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Chilham Castle: The Selected Contents from a Christopher Gibbs Interior

Chilham Castle: The Selected Contents from a Christopher Gibbs Interior

Chilham Castle: The Selected Contents from a Christopher Gibbs Interior

The virtual tour is now live!

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.

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Historic Chilham

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.

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The Genius of Christopher Gibbs

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. 

Venue: Dreweatts, 16-17 Pall Mall, St James's, London SW1Y 5LU
Monday 12 - Thursday 15 September: 10am - 4pm

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.  


  • Online bidding is available via with no additional online bidding fees applicable. Please register at least 48 hours in advance of the auction as you may be asked to provide documents to verify your identity. Registration for new clients will close at 12 noon BST on Sunday 2 October. To create an online bidding account or register to bid click here.
  • For telephone and commission bids, please email: Commission bids may also be placed via your online bidding account.
  • Bidding in person at our salerooms is also available. 

General enquiries: + 44 (0) 1635 553 553 | 
Press enquiries: 
To sign up for email alerts: click here and choose 'House Sales and Private Collections' from the 'interests' list.

Image of Chilham Castle: Copyright Knight Frank

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The Auction Catalogue

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:

  • The Collection formerly from Flaxley Abbey: An Oliver Messel Commission (Auction date: 3 October 2022)
  • Chilham Castle: The Selected Contents from a Christopher Gibbs Interior (Auction date: 4 October 2022)

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

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