The contents of country house Aynhoe Park are going on sale in a one-of-a-kind auction.
Owners Sophie and James Perkins have called time on the 400-year-old Palladian mansion and are saying goodbye to its eclectic contents in what's anticipated to be the sale of the century.
The 17th century Oxfordshire country house is a treasure trove of unique wonders; from exotic taxidermy to an Orient Express trunk, and a Victorian gothic revival four poster bed.
Featuring hundreds of these curiosities, from taxidermy giraffes, zebras and bears and preserved dinosaur skulls to one-off furniture and lighting pieces, sculptures and more, the two-day auction will take place later this month on Wednesday 20th and Thursday 21st January 2021.
Famed for being used as a whimsical backdrop to weddings and fashion photo shoots, Aynhoe Park's balloon-flying giraffe, giant glitter balls, taxidermy 'unicorn' and zebra rocking horse are all up for grabs, having each played their part in the past decade's most memorable, highly photographed and hedonistic parties.
The sale of the Oxfordshire home's contents is set to draw world-wide interest – not least because Aynhoe Park's party-goers have included royalty, high society and A-list celebrities from Kate Moss to Madonna, Noel Gallagher and Bono to the Rolling Stones.
Browsing through the sale catalogue (opens in new tab), some stand-out items include the famous and frequently photographed Aynhoe Unicorn, composed of a preserved model of a horse, which is estimated to fetch £5,000 - £8,000.
Other taxidermy pieces include a preserved white peacock mounted on a white plinth (£1,500 - £2,500), a standing ostrich perched on a carved limed-oak and marble-topped table (£1,500-2,500), a preserved male African lion (£3,000 - £5,000) and the original Aynhoe rocking zebra (£3,000 - £5,000).
There's an original walrus skull too, not the mention an ancient triceratops skull – which Sophie Perkins' best friend Chloe Delevingne has reportedly already claimed dibs on for her husband.
There are some interesting furniture, lighting and art pieces in the mix too, like James’ beloved red leather high-backed armchair where Liam Gallagher reportedly sat holding court in the early hours of the morning (it's estimated to fetch between £2,000-4,000).
The contents will be auctioned off by Dreweatts in a three-day auction titled Aynhoe Park: The Celebration of a Modern Grand Tour, from 20 - 22 January 2021.
James Perkins explains: “Aynhoe Park is evocative of the modern Grand Tour, hence the auction title.”.
James and Sophie Perkins bought Aynhoe Park in 2006 and lovingly restored it, but they feel that it's time for a new chapter. After 15 years of fun with Aynhoe Park, it will be the end of an era.
It’s going to be sad to say goodbye for anyone who has made memories at the legendary party mansion – especially since it won't be possible to have a huge send-off party in the current corona times.
The Perkins' next project is restoring the dilapidated Parnham House in Dorset, which was ravaged by fire in 2017.
The couple hope to transform the next property into a family-friendly place for festivals, where families can come and do different activities and enjoy it together, aiming for a 2021 launch.
James Perkins adds: "The sale represents a celebration and culmination of memories, before moving on to other projects, namely the restoration of Parnham Park in Dorset”.
For a sneak preview of the inside of the house and a taster of some of the contents on offer, click here (opens in new tab).
Lotte is the Digital Editor for Livingetc, and has been with the website since its launch. She has a background in online journalism and writing for SEO, with previous editor roles at Good Living, Good Housekeeping, Country & Townhouse, and BBC Good Food among others, as well as her own successful interiors blog. When she's not busy writing or tracking analytics, she's doing up houses, two of which have features in interior design magazines. She's just finished doing up her house in Wimbledon, and is eyeing up Bath for her next project.
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