At a time when it is sadly common to hear stories of antiques shops closing down and being turned into housing or other uses it is refeshing to hear of a move in the other direction.
Robert Chinnery has opened Kendall House Antiques in the Cotswolds town of Chipping Campden with his partner Rachel Jones.
He says: “We decided to convert our 17th century townhouse which is full of antiques back into a high street shop. We have now moved upstairs where we live among even more antiques, always ready to move them downstairs, keeping the shop full of intriguing pieces that we love personally.”
Chinnery is renowned as a taxidermy dealer – who bid £20,000 at a Bonhams auction in 2003 for The Death and Burial of Cock Robin, a bizarre tableau, c.1861, of 98 animal specimens by the legendary Victorian taxidermist Walter Potter telling the nursery rhyme in sad detail including “a sparrow with his bow and arrow”.
In 2001 he wrote the definitive history of one of taxidermy’s most famous families: Peter Spicer & Sons of Leamington Spa.
And yes, the shop does have for sale some Spicer pieces for fans of the art. Chinnery adds: “I’ve been out of the picture commercially for a long time and no longer have a large private collection although I do still have my very first stuffed bird, a cuckoo which my dad gave me when I was seven years old, which I could never sell.
“Hopefully this is an antiques shop that intrigues and excites with classic nude oils, some great taxidermy and objets d’art from some of the greats including Gillows, Howard, Lapini and Minton.”
As for what happened to his …Cock Robin acquisition, Chinnery reveals he sold it to a taxidermy collector a few years ago who bequeathed it to a museum.