The furniture which John Fowler picked out for his own home is going up for sale in December

John Fowler, the iconic decorator who moved the needle of British interior design as a co-founder of Colefax & Fowler, chose exquisite pieces for his own home — and dozens of them are now up for sale.

Over 30 antiques which once furnished the home of John Fowler are going up for sale in December.

Sibyl Colefax & John Fowler are hosting the John Fowler & Imogen Taylor sale from 2nd-22nd December at 89-91 Pimlico Road, London, a selling exhibition of over 100 antiques, more than 30 of which came from Fowler’s residence, The Hunting Lodge.

Dubbed ‘the Prince of Decorators’ by Deborah, Duchess of Devonshire, Fowler established a look that continues to inspire to this day. He and his business partner Nancy Lancaster — who had by then bought Lady Sibyl’s share of the business — would go antiques buying together, with most pieces being sold on in the Brook Street showroom.

Most, but not all: the pair kept a number pieces were kept for their own homes. ‘Fowler had the most exquisite taste, and the 1940s were an exceptional period to buy in,’ says Roger Jones, head of the Antiques Department at Sybil Colefax & John Fowler. In the case of Fowler, the home in question was The Hunting Lodge, an 18th century folly which he purchased in 1947 and lived in until his death 30 years later.

Small Regency painted waterfall bookcase circa 1810.

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The style within was, explains Jones, ‘utterly unpretentious, very comfortable, with a veneer of elegance and informality and the feeling that one can sit down anywhere without having to move a chair.’

The furniture has been placed up for sale by Imogen Taylor, who joined the company in 1949 and was Fowler’s assistant for 17 years. By 1968, Imogen was a partner in the firm and an esteemed decorator in her own right, remaining with Sibyl Colefax & John Fowler until her retirement in 1999 — a remarkable 50 years with the company.

‘John bequeathed the contents of The Hunting Lodge to his friends, and I was lucky enough to be a recipient,’ she says. ‘I purchased a little house in Burgundy on my retirement, which I filled with pieces of furniture and pictures that John left me.’

In addition to items bequeathed by Fowler, the sale includes Taylor’s furniture, art and smaller ceramics — including a 1780 black and gilt japanned elbow chair with rush seat and cushion painted by George Oakes, several George III painted chairs and a pair of late 18th century grey-painted and gilt elbow chairs. ‘It is the first sale of its kind, the rarest of opportunities to purchase Fowler’s collections,’ explains Roger Jones.

Sale highlights from The Hunting Lodge — some of which are pictured above — include almost the entire contents of the dining room, from Fowler’s tilt top fruitwood dining table and North European marble top walnut commode, both circa 1800, to a set of six Italian painted rush chairs, circa 1810, as well as a Regency etagère with caned shelves and simulated bamboo paintwork and the tole verrière displayed upon it.

One of Imogen Taylor’s late 18th century Italian painted chairs.

Further furniture highlights include a French Directoire period mahogany fall-front bureau with marble top, circa 1800, an early 18th century wing-armchair upholstered in a green velvet and Fowler’s own Friar’s chair — a model still available to order from Sibyl Colefax & John Fowler).

The full catalogue will be online at from December 2.