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He was there for some years, probably mostly uneventful, until Princess Margaret called at the store to purchase a bed. Before doing this she naturally needed to lie on it and asked Robert to lie beside her to test, presumably, the balance of the mattress. Unfortunately there is no photographic record of this encounter.

After Heal’s he left to become involved with the making of furniture and particularly the restoration of period antique furniture by working for Peter Boswell Restorations Ltd at their large workshops in Beak Street, Soho. It was during this time that I got to know him particularly well and we had great times together.

New role

Stair and Co were prestigious dealers in fine antique furniture in New York and London and when they moved to new premises in Mount Street, Robert applied and got the job of running it.

He was responsible for most aspects of the business and his eye for detail was apparent in the items that he chose to purchase and also exhibit at the Grosvenor House Fine Art and Antiques Fair. After the company ceased trading, Robert became involved with what is now the Arts Scholars Livery Company, which was recently formed ,and he attended many of their events.

In later years his health started to deteriorate and he died peacefully on October 16.

Robert was a kind and gentle man and his talents and general good humour were much appreciated by all those who came into contact with him.

He is survived by his wife Margaret, two daughters and a grand-daughter.