Robert Kime was one of the most respected and loved figures of his generation in the world of design. We are honoured to be offering items from his private collection, which he meticulously amassed over his lifetime, in our auction on 4, 5 & 6 October. Ahead of the auction, Will Fisher of Jamb London, pays tribute to his dear friend Robert.
Will Fisher | Image: Simon Upton
There was something remarkably intimate about an interior by Robert Kime. A woven web of passion and intricate relationships between the surrounding artefacts he had collected through his far-reaching appreciation for world cultures and classical civilisations. Robert’s deep love of objects, their stories and where they had come from meant everything to him. A private language shared in the beauty of their collective aesthetic and carefully chosen surface.
When Charlotte and I first met Robert ten years ago, he shared with me the stories of the things that fascinated him and how they had entered his life. Many of these items can be seen time and time again as they journeyed with Robert through different houses and stages of his life as loyal talismans - the one continuum that would always remain with him. The easy, soft way that Robert talked about things was our first connection.
Image: Barney Hindle
For such a sophisticated man, there was this childlike enthusiasm and glint in his eye that never left him. A true collector, he was a man without pretence and talked honestly about what drew him to an object, aside from his deep understanding of the piece, often in the pure terms of it moving him. Possibly, that’s why we related so immediately, acknowledging, and sharing the fact that as antique dealers, we wanted to own something because of how it made us feel; its touch and patina.
We were lucky witnesses to his passion when he conducted his daily pilgrimage to our Pimlico shop to view a George II looking glass, in which his love grew stronger each day. He could not pass by this last significant purchase, unsurpassed in quality and surface - but also gargantuan in scale - without knowing where it would reside or knowing if it would fit up the stair well; he insisted it to be brought to his apartment. Eventually installed after considerable heart ache of the specialist movers and all those involved, it found its resting place. Unafraid of breaking convention he pursued his individual aesthetic journey to the last. Robert’s innate ability to play with scale bore out, the mirror with no more than a few inches top and tail shone in its unlikely setting. His aesthetic instincts remained always, as sharp as a tack, his confidence in what he knew unshakable.
Lot 310: A George II carved giltwood large mirror, circa 1755 | Est. £40,000-60,000 (+ fees)
Robert had the capacity to beautify the everyday, framing it in a way which gave it the perception of huge significance, when the value was only in the eyes of the beholder. This was born out of his sensibility for creating a home, a safe and personal environment in which to feel truly comfortable in one’s surroundings and oneself.
Like the objects he collected over time, he saw qualities in people and invested in them, taking time to teach and hone their skills. As antique dealers one has a huge debt of gratitude to those we meet on our journey and how they shape our aesthetic eye and, for me, Robert’s touch is unsurpassed.
His legacy will not only be the sublime beauty and authenticity of this outstanding collection, but the lives he touched and the knowledge he passed on in his gentle way.
Day 1: Wednesday 4 October 2023 | 10.30am BST | Warwick Square, London (Lots 1-399)
Day 2: Thursday 5 October 2023 | 10.30am BST | 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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