From classical Grand Tour plaster sculptures and antique luggage, to striking modern artworks and fantastical taxidermy: the carefully curated contents of Aynhoe Park in Oxfordshire has the power to transport visitors to another realm.
The 17th century Grade I Palladian country house has been the family home of entrepreneur James Perkins and his wife Sophie since 2006. Famed for its colourful and eclectic interiors, the house recently achieved the global accolade of ‘Best Venue’ and has played host to a multitude of celebrity clients.
Now, as James and Sophie move onto new projects, the contents of the house are to be sold by Dreweatts in a two-day auction entitled Aynhoe Park: The Celebration of a Modern Grand Tour, from 20th and 21st January 2021.
‘Aynhoe Park really is an Aladdin’s cave of beautifully-chosen works, from the academic to the more eclectic, and from the ancient to the contemporary,’ explains Will Richards, Deputy Chairman of Dreweatts. ‘Appropriately titled The Celebration of a Modern Grand Tour [the sale] is the realisation of a lifetime’s passion, and a contemporary take on a tradition that would have been originally reserved for the upper echelons of society.’
James added: ‘Aynhoe Park is evocative of the modern Grand Tour, hence the auction title. It is furnished with a collection of iconic objects and curiosities from our travels across the globe. It has been my passion, as well as a family home. We have enjoyed carrying on the tradition of Aynhoe Park by sharing and hosting our home with the most respected people from the world of business, film, fashion, art and music.’
The Aynhoe Park interiors include pieces that span eras and styles – all set against a striking Palladian backdrop designed by Sir John Soane and William Ralph Cartwright. Notable pieces offered in the sale include a collection of classical Grand Tour plaster sculptures (a subject which has interested James since childhood); a selection of conceptual artworks by James Perkins, including his famous ‘flying giraffe’; an array of architectural plaster moulds and a Le Mans tribute half-scale model of an Aston Martin DBR1.
Following the sale of the estate, James and Sophie are moving onto new projects – including the restoration of Parnham Park in Dorset.
Here are some of our favourite lots from the sale…
Lot 110 – A railway or steamer trunk labelled ‘First Class Orient Express London-Paris-Istanbul’
Early 20th century, est £2,000-£3,000
Lot 152 – A red leather high back armchair (thought to have belonged to a judge)
Third quarter 20th century, est £2,000-£4,000
Lot 320 – ‘Flying Giraffe’
By James Perkins Studio, of recent manufacture. Est £10,000-£15,000.
Lot 189 – The skull of a Triceratops
Hell Creek Formation, Montana. Est £180,000-£250,000.
Lot 175 – A 1:2 scale Aston Martin DBR1 ‘Airfix’ tribute kit
By Ant Anstead (B. 1979) and Evanta Motor Company, Hertfordshire. Est £10,000-£15,000.