Painting owned by King Charles’ personal decorator Robert Kime sells for 50 times its guide price in auction of ‘beautiful things’ that raises nearly £10million
An Elizabethan painting owned by King Charles III’s personal decorator Robert Kime has sold for 50 times its estimate.
The sale of his ‘iconic’ collection of paintings, furniture and other ‘beautiful things’ was expected to fetch more than £1.5million at auction but eventually went for a staggering £9.6 million.
The highlight was a ‘Portrait of a man with a pickaxe and a spade in a landscape’, which went for £500,200 against an estimate of just £10,000-£15,000.
The English School 16th century oil painting was highly sought after and finally sold to a US buyer on the telephone.
Another painting by King Charles’ cousin Lady Chatto, Sarah Armstrong Jones, fetched 25 times its estimate, selling for £5,040 against an estimate of £200-£400.
The highlight was a ‘Portrait of a man with a pickaxe and a spade in a landscape’, which went for £500,200 against an estimate of just £10,000-£15,000 (pictured)
Among the highlights was a watercolour and pencil landscape by Eric Ravilious, titled New Year Snow, estimated to fetch between £100,000 and £150,000 which sold to a private buyer on the telephone for £350, 200 (pictured)
An unusual addition to the collection was a monumental pair of ‘Irish elk’ or giant deer antlers from the Pleistocene period (pictured). The pair sold for £93,950 against a pre-sale estimate of £9,000-£10,000
Interior designer Kime, who died last August aged 76, worked on major royal projects including the redecoration of both Clarence House and Highgrove for the monarch.
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Kime – known as a ‘great assembler of beautiful things’ – also completed commissions for several celebrities including Duran Duran’s John Taylor.
His personal collection from his homes in London and Provence of more than 750 lots was sold during a three-day sale at Drewatts auction house, Donnington Priory, Newbury, Berkshire.
King Charles III said of Kime: ‘You often hear of people who are said to have “a good eye”, but Robert Kime’s must surely be one of the best.’
Among the highlights was a watercolour and pencil landscape by Eric Ravilious, titled New Year Snow, estimated to fetch between £100,000 and £150,000 which sold to a private buyer on the telephone for £350, 200.
A 19th century carved marble grand tour figure after the antique depicted Artemis as a deity of nature, protection and fertility.
The figure wore a mural crown and featured decorative egg-shaped nodules and an enveloping tight skirt with panels of heads of animals.
Thought to be Italian or French, it sold to an international buyer in the room for £187,700 against a pre-sale estimate of £6,000-£10,000
An unusual addition to the collection was a monumental pair of ‘Irish elk’ or giant deer antlers (Megaloceros Giganteus) from the Pleistocene period (circa 10,500BC to 8,000BC), which were housed at Robert’s Provencal home, La Gonette.
King Charles said that whilst you hear of people with a “good eye”, Kime’s ‘must surely be one of the best’
A wooden Egyptian finery boat that was valued at £12,000 in the auction of ‘beautiful things’ and ended up selling for £30,000
A 15th century panel of Christ rising from the tomb was also tipped to fetch £15,000 but it went for £28,000
This 1620 Ottoman Jug is valued at £5,000
This 1755 George II Mirror is valued at £60,000
This painting by Robert Polhill Bevan was valued at £35,000
The pair sold for £93,950 against a pre-sale estimate of £9,000-£10,000.
Will Richards, Deputy Chairman of Dreweatts, said: ‘Robert Kime’s unique eye and aesthetic sensibility led him to become one of the leading design figures of his generation.
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‘Dreweatts is honoured to be entrusted with the sale of Robert Kime’s personal collection from his family homes.
‘Robert was a widely admired and greatly respected figure in the art and design world.
‘He was foremost a collector, driven by an innate curiosity, combined with a deep academic knowledge.
‘Robert loved to travel and his collection of treasured objects reflects a lifetime of looking, engaging and gathering – from classical antiquities to Chinese porcelain, from Indian textiles to Eric Ravilious.
‘Each layered with a story or circumstance and together they paint a portrait of an inspirational man remembered with great affection across generations.’
Kime began selling antiques while studying Medieval History as an undergraduate at Oxford.
His ‘eye’ drew the Royal Family and collectors from around the world to ask for his help in building their collections and designing their homes.
The collection also charts the creative partnership Kime enjoyed with his wife Helen Nicoll, the celebrated children’s author and audiobook pioneer.
Bidding was extremely competitive as thousands of bidders from Europe, Asia and the United States competed to attain a precious work from Kime’s meticulously curated collection, amassed over his lifetime.
The collection, from Robert’s homes in London and Provence spanned Middle Eastern art, including textiles and antiquities, European antiquities, modern art, ceramics, garden pieces, architecture and interesting objects from around the world and resulted in a 100% sell rate known as a ‘white glove sale’.
Interior designer Kime, who died last August aged 76, worked on major royal projects including the redecoration of both Clarence House and Highgrove for the monarch. Pictured: Kime in 2004
This Duncan Grant Woodland painting was valued at £15,000
This Bezoar stone is believed to have been owned by the French royal family at one point and has traces of grating, was estimated at £10,000.
A rare ‘Holbein’ rug worth £70,000
Inside Robert Kime’s London townhouse at Warwick Square which is full of antiques
Mahogany four poster bed was valued at £6,000
This painting by William Nedham of dogs at Clopton House in Warwickshire was valued at £40,000
Late Victorian Howard & Sons Armchair was valued at £5,000 and sold for £42,000
Commenting on the success of the sale Joe Robinson, Head of House Sales & Collections at Dreweatts, said: ‘The results of the auction of Robert Kime’s personal collection show the widespread admiration for him as a true aesthete.
‘The ‘titan of design’s collection was a testimony to his passion for collecting rare works with exceptional provenance and pieces that he truly cherished.
‘His talent for adding depth to an interior to create a room was an unparalleled skill and was the impetus behind the competitive bidding from around the world to obtain a piece from one of the leading design figures of his generation.’
Joe Robinson, head of house sales and private collections at Dreweatts, said: ‘Few phrases garner as much excitement or respect as ‘supplied by Robert Kime’.
‘It is synonymous with a refined understanding of interiors marked by variety, sublime subtlety, and quality.
The guest room of Kime’s London townhouse has a painting by Roger Fry entitled view of a woman in an interior (centre) which is valued at £15,000
This William Burges silver cup was valued at £18,000
This Chinese Ming Dynasty Jar was valued at £6,000
Robert Kime’s study at his London townhouse in Warwick Square
Inside the entrance hall of Robert Kime’s London townhouse in Warwick Square
The study featured a Pyramid oil painting valued at £6,000. The picture sold for a whopping £70,000
‘When discussing this immensely personal collection, which stands as testament to Robert’s own passion for collecting, the knowledge that these works were hand-picked and retained over a lifetime, offers an assurance of an aesthetic quality that is simply unmissable.’
Mr Richards, Deputy Chairman of Dreweatts also said: ‘Dreweatts are delighted that the sale of Robert Kime’s personal collection has been so well received by collectors and buyers from around the world.
‘In many ways this sale was a biography of Robert Kime, through his collecting and his interests.
‘His unparalleled eye and the respect in which he was held has been recognised in this landmark sale.’
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