Flying giraffe, triceratops, yellow pool table? These auction items from a Banburyshire country house could be yours in virtual sale starting tomorrow

A host of quirky, eclectic and beautiful pieces of art and craft work go on sale in a unique virtual auction tomorrow as the contents of Aynhoe Park go under the hammer.
One of the unique and distinctive items in the catalogue for this week's saleOne of the unique and distinctive items in the catalogue for this week's sale
One of the unique and distinctive items in the catalogue for this week's sale

The contents of the spectacular Aynhoe Park are offered at auction via Dreweatts in an online sale from tomorrow until Friday.

The sale offers an amazing opportunity to own a true piece of English history, as the contents of the 17th century Grade I Palladian country house, Aynhoe Park are offered by Dreweatts in the three-day auction titled Aynhoe Park: The Celebration of a Modern Grand Tour.

The celebrated family home of James and Sophie Perkins, which recently achieved the global accolade of ‘Best Venue’ and has played host to celebrities from the music, film and fashion worlds, is set to draw world-wide interest. Dubbed one of the 'most hedonistic party wonderlands' the house has astonished guests including Kate Moss, Noel Gallagher, Bono and the Rolling Stones although in times gone by, Charles 1 and Winston Churchill are said to have stayed at Aynhoe.

The Aynhoe Park Estate has been the project of businessman and entrepreneur James Perkins and his wife Sophie for the last 15 years. Their passion for restoration and collecting is evident throughout its carefully-curated rooms. Over the last two decades, James has been responsible for large-scale restorations at prestigious historic buildings across the country. A number of his projects, including Aynhoe Park, have been recognised for their innovation, sensitivity and architectural ambition.

Walking around the house, you are transported around the world via artworks, books, sculpture, furniture, taxidermy, modern design and curiosities such as a triceratops skull and an Orient Express trunk. The interiors contain a mix of periods, styles and textures, which are simply breath-taking as you step through what feels like a museum crossed with a fantasy world.

Notable works in the grand, beautifully proportioned rooms, is a collection of classical ‘Grand Tour’ plaster sculpture, a fascination for which James has had since childhood, having brought his first ever piece as a child with his pocket money – a newly-cast bust of Apollo. This instigated a cast collection spanning more than 25 years and is the largest collection known to be in private hands - many of these will be offered in the sale.

Commenting on the upcoming auction, Joe Robinson, Head of Sale, said: “This is a truly distinctive collection, unapologetic for its eclecticism and range and emblematic of a life’s enthusiasm for the architectural, the intriguing and the quirky.”

An amazing and colourful chandelierAn amazing and colourful chandelier
An amazing and colourful chandelier

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."

Among the highlights in the sale are conceptual works created by James Perkins, a highly rated designer and artist in his own right. Amongst his creations is the original The Aynhoe Moon painting influenced by the clear nights at Aynho, the famous, ‘flying giraffe’ from the Orangery at Aynhoe Park and the giant bird’s nest with the golden egg. James’ designs are at the heart of the Aynhoe Park brand and have become collectors’ items in their own right.

On purchasing the property in 2006 James set about combining 21st Century living with architectural integrity, a responsibility that he felt was important to the legacy of the house. The restoration is now complete. 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.

However, 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, linking the house to Thomas Archer’s newly created wings. The estate was to remain in the Cartwright family for many years.

Distinctive comfort from the collection of James and Sophie PerkinsDistinctive comfort from the collection of James and Sophie Perkins
Distinctive comfort from the collection of James and Sophie Perkins

James Perkins 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.

"The sale represents a celebration and culmination of memories, before moving on to other projects, namely the restoration of Parnham Park in Dorset”.

Day 1 - Day 2 (Live Online Auction): Wednesday - Thursday, January 20 - 21

Day 3 (Timed Online Auction): ending Friday, January 22.

To see a virtual tour of Aynhoe Park and its artifacts see here. All pictures copyright of Dreweatts.