From the outside, Ian Grant's home appeared as unexceptional as the day he bought it for £5,000. On the inside was a peerless assembly of Victoriana now expected to fetch £500,000 at auction.
The furnishing gathered by Grant, first secretary of the Victorian Society and a champion of 19th-century design, will be offered for sale when his extensive collection of fine art, furniture and paintings is auctioned by Sotheby's at its new auction house in Olympia, west London, next month.
The Notting Hill house, also in west London, where Grant lived from 1958 until his death in 1998, boasted one of the most perfect Victorian ensembles in London. Each room was a comprehensive interpretation of the era, from early Regency to high Victorian. It was his wish that his collection be sold after he died.
As a pioneer in the movement to save Victorian architecture, Grant worked on some of the most important 19th-century interiors in Britain, including the Reform Club, the Royal Albert Hall and the Wallace Collection.
Harry Delmeny, the auction house's director, said: "Ian Grant had an extraordinary eye and knew exactly how to juxtapose fine paintings and furniture with those small objects that make an interior come alive."
The billiards room was most important to Grant as his architect's studio. Its walls lined with books, vases, curiosities, pedestals, busts and miniatures, and floor covered in a large selection of oriental carpets, resembled a colonial governor's office.
Popular parties, for what Grant called the "heritage mafia", were held in the gold drawing room, furnished with walnut sofas and decorated with gold watered-silk wallpaper, dozens of paintings, Regency mirrors, gas lamps and blue and white porcelain.
The entrance hall contained a plethora of paintings, stuffed fish, tapestries, tables and mirrors, creating a scene said to have left the architect Sir Nikolaus Pevsner speechless the first time he visited.Reuse content