Hollycombe House: An Introduction by Robert Kime

Hollycombe House: An Introduction by Robert Kime

Hollycombe House: An Introduction by Robert Kime

On 15 & 16 June 2021,  Dreweatts holds the auction of 'Hollycombe House: The Collection of Tim and Virginia Hoare'. Tim and Virginia Hoare bought Hollycombe in 1990 and began the restoration to bring the house back to life, creating a warm family home. 

The collection has at its heart a number of wonderful paintings, drawings, sculptures, furniture and works of art spanning the centuries. Over the past thirty years, it has been very well curated together with Robert Kime whose work is synonymous with colour, detail and interest. Here Robert reflects on his experience working with Tim and Virginia Hoare.

Inline Image -

I first met Virginia Hoare about 30 years ago and have had the pleasure of working with her and her late husband on numerous projects throughout the years. Hollycombe is a beautiful house with lovely rooms and amazing painted ceilings, many with the original paint. The house had good bones that lend themselves well to the type of layered decor that we wanted to do and I worked closely with the Hoares to understand how they wanted to live at Hollycombe as this is always very important to me.

The previous acquisitions that Tim and Virginia Hoare had made helped shape the interiors and getting to use these pieces was thrilling, especially some of the art works, which you now see in this sale. 

Inline Image - The Inner Hall | Hollycombe House
The Inner Hall | Hollycombe House

The Inner Hall and Stairs in the house are very striking, with wonderful natural light. This might be my favourite space in the house. To manage scale, we used the larger pieces of art and textiles. The Aubusson Verdure tapestry (Lot 70) was a perfect fit and is one of my favourite pieces in the house. I regularly use tapestries for my larger projects and they fill daunting spaces easily with great texture, telling their wonderful stories.

Of all the items in the sale, I covet the rugs and textiles the most. The Ushak (Lot 49) for the inner hall was specifically placed here for its colours and size. Late 19th Century, it is in very good condition and the colours could really take centre stage in the house, with all its natural light. Another excellent rug is the North West Persian runner (Lot 57), again, late 19th Century and a good and useful length too. 

Inline Image - The Inner Hall | Hollycombe House
The Inner Hall | Hollycombe House

Dotted throughout, there are lovely pieces of Ottoman style furniture, such as the Ottoman style painted octagonal table (Lot 28) and Ottoman mother of pearl and bone inlaid occasional table (Lot 283). I find these pieces blend nicely into interiors and are very easy to place. I still collect these for my shop but also for myself, with several in my flat in London. Other pieces that caught my eye in this sale are the Binh Thuan Shipwreck dishes (Lot 55 seen above on the walls in The Inner Hall). I had a vast collection of these from Australia which have been used in various projects. They are wonderfully delicate and decorative, especially considering they came from a shipwreck.

Inline Image - The Tower Bedroom | Hollycombe House
The Tower Bedroom | Hollycombe House

With a family home such as Hollycombe, whilst some pieces are grand and beautiful, the interiors first and foremost needed to be comfortable and happily used daily. The upholstery pieces I supplied were no exception. Bringing in items such as the Howard & Son beech framed armchairs (Lot 113, featured in The Drawing Room below), upholstered in one of my favourite fabrics, Opium Poppy Mid, and also the large three seat sofa (Lot 274 from The Tower Bedroom) upholstered in antique French linen, make the spaces welcoming. For the latter, doing upholstery in French linen is so versatile and lets it happily sit amongst more decorative pieces of furniture without overpowering a room.

Inline Image - The Drawing Room | Hollycombe House
The Drawing Room | Hollycombe House

It is also great to see my fabrics as curtains and upholstery. With such a large collection of fabrics, seeing these again are a nice reminder of why I created and designed them in the first instance. This sale has encouraged me to revisit fabrics that I haven’t necessarily used in a project for several years. The curtains in Ballie Scott Red (Lot 363) have a border that gives a lovely pop of colour on the leading edge. The design is adapted from Ballie Scott, who did wonderful work combining Arts & Crafts with his interest in the Middle East. Another favourite is the Chenille Stripe, which I upholstered on the brass club fender (Lot 127).

Inline Image - The Round Room | Hollycombe House
The Round Room | Hollycombe House

Auction Details

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The auction will take place at Dreweatts (not Hollycombe House):

Donnington Priory
Berkshire RG14 2JE

Day 1 – Lots 1-286: Tuesday 15 June (10.30am)
Day 2 – Lots 287-430: Wednesday 16 June (10.30am)

Viewing dates: Wednesday 9 June - Sunday 13 June 2021: 9am - 5pm

Viewing is strictly by appointment only and in accordance with government Covid-19 regulations. Please do not turn up without having pre-booked an appointment. Entrance with catalogue only (to purchase a catalogue see below).  Please note there is no viewing on the day of the auctions. If you are wanting to view on Saturday or Sunday, please ensure you have booked your appointment by 12 noon on Friday 11 June, and that you have received an email confirmation of your appointment from us. To book an appointment to view, please email: housesales@dreweatts.com or call 44 (0) 1635 553 553.

Hollycombe House
GU30 7LP 

The Dreweatts 360 Virtual Auction Tour will be available from Friday 28 May. The service provides a virtual tour of the rooms at Hollycombe House, allowing you to walk through each room, browsing and interacting with the lots as you go, just as if you were there in person, all from the comfort of your own home, at your own pace and at a time that suits you! 


  • Online bidding is available via dreweatts.com 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.  To create an online bidding account or register to bid click here
  • Telephone and commission bids: bid@dreweatts.com 
  • Commission bids may also be placed via your online bidding account.  
  • General enquiries and condition reports: +44 (0) 1635 553 553 | housesales@dreweatts.com

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