Christie’s to Auction Hanham Court Collection

Christie’s London heralds Spring with the sale of Hanham Court – A Pastoral Idyll, a charming and eclectic collection to be held at Christie’s South Kensington on Wednesday, 14 April 2010. Immersed in the world of antiques from a young age, Isabel and Julian Bannerman first met in Edinburgh in 1982 and have been collecting together ever since.

The sale will consist of approximately 300 lots with estimates ranging from £300 to £30,000; and is expected to realize in the region of £400,000. Funds from the sale will be used to further focus the Bannerman’s efforts on developing the award-winning public garden at Hanham Court, as Julian states “It is time for surprises in the garden at Hanham – next we hope will come all the things that we have been aching to get on with”.

The collection of Isabel and Julian Bannerman reflects their passion and interest for unusual works of art and rare antiques. Theirs is an aesthetic that evokes the Golden Age of ‘Unwrecked England’ – a vision shared by close friends Robert Kime, Christopher Gibbs and the late David Vicary. The style is forged by their upbringings which have curious parallels – Julian recollects “My mother had an ‘eye’ and was clearly ahead of her times. It was her influence that got me going” and Isabel recalls “having caught the bug early I would spend every Saturday down Portobello Market and occasionally find things for my mother to sell”.

Isabel and Julian have designed gardens at some of the great English houses: for H.R.H The Prince of Wales at Highgrove; Lord Rothschild at Waddesdon Manor; the Duke and Duchess of Norfolk at Arundel Castle; Lord Cholmondeley at Houghton Hall; Sir Andrew Lloyd Webber at Sydmonton Court and John Paul Getty II at Wormesley. This has resulted in a string of awards, as well as a ‘Gold’ at Chelsea Flower Show, among other achievements. The couple also designed the British 9/11 Memorial Garden in Manhattan.

Aside from their horticultural acclaim, the Bannerman’s are also much admired for creating imaginative and atmospheric interiors, a distinctive style that evolved at Hanham Court – a medieval abbey between Bath and Bristol. Having moved there in 1993, it took fifteen years to restore the house and garden, which they have subsequently filled with a glorious ensemble of works of art, relics, heirlooms, objects, furniture and pictures. The style they have created fuses a reinvention of Gothic Romantic with that quintessentially English quality of inspired, but unforced juxtaposition.

Items offered for sale range from textiles to lighting, furniture, works of art, pictures and garden statuary. Highlights from the sale include a Batty Langley inspired ‘Gothick’ side table, after the model belonging to David Vicary at Kilvert’s Parsonage, Chippenham (estimate: £4,000-6,000); a terracotta bust of Caesar inherited from Vita Sackville-West (estimate: £500-800); a rusticated oak obelisk by I & J Bannerman Ltd (estimate: £5,000-8,000) and an exclusive set of stunning contemporary photographic prints by Isabel Bannerman (estimates from £2,000).

Image: Interior at Hanham Court. Photo: Christie’s Images Ltd. 2010

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