‘Robert Kime, uniquely among decorators, has risen to eminence in the profession via antique dealing, textile collecting and an abiding passion for putting rooms together. His three strands of expertise run side by side as he createsdecorating schemes for an illustrious, discreet and world-wide clientèle.’ Min Hogg
While an undergraduate at Worcester College, Oxford, Robert Kime dealt in antiques to supplement his income, selling to dons, the Master’s wife and remarkably to the Ashmolean Museum. He persuaded the Bursar to let him keep his rooms on staircase 7 so that his clients would know where to find him. A weekend party at Ashton Wold, the birthplace and home of Miriam Rothschild, led to an offer to sell the furniture crammed into the top storey of the house and, after three years at Sotheby’s, a more permanent shop in Oundle, Rutland. The business developed through the 1970s, alongside friendships with designer Christopher Gibbs, Tom Parr of Colefax and Fowler, and veteran antique dealer Geoffrey Bennison.
Christopher Gibbs speaks of Robert’s complete vision of how the world should look. ‘It is this sense of history and sense of place that give Robert a way of anchoring a house to its setting; it’s historicist, subtle, comfortable, beautiful and never vulgar. He has a real sense of harmony, a talent for offsetting the simple with the grand. Decoration projects begin with the carpet and the room thereafter is layered.’
Here are the twelve definitive Robert Kime projects, ranging from Bloomsbury to the Bahamas, from the Irish countryside to la France profonde. Magnificent, specially-commissioned photography by Tessa Traeger is accompanied by a text which combines illuminating descriptions of the choices and challenges involved in each project with an account of how this most cultured of designers developed his eye.
TESSA TRAEGER is one of the outstanding photographers of her generation and is widely acknowledged as having raised the subject of photographic, food still-life to the status of art. Trained at Guildford School of Photography and Fine Art, Tessa Traeger has worked at Rossetti Studios in Chelsea, London since the 1960s.
She is especially known for her still-life photographs taken on large format cameras many of which were published during her long association with British Vogue. She has exhibited regularly since 1978 and her work is represented in the National Portrait Gallery, the Victoria and Albert Museum in London, the Bibliotheque National in Paris and The Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York.
Her book, A Gardeners's Labyrinth, was written by Patrick Kinmonth and published by Edward Booth-Clibborn Editions in English, German and Dutch. Voices of the Vivarais which supported her solo exhibition at the Purdy Hicks Gallery in June 2010 was winner of the Photographic Book Prize in the British Book Design and Production Awards 2010.
A former teacher, and longtime friend of Robert Kime, ALASTAIR LANGLANDS has worked closely with Robert and his friends and clients to offer a rich and nuanced picture of his achievements as a designer.
HIS ROYAL HIGHNESS THE PRINCE OF WALES, eldest son of The Queen and Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh, was born at Buckingham Palace at 9.14pm on 14th November 1948.
The Prince, as Heir to The Throne, took on the traditional titles of The Duke of Cornwall under a charter of King Edward III in 1337; and, in the Scottish peerage, of Duke of Rothesay, Earl of Carrick, Baron Renfrew, Lord of the Isles, and Prince and Great Steward of Scotland.
Through the years, His Royal Highness developed a wide range of interests which are today reflected in The Prince's Charities, a group of not-for-profit organisations of which The Prince of Wales is Patron or President.
The group is the largest multi-cause charitable enterprise in the United Kingdom, raising over £100million annually. The organisations are active across a broad range of areas including education and young people, environmental sustainability, the built environment, responsible business and enterprise and international.
Interior decorator to the great and the good, Robert Kime’s taste is changeless, timeless and unlike anything else.
Away from the hubbub, at the farthest edge from the braying crowd, the careful observer will for 30 years have found one quiet, gentle man, Robert Kime — the creator of an extraordinary world of dreams, that is subtly different to anything else that we see in English decoration today. Kime shuns the limelight but is revered as perhaps the grandest figure of English decoration.
"Interior design tomes abound, but one recent publication stands out: a book about Robert Kime's work..."
Over the years his projects have ranged from a tumbledown house in France to a new build in the Bahamas, but all have this common thread. 'I'm more comfortable with old things,' he says. 'I like objects that have had a life.' And perhaps it's this attitude that enables him to create rooms that are so supremely suited for living: a combination that his long-term royal client [HRH the Prince of Wales] summed up as 'welcoming, interesting and, above all, comforting.'
Reflecting on a lifetime’s work in antiques and interiors, a new book draws attention to one of the most respected and influential English designers of our time, Robert Kime.
Shying away from a heavy-handed co-ordination of texture and colour in an untouchable interior scheme, and, instead, adopting a considered arrangement of the elements that make home life good, in effortless adaptation of that Country House ethic forged in the previous century – where some interiors might smell of antibacterial spray, one imagines that Kime’s might carry the faintest hint of beeswax polish and wood smoke.