Camilla Perkins only moved into her 19th century Ringmer cottage two years ago yet she’s already thinking about her next move.
The house is great, she explains, it’s just that she’s starting to run out of space. Perkins is a collector, you see, whose passion for print, textiles and art fuels her work as an illustrator but poses a problem when it comes to storage. “I’m obsessed with mid-century landscape oil paintings,” she says. “I’m always on Etsy searching for them. I also love French gingham plates, antique tapestry sketches and Chinese painted eggs. The other day I was genuinely trying to buy a wholesale lot of 15. It was lucky my husband made me see sense.”
Still, it’s this rich range of influences that have helped to make Camilla one of the rising stars of British illustration, with a client list that ranges from Google to The Guardian. Her aesthetic is bold, joyful, lively – a visual representation of her ebullient personality. “I just draw the stuff I like – there’s a lot of food, flowers, holidays. I want people to look at my work and feel good.”
She has applied the same attitude to her East Sussex home, which is filled with a mix of jewel-coloured furniture, antique shop finds and striking Indian and African prints. Camilla and her husband Jack, a gardener, moved to Ringmer from a flat in Brighton’s Lansdowne Place shortly after their eldest daughter, Wren, was born. The couple both grew up in Sussex; Camilla in and around Hastings, whose fish stalls and cafés continue to inspire her motifs of lobsters and other seafood, and Jack in nearby Lewes. The cottage’s peaceful location overlooking the village green was an immediate attraction, especially after they bought their cocker spaniel puppy Ralph, who Camilla jokes is their “problem child”. “He seems to think he owns the green and barks at everyone who walks past.”
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