This spring, we are pleased to be able to offer items from Windsor House Antiques in our two-day auction 'Windsor House Antiques: The End of an Era'. The auction, taking place on 25 & 26 April, is a celebration of the life and work of its founder, Kevin Smith.
Established in Leeds, Yorkshire in 1957, Windsor House Antiques has been synonymous with quality and range for the past six decades. Under the stewardship of Kevin Smith, its founder, the business grew from a one-man operation to become an important and well-respected source of the finest furniture and works of arts for a global base of interior designers and private collectors. It celebrated Kevin’s lifelong passion for antiques which he collected and sourced avidly for over 60 years.
Kevin’s insatiable appetite for wonderful antiques and fine art was a result of a lifetime of collecting - it was an unrelenting enthusiasm which only grew with each purchase he made. At the age of five his mother gave him a shilling to spend at a school fete - a catalyst some might say - and from that point on he used varying degrees of ‘pocket money’ to enthusiastically engage his passion for antiques and share it with an avid buying audience.
His career was varied, colourful and sometimes unconventional - during his long career he has had antique studios all over the world, including in London, Amsterdam, Los Angeles and Hong Kong. Kevin served as vice-chairman of LAPADA for 23 years, and spent a great deal of his working life on the road selling and sourcing. Throughout his life Kevin immersed himself in the business, insatiable levels of collecting and learning as he went along.
What is clear was Kevin’s compulsive and affecting desire to form and collate an ever-changing collection which was unapologetic in its breadth, depth and evident quality. This infectious appetite for pieces of quality and historical importance gave rise to a cornucopia of objects which now adorn the halls and walls of Barnwell Manor in Northamptonshire, the home to Windsor House Antiques for the past 24 years.
Shortly before his eighty-second birthday, Kevin passed away after a short stay in hospital, but he has left behind a legacy of passion, compulsion and immersion in the world of antiques as well as a loyalty from his former employees which this sale attempts to capture.
Barnwell Manor is the former home of the Duke and Duchess of Gloucester and houses interiors designed by Professor Albert Richardson and Princess Alice, Duchess of Gloucester. It is set in the idyllic Northamptonshire countryside and has been the home of Windsor House Antiques since 1999. Upon taking on the lease Kevin transformed the house into an Aladdin’s cave of some of the finest works to come to the market in recent decades and opened it to the public so that they could experience these pieces outside of a gallery and within the context for which they were meant - it was a buying experience unlike any other.
Kevin enjoyed a life in the historic rooms at Barnwell, with interiors which were continually transforming as new pieces arrived, bought items were removed and old favourites tactfully hidden from view from the buying public by Kevin so that he was able to appreciate them for just a little longer. This sale represents a cross section of the style and quality Kevin has offered over his sixty year career and is illustrative of a passion and compulsion for beautiful things many of us can recognise in ourselves.
This atmospheric house, medieval castle and the surrounding gardens will form the dramatic backdrop to the sale, with the full sale view being hosted on the premises, affording collectors and connoisseurs the rare opportunity to see and acquire beautiful and sometimes unusual objects within a wonderfully historic context as well as to experience for themselves the working environment of a man totally immersed in ‘The Country House’.
Tuesday 25 & Wednesday 26 April | 10.30am BST
Donnington Priory, Newbury, Berkshire RG14 2JE
Auction coming soon!
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