Now, after 45 years in the business, she has decided to close her shop and enjoy her retirement, with the remaining contents – as well as items from her personal collection – being offered by Bonhams as part of the Collections auction on March 21 in Knightsbridge.
The diverse selection on offer will include tapestries, needlework for antique furniture, silk brocades, embroidery, appliquéd and printed textiles, curtains and smaller decorative pieces such as cushions, braids and fringes, with a particular emphasis on European textiles of the 16th century through to the 19th century.
Writing in Bonhams Magazine, Serena Fokschaner says: “There are some interior designers who’d rather you didn’t know about Peta Smyth. For almost 50 years, Peta has been quietly supplying some of the industry’s key names, like Alidad, Nicky Haslam or Emma Burns, managing director of Sibyl Colefax & John Fowler, with the pre-19th-century rarities – Flemish tapestries, gleaming passementerie or fragments of Spitalfields silk – that they use to bring colour and patina to rooms.”
In his catalogue foreword, interior designer Alidad adds: “Going into the shop was like entering a kind of heaven. In no other place I knew could one be sure to find just the kind of selection of European textiles and tapestries, dating from the 16th to the 19th centuries, which could be guaranteed to inspire ideas; and nowhere else could one have found anyone as sympathetic and patient and generous with her knowledge as Peta.”