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The late Julian Sands on that iconic view of Florence

Blog | By Harry Mount | Jun 28, 2023

Julian Sands and Helena Bonham Carter in Florence Copyright Merchant Ivory

The actor Julian Sands has sadly died in a climbing accident in California, aged 65. He told Harry Mount about the glorious picture of him and Helena Bonham Carter in Florence

The plot of EM Forster’s novel, A Room with a View, turned of course, on a gentlemanly exchange of rooms in a Florence guest house.

In the book, the view is of the River Arno, but in the famous Merchant-Ivory film version in 1985, the setting was re-imagined to include the Duomo. Sadly though the view from the guesthouse suggested by the filming does not exist.

As co-star Julian Sands said, the shot of the “room” had to be faked on the terrace of another building. "The iconic moment in the film, of me with Helena [Bonham Carter] with the Duomo and the belltower in the background was, in fact, carefully constructed by the film’s carpenters. The number of people who've said, 'We stayed in that room'!

I say, 'Are my initials carved into the window frame?'

'Yes,' they say!"