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While an undergraduate at Worcester College, Oxford, Robert Kime dealt in antiques to supplement his income, selling to dons, the Master’s wife and remarkably to the Ashmolean Museum. He persuaded the Bursar to let him keep his rooms on staircase 7 so that his clients would know where to find him. A weekend party at Ashton Wold, the birthplace and home of Miriam Rothschild, led to an offer to sell the furniture crammed into the top storey of the house and, after three years at Sotheby’s, a more permanent shop in Oundle, Rutland. The business developed through the 1970s, alongside friendships with designer Christopher Gibbs, Tom Parr of Colefax and Fowler, and veteran antique dealer Geoffrey Bennison.
Christopher Gibbs speaks of Robert’s complete vision of how the world should look. ‘It is this sense of history and sense of place that give Robert a way of anchoring a house to its setting; it’s historicist, subtle, comfortable, beautiful and never vulgar. He has a real sense of harmony, a talent for offsetting the simple with the grand. Decoration projects begin with the carpet and the room thereafter is layered.’
Here are the twelve definitive Robert Kime projects, ranging from Bloomsbury to the Bahamas, from the Irish countryside to la France profonde. Magnificent, specially-commissioned photography by Tessa Traeger is accompanied by a text which combines illuminating descriptions of the choices and challenges involved in each project with an account of how this most cultured of designers developed his eye.
The Old Rectory