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Announcing The Patrick Donald Collection | 19 November 2019

The unique collection comes to auction this November | Featuring Patrick Donald’s twin collecting passions: furniture, objects and pictures from the Elizabethan and Jacobean eras, and Japanese arms and armour and Japanese works of art | The collector created bespoke room settings within his Putney home to display his items in a series of themed assemblages | Close friends describe Patrick Donald as a ‘latterday Jacobean gentleman’


Patrick Donald was born in Belfast in June 1939, just before the outbreak of World War II, and his family re-located to Toronto, Canada, when Donald was 14 years old. His passion for antiques was well underway before the move across the Atlantic and was triggered by visits to Belfast’s Ulster Museum; several years later he recalled that, ‘As a scabby-kneed schoolboy with my socks at half mast, I daily visited the museum in Belfast, and local antique shops, an early victim to the fascinating and beguiling lure of Antiques’.

Whilst living in Canada Donald acquired a black belt in the martial art of kendo, his study of the discipline introduced him to Japanese culture, and he soon became captivated by the country’s artistic heritage, its deities and ancient rituals. In the late 1980s Patrick Donald left Canada and settled in Putney, London. He had previously worked as a graphic designer and a set designer for various studios and the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation, but, on his return to the UK did not need to work.  Donald became a volunteer guide at Fulham Palace and here in this environment his broad interest in antiques honed in on the Jacobean period specifically.

A good friend describes him as being ‘drenched in history’ – he typically walked over 100 miles a week around London discovering quirky tombs in cemeteries such as Brompton and Mortlake and visiting historic pubs. Drawing on his skills as a set designer his home became ‘a theatre of his mind’, designed to convey an impression or gestalt: the ground floor rooms housed his Jacobean pieces whilst the first floor displayed his oriental items.

Donald was particularly interested in Charles I – he was attracted by the style and extravagances of the King and the way of life of his court. The auction contains many paintings and objects depicting the tragic 17th century monarch.

The Collection includes a wide selection of Japanese arms and their associated components, originally used and worn by the samurai and now considered to be works of art in their own right: daishō – long and short matched swords; tantō – a traditional sword; wakizashi – ‘side inserted’ sword; handachi – curved sword; katana – curved sword with a single blade; aikuchi – a form of mounting for small swords; tsuba – round protective guards placed at the end of the grip of a sword.

These artefacts were a particular collecting focus for Patrick Donald, and he wrote, ‘…the sword was, to most samurai, his most prized possession, the one object which through his choice of blade, fittings, scabbard lacquer, and hilt wrapping, defined and stated his personality, aesthetic sensibilities, and public image’.

In addition to several sets of Japanese armour the Collection also features many individual face masks and guards, chin guards and helmets.


Auction information: 

The Patrick Donald Collection | 11am, Tuesday 19 November 2019 | Moor Park Mansion, Rickmansworth, Hertfordshire, WD3 1QL

Viewing: Saturday 16 November, 12pm-4pm | Sunday 17 November, 11am-3pm | Monday 18 November, 9am-5pm | Restricted viewing on day of sale, Tuesday 19 November

For all auction enquiries contact: Guy Savill and Sally Stratton MRICS | +44 (0) 207 281 2790 |


An oriental room setting from Patrick Donald's Putney home

Patrick Donald at Southside House, Wimbledon - one of his favourite London locations | Image: Richard Surman

18th century Spanish or Italian polychrome decorated carved figure of an angel, est. £300-500 (+fees) | Provenance: The Art Shoppe, Toronto, Canada; purchased by Patrick Donald

A lead bust of Charles I after Le Sueur, on a tapered marble socle , with amorini mask, est. £400-600 (+fees)

After Sir Anthony van Dyck, Portrait of Charles I, oil on copper, 25cm x 19.5cm, est. £300-500 (+fees)

Eight iron tsuba, including four sukashi tsuba, some with soft metal details, one signed, est. £500-700 (+fees)

An iron mempo, red lacquered mask, est. £700-1,000 (+fees)

A kawari kabuto - 'fantastic helmet', est. £1,200-1,800 (+fees)