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Home   Canterbury   News   Article

Downsize Abbey: Historic house in Wickhambreaux near Canterbury put up for sale by Giles Newby Vincent with wealth of antiques

26 February 2014
by KentOnline reporter

An architect to the stars is hoping to make almost £3million by selling his 300-year-old home near Canterbury - and its entire contents of antiques.

Giles Newby Vincent, an interior designer who has worked for Lord Heseltine and Elton John, has spent the past 15 years collecting antique furniture.

The outstanding private collection is made up of carefully selected pieces ranging from fine early 18th century furniture, painting, silver, Delftware and antique textiles.

The Old Rectory in Wickhambreaux will be offered for sale next month

The Old Rectory in Wickhambreaux will be offered for sale next month

Giles used the antiques to kit out The Old Rectory, a stunning Grade II listed home in Wickhambreaux.

But he has now decided it is time to sell everything and plough the earnings into his next project - refurbishing a dilapidated villa overlooking the sea near St Tropez, France.

The antiques and classic furniture are expected to net the architect, 53, in excess of £600,000 when they are auctioned off by Bonhams in March.

He is also hoping to get in the region of £2.25 million for the home - making himself almost £3million in total.

Interior of the historic country house near Canterbury going up for sale along with all its contents

Interior of the historic country house near Canterbury going up for sale along with all its contents

The Old Rectory is a grade II-listed home

The Old Rectory is a grade II-listed home

Giles Newby Vincent used antiques to kit out The Old Rectory

Giles Newby Vincent used antiques to kit out The Old Rectory

Born into a family of antique collectors and architects, Giles inherited a love of old buildings and beautiful objects and was drawing house plans from the age of five.

He has worked on numerous National Trust restoration projects as well as for clients across Europe and the Caribbean.

He also worked on a Georgian rectory which featured in the television series Downton Abbey.

Giles's grandfather was a gentleman architect while his mother's family were responsible for a number of country homes in Herefordshire. 

Architect to the stars Giles Newby Vincent

Architect to the stars Giles Newby Vincent

His aunt was Elizabeth Newby Vincent, an eccentric antique dealer from Devizes, Wiltshire. 

Giles said: "My aunt had rather trenchant views. She insisted that 'antiques should look inherited rather than bought' and that good proportions, patina and a romantic sense of atmosphere are paramount."

Her advice rubbed off and, as a result, the contents of The Old Rectory fit perfectly with the home.

A Queen Anne walnut double domed bureau is among the star lots and should sell for around £40,000.

Another important piece is a Queen Anne walnut feather-banded bachelor chest, which should fetch around the same figures.

A Queen Anne walnut bookcase

A Queen Anne walnut bookcase

A George II walnut double chair

A George II walnut double chair

A George I walnut armchair

A George I walnut armchair

There are also dozens of antique plates, cutlery sets, paintings and ornaments.

The items are being sold as part of the Fine English Furniture sale in Bond Street on March 12.

The Old Rectory was built in 1713 and is considered one Kent's finest small Queen Anne country houses.

Spread across 9,000sq/ft, the home has eight-bedrooms and five reception rooms. 

In addition, there is a two-bedroom cottage in the garden with the properties set in around an acre of land. 

A George II carved walnut bureau

A George II carved walnut bureau

A pair of George I carved walnut stools

A pair of George I carved walnut stools

A painting by Anthony Jansz van der Croos

A painting by Anthony Jansz van der Croos

Giles said: "I am selling pretty much all of the contents, but keeping a few which have a sentimental value. 

"I have spent the past 15 years collecting it and it has been a real labour of love assembling them. It will be sad to see it go, as I love many of these pieces. 

"But they wouldn't work with the property in France. I hope they will now find new owners who will appreciate them as much as I have.

"The furniture fits The Old Rectory perfectly. It is a Grade II listed home and is exactly as it was when it was built. 

"It is a beautiful home and must have really had the wow factor in its day. The front door is about eight-foot high which must have been to show off."

A painting by Frans Pourbus the younger

A painting by Frans Pourbus the younger

A painting by Jakob Ferdinand Voet

A painting by Jakob Ferdinand Voet

Another painting by Jakob Ferdinand Voet

Another painting by Jakob Ferdinand Voet

Fergus Lyons, Bonhams head of Bonhams furniture department, said:  "It has been a pleasure and a privilege to be involved with the sale of this remarkably cohesive collection formed by Giles Newby Vincent and housed in one of the finest examples of Queen Anne architecture in Kent.

"This group, including furniture, silver, ceramics and paintings is redolent of the iconic early 20th century English collections associated with connoisseurs such as Percival Griffiths and is a testament to the owner’s excellent eye."

The home will be coming onto the open market next month, with estate agents Savills and Strutt and Parker.


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