I will miss his regular and stimulating visits. We would make his double expresso coffee and then walk around the showroom, as he pointed with his stick at pieces that sparked his interest. He undoubtedly left an essence of gold with anyone who crossed his path. If not with his erudite knowledge, then through his sublime kindness and generous words of encouragement. I was always moved by his strong desire to see others succeed.
Christopher Gibbs had a profound effect on me even before I knew who he was. I was ten and ‘running‘ antiques from shop to shop with my best friend’s father, Warner Dailey. We went into Christopher’s shop and I immediately got the sense that I was in the presence of greatness, although I was yet to meet him.
A few years later, when I was about thirteen, I saw what I thought was the perfect apartment in a magazine and although it’s not in my nature to do so, I carefully cut out the pages. What I really remember were the walls of one particular room being the most perfect tone of green and being filled with an array of objects that decorated to perfection. I kept this cutting safe as a point of reference for about ten years and one day I returned to it and had the epiphany it was Christopher Gibbs who had decorated it and that everything related to him as the doyen of our industry. I understood at that moment his complete significance.
His gallery in Pimlico whilst being extraordinary grand, was also exceptionally accessible. When I was officially working as a runner when I started as a dealer, I visited his shop. He had the most phenomenal stone caryatid chimneypiece, that he not only agreed to let me dismantle, but also put in my van and see if I could sell. Everything about him exuded not only magnificent style but the most extraordinary academic knowledge about the antiques he was selling. He was always so generous and wanted the younger generations to learn and prosper, so I was happy when I succeeded in our first deal together.
Later in life when he decided to leave the Pimlico Road on Dove Walk he handed over his Gallery space to us in 2006. The weight of history lay upon our shoulders- how would we be able to carry the baton? Even the paint colours for the walls became the most fraught and agonising decision. A week later, surrounded by sixty paint pots, we felt we had finally found the perfect colour… Only to realise it was exactly the colour that Christopher had previously chosen. His subliminal influence was everywhere!
He was just the most extraordinary man of unparalleled taste and style but whose gentle demeanour and generous spirit will always hang in the air. I feel honoured to have known him.