Art, Antiques, and Curiosities by Robert Kime Visit the hammer

by | Oct 4, 2023 | EYE, PEOPLE | 0 comments

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ENGLAND — Collectors from all over the world are preparing their palettes for what is anticipated to be the year’s best art, antiques, and curiosities auction when Robert Kime’s eclectic, 5,000-year-old collection is put up for auction at Dreweatts beginning on Wednesday.

The exhibition “Robert Kime: The Personal Collection” features vintage fabrics, furniture, artwork, and other items that the late interior designer amassed over the period of 30 years while visiting the Middle East, Europe, and the United Kingdom.

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He was a passionate, compulsive collector who over time used his collection to adorn his dwellings. Items from Kime’s most recent residences, a large flat in London’s Warwick Square and a chateau, La Gonette, in Provence, are being displayed during the three-day sale.

Kime, who passed away last year at the age of 76, was King Charles’ preferred designer. He created the interiors of Clarence House in London’s St. James’s, where Charles and Camilla have lived for the past 20 years, as well as Highgrove, the monarch’s country estate in Gloucestershire, England.

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An Ushak rug, part of the Robert Kime sale at Dreweatts. BARNEY HINDLE

Kime’s 2015 book of the same name included a prologue by King Charles, who calls the architect a “maker of places and spaces, of rooms, corners, and corridors that are, in turn, welcoming, interesting, and, above all, comforting.”

Over the course of a lifetime, Kime developed his aesthetic, traveling the globe with the eyes of a historian and archaeologist and the heart of an artist. Among his other clients were Daphne Guinness and the late Duke of Beaufort. When he was five years old, he started collecting things, and by the time he was an Oxford undergraduate studying medieval history, he was selling antiques to academics.

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He viewed all of his excursions as one big Grand Tour while spying on people and purchasing various items, some priceless and others not so much. He would surround himself with the antiques once he got home, such as an Islamic tile, an old Athenian kylix, and a silk-embellished glove that belonged to King Charles I, to build comfortable and colorful worlds.

Kime would then go on to create his own fabrics using rigorous historical study, operate a store on London’s Ebury Street, and produce a number of books describing his interests and client projects.

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Joe Robinson, director of house sales and private collections at Dreweatts, spent months cataloging and inspecting artifacts from Kime’s residences. He called the deal “a distillation” of Kime’s lifelong interests. They were things he couldn’t live without, and over the years, they followed him to other residences.

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Robert Kime loved Cairo, and the painting is part of a sale of his personal effects at Dreweatts.

According to Robinson in an interview conducted prior to the sale, “this is a collection of his favorite things, which could be anything from a painting by [Eric William] Ravilious with an estimate up to 150,000 pounds” to a dish of fresh tomatoes.

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This was not a collection for another person. It was only done for him. Because of his subtlety and modesty, which I believe people truly enjoy, he was well-liked as a designer. Robinson said, “And his style and principles of décor were so approachable.

Kime thought each item he chose had a unique ability. I’m not sure how romance is defined, but some things have it because they connect with something bigger than themselves. If you’re interested in someone, you can express it, and they can, too.Kime once remarked, “And it’s just amazing, it’s just way life is.

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According to Robinson, Kime’s interiors were never permanent, and he frequently moved around the items to make them “in conversation” with one another. Regardless of their rarity or value, he would group together numerous Bloomsbury Group pieces or group objects according to a subject or time period.

Over the course of three days, more than 750 pieces with prices ranging from 30 to 100,000 pounds will be sold at Dreweatts in Berkshire, England. Given the internet interest in the lots, it is anticipated that the sale will generate more than 1.5 million pounds, and it may even be more.

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Kime’s home in Provence, La Gonette. BARNEY HINDLE

The “New Year Snow” picture by Ravilious and the “Portrait of a Man with a Pickaxe and a Spade in a Landscape” from the Elizabethan era, the latter of which is valued between 10,000 and 15,000 pounds, are among the highlights.

Both of the paintings, according to Dreweatts, were family favorites and had previously been displayed in a number of his residences. Vanessa Bell, Duncan Grant, and Walter Sickert all have works included in the sale.

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An Egyptian wooden funerary boat with crew is one of the many ancient artifacts on display. It dates from approximately 2133 to 1797 B.C. and is painted and ornamented. Its estimated weight is between 15,000 and 20,000 pounds.

The sale also has a number of Ushak rugs from the 16th century, with prices ranging up to 60,000 pounds each.

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A huge, uncommon bezoar stone from the 16th or 17th century is one of the most remarkable lots. Bezoar stones, which resemble gallstones and are calcified concretions of stone or hair seen in some animals’ stomachs, are similar to gallstones.

They were brought from the Middle East to Europe in the 11th century, and they were formerly thought to have medicinal qualities that might combat poison. They were worth far more than their weight in gold and were highly desired by royal courts and the nobility. Estimates place the weight of Kime’s stone between 6,000 and 10,000 pounds.

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Robert Kime’s study in Warwick Square, London.

Hannah, Kime’s daughter, remarked that her father’s valuables, which included that priceless gallstone, were valued just like longtime friends.

“If whatever drew his attention, everything was welcomed, whether it was a 400-year-old vase or a platter of Provençal tomatoes. It would be cherished every day once one was included, whether it was for a lengthy or brief visit. He didn’t differentiate between ‘essential’ and everyday objects; if anything spoke to him, he gave it a place.

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“A dried seed pod would sit on an 18th century side table, a child’s pottery creation would find its place on the mantlepiece, perfectly at home beside a Tang dynasty figure and a marble obelisk,” Hannah Kime continued.

The pool at Robert Kime’s home, La Gonette, in Provence. BARNEY HINDLE

Most crucial, though, is that it never, ever got boring because each item was picked fully on its own terms and brought with it its own tale. Moving to a new area or being paired with various friends might continuously recreate it, the speaker continued.

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Friday may mark the end of the sale, but Kime’s style endures.

Based on his enormous archive, the acquisition of document pieces, and extensive travel, Kime started creating his own fabrics in 1983. The store sells items appropriate for a king or a commoner, including fabric, wallpaper, furniture, home decor, antiques, carpets, and interior design services.

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