Ashley Hicks

Ashley Louis David Hicks (born 18 July 1963) is a British interior designer, author, photographer and artist. He is the only son of Lady Pamela Hicks (née Mountbatten) and David Nightingale Hicks.[1] Hicks has designed interiors in Europe, the United States, and the United Kingdom. He also has a fabric line for Lee Jofa [2] and furniture[3] lines.[4]

Ashley Hicks
Ashley hicks headshot.jpg
Hicks at a book launch in 2015
Ashley Louis David Hicks

(1963-07-18) 18 July 1963 (age 59)
EducationArchitectural Association School of Architecture
Occupation(s)interior, fabric and furniture designer, artist, photographer and author
Marina Allegra Federica Silvia Tondato
(m. 1990; div. 2009)

Kathryn 'Katalina' Anne Sharkey
(m. 2015; separated 2018)
Parent(s)David Nightingale Hicks
Lady Pamela Mountbatten
RelativesMountbatten family

Hicks is the grandson of Louis Mountbatten, 1st Earl Mountbatten of Burma.[1] He was also the godson of his first cousin once-removed, Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh.

Early life and familyEdit

Hicks was born on 18 July 1963, in King's College Hospital in Denmark Hill, London. He is the son and second child of David and Lady Pamela Hicks. He is the younger brother of Edwina Brudenell and the older brother of India Hicks, author, television host, fashion model, and founder of her eponymous lifestyle brand.[5]

Hicks was raised at Britwell House, an 18th-century house in Britwell Salome in Oxfordshire, that served as the family's home, as well as his father's showplace. It was there that his father designed elaborate landscapes that were "virtual outdoor rooms with carefully framed vistas".[6] Hicks was a boarding student at Stowe School.[7] In 1978, the family decided to sell the house, and Hicks attended the three-day Sotheby's sale, 20–22 March 1979. After the auction, the Hicks family moved to The Grove, a nearby estate, and also resided at the Albany, an historic and exclusive apartment house in Piccadilly.[6]

Through his mother, Hicks is a grandson of the first Earl and Countess Mountbatten of Burma. Through his maternal grandfather, Lord Louis Mountbatten, Hicks is a second cousin of King Charles III. He is also the godson of Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh. Lady Edwina Mountbatten was one of Britain's richest women, having inherited most of the £7.5 million fortune of her grandfather, Sir Ernest Cassel.[1]

Family tragedyEdit

As a child, Hicks spent family holidays at Sligo Castle in Ireland and the Mountbatten family ancestral home at Broadlands in Hampshire, where the royal family were frequent guests. In August 1979, when Hicks was 16 years old, his grandfather and his cousin Nicholas Knatchbull were assassinated by the Provisional Irish Republican Army[8] when his grandfather's wooden boat, the Shadow V, was blown up by a remote-controlled bomb on Donegal Bay.[9][10] "I didn't go on the boat because I went to buy some cigarettes. It was a beautiful summer's day and I was with India, watching television. We had the windows open and then we heard this big bang."[11]


Hicks says his first decorating experience took place when he was 15 or 16 years old, when he decorated his room in a checkered black-and-white motif. Everything in his room had to be either black or white, including the ceiling and carpet.[12][13]

Influenced by his father, Hicks studied painting and fine art, graduating from the Bath School of Art and Design and trained with the Architectural Association School of Architecture, in London.[13] He then worked briefly for his father's interior design house, before establishing his own architectural firm, designing interiors and furniture.[14]

In 1997, Hicks began designing furniture at the Gem Palace in Jaipur, India. His first piece was his interpretation of a Greek Klismos chair, based on a 1920s drawing by an architect. The chair is rendered in Burmese teak, with a seat made of interwoven straps of saddle leather.[12] He describes the chair as "far more like the ancient Greek ones in its construction, than the Neoclassical revivals".[13] When Hicks initially designed in India, he designed under the moniker of "Jantar Mantar". Hicks explains, "It means abracadabra, also hocus pocus, and is local slang for the Jaipur Observatory."[13]

In addition to interior and furniture design, Hicks produces various lines of fabric, wallpaper, and carpeting—some under the "David Hicks by Ashley Hicks" brand and others under his own name.[13] Licences to his fabric and wallpaper collections are held by GP & J Baker; the licences to his carpeting lines are held by Stark and Alternative Flooring. In 2002, along with his ex-wife Allegra, he wrote Design Alchemy, which provided an overview of the interiors and products they designed. Hicks also produced a series of Allegra Hicks shops as well as a collection of home accessories that were sold in these shops. In 2017, Hicks published his first book on his own work, Details, which also serves as a source book for his inspiration; published by IDEA Publishing, it sold out within a month.

Hicks began photographing historic interiors for Cabana Magazine in 2016, ranging from a derelict glass factory in Murano, Venice, to grand English country houses like Houghton and Althorp. In 2017 he photographed and wrote a history of Buckingham Palace: The Interiors, published by Rizzoli in conjunction with the Royal Collection. In 2019 he published Rooms with a History, a survey of his own design works and historic interiors that inspired them, all photographed by him.

Hicks is currently a contributing editor for Cabana Magazine.

Hicks exhibited furniture and sculptural objects made by his own hands at New York's R and Company gallery in 2019,[15]

Hicks has also regularly worked with various brands on product collaborations, including a bed linen collection with Frette,[16] a candle range collaboration with Jo Malone[17] and swimsuit collaborations with Orlebar Brown[18] and Coverswim,[19] as well as furniture projects with Kartell[20] and Promemoria.[21]

Personal lifeEdit

On 18 October 1990, Hicks married Italian designer, Marina Allegra Federica Silvia Tondato (born Turin, Italy, 20 May 1960), a daughter of physicist and musician[22] Dr. Carlo Tondato and his wife, the former Rosy Maza, in Wheatley, Oxfordshire. They met in 1988, at the Café de Paris in London, when he was a student at the Architectural Association and she was studying art history at Sotheby's.[10] He proposed to her over "Twiglets and apple juice at the Groucho Club" in Soho, London.[23]

From his first marriage, Hicks has two children:[citation needed]

  • Angelica Hicks (1992)
  • Ambrosia Hicks (1997)

After their wedding, Hicks and his wife lived in a renovated building in New York City that belonged to Marc Chagall's grandson. It was near Fifth Avenue, surrounded by the lofts and studios of local artists. While the building was renovated, the interior of their home was rather low scale, lacking air conditioning. Allegra said of their home, "Although it was a glamorous address it was, for us, more about the people who lived there."[24] They lived in New York from 1991–92.[4] In May 2009, the couple announced the end of their marriage.[1][10] Allegra remarried in June 2014 Marchese[25] Roberto Mottola di Amato, a Neapolitan landowner and entrepreneur.[26]

On 5 September 2015, Hicks married digital fashion editor[27] Kathryn 'Katalina' Sharkey also known as Kata Sharkey de Solis (born Houston, Texas, U.S., 31 December 1981, daughter of William T. Sharkey,[28] CPA, and Rosalie Solis).

News of their engagement was first reported in Page Six of The New York Post, which detailed that Hicks had been "introduced to de Solis via Instagram in May [2015] by artist Donald “Drawbertson” Robertson, the 'Andy Warhol of Instagram.'”[29] Their wedding was held at the family's home at The Grove in Oxfordshire and was officiated by the man who had introduced them (who also served as Hicks's best man), Donald Robertson.[25] Hicks had an affair with Martina Mondadori,[30] godmother to his first son with Kata,[31] during Kata's second pregnancy. Ashley and Kata Hicks separated in 2018.[32]

From his second marriage, Hicks has the following children:

  • Caspian Donald Hicks (2018)
  • Horatio Valentine Hicks (2019)

Hicks decorated his partner Martina Mondadori's home in Milan, Italy, in 2020.[33]

Published worksEdit

  • Hicks, Ashley. Rooms with a History, Rizzoli, 2017. ISBN 978-0847865703
  • Hicks, Ashley. Buckingham Palace: The Interiors, Rizzoli, 2018. ISBN 0847863190
  • Hicks, Ashley. David Hicks Scrapbooks, Vendome Press, 2017. ISBN 978-0865653450
  • Hicks, Ashley. Details, IDEA Ltd., 2017.
  • Hicks, Ashley. David Hicks Scrapbooks, IDEA Ltd., 2016.
  • Hicks, Ashley. David Hicks: A Life of Design, Rizzoli, 2009. ISBN 978-0-8478-3330-6
  • Hicks, Ashley. David Hicks: Designer, Scriptum Editions, December 2002. ISBN 978-1-902686-19-6
  • Hicks, Ashley; Hicks, Allegra; and Irons, Jeremy (foreword). Design Alchemy, Conran Octopus, May 2002. ISBN 978-1-84091-193-0


  1. ^ a b c d Tim Walker 10:00PM BST 21 May 2009 (21 May 2009). "Allegra and Ashley Hicks to go their separate ways after 19 years of marriage". London: Telegraph. Retrieved 2 March 2011.
  2. ^ "Ashley Hicks / Groundworks / Designer Collections /". Archived from the original on 31 July 2016. Retrieved 10 August 2016.
  3. ^ "Ashley Hicks Furniture". Archived from the original on 14 November 2018. Retrieved 10 August 2016.
  4. ^ a b "The artists | profiles | Ashley Hicks". 5 June 2006. Archived from the original on 5 June 2008. Retrieved 2 March 2011.
  5. ^ "India Hicks". Retrieved 10 August 2016.
  6. ^ a b Viladas, Pilar (12 March 2006). "Male-Pattern Boldness". The New York Times.
  7. ^ Ashley Hicks. "The Destination For Fine Furnishings Since 1823". Archived from the original on 3 June 2011. Retrieved 2 March 2011.
  8. ^ Grice, Elizabeth. "Countess Mountbatten: 'I cried every morning for six months'". Retrieved 10 August 2016.
  9. ^ O'Brien, Brendan. The Long War: The IRA and Sinn Féin 1985 to Today (Irish Studies), Syracuse University Press, page 55. ISBN 978-0-8156-0319-1
  10. ^ a b c "A life redesigned: Allegra Hicks on life after divorce | Life & Style". 10 December 2010. Retrieved 2 March 2011.
  11. ^ "My father the control freak". Retrieved 2 March 2011.
  12. ^ a b "London Design Power Couple Reigns in the Post-Taste Age".
  13. ^ a b c d e Freyberg, Annabel. "Ashley Hicks World of Interiors", World of Interiors Magazine, January 2011
  14. ^ "Profile". Retrieved 2 March 2011.
  15. ^ "Ashley Hicks's New Solo Exhibition is Colorful and Quirky, With a Historical Twist | Town and Country". Town and Country. Retrieved 30 March 2022.
  16. ^ "Ashley Hicks Revitalizes His Father's Beloved London Apartment | Architectural Digest". Architectural Digest. Retrieved 8 September 2017.
  17. ^ "Burning designs: David Hicks for Jo Malone". 5 May 2011. Retrieved 10 August 2016.
  18. ^ PORTER, MR. "mr david hicks | The Report | The Journal | MR PORTER". MR PORTER. Retrieved 10 August 2016.
  19. ^ "Today in Lust-worthy Travel Finds: A Chic Swimsuit That Blocks Sunburn". Travel + Leisure. Retrieved 8 September 2017.
  20. ^ "From Componibili to New Products". Archiproducts. Retrieved 22 September 2017.
  21. ^ "Bilou Bilou…so British! :: THE LONDON DESIGN FESTIVAL". Archived from the original on 22 September 2017. Retrieved 22 September 2017.
  22. ^ Slater, Lydia (9 December 2010). "A life redesigned: Allegra Hicks on life after divorce". Evening Standard. Retrieved 8 September 2017.
  23. ^ Deakin, Annie. "Our London; Interior designer Ashley Hicks", The Evening Standard (London, England), 27 April 2007
  24. ^ Williams-Akoto, Tessa (16 January 2008). "My home designer, Allegra Hicks". The Independent. London. Retrieved 2 March 2011.
  25. ^ a b Bowles, Hamish. "Kata de Solis and Ashley Hicks's Wedding in the English Countryside". Retrieved 10 August 2016.
  26. ^ Caracciolo Chia, Marella (17 March 2017). "Allegra Hicks Creates a Bohemian Chic Home in Naples, Italy". Architectural Digest. Retrieved 8 September 2017.
  27. ^ Renfro, Kim (5 September 2015). "This artsy couple threw a posh 'Instagram wedding' after meeting through the app". Business Insider. Retrieved 30 October 2019.
  28. ^ Obituary of William Sharkey, published in Houston Chronicle on March 8, 2017.
  29. ^ Smith, Stephanie (10 July 2015). "Wedding bells for Ashley Hicks and Katalina Sharkey de Solis". Page Six. Retrieved 10 August 2016.
  30. ^ Johnson, Richard. "Prince Charles' cousin dumps pregnant wife for her friend". Page Six.
  31. ^ Johnson, Richard. "Karma catches up with Prince Charles' cousin who left pregnant wife for her friend". Page Six.
  32. ^ Tatler. "Exclusive: Kata Hicks on the end of her marriage and moving on". Tatler. Retrieved 15 February 2019.
  33. ^ Vogue. "How the Milan Home of Cabana founder Martina Mondadori Came to Life During Lockdown". Vogue. Retrieved 30 March 2022.

Further readingEdit

  • Hoey, Brian. Mountbatten: The Private Story, Sidgwick & Jackson, 1994.

External linksEdit

Lines of succession
Preceded by Succession to the British throne
descended from Alice, daughter of Victoria
Succeeded by
Angelica Hicks