It’s each decorator’s dream to be gifted antiques from the visionaries who got here earlier than and paved the best way for his or her artistry. Within the case of Imogen Taylor, who labored at Sibyl Colefax & John Fowler for half a century, Fowler bestowed dozens of antiques upon her in his itemized will. “He knew I had a really empty flat on the time,” says Taylor, who first joined the legendary British agency in 1949.
Now, the 96-year-old decorator, who labored her approach up from Fowler’s assistant—a place she held for 17 years—to agency associate, has determined to half together with her belongings in a promoting exhibition at Sibyl Colefax & John Fowler’s Belgravia places of work from December 2–22. (The total lot itemizing will go stay on the agency’s web site at 9:30 A.M. GMT on December 2.) Of the 100-plus antiques on provide, greater than 30 as soon as furnished the Searching Lodge, Fowler’s 18th-century Hampshire residence, the place he lived from 1947 till his demise in 1977. Among the many framed footage, ceramics, chairs, and different furnishings within the providing (titled “The John Fowler & Imogen Taylor Assortment—A Promoting Exhibition”), Taylor says her favorites are a round Biedermeier desk and 6 Italian chairs: “They maintain such fantastic recollections of scrumptious meals round them on the Searching Lodge.” Upon her retirement in 1999, Taylor bought a small medieval dwelling in Burgundy that housed the Searching Lodge treasures, in addition to different private belongings to be included within the sale.
Taylor was considered one of a number of of Fowler’s pals fortunate sufficient to obtain objects from the Searching Lodge, which she says “was a thrill to go to.” “It was so beautiful to have a look at and was filled with consolation and good meals and laughter and pals, and the backyard was a delight,” she recollects. Such pals included movie fixtures, just like the Redgraves and Vivien Leigh, clothier Hardy Amies, and photographer Horst P. Horst, who shot the home in 1965. “In fact, one was a bit on edge too, as he was [my] boss. He was very vital and demanding, so [I] was all the time on [my] finest conduct.”
It’s due to Fowler’s discerning eye and partnership with American heiress Nancy Lancaster, who purchased Girl Sibyl’s share of the enterprise within the Forties, that the English nation home aesthetic rose to prominence. Fowler and Lancaster would go on antique-buying enterprise journeys, retaining a choose quantity for their very own properties—each their purchasers’ and their very own abodes replicate the convenience and eclecticism of the English nation home model, which privileges the unpretentious, the collected but comfy. It’s a glance that grand properties have inherently acquired after generations of relations inhabited them, every including components of their day. Fowler and Lancaster mastered the difficult-to-achieve look of getting properties seem as authentically aged. Even Deborah Cavendish, Duchess of Devonshire, as soon as known as Fowler “the prince of decorators.”
“He took his inspiration from the previous utilizing antiques, conventional shade strategies, and methods of making use of paint, plus upholstery and curtain kinds from the 18th and Nineteenth centuries,” says Taylor of Fowler’s genius, which has impressed a resurgence of sample and shade, in addition to antiques and classical materials, even at present. Decorator Taylor firmly believes her mentor’s affect is right here to remain: “There are various who love his legacy and nonetheless stay in the best way he lived with fairly issues all over the place—books, flowers, comfy furnishings, fantastic colours,” she says. In bringing her uncommon private presents from Fowler to market, Taylor provides these antiques a chance to resonate with yet one more technology of decorators, historians, and design fans. “His model was not a style,” she says, ”only a lifestyle.”