Selected items from the John Fowler and Imogen Taylor collections
Bellmans are delighted to be selling a selection of fine art and antiques both the personal collections of John Fowler and Imogen Taylor as well as several items from the stores of the antiques department at Sibyl Colefax & John Fowler.
Arguably one of the leading firms of interior decorators in Britain today, Sibyl Colefax & John Fowler maintain a unique place in the world of interior design creating beautiful spaces that are simultaneously timeless and up-to-date. As well as interior designers they are retailers of furniture, lighting, antiques and decorative objects, from their showroom on the Pimlico road in London and online.
Several items in this sale at Bellmans come from the world famous ‘Hunting Lodge’ which was lived in by John Fowler from 1947 to his death and then bequeathed to the National Trust. Fowler was described by Deborah, Duchess of Devonshire as the “Prince of Decorators”. Together with Nancy Lancaster - who bought Lady Colefax’s share of the business – they would create some of the most iconic interiors of the mid-twentieth century, epitomising the country house style.
Fowler and Lancaster would go on antique buying trips, and whilst most purchases were then sold in the famous Brook Street showroom, choice pieces were kept for their own homes. According to Roger Jones, head of the Antiques Department at Sibyl Colefax & John Fowler, this sale is providing potential bidders the ‘rarest of opportunities to purchase [from] Fowler’s collections… ideal for those keen to hold a piece of decorating history,’.
It was at the lodge, a much admired 18th century folly, that Fowler hosted glamorous guests including the Redgraves, Vivien Leigh, Hardy Amies and Horst P.Horst who photographed the house in 1965.
Imogen Taylor joined the company in 1949 and was Fowler’s assistant for 17 years, learning the art and craft of decorating by his side. By 1968, Imogen was a partner and esteemed decorator in her own right, remaining with the firm until her retirement in 1999 – a remarkable 50 years.
‘John bequeathed the contents of The Hunting Lodge to friends, and I was lucky enough to be a recipient. I purchased a house in Burgundy on my retirement, which I filled with pieces of furniture and pictures that John had left me,’ explains Taylor, who is now selling the contents of the said home.
Furniture highlights to be offered at Bellmans include a fine 19th century brass mounted bird’s eye maple drop flap butlers’ tray on stand (March Interiors, Lot 932, £500-£700+BP), a set of five striking ebony klismos dining chairs, (March Interiors, Lot 1180, Estimate £500-£700+BP) and an 18th century provincial French walnut serpentine three drawer commode from the collection of Imogen Taylor, (March Interiors, Lot 970, Estimate £400-£600+BP)
Decorative object highlights include an early 18th century Rouen faience blue and white charger (March Interiors, Lot 1325, Estimate £800-£1200+BP), an Arts & Crafts iron octagonal hanging lantern (March Interiors, Lot 570, Estimate £200-£400+BP). A further selection of ceramics and pictures will be offered in future sales at Bellmans.
For any further information about any of the lots and to be notified when future lots (including pictures and porcelain) from the collection are coming up for sale, please contact [email protected].