Purveyor of Bollocks to the Crowned Heads of Europe
Saturday, 22 September 2012
Everything must go - 2
Another glossy and expensive auction catalogue flopped onto the welcome mat of our compact but adorable city apartment yesterday, this one devoted entirely to the sale of the contents of Aynhoe Park by Christies of London, to be held next month.
The only reason that Christie's go to the expense of sending me these fabulous, gold-embossed coffee-table books free of charge is because - over a couple of years - I have spent abut £300,000 with them, and they probably hope I will continue to do so. Three hundred grand is peanuts to them, however. Significant peanuts, but nuts never the less.
The entire (and bizarre) collection was amassed by James Perkins, who also lent his house out to people like Jade Jagger (for a wedding) and celebrity photographers who had scrumptious and naked young women posing on various items of furniture which have now become lots.
There are two distinct elements to the interior decor of the house: one is highly evocative of Sir John Soane's museum near Lincolns Inn Fields, and that is because Soane did indeed have something to do with the house in the past; and the other is the very English tradition of the 'Grand Tour', where disparate objects from all over the world are juxtaposed in a chaotic and cluttered array, purely in order to impress one's friends. The friends impressed in this case include Kate Moss and Liam Gallagher, who have kindly written a one-liner each for the catalogue, saying 'how impressed' they were with the collection.
Perkins seemed to have an obsession with taxidermy as well, and the stuffed animals include a giraffe drinking from a small bucket as well as a small white pony lying on a vast refectory table. Seated at the table is a crocodile, and a swan is preparing to land on it from a nearby plaster pedestal. I am going to lend this book to a young friend of mine, who has begun learning the art of taxidermy. She might get some inspiration from it, but I hope it doesn't encourage big-game trips to Africa with a gun.
I have never met Jane and Lance Hattatt, but I wouldn't mind betting that they would dearly like to get hold of about 80% of this collection - funds permitting.