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Auction PR Publicity Announcements News and Information

Bonhams to auction contents of The Old Rectory in Kent belonging to architect Giles Newby Vincent

The Old Rectory, built in 1713, is considered one Kent’s finest small Queen Anne country houses. On 12th March, Bonhams will be offering the contents for sale as part of the Fine English Furniture, Sculpture and Works of Art sale at London’s New Bond Street.

The house and its contents are owned by architect, interior decorator and garden designer Mr Giles Newby Vincent of the Belgravia based design company Giles Vincent Design. The outstanding private collection of carefully selected pieces ranges from fine early 18th century furniture, painting, silver, Delftware and antique textiles.

After qualifying as an architect, Giles headed architectural restoration projects for the National Trust. Later, he added to his skill set by working for a prestigious interior decorator. In 1990 Giles left to set up his own design company and has thrived ever since, working on projects in the UK, Europe and the Caribbean. Recent projects include a Georgian Rectory which featured in the acclaimed television series Downton Abbey and clients include well-known figures such as Sir Elton John and Lord Heseltine.

Born into a family of antique collectors and architects, Giles Vincent inherited a love of old buildings and beautiful objects that was apparent from childhood – he was drawing house plans from the age of five.

Giles was brought up in Buckinghamshire in a much admired Georgian house with gardens designed by well known garden designer, Percy Cane. His grandfather was a gentleman architect and antique collector who lived at the Braishfield Manor Estate in Hampshire. His mother’s family lived at the Whittern Estate in Herefordshire where they were responsible for the construction of many notable country houses. His aunt was the eccentric and much-loved antique dealer Elizabeth Newby Vincent.

With design in his blood, Giles’s extraordinary range of expertise endures throughout the lifespan of a project – conceiving the architectural bones of a building and the landscape that it inhabits, right through to the cosmetic details of interior design.

One highlight in the collection is a Queen Anne walnut double domed bureau cabinet, offered with estimates of £30,000-40,000; a pair of arched doors with mirrored panels enclose an arrangement of pigeonholes, folio divisions, bookshelves and small drawers. The interior is complete with a pair of candle slides and a sliding well panel. Another important piece to match is a handsome Queen Anne walnut featherbanded bachelor chest, also valued at £30,000-£40,000 and finished with a folding top, veneers and locks to each drawer.

A fine pair of portraits by Ferdinand Voet of husband and wife, the Marchese Cesare Baldinotti and Marta Ghezzi Baldinotti, are offered together with an estimate of £20,000-£30,000.

Lots range from high value fine furniture and painting to moderately priced pieces which provide those simple finishing touches; a Victorian tapestry covered chair valued at £1,200-1,800 is broad enough to seat two – ideal for intimate conversations at dinner parties.

“Good interior decoration is about balance, and listening to what the house says to you – it is also essential to appreciate the difference between ‘front of house’ and ‘back of house’. Country houses have their own hierarchy of rooms, which should be reflected in the way they are furnished.” explains Giles, “A simple painted chair and a bunch of cowslips in a back hall can be just as effective as an old needlework armchair and a fine portrait in a drawing room.”

The collection offered at Bonhams is to be sold to fund Giles’s latest project – refurbishing a dilapidated old villa in the South of France overlooking the sea near Saint Tropez. He comments; “Although I love many of these pieces – it has been a labor of love to assemble them – it is time for a new chapter. I hope they will now find new owners who will appreciate them as much as I have.”

The Old Rectory near Canterbury will be offered for sale in spring 2014.