Dreweatts is delighted to announce that it has been entrusted with the sale of the selected contents of Chilham Castle, former home of Tessa and Stuart Wheeler. The auction entitled ‘Chilham Castle: The Selected Contents from a Christopher Gibbs Interior’ will be hosted at Dreweatts Donnington Priory salerooms on 4 October 2022.
Over the centuries Chilham has been under many different ownerships, having been home to a host of colourful and sometimes eccentric families. It has been held by Kings of England as well as a dauphin of France.
The polygonal house situated on ornamental battlements we recognise today was built in 1616 for Sir Dudley Digges (1583-1639) as a re-invention of the castle ideal, part mathematical design, part religious devotion. Digges was a pioneering entrepreneur, adventuring to the limits of the then known world. He was also a fearless politician and senior member of the judiciary who was not afraid to challenge the King.
For the next four centuries, and through a succession of ten families, Chilham was gradually adapted throughout the 18th and 19th centuries, each family leaving their mark on the fabric of the house and its contents. Between 1922 and 1924, Sir Edmund Davis, the then owner employed Sir Herbert Baker, one of the most eminent architects of his day, to remodel the Castle. Baker removed the Victorian refenestration and interior modifications and took the house back to a style more in keeping with the history exterior architecture.
Since 2002, the Castle has been home to the Wheeler family. The late financier Stuart Wheeler and his wife Tessa, a photographer, were ardent champions of Chilham's history and legacy. They lovingly restored many of its notable Jacobean features and created a wonderland of period furniture, objects and works of art with exceptional provenance and an unmatched curatorial flare. An enabling factor, of course, was due to the eye of their long-time friend and illustrious design impresario, Christopher Gibbs - the arbiter of bohemian country house style. Together with Jane Ormsby-Gore and his partner, Peter Hinwood, he set about transforming Chilham from a foreboding country seat to a much loved and enjoyed family home.
“I'm not interested in creating a dazzling impression of richness, we can make do with surprisingly little in life. It is best to have a few things which are really nice. I don't approve of the mean look, but I do approve of the spare look, where every little bit is telling.”
~ Christopher Gibbs
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The auction will take place at Dreweatts Donnington Priory on Tuesday 4 October 2022.
VIEWING IN LONDON (HIGHLIGHTS ONLY):
Venue: Dreweatts, 16-17 Pall Mall, St James's, London SW1Y 5LU
Monday 12 - Thursday 15 September: 10am - 4pm
VIEWING IN NEWBURY (FULL SALE):
Venue: Dreweatts, Donnington Priory, Newbury, Berkshire RG14 2JE
Thursday 29 - Friday 30 September: 10am - 4pm
Saturday 1 - Sunday 2 October: 10am - 3pm
There is no viewing on Monday 3 October or the day of the auction.
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Image of Chilham Castle: Copyright Knight Frank
The auction is now online here. To view or download a pdf of the page turning catalogue, see below. The printed catalogue contains the following auctions:
To purchase a catalogue, the cost including postage is: UK: £30; Overseas: £50. To purchase a printed catalogue, please visit our Catalogue Subscriptions page and select: Flaxley Abbey and Chilham Castle
Head of House Sales and Private Collections
Co-Head Modern and Contemporary Art
Head of British & European Pictures
Director British & European Ceramics & Glass to include Decorative Arts & Modern Design
Picture Specialist (maternity cover)
Furniture, Clocks & Decorative Arts & Modern Design Specialist
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