Play­ing with fire

Why an­tique chim­ney­p­ieces are the new rock ’n’ roll

Country Life Every Week - - Interior Design The Inside Track - Giles Kime

IMAG­INE you’re one of those mod­ish souls who has ex­pended con­sid­er­able ef­fort and money par­ing back the in­te­rior of your draw­ing room: ra­di­a­tors re­placed with un­der­floor heat­ing, rugs and car­pets with limed-oak floors, saggy old Ch­ester­fields with L-shaped so­fas, clus­ters of paint­ings and prints with a few Twomblyesque can­vases and a tired old fire­place with a Min­i­mal­ist void.

But then you look at the room in all its dis­creet love­li­ness and you re­alise that it looks like ev­ery other house in your fash­ion­able post­code or Cotswold vil­lage. Worse still, you re­alise that some­thing vi­tal is miss­ing—its heart.

It’s this star­tling rev­e­la­tion, I sus­pect, that sends peo­ple grab­bing for their ipads on a jour­ney around the web­sites of Ch­es­ney’s, Jamb, West­land and Thorn­hill Gal­leries and leads them to the con­clu­sion that a room with­out an in­ter­est­ing chim­ney­p­iece is like St Paul’s with­out its cupola. The re­sult is that the trade in in­ter­est­ing, un­usual or just plain beau­ti­ful chim­ney­p­ieces is cur­rently at an all-time high.

‘They cre­ate an im­me­di­ate sense of an es­tab­lished en­vi­ron­ment,’ ex­plains Will Fisher of Jamb, ‘and the best ex­am­ples have a unique ca­pac­ity to dis­till ma­te­ri­als, crafts­man­ship and his­tory.’

The ap­peal of beau­ti­ful, in­tri­cate and exquisite ma­te­ri­als is prov­ing ir­re­sistible to a grow­ing ros­ter of A-lis­ters: it was at Jamb where John Tay­lor, bass gui­tarist of Du­ran Du­ran, and Gela Nash-tay­lor, founder of Juicy Cou­ture, bought the mag­nif­i­cent early-18th­cen­tury chim­ney piece for their Lon­don apart­ment de­signed by Robert Kime (COUN­TRY LIFE, Novem­ber 9, 2016). Prove­nance is also im­por­tant: the Tay­lors’ chim­ney­p­iece in­cor­po­rates the crest of the fam­ily who com­mis­sioned it for their Hack­ney home.

An im­pres­sive his­tory is much of the ap­peal of the chim­ney­p­iece cur­rently at West­land Lon­don that was made for Brook House on Park Lane, built by Thomas Henry Wy­att in the 1860s. In the 1930s, it was trans­ferred to an apart­ment in the block that re­placed Brook House and, later, to a shop nearby.

The highly dec­o­ra­tive na­ture of many chim­ney­p­ieces also makes them a mag­net for in­te­rior de­sign­ers. ‘With the cur­rent fash­ion for eclec­ti­cism, there’s a grow­ing trend for jux­ta­pos­ing an­tique chim­ney­p­ieces with modern art and fur­ni­ture,’ says Paul Ch­es­ney, founder of Ch­es­ney’s.

With this in mind, any­one want­ing to pair their B&B Italia so­fas with a glo­ri­ous chim­ney­p­iece in the man­ner of Sir Henry Cheere—which in­cludes a tableau of Ro­mu­lus and Re­mus be­ing suck­led by a wolf—need look no fur­ther.

‘They cre­ate an im­me­di­ate sense of an es­tab­lished en­vi­ron­ment ’

Get them while they’re hot! Left: The chim­ney­p­iece at Brook House is for sale at West­land Lon­don. Top: Ch­es­ney’s tableau of Ro­mu­lus and Re­mus. Above: John and Gela Tay­lor’s man­tel­piece, from Jamb

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from UK

© PressReader. All rights reserved.