Nic Barlow was a very dear friend. But most importantly he was a fabulous photographer, a garden specialist and also a great portraitist. His warmth, extravagant tastes, unusual clothes brought him the sympathy of all sitters. He left us last Tuesday, August 1, at 72, peacefully in his sleep in his beautiful house of Stancombe Park, Gloucestershire. He liked to say that Prince Charles had visited it before buying Highgrove. His Austrian mother had perfected the gardens which can vie visited on demand, and he had restored the Temple, a miraculous little house on a lake which he rented to honeymooners. He also developed follies in the park with a Chinese pavilion and entirely redecorated the house with the imagination of an artist.
I had met him at Vogue Hommes for which he took pictures in England while doing reporting with Meredith Etherington Smith, our then formidable correspondent. We had travelled together to Sydney where we interviewed Peter Weir (b.1944) the star director of “The Year of living dangerously” with Mel Gibson and Sigourney Weaver. We did a series of interviews in Great Britain, of people who mattered and photographed Virgin’s beloved founder Richard Branson, who was living on a boat in Little Venice, in London. We covered numerous restaurants and castles owners, went to Ayers Rock Australia and he was one of the first photographers to report on Aboriginal art in Papunya in 1982. His perfect education at Eton did not prevent him to have great inventiveness and multiple ideas which he developed in all directions.
His passion for people led him to cook a lot and become passionate with food from all countries. One of his personal projects had been to ask each one of his close friends to send a recipe and he published it with their portrait. This gallery of faces was completely international with Austrians, Italians, French and Gloucestershire neighbors. He used to live in Holland Park and decided to move to a three story house on Spitalfields market when the East of London was not yet trendy. There, he printed his own photographs, using all kinds of computer devices to enhance them. His website is still active, maintained by his nephews Harry and Edge Llewellyn who also now run the property. His books on “Eton”, “Follies in Europe” and other gardens are also available.
Stancombe Park was his passion and for his 50 th birthday he had organized a Grand Meaulnes party around the Temple and the lake. It was a mix of great elegance and bohemian chic with unusual cocktails and food. His friends were totally dedicated to him.
Nic was uniquely generous and great fun to be around whether traveling in Mexico to Oaxaca or trying to do a health diet in Saint Malo. He never missed a party and travelled extensively to be with his friends. He will be deeply missed but his wonderful photographs remain. .
Share this Post