Mark Hampton

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Mark Hampton
Replica of the Oval Office as decorated by Mark Hampton for President George H.W. Bush
Replica of the Oval Office as decorated by Mark Hampton for President George H.W. Bush
Mark Iredell Hampton Jr.

1 June 1940
Died23 July 1998 (age 58)
New York City, U.S.
Resting placeSag Harbor, New York, U.S.
EducationBA, MFA, DFA
Alma materDePauw University, London School of Economics, University of Michigan, New York University Institute of Fine Arts
Known forInterior design
Notable workWhite House (Oval Office), Camp David, Blair House
SpouseDuane Hampton

Mark Hampton (born Mark Iredell Hampton Jr., June 1, 1940 – July 23, 1998) was an American interior designer, writer, and illustrator, known primarily for his residential interior design work for clients such as Brooke Astor, Estee Lauder, Mike Wallace, Saul Steinberg, H. John Heinz III, and Lincoln Kirstein, as well as for three U.S. presidents. In 1986, he was inducted into the Interior Design Hall of Fame,[1] and in 2010, Architectural Digest named him one of the world's top 20 designers of all time.[2]

Early life and education[edit]

Mark Hampton was born in Indianapolis and raised in Plainfield, Indiana by his parents, Mark Hampton Sr. and Alice (née Burkert) Hampton.[3] As a child, he spent time with Paul Hadley, a former instructor at the Herron School of Art and Design, and the designer of the Indiana State Flag.[4] Hampton showed early inclinations toward an artistic life, and by the time he was twelve years old, considered himself to be a designer.[5] He credited his success to making an early career choice. His early influences were interior designer Billy Baldwin, and architects Le Corbusier, Frank Lloyd Wright, and Phillip Johnson.[6]

Hampton graduated from DePauw University (BA 1962), and while there, he studied at the London School of Economics as an exchange student for one semester. He studied law at the University of Michigan but left after one year to study at the University of Michigan's School of Fine Arts (BA 1964), He then moved to New York to attend the New York University Institute of Fine Arts (MFA 1967). After completing his studies at NYU, Hampton was awarded a Ford Foundation fellowship, funding travel abroad.[6] In July 1964, he married Duane Flegel with whom he had two daughters, actress Kate Hampton and interior designer Alexa Hampton.


While in England in 1961, Hampton met interior designer David Hicks, who became a mentor and longtime friend.[7] Hampton worked part-time, while at NYU, for the interior designer Sister Parish, and then for several years managed Hicks's New York office. From 1969–75, he worked for the interior design firm McMillen, Inc., headed at the time by Eleanor McMillen Brown.[7][8] He opened his own firm, Mark Hampton LLC, in 1976,[3] and during the course of his career, designed the interiors of numerous residences, offices, hotels, private clubs, railroad cars, airplanes, and boats.[1]

Hampton did interior design work for Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis, and designed the White House Christmas decorations in 1977 for President Jimmy Carter.[9] He worked for President George H.W. Bush and First Lady Barbara Bush, providing interior design services at the White House (in the Oval Office and executive residence); at Camp David; at the family's vacation home in Kennebunkport, Maine; at their retirement home in Houston, Texas; and at the George Bush Presidential Library and Museum in Texas.[10] In 1988, Hampton and Mario Buatta (with Buatta assisted by Scott Salvator) redecorated Blair House, which serves as the president's guest house.[11] In 1989, Hampton completed a renovation of the American Academy in Rome's historic Villa Aurelia, including the installation of "elaborate silk draperies"and the restoration of over 300 pieces of antique furniture.[12] In 1998, Hampton and Kaki Hockersmith renovated the State Dining Room at the White House for First Lady Hillary Clinton.[13]

In addition to interior design commissions, Hampton licensed his designs in fabrics, trimmings, and furniture. He produced fabric designs for Kravet and a line of fabric trimmings for Scalamandre.[10] In 1988 Hampton began designing a line of furniture for the Hickory Chair company, which produced 250 reproduction furniture styles designed by Hampton at the time of his death.[14] The brand continued its partnership with Mark Hampton, LLC until 2018.[15]

His monthly columns for House & Garden were later compiled in the book Mark Hampton on Decorating. He was a member and trustee of the American Academy in Rome.[3] The Academy awards a prize in his honor every year. He was a member of the American Society of Interior Designers and a member of the Committee for the Preservation of the White House.[3]


Hampton was uninterested in being known for a personal style,[16][17] however his style has been described as "tailored and classical."[18] As his career progressed, his style evolved from modern and minimalist to a more traditional aesthetic.[19] Hampton considered himself an Anglophile,[20] and was best known for British decor at the height of his career, with an affinity for "English country house colors, Oriental rugs, floral chintzes, eighteenth- and nineteenth-century antiques, both English and American, and botanical and architectural prints."[16]

Hampton has been called "the Cary Grant of urbane and articulate man, and impeccably dressed."[21] In 1991 he was listed on the International Best Dressed List. Hampton was socially gifted and a thoughtful friend who created watercolor sketches for those he cared about.[22] His watercolor of the White House Green Room was featured on President Reagan's and the First Lady's holiday greeting card in 1983.[23]

Hampton believed that "interior decoration is not just about buying things, but helping people with how to use things of beauty."[23] He preferred to work with clients who had their own collections and personal tastes, bringing them into the design, rather than imposing his specific designs on a space. Hampton said that "a room should look great and reflect the owner at the same time. An ideal room walks off with the people."[24]


Books by Mark Hampton[edit]

Mark Hampton. Mark Hampton on decorating (New York: Random House, 1989).[25]

Mark Hampton. Legendary decorators of the twentieth century (New York: Doubleday, 1992).[26]

Albert Hadley, Mark Hampton (contributor). Albert Hadley: drawings and the drawing process (New York: New York School of Interior Design, 2004).[27]

Books about Mark Hampton[edit]

Duane Hampton. Mark Hampton: the art of friendship (New York: Cliff Street Books, 2001).[28][29]

Duane Hampton. Mark Hampton: an American decorator (New York: Rizzoli, 2010).[30][31]


  1. ^ a b "Mark Hampton: 1986 Hall of Fame Inductee". SANDOW. May 31, 2014. Retrieved 9 October 2016.
  2. ^ Clarke, Gerald (2010). "The World's 20 Greatest Designers Of All Time". Architectural Digest. 67 (1): 94–99.
  3. ^ a b c d Who's Who in America, 1999. New Providence, NJ: Marquis Who's Who, Inc. 1999. pp. 1839. ISBN 9780837901992.
  4. ^ Parks, Debbie. "Indianapolis' Mark Hampton: New York Designer with a Hoosier Touch". Indianapolis at Home: 50–5.
  5. ^ Koncius, Jura (1 August 1998). "Hampton's Life a Chapter in History". The Indianapolis Star. p. F10.
  6. ^ a b de Dampierre, Florence (1999). The Decorator. Rizzoli. pp. 88–91. ISBN 0847811182.
  7. ^ a b Falk, Sally (29 January 1989). "From Indiana to Bushes' League: Honors Heaped on Modest Designer Mark Hampton". The Indianapolis Star. p. H10.
  8. ^ Green, Penelope (22 April 2010). "At Home with Duane Hampton". The New York Times.
  9. ^ Falk, Sally (5 July 1980). "Plainfield Native Shares Expertise". The Indianapolis Star. p. 7.
  10. ^ a b Owens, Mitchell (24 July 1998). "Mark Hampton, Decorator And Style Expert, Dies at 58". The New York Times. Retrieved 7 October 2016.
  11. ^ Koncius, Jura (21 September 2011). "Blair House Curtains to be Auctioned". The Washington Post. Retrieved 8 October 2016.
  12. ^ "US School restores a palace". The New York Times. May 4, 1989. Retrieved August 29, 2022.
  13. ^ Koncius, Jura (December 24, 1998). "Dining in Style". The Washington Post. p. T5.
  14. ^ Miller, Ellen (1 August 1998). "Hampton Left Hickory Chair Many Ideas". The Indianapolis News. p. F10.
  15. ^ Kellery, Hadley (March 2, 2018). "Hickory Chair and Hampton Design Dynasty End Partnership". Retrieved January 28, 2019.
  16. ^ a b "Mark Hampton: An erudite purveyor of traditional themes updated for American living". Architectural Digest. 31 December 1999.
  17. ^ Norwich, William (8 October 1998). "Remembering Mark Hampton". New York Observer. Retrieved 8 October 2016.
  18. ^ Vogel, Carol (16 October 1988). "Inspirations: Stately Style: Mark Hampton and Mario Buatta". The New York Times. Retrieved 8 October 2016.
  19. ^ Simpson, Jeffery. "AD at the Smithsonian". Architectural Digest. 52 (8): 42.
  20. ^ Markoutsas, Elaine (18 March 1985). "Popular Interior Designer Doesn't Take Risks". The Indianapolis Star. p. 9H.
  21. ^ Miller, Ellen (1 August 1998). "Hoosiers Keep Alive Memories of Hampton". Indianapolis News. p. F10.
  22. ^ Hampton, Duane (2002). "From Mark, With Love". Victoria. 26–7 (1).
  23. ^ a b Harris, Betsy (11 March 1991). "Hampton 'Slides' into Benefit for Methodist". The Indianapolis Star. p. B1.
  24. ^ Frank, Sally (12 September 1976). "New York Designer Returns to Indiana to Decorate His Mother's Condominium". The Indianapolis Star. pp. 1, 4.
  25. ^ Hampton, Mark (1989). Mark Hampton on Decorating. New York: Random House. ISBN 9780553459173.
  26. ^ Hampton, Mark (1992). Legendary Decorators of the Twentieth Century. New York: Doubleday. ISBN 9780385263610.
  27. ^ Hadley, Albert; Hampton, Mark; Buatta, Mario (2004). Albert Hadley: Drawings and the Design Process. New York: New York School of Interior Design: Elements of Living. ISBN 9780976157809.
  28. ^ Hampton, Duane (2001). Mark Hampton: the art of friendship. New York: Cliff Street Books. OCLC 46703478. Retrieved 22 August 2022.
  29. ^ Hampton, Duane (2001). Mark Hampton: The Art of Friendship. New York: Cliff Street Books. ISBN 9780060185121.
  30. ^ Hampton, Duane (2010). Mark Hampton: an American decorator. New York: Rizzoli. OCLC 662327268. Retrieved 22 August 2022.
  31. ^ Hampton, Duane (2010). Mark Hampton: An American Decorator. New York: Rizzoli. ISBN 9780847832880.

External links[edit]