Christopher Howe acquired his first shop 1986 having graduated from Goldsmith’s College in sculpture earlier that year. The shop is situated on Bourne Street, slightly tucked away from the Pimlico Road. A modest two up and two down with a double-fronted shop front provided both a workshop and living space from which HOWE began.
Originally, the space’s main function was furniture restoration but with Christopher’s passion for collecting, this space was soon overflowing with furniture and objects offering an originality and freshness, each piece having a story to tell. Gilded mirrors could be juxtaposed with Tulip chairs by Pierre Paulin and a Peleini floor lamp by Gae Aulenti. Inspired by understated simplicity and the extraordinary, the shop has always maintained its friendly atmosphere and eclecticism.
“I approached the antiques trade from a different angle as someone who was an art student and who was involved with making and restoring always choosing things that inspired me in a different way”
The shop became well known for its ‘charming haphazardness’ and unique style and as trade increased, in 1995, the bigger Pimlico Road shop was opened allowing for the larger antiques to be shown for the first time. This larger space also allowed for the expanding range of hand-made furniture and lighting based on favourite historical designs.
One of the first commercial commissions was for an Irish bench design commissioned by decorator David Mlinaric for The National Gallery where the benches still remain today.
One of Christopher’s favourite acquisitions was an 18-foot-high George I bed that was prepared for the visit of the Prince of Wales to Raynham Hall in 1712. Discovered by Christopher in a jigsaw puzzle of pieces, the canopy bed took two years to put together. The Raynham Hall State Bed was acquired 2 years later by the director of Royal Historic Palaces for Hampton Court Palace in 2002 for the restoration of King George’s apartments, and there it can be seen today.
In 2004 Christopher became the first name to have a single owner sale ‘Christopher Howe: The First twenty Years’ at Christie’s in South Kensington. This sale consisted of furniture dating from 18th Century to 20th Century design as well as a selection of favourite bespoke pieces from the HOWE range.
Over the years of working closely with clients and setting out to satisfy their unique requirements, the ‘Made by Howe’ range has evolved to become a classic collection of timeless design. Emulating the craftsmen of the 18th Century who lived and breathed their work, each piece is made in England by skilled craftsmen; some of whom Christopher has worked with for nearly thirty years.