most of your desk space and go all the way round. Get more comfy chairs, though! From dwell.com
This house in the Blue Ridge Mountains, known as the Piedmont Residence, demonstrates that you can have a desk in your bedroom without a problem. As well as a view, of course. From trendir.com
Another modest corner desk – this one at least hints at writing and reading getting done here. Designed by Bloxas from architectureau.com
The Italians do everything so stylishly – this desk ‘hidden’ in the corner of the room, facing out into landscape, perfect for deep thinking. From living.corriere.it
This Napa Valley house also features a desk in the bedroom. Perfect if you have no partner, I believe. Or separate bedrooms. From StevenHarrisArchitects.com
This is a Swiss holiday home, so I don’t think the desk is designed for daily use. Just as well, since I don’t think I’d get much writing done with that view to contemplate. Photo credit: James Silverman, interiordesign.net
We can never have too many pictures of writers’ desks, can we? As I prepare for an intense week of writing and thinking about poetry in Wales, here are some voyeuristic peeks into writers’ studies.
Michael Connelly at work in sober environment, with no window to distract him. From his Facebook page.
Thomas Mann was clearly influenced by Baroque German university libraries.
Will Self seems to be devoted to post-it notes, from itsnicethat.com
Windows are a bonus for those who are not easily distracted, like Ryan Moore. From Pinterest.
Apparently, this is a writer’s retreat you can rent out, from Office Snapshots.
I rather like the feminine touches of this environment, from another2bohemians on Tumblr.
This is a public library, but I just love that writing space. From Fonthill Castle Library in Pennsylvania.
Even if some of the people below are not writers, their studies give us an insight into their lives, and above all into the places where creation takes place.
Beryl Bainbridge’s wonderfully eclectic study, from angels to Titanic to stuffed dogs and guns, from AmandaOnWriting.tumblr.com
As you’d expect, Donna Leon is serene in an office reeking of Italian elegance. From El Pais.
Pretty much dream conditions here in Elizabeth Jane Howard’s lived-in study, from The Guardian.
W.S. Maugham also had near-perfect conditions – maybe at his house in France? From BreathingBooks on Tumblr.
A tour of Gabrielle Coco Chanel’s Apartment at 31 Rue Cambone Paris. from Lily Adore Paris.
Peter York, more of a broadcaster and commentator rather than a pure writer, which perhaps explains the up-to-date decor. From The Guardian
This didn’t belong to an actual writer, but is from a marketing brochure for an interior design company. Still, I wouldn’t mind, would you?From Indulgy.com
There is an enduring fascination with the writing spaces and rituals of famous writers. Perhaps by mimicking some of their surroundings or habits, some of the talent might rub off on us!
Charles Dickens in his purpose-built Swiss Chalet, the garden shed to crown all garden sheds. From Nicolebianchi.com
Rudyard Kipling was likewise not a struggling writer, clearly… From Art of Manliness.
Henry Miller did not even use his study much, other than for posing. From Booktique.com
Ernest Hemingway’s colourful study in Key West. From earthxplorer.com
Pablo Neruda looked out on a beautiful view, just as I imagined. From Pinterest.
While Anne Sexton looked at the camera, giving us plenty of attitude. From This Recording.
Finally, Norman Mailer had such a fancy library-like house over two storeys, that he could not work there. He would go to write in a bare little studio a block away. From Art of Manliness.
Good fortune and good writing spaces are clearly wasted on some people…
In my next Friday Fun, I will show living authors and some more non-English ones.