The July 5 auction of Fine Interiors at The Pedestal in Henley-on-Thames on July includes 140 lots from the stock of Joanne Booth. A dealer for close to 60 years, she is now hoping to spend more time at her home on the Welsh borders.
When she opened her eponymous business at 247 Kings Road in 1967 it was the epicentre of a bourgeoning youth culture. Mary Quant was at number 138a; the Chelsea Drugstore at 49, while Granny Takes A Trip sold vintage fashion from 488 (Booth bought her wedding dress here).
Booth outlasted them all. The shop remained open until 2007 with the firm continuing to trade via fairs and an online presence.
The Joanna Booth ‘look’ became well established: early British and European vernacular furniture, ecclesiastical and secular polychrome statuary, stone sculpture, Flemish tapestries and Old Master drawings.
A regular exhibitor at Olympia and Grosvenor House in London and Palm Beach in Florida, her line in cushions made from tapestry fragments were an interior decorating favourite. On a good day they alone would cover expenses.
Arts journalist Scott Reyburn, who worked with Booth early in his career, has written an evocative introduction to The Pedestal catalogue. “Tastes and buying patterns have changed dramatically since the glory days of the London antiques trade. Nowadays the better-off decorate their homes in pretty much the same way wherever they are in the world. Bare white walls, a bit of Mid-century furniture here, a tastefully cool piece of Contemporary art there.
“But now, gradually, decorators, collectors and home-owners are once again discovering how the character and beauty of older objects and furniture can transform the appearance of a contemporary home. Joanna Booth showed us the way.”