News & Events

  • Gillian Newberry Obituary

     Gillian Newberry of Bennison Fabrics                                   

     Died on Saturday 4th February 2023                                   

    It is with great sadness that I must announce the death of Gilly (Gillian) Newberry. To those of us who had the honour of knowing her Gilly was unique gracious and beautiful with a deliciously wicked sense of humour. An inspiration to us all not only with her wonderful sense of style but in her caring and modest demeanor to. Gilly was an enrichment to all our lives 

    Gilly and Geoff had created a wonderful life for themselves in Mallorca and for many years took great joy in the pleasures that were on offer on that idyllic island. 

    Sadly for the last year or so Gilly had been living with Cancer and put up a remarkably brave fight to keep it at bay. Luckily she managed to return to her beloved Mallorca, where her dear husband Geoff and their children were with her at the end. To them all we send our deepest sympathy and love and remember a very dear friend.

    Gilly way back in the mists of time had worked at British Vogue, in the photographic studio of David Bailey and in The Royal College of Art’s fashion school prior to joining Geoffrey Bennison. 

    She first met Geoffrey Bennison through an introduction from his hairdresser in September 1979. Geoffrey desperately needed someone to sort out his administrative muddle at his eponymous antique shop on The Pimlico Road. The paperwork, not his best point, was rapidly spiraling out of control as his business expanded and his decorating projects took him further afield.

    As time passed, over and above all the paperwork, Gilly became Geoffrey’s right arm in developing his archive of antique textile documents which he believed could be faithfully and sensitively reproduced for future generations. Together they created the Bennison collection of exquisite fabrics. Geoffrey Bennison died unexpectedly in 1984. He left the textile branch of his business to Gilly. And so it was that in 1985 Gilly and Geoff, her husband, set up Bennison Fabrics independently from Bennison Antiques in their wonderful shop on Holbein Place. Their independent skills made a remarkable team. Gilly concentrating on her skills as a designer 

    and Geoff as a brilliant administrator. Not forgetting the great help of Alex and Debs Macintyre , both of whom had also worked with Geoffrey Bennison.

    Over the past 37 years Gilly developed and extended the range of beautiful fabrics adding contemporary touches here and there and keeping alive the memory of Geoffrey Bennison and the punchy English Country House look that he created. Who can forget the wonderful “Blue Roses ” pattern, the “Floral Column” or the dramatic “Lorenzo” damask print from those early years. More recently Gilly added the delicate beauty of the design “Paradise” and the zinging magic of “Little Aztec” and many more. All in all a remarkable legacy to add to the world’s collection of beautiful fabrics, 

    On the 8th of April 2015, Gilly launched her wonderful book on the life of  “Geoffrey Bennison: Master Decorator”. Those of us who were lucky enough to be invited to the glamorous and magical launch party at Leighton House will never forget it. This book is a testament not only to Mr Bennison but of her life and efforts at keeping the flame burning. 

    In all these endeavours Gilly was supported not only by her devoted husband Geoff but by a remarkable team in her show rooms here and in America and at the Print Factories she used. Though Holbein Place was the home base they were extremely proud of what they had created in New York. Gilly had the knack of bringing together a family of charming and delightful people to support her and Geoff in their fabulous enterprise Long may the business and her remarkable legacy continue to grace our neighbourhood . I know the team here and in America will continue the dream. 

    Gilly is survived by her beloved husband Geoff, their adored children, Jack and Holly, and five magical grandchildren. 

    In fond memory and deepest sympathy to the Newberry family and all her work colleagues.

    Mark Boyce  

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  • In memory of Robert Kime

    Dear all,

    It is with great sadness that we add this brief comment to the many obituaries and articles written about the sad death this week of Robert Kime.

    Recognised internationally as a great arbiter of taste and design he graced our neighbourhood on and off for many decades. Robert dealt nearly all his life from his childhood, from his University lodgings, his homes, and on several occasions he partnered Piers Westenholz at various shops on The Pimlico Road. 

    He opened shops on Kensington Church Street and then Museum Street before returning in great style, opening his eponymous shop on Ebury Street filled with antique furniture, porcelain and works of art , antique textiles, contemporary furniture and his own range of glorious fabrics.

    A quiet, softly spoken and gentle man he influenced many of his contemporaries and several generations to come with his inimitable style. We honour one of our

    local heroes and dearest friends. 

    With deepest sympathy for his family, his friends and all his work colleagues.

    Mark Boyce

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  • In memory of Peter Twining who died on the 3rd February 2022. 1936 – 2022

    Peter Twining was a mentor to many and a friend to many more who worked and thrived here on The Pimlico Road. He sadly died on the 3rd of February aged 86. His friends and colleagues remember him with deep affection.
    Peter, who changed his surname to Twining by deed pole, originally set up in business with George Sherlock on The Kings Road in the 1960s. George moved on, further down beyond Lots Road, whilst Peter created a wonderful esoteric atmosphere in his long narrow shop on the King’s Road opposite Poulton Square. It held a cornucopia of early furniture and full-length Elizabethan and Jacobean portraits. Perhaps an early tapestry hung behind an oak refectory table draped with antique Persian carpets, rather like a 17th century Dutch still life, as remembered by Piers Von Westenholz. 

    He moved again to Ledbury Road, a large premises which he filled with Grand Country House castoffs where Christopher Hodsoll joined him in the mid-1970s before he moved on to work with Geoffrey Bennison in The Pimlico Road. Later on, Peter dealt from lofty apartments close to Hyde Park. Peter spent a short time in America before returning to England and continued to deal but without a shop, placing many a find in the shops of Westenholz, Ruth Sheradski at Loot then taken over by Gill Goldsmith, or with his friends Christopher Gibbs, Robert Kime, Geoffrey Bennison and subsequently Christopher Hodsoll. 

    He helped Christopher Hodsoll when he opened at 69 Pimlico Road and then when Christopher continued the Benisson business from 1984 which morphed into Hodsoll. He mentored Christopher Howe when he moved to the Pimlico Road from his smaller premises on Bourne Street. Peter helped Lulu Lytle; who was then working with Christopher Howe,  set up her own business; Soane, in the basement of Christopher Hodsoll’s shop and again when she moved across the road to Christopher’s other premises when they were vacated by Hodsoll Mckenzie Fabrics. He became head of the Antiques Department there for many years until only very recently also helping to design furniture and lighting with Lulu Lytle’s team.

    Despite being severely beaten up in the 1970s, and having suffered a severe stroke in the 1990’s he continued to pop up all over London hunting for that special something that others may have missed. In his earlier days, he was seen in both town and country in black leathers dashing from one place to another on his powerful motorbike. Many of his contemporaries sadly died of Aids; George Sherlock, Ross Hamilton, Tony Cloughly, Sheridan Duffrin and others. He haunted the auction rooms and the antique shops scattered all over London, from Portobello and Bermondsey to Lillie Road and Bond Street. If he did not want something but thought you would like it for your shop he would point you in the right direction. 

    Who could forget his atmospheric apartment, every wall covered with glazed tiles. Lapis Lazuli blue in the hall and Kitchen, aqueous sea greens and cream in the bedroom and bathroom, a soft yellow in the sitting room, all edged with creamy woodwork topped by matching painted paneled ceilings with books and magazines everywhere. Each room was separated by mirror paneled doors, a distant echo of Thomas Chipendale. It was photographed for The World Of Interiors in the July 2019 issue. I urge you to read the article so beautifully written by his old friend Christopher Gibbs. This gives us a reminder of the true character and extraordinariness of the man who appeared so simple and understated to many.

    I first met Peter in 1978 when I went to work with Ross Hamilton. Peter was a very quietly spoken, very measured, gentle and extremely courteous man with impeccable manners.  He always sent me a birthday card for decades because once he overheard it mentioned in a conversation. Peter never forgot a friend or a colleague and remained loyal to all those dear to him come what may and his close friends remained loyal to him to the end, chiefly Christopher Hodsoll and his brother Peter, Christopher Howe, Lulu, and Piers, and not forgetting Peter Hinwood.  I hope many of you on the Pimlico Road will remember him with affection too. 
    Mark Boyce

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