Robert Kime, antiques dealer and interior designer by appointment with the Prince of Wales – obituary

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Robert Kime was born on February 7, 1946. His father was a war-traumatized fighter pilot who left his mother when his son was one year old. Robert did not see him again for 35 years, when he visited him briefly in Rhodesia: “I thought that if we were to be great friends, we would like to see each other again, and if not, a weekend would be long enough. And it was, really.

Kime’s mother remarried when he was three and the family moved to Cheshire. He had a comfortable upbringing, surrounded by antique furniture that belonged to his maternal grandmother. His dyslexia was so severe that he was never able to read his own handwriting, let alone anyone else’s; as a result, he developed a strong visual memory for objects, which would serve him well in his later career.

Despite this, Kime secured a place to study modern history at Worcester College, Oxford. During his freshman year, however, his mother’s second marriage fell apart and he left college for a year in order to sell the family home and move to a more modest establishment. After returning to Oxford, to make ends meet, he began selling antiques to donations and friends.

During his last term, he met botanist Miriam Rothschild at a party. Some time later she sent him a telegram, took him out to lunch, and told him that she had transferred a collection of antiques from her house to a shop in Oundle which she owned; she wanted him, she said, to “sell everything.” He agreed, on the condition that she have the antiques appraised independently. Eventually, he ran the shop for three years, with a stint at Sotheby’s in between.

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