Peggy Cooper's Victorian house looks rather like an authentic 'cabinet of curiosities', many of which are featured in our next Interior, Homes & Antiques Sale including Toys, Dolls and Juvenalia on Thursday 17 June.
09/06/2021 Design & Interiors
Peggy, who was born and raised in Yorkshire was an art student from City of Leeds Art College in 1950s. She had a keen eye for display and was an early proponent of an artistic concept known as ‘assemblage art’, using found and repurposed materials for model making and three-dimensional artistic displays which she went on to develop into a thriving business on her stall on the Portabello Road from the 1960s.
Peggy came to London in the late 1950s with her then husband, Alan Cooper, ‘Coops’, lead member of the famous jazz band The Temprance Seven. ‘Coops’, also a former art student, was a flamboyant type who loved the Edwardian period and usually dressed in tailcoats of the era, a passion he shared with his silver haired art teacher wife Peggy. Although their marriage didn’t last, Peggy’s verve for living a life untouched by modernity continued.
She moved into a gorgeous Victorian three-story house in Harvard Road, Chiswick and filled it with period furniture and furnishings. Every inch of the home, affectionately known to her friends and family as ‘The Museum’ is a testimony to Peggy’s passion and artistic talent.
Stepping into the hallway, you are greeted with lines of wall mounted glazed cabinets filled with taxidermy birds, framed advertising memorabilia and pictures of Queen Victoria and Prince Albert, giving an immediate sense of the Victorian era.
In the numerous rooms, every shelf, mantlepiece and surface is meticulously adorned with wonderful displays of miniature dolls house furniture, Victorian crested ware ceramics, hand-made scratch-built dioramas, and cabinets full of dolls or tin plate toys. There are shelves teaming with decalcomania bottles of every size, novelty shaped biscuit tins and miniature sewing machines all cleverly arranged to catch the eye. Even the kitchen is carefully assembled, with white painted shelves laden with tins of every shape and size, jelly moulds and kitchenalia, and of course, a doll seated in a highchair positioned in the corner for company!
Peggy’s home is a testimony to both her avant-garde craft form and her passion for juvenilia and objects. The collection is eclectic and, in some instances, rather macabre, but through her use assemblage art and artistic creativity, it somehow transitions from the more sombre Victorian era into a modern day ‘Cabinet of Curiosities’, full of intrigue and fun.
Interiors, Homes & Antiques featuring items from the Private Collection of Peggy Cooper (Lots 128 - 259).
Contact Head of Interiors, Homes & Antiques, Liz Winnicott, for more information.