Obsessed With English Country House Style? This Antique Auction Is for You

It’s every decorator’s dream to be gifted antiques from the visionaries who came just before and paved the way for their artistry. In the scenario of Imogen Taylor, who labored at Sibyl Colefax & John Fowler for 50 percent a century, Fowler bestowed dozens of antiques on her in his itemized will. “He realized I experienced a incredibly empty flat at the time,” says Taylor, who very first joined the famous British firm in 1949.

The heirlooms heading to the auction block contain these late-18th-century Italian painted chairs.

Photo: Barry Macdonald

A 19th-century tea-tin lamp

Picture: Barry Macdonald

Now, the 96-calendar year-old decorator, who labored her way up from Fowler’s assistant—a position she held for 17 years—to business husband or wife, has made the decision to aspect with her possessions in a providing exhibition at Sibyl Colefax & John Fowler’s Belgravia workplaces from December 2–22. (The complete whole lot listing will go are living on the firm’s web-site at 9:30 A.M. GMT on December 2.) Of the 100-additionally antiques on present, much more than 30 after furnished the Hunting Lodge, Fowler’s 18th-century Hampshire home, exactly where he lived from 1947 until finally his death in 1977. Between the framed images, ceramics, chairs, and other furnishings in the giving (titled “The John Fowler & Imogen Taylor Collection—A Advertising Exhibition”), Taylor says her favorites are a round Biedermeier table and 6 Italian chairs: “They hold this sort of superb memories of scrumptious foods around them at the Searching Lodge.” On her retirement in 1999, Taylor ordered a tiny medieval house in Burgundy that housed the Searching Lodge treasures, as properly as other personal belongings to be involved in the sale.

A North European commode with marble prime, circa 1800

Picture: Barry Macdonald

A framed Victorian portray of a young guy with a pet dog

Image: Barry Macdonald

Taylor was one particular of quite a few of Fowler’s mates blessed enough to receive things from the Looking Lodge, which she claims “was a thrill to stop by.” “It was so pretty to glimpse at and was comprehensive of comfort and good meals and laughter and buddies, and the backyard was a delight,” she remembers. This kind of friends provided film fixtures, like the Redgraves and Vivien Leigh, style designer Hardy Amies, and photographer Horst P. Horst, who shot the house in 1965. “Of training course, just one was a little bit on edge too, as he was [my] manager. He was pretty crucial and demanding, so [I] was normally on [my] ideal behavior.”

It’s many thanks to Fowler’s discerning eye and partnership with American heiress Nancy Lancaster, who bought Lady Sibyl’s share of the small business in the 1940s, that the English nation household aesthetic rose to prominence. Fowler and Lancaster would go on antique-acquiring enterprise visits, retaining a decide on volume for their very own properties—both their clients’ and their have abodes replicate the relieve and eclecticism of the English region home fashion, which privileges the unpretentious, the gathered however comfy. It is a glimpse that grand houses have inherently acquired soon after generations of spouse and children customers inhabited them, each adding aspects of their working day. Fowler and Lancaster mastered the tough-to-reach search of acquiring properties surface as authentically aged. Even Deborah Cavendish, Duchess of Devonshire, the moment termed Fowler “the prince of decorators.”

An 18th-century Chinese reverse painting on glass

Image: Barry Macdonald

A pair of white Staffordshire spaniels from the collection

Photo: Barry Macdonald

“He took his inspiration from the past utilizing antiques, classic coloration strategies, and methods of applying paint, additionally upholstery and curtain models from the 18th and 19th centuries,” claims Taylor of Fowler’s genius, which has influenced a resurgence of pattern and color, as perfectly as antiques and classical fabrics, even today. Decorator Taylor firmly believes her mentor’s impact is right here to stay: “There are many who enjoy his legacy and continue to reside in the way he lived with pretty issues everywhere—books, flowers, cozy furnishings, great colors,” she states. In bringing her exceptional personalized gifts from Fowler to market, Taylor gives these antiques an opportunity to resonate with yet a different era of decorators, historians, and design and style fanatics. “His fashion was not a trend,” she says, ”just a way of lifetime.”