From the outside, Aynhoe Park in Oxfordshire looks like your typical English stately home. But inside the property is an explosion of eccentric sculptures, artwork and objets d’art, all of which are being sold as part of a landmark auction.
The 17th century Palladian country house was bought in 2006 by self-made millionaire James Perkins and has become an exclusive wedding venue and party pad loved by celebrities including Kate Moss and Stella McCartney.
Now Mr Perkins and his wife Sophie are selling the contents of the ostentatious property as they prepare to move on to other projects, namely the restoration of Parnham Park, in Dorset.
Animal magic: Owners James and Sophie Perkins are selling the contents of Aynhoe Park, Oxfordshire, at auction next month.Among the items for sale is this moulded bronze painting Paying homage resin model of a head and shoulder mount of a White Rhino (£3,000-£5,000) and the full-body mount of a royal Danish white stag, which is expected to go for as much as £12,000
Bedroom two: This cosy bedroom is decorated with framed flags (£400-£600), a reindeer or caribou antler and skull mount (£400-£600) and a large Victorian pond yacht (£400-£600)
A collector’s paradise: Among the most well-known pieces at Aynhoe is the ‘Flying Giraffe’, left, by owner James Perkins (£10,000-£15,000).Right, items for sale in the Dining Room include the set of 16 Regency style dining chairs (£4,000-£6,000) and a fibreglass model of a British racing car (just seen), which is expected to fetch between £1,500-£2,500
Moving on: Sophie and James Perkins on one of two yellow upholstered ‘castle chairs’ expected to sell for £1,500-£2,000
Stunning: fine art bronze painting The 17th century Palladian country house was bought in 2006 by self-made millionaire James Perkins and has become an exclusive wedding venue and party pad loved by celebrities including Kate Moss and Stella McCartney
Highlights of the sale, which will be held by Dreweatts next month, include a £15,000 ‘flying giraffe’ sculpture and a £8,000 unicorn that is currently displayed on top of a piano.
Aynhoe Park was remodelled by the eminent Baroque architect Thomas Archer (1668-1743) who created adjoining wings to form the dramatic forecourt to the North façade.
The interiors at Aynhoe Park were laid out in c.1800 by Sir John Soane (1753-1837), for William Ralph Cartwright (1771-1847). Soane added grand arch screens, high class bronze painting linking the house to Thomas Archer’s newly created wings.
The estate remained in the Cartwright family for generations until it became too expensive to keep.In the 1950s it was reconfigured as a retirement home for landed gentry.
It was later taken on by the Country Houses Association until the organisation’s dissolution in 2004.