Aladdin’s cave of Aynhoe Park items being auctioned this week
Items from the 17th century mansion will be sold as the owners move to Dorset
An “Aladdin’s cave” of the items from the 17th century stately home Aynhoe Park will go on sale later this week. The 28-bedroom mansion on the Croughton Road in Aynho has for the last twenty years been the home to James and Sophie Perkins, who are now moving to Dorset.
Lots include a half-size Aston Martin, a 65-million-year-old dinosaur skull and a giant white statue of Hercules wearing a gold watch around his neck. Other items include a stuffed zebra rocking-horse, flamingos, circus lights and a polar bear wearing a captain’s hat.
Aynhoe Park recently achieved the global accolade of ‘Best Venue’ and has played host to celebrities from the music, film and fashion worlds. It was the venue for Jade Jagger’s wedding and Noel Gallagher’s 50th birthday party.
The contents of the 17th century Grade I Palladian country house are to be offered by Dreweatts in a two-day auction titled, Aynhoe Park: The Celebration of a Modern Grand Tour, this Wednesday and Thursday.
Describing the sale and James’ collection, Will Richards, Deputy Chairman of Dreweatts said: “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. Appropriately titled The Celebration of a Modern Grand Tour 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 Perkins purchased Aynhoe Park in 2006 and set about combining 21st Century living with architectural integrity. The restoration is now complete.
The property was remodelled by the architect Thomas Archer (1668-1743) who created adjoining wings to form the dramatic forecourt to the North façade. The interiors were laid out in c. 1800 for William Ralph Cartwright with the addition of grand arch screens, linking the house to Thomas Archer’s newly created wings. The estate was to remain in the Cartwright family for many years.
Talking about Aynhoe Park and the auction, James said: “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.”