The incredible invitations and ephemera created by Mr. Boddington’s Studio don’t look like those from any other company, and the firm is rather like none other, too, in that no one has actually met its mysterious namesake. If you call and ask to be put through to Mr. Boddington, you might be told he is revisiting the hillside in Udaipur, India (where he first applied silk taken from his bride’s gown to the back of a postcard) … but most likely there will be a long pause, and you will be told he is not in.
In fact, Mr. Boddington only briefly revealed himself years ago … as the imaginary childhood friend of Proprietor Rebecca Schmidt Rubensaal. I’ve profiled Rebecca at Stationery Trends in two of our departments, both as a Designers to Watch in 2012 and a designer profile. “Through the years, his personality grew into a muse and inspires all of us in the studio,” she told me then. “He captures the studio’s philosophy perfectly — Old World, imaginative and debonair.”
There is something about this line that is so special and even a little mystifying in all its little luxe details and chic flourishes, so I was still curious to learn more about Mr. Boddington, whose rather rakish silhouette literally runs through it.
Described as a “curious, persnickety and well-traveled gentleman who rarely stays put,” he also “owns a vintage Capri fishing yacht and drinks Bombay gin and tonics while eating bread with orange marmalade.”
Having inspired such a dazzling body of work, I thought it might be interesting to get his insights into his line. I was graciously accommodated courtesy of Jessie Pickren, the company’s president, who made sure my queries were rapidly expedited & answered.
1. SS: You are obviously a cosmopolitan & debonair personage with many interests and passions. What made you decide to delve into the stationery world?
MB: Ah! There was never a decision made, I’ve had ink on my thumbs since I was born! It’s true that I began writing when I was three years old. I later (age twelve) studied in a Russian correspondence court under Tsar Nicholas. Correspondence is key, my dear!
2. SS: Where do you find inspiration for your creations?
MB: In my constant travels … in the coat of a wild Springbok, in the contours of the Lisbon coast, in the taste of a fresh rambutan, in the the colors of the Kalahari Desert, in the angles of my lovely bride’s exquisite handwriting … there is inspiration everywhere.
3. SS: What letter, card or invitation first comes to mind as the best you’ve ever received?
MB: Actually, that would have to be a stack of correspondence I keep with me at all times.
It is that of my parents as they wrote adoringly back and forth over the years of their lives together. I cherish them all …
4. SS: What are your three favorite paper lines aside from your own studio?
MB: 1. Smythson.
5. Is there anything you do personally to keep letter-writing, card-sending and invitation using alive?
The second hour of my every day (after biscuits and tea, of course) is dedicated to letter-writing.
This has been my manner and routine since I was ten years old.