In the 1970’s the meeting of two of England’s youngest and finest talents in the field of decoration led to the creation of probably the nations greatest decoration, conservation and arts teams of the late 20th and early 21st century.
Peter Hare and Paul Humphreys came from quite different backgrounds but they both shared a passion for historic buildings, architecture and the decorative arts that enriched and transformed the interiors of so many beautiful buildings. More importantly they also both shared a dream of bringing together a creative design and conservation studio with the most skilled decorative craftsman in Britain and creating the finest company since the mid 19th century arts and crafts movement.
Paul, born the eldest of 3 in Perthshire Scotland to a middle class family lost his father an RAF fighter pilot at a very young age to a tragic flying accident. His mother a widow at 24 took the young family to Norfolk where his father had been based and where they were raised in the idyllic countryside. It was as a boarder at Wymondham College where Paul found his flair for art and craftsmanship but at 19 he dropped out of art school and left for the city lights and music scene of London.
Peter was raised in the suburbs of east London. A social worker mother and a father who had owned a small plumbing and building company but left to teach mentally handicapped adults, Peter’s life was not socially typical of his surroundings. His father’s passion for model engineering with its precise attention to the finest of design drawing and detailing was Peter’s first inspiration into the art world.
Following stints as a tracer, production control clerk, Covent Garden fruit and veg buyer and working behind the bar in the Marquee club Paul found his metier in the studio of London’s leading church decoration company as a studio assistant, helping to create the designs for ecclesiastical projects and also on site with the highly skilled team of decorators, he travelled the length and breath of the British Isles in a small team cleaning, restoring and decorating some of the land’s finest country and city churches. His development overshadowed many of his contemporaries and following a successful project at the British Ambassadors residence in Tunis, his skills, dexterity and ability under pressure was soon recognised by his employers and he was promoted to take control of several of the companies leading contracts before leaving in 1979 to start-up his own business.
Meanwhile Peter having completed academic courses spent 18 months in accounts, found himself inspired by an interior decorations journal during a visit to an exhibition. He soon managed to convince the authors of the book that he should join them and started his training that would take him around the UK, to Europe and the Middle East, where he soon controlled sizeable palatial projects working alongside international artisans.