Eclectic is the right word for The English Home, Christie's forthcoming auction of 400 lots. The sprawling variety of items, from a few centuries and many countries, were collected by Christopher Gibbs, Robert Kime, Piers von Westenholz and David Bedale, four of the biggest guns in antiques and interior decoration, each of whom has been dealing for about 40 years with private clients ranging from Prince Charles to Lord Lloyd-Webber.
Antiques collector David Bedale's exquisite Cheshire home
Mixing grand with cosy, the lots hint at a lordly pile and extensive collecting trips to corners of Britain's far-flung former Empire, giving the impression that if you open a door you will be met by a tumble of wet dogs, gumboots and tweeds, and either a cup of tea or a stiff gin and tonic. If you long for a home that confers the idea of land and titles, a whiff of staff, and the comfort of the country, just strew a few of these spoils nonchalantly around.
As you would expect, there is plenty of antique furniture, particularly 18th century. From other periods, lot 122 is an early 20th-century English oak refectory table (£800-£1,200), while lot 350, a delicate 1904 bentwood occasional table by French firm Thonet, is an interesting buy at £600-£900.
There are two pretty Queen Anne mirrors - one at £800-£1,000 - and lot 198 is a long, three-part George IV overmantel mirror at £800-£1,200.
Lot 39, a set of George III scumbledecorated dining chairs, circa 1800. Est £500-£800
Soft furnishings include two splendid carpets, one a 23ft-long, mid-19th century Axminster from the Ditchley Park estate in Oxfordshire, delicately coloured and patterned like a vast paisley shawl, for £4,000-£6,000. Unusual textiles include ikats and cushions from Turkey and Syria. This sale is strong on paintings.
"Shire Horses" is an attractive four foot-long work in oils, at £2,000-£3,000, and a set of pen-andink designs by Edward Bawden done for the Bilston Iron Foundry, at £1,000-£1,500, may be of interest to collectors. Lot 107, a portrait of a gentleman identified as Lytton Strachey, by Bloomsbury painter Duncan Grant, may top its £2,000-£3,000 estimate.
Lot 61, one of a set of six Regency painted glass pictures, early 19th century. Est £800-£1,200
Finally, there's a scattering of indispensible items that set the truly English home apart. These include a splendid stuffed anteater in a case for £4,000-£6,000, a limestone pine cone finial, a Moroccan gun rack, and a gilded 18th-century leather gondola chair.
Every lot here has been bought with a discerning eye and for that reason alone, this sale is not cheap — but there's much in it to lust after.
The English Home sale is at Christie's in South Kensington on April 30. Visit Christies.com for further details.