LONDON — Jasper Conran is downsizing, moving from his vast apartment at New Wardour Castle in Wiltshire, England, to smaller digs in Dorset. That’s a boon for lovers of antiques, and Old Masters, as Conran is selling 430 objects that have filled his various historic homes over the decades through two sales at Christie’s London.
“Jasper Conran The Collection” will go under the hammer at a live event set for Sept. 14 at Christie’s headquarters in St. James’s, while an online auction will be open for bidding from Sept. 1 to 21. Highlights include Old Master paintings; Indian, Islamic, Chinese and Japanese works of art, and European furniture and sculpture.
Estimates range from 500 pounds to 800,000 pounds, and the pre-sale exhibition will be open to the public from Sept. 6 to 13.
Conran, the clothing and homeware designer and a son of the late Sir Terence Conran, collected the items over decades, working with dealers including Christopher Gibbs and Peter Hinwood, Will Fisher at Jamb and Edward Hurst.
Those objects filled Conran’s homes at Flemings Hall, an Elizabethan manor house with a Saxon moat; Walpole House, in Chiswick, London; Ven House, a Rococo country estate in Somerset, and New Wardour Castle.
Conran renovated many of the historic homes that he bought, although his apartment at New Wardour Castle was one of a series designed by the architect John Pawson within the Palladian-style mansion.
Two years ago, Conran purchased Yves Saint Laurent’s Villa Mabrouka or “House of Luck” in Tangier, Morocco, from the Fondation Jardin Majorelle. The designer’s current home in Dorset is the 17th-century Bettiscombe Manor, where he lives with his husband, the Irish artist Oisin Byrne.
The self-deprecating Conran said that while he doesn’t “lay claim to being one of the world’s greatest collectors, I do think I have a beady eye for the beautiful.”
He said he decided to sell because his Dorset house “is much smaller than its predecessors. Given the scale of our new home there is simply nowhere to put the collection that I have gathered, so now is the time to part.
“Am I sad? Yes of course, since there are several rare and precious things with wonderful provenance that I have loved and appreciated living with. However, I am pragmatic and would much rather these lovely objects go on to have new lives in new homes. They were made to be seen, used and enjoyed.”
Highlights of the sale include a portrait of Cecilia Neville by Robert Peake, which has an estimate ranging from 500,000 pounds to 800,000 pounds. Peake was one of the top portrait painters at the Elizabethan and Jacobean courts.
One of the other top lots is a portrait of Conran’s ancestor, Anthony Maria Browne, the second Viscount Montagu, from 1593. The estimate ranges from 400,000 pounds to 600,000 pounds. That portrait was once part of the collection at Battle Abbey, which was built on the site of the Battle of Hastings. Conran acquired it from Gibbs two decades ago.