ROBERT KIME By Tessa Traeger and Alastair Langlands
Foreword by HRH The Prince of Wales
Frances Lincoln £40.00
This is a rather special book in that it is a celebration of British style created by a master of interior decoration. On looking through the twelve houses in England, France, the Bahamas, Ireland and Scotland the reader is transported into a harmonious world that reflects the house, its collections and its owners.
In 2003, when interviewed by the Daily Telegraph about the work he was doing for The Prince of Wales at Clarence House Kime said: ‘What I love most in my work is rearranging other people’s stuff. The Queen Mother’s still there in the way I’ve done it, but it’s also relevant to the new owner, what he wants. It’s keeping all this stuff still simmering, though my brief was ‘Nothing must change’. It feels as if the Queen Mother has just popped out, but all her history, treasures, and mementoes of her 100-year life are still there. You’re recreating something completely different, but with all these memories. We’re nothing without memory.’ He certainly achieved that there and as the book reveals in the other houses too thanks to his understanding of art, antiques and textiles and his innate ability to mix periods and styles. Prince Charles in his eloquent foreword suggests that the ultimate test of a room is whether it makes you want to stay there. I certainly agree that Kime’s rooms pass that test with flying colours.
The noted photographer Tessa Traeger was specially commissioned to take many of the photographs in the book and there are additional photographs by Christopher Simon Sykes, James Mortimer, Fritz von der Schulenburg, James Mitchell and Lord Snowdon.