Christie’s is set to present Wilton Crescent: A Robert Kime Interior, a striking private collection sale of approximately 230 lots spanning English and European furniture, tapestries, bold Eastern textiles, Chinese works of art and export furniture, Old Master paintings and drawings, prints and decorative furnishings.
These fascinating objects, owned by a private family, formed a stunning mise en scène in an early 19th-century townhouse on Wilton Crescent in London’s Belgravia. The crescent has been home to many prominent British and foreign politicians and retains a coveted reputation as being one of the best examples of a late Georgian London terrace.
The interiors of the home were styled by the influential British interior designer, Robert Kime. Robert has an unparalleled international reputation and this collection is testament to his eponymous and unique style and approach. Today, his three strands of expertise as an antique dealer, a textile and fabric collector/designer and an interior designer co-exist, and are very much illustrated by this sale.
Robert Kime, Robert Kime Ltd. comments, “I first saw the house on Wilton Crescent in 2007, an example of possibly London’s best late Georgian houses. It is a marvellous place, with Georgian properties sweeping gracefully around the Crescent. The house lent itself very well to the furniture and art we acquired and used in the project to complement the existing collection. The high ceilings were perfect for using tapestries, such as Lot 43, the Flemish Game-Park Tapestry. My favourite room in the house was the dining room. It was filled with lovely items, including Lot 101, a set of nine Italian Girandoles. It is rare to find so many in a set, so I was very excited to use them in this quite dark room, which only has one window.
These were used against the handpainted Italian wallpaper with Lot 99, a set of Chinese Small Cargo Dishes acquired in Australia. Both helped to brighten the setting and make a beautifully smart dining room, finished with the George III Mahogany Cumberland
Action Dining Table, Lot 89 and George III Mahogany Dining Chairs, Lot 90.
Robert continues, “ A favourite picture from this sale is Lot 52, The Madonna and Child with Saints Francis of Assisi and John the Baptist. I purchased this piece specifically for the project in the Roger Warner Sale at Christie’s in 2009”.
A Flemish ebony, ivory and pietra dura cabinet-on-stand. The pietra dura panels were made in Florence, second half of the 17th Century, the George III ebonised stand is
third quarter 18th Century. This extraordinary cabinet-on stand was specifically made to display the collection of costly and jewel-like coloured 17th-century Pietre dure
panels, and would have been the pièce de résistance of the principal room in which it was placed. Such pictorial panels were created by the Galleria de’ Lavori, the Medici
grand-ducal workshop in Florence, and were almost certainly collected on the Grand Tour by the wealthy patron who commissioned the cabinet.
The theme of the central panel of this cabinet is the legendary Thracian poet Orpheus charming the animals with his lira da braccio and it reflects the high technical standards of the workshop (estimate £80,000-120,000).
FURNITURE AND WORKS OF ART
Highlights from the collection of Old Master and English pictures include Lot 28, James Digman Wingfield (1800-1872), The Cartoon Gallery, Hampton Court, signed and dated ‘J.D./ Wingfield/1844’, oil on canvas (estimate £10,000-15,000). Lot 31, Samuel Woodforde R.A. (Castle Cary 1763-1817 Bologna), Stonehenge, oil on canvas (estimate £8,000-12,000) and Lot 143, Abraham Pietersz. van Calraet (Dordrecht 1642-1722), A river landscape at sunset, with a cowherd and his cows, with signature ‘A cüyp’, oil on canvas (estimate £15,000-25,000).
Each room at Wilton Crescent was expertly layered by Kime using a rich display of Oriental rugs and carpets which added texture, warmth and pattern. Like pages from a traveller’s notebook, they capture the colours and designs used by weavers along the silk route.
Lot 174, An Agra Rug, North India, circa 1880 (estimate £7,000- 10,000). From the bold, geometric-patterned rugs of the nomadic tribes and small village settlements in the mountainous regions of the Caucasus and Azerbaijan, to the larger floral decorative carpets woven during the golden age of carpet weaving in Persia, India and Anatolia in the 19th century, this group of carpets displays a kaleidoscopic array of colour, style and technique to excite both collectors and decorators.
Lot 66, A Karatchopf Kazak rug, South Caucasus, circa 1870, together with another
Karatchopf Kazak Rug, South Caucasus, mid-19th century (estimate £8,000-12,000). Lot 113, A Sultanabad carpet, West Persia, circa 1890 (estimate £8,000-12,000).