This October, we are honoured to be holding the auction Robert Kime: The Personal Collection. The culmination of Robert’s life-time of collecting will form a three-day auction, charting his passion, curiosity and delight in beautiful things through the contents of his homes in London and Provence. The array of textiles, furniture, paintings and objects being offered also reveal a family life, shaped by the discerning eyes and creativity of Robert and his wife Helen Nicoll. Ahead of the auction, their daughter Hannah Kime chooses some of her favourite pieces from her father's collection.
"Watching the way that our living spaces could be made from interwoven strands of the remarkable and unremarkable, to assemble an environment that really sang, has given me a great appreciation of how it is possible to create feelings of nurture and substantial support out of your surroundings. From the decorations for a party, to a garden, a house or a single room, wherever it is and however little there may be to work with, my mother and father showed me that every choice quietly made in the curation of that space, can contribute to a place that continually feeds your eyes and soothes your spirit."
Hannah Kime's Top Picks
Lot 41: A white porcelain miniature 'Shipwreck' garniture, Chinese, 18th century | Est. £1,00-2,000 (+ fees)
"I remember the excitement when this garniture and a number of other shipwreck vases came home. Many complete with barnacles. The garniture has been a prominent fixture in our various family homes ever since. It seems to exemplify my fathers’ love of cross-referencing messages. It is simple, formal, informal and elegant all at once. It is both a rare ornament and a part of everyday life with whatever flowers are in the garden at the time."
Lot 188: An Egyptian wood sarcophagus mask, late period - Ptolemaic, circa 600-30 B.C. | Est. £800-1,200 (+ fees)
"This has an extraordinary power. Light as a feather because it is so old. The grain of the wood circles the cheeks and the presence of its bearer seems to lie just beneath the surface."
Lot 217: A rock crystal, glass and gilt metal six light chandelier, possibly Italian or North European, circa 1740 and later | Est. £3,000-5,000 (+ fees)
"This beautiful chandelier spent many years at Upper Farm, our home in Wiltshire, before it came to London. Whatever the light source – sunlight, moonlight or firelight, the rock crystal catches it and the refracted light is luminous."
Lot 294: Christopher Richard Wynne Nevinson (British 1889-1946), Looking at the Snow, Oil on canvas | Est. £20,000-30,000 (+ fees)
"I remember the Christmas that this was given to my mother. It was wrapped, in Kime fashion, in a dust sheet, and when she pulled it off nobody could speak, we were pulled instantly into the poignancy and wonder of the small boy."
Lot 113: A pair of carved models of a bull and a cow, Derbyshire, early 19th century | Est. £4,000-6,000 (+ fees)
"These old friends have been gently dozing on a table top in one room or another for as long as I can remember. I love the way that they are so powerful, with heavy marble bases and yet so docile, soft and worn."
Lot 430: A Flemish carved pine bench, late 17th century | Est. £1,500-2,500 (+ fees)
"My Father was never put off by a restoration project and this 17th century bench was certainly that. Found in many pieces, it eventually took its place at La Gonette, where its patina came to life alongside a stone floor and a distempered wall."
Lot 543: A Regency rosewood centre table, early 19th century | Est. £3,000-5,000 (+ fees)
"This huge table spent a while unsold in my fathers’ 1970’s showroom. It made a temporary visit into our kitchen to facilitate a large gathering, and never left. Whether in Wiltshire or Provence it has been the touchstone of our family kitchen and we have decorated it, laid out puzzles on it, talked around, eaten and worked at this table ever since. Despite its’ size and many offers, once seen in action, my parents were never tempted to sell it."
Lot 713: Three Cameroon 'Ashetu' or prestige hats, early 20th century | Est. £600-900 (+ fees)
"I remember when these hats found their way to sit on a stone mantlepiece in front of the breath-taking Queen Anne mirror (Lot 715) at La Gonette. It was a masterstroke of colour, texture and time in one glance and an example of how my father could keep us all on our visual toes in a seemingly effortless way."
Lot 732: A lead water cistern in the George I style, probably late 19th century | Est. £2,000-3,000 (+ fees)
"Many a childhood game was played around this lead tank. It glows at twilight."
Lot 265: A Ziegler carpet, West Persia, late 19th century | Est. £8,000-12,000 (+ fees)
"This huge carpet has been in one family room or another for many years. The colours can change. I have seen it in a room where the soft green spoke the loudest or somewhere else where the red and strong blue caught the attention first."
View page turning catalogue
Day 1: Wednesday 4 October 2023 | 10.30am BST | Contents from Warwick Square, London (Lots 1-399)
Day 2: Thursday 5 October 2023 | 10.30am BST | Contents from La Gonette, France (Lots 400-746)
Day 3: Friday 6 October 2023 | 10.30am BST | (Lots 747-918)
The three-day auction will take place at Dreweatts Donnington Priory salerooms.
London (highlights): Dreweatts, 16-17 Pall Mall, St James's, London SW1Y 5LU
Friday 8 - Thursday 14 September 2023
Newbury (full sale): Dreweatts, Donnington Priory, Newbury, Berkshire RG14 2JE
Saturday 30 September - Tuesday 3 October 2023
For details on registration, viewing, bidding, payment and shipping, please see the Auction Information Page here.
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