James Perkins is a restorer of historic houses, a music-industry veteran, a collector and an aesthete.
In the beginning, Aynhoe Park was supposed to be just one of his restoration projects – a chance to return a classic Georgian country house to its full glory before moving on to the next challenge. He has never left.
In 2012 James set up his studio. Transcending everyday collecting, James Perkins crafts extraordinary works of art, tribute to the interiors of Aynhoe Park and beyond. Drawing on a finely tuned vernacular of classical references, cut through with a surreal sense of humour, the work of the studio mirrors the juxtaposition of aesthetics unique to Aynhoe Park.
Much of James Perkins work have become instantly recognisable icons of Aynhoe’s identity: a 10ft Hercules resting at the foot of the Soane stairs, an oversized pocket watch hanging from his neck and a gilded balloon on his shoulder; the notorious Aynhoe giraffe, lifted to the heavens by a cluster of glass balloons – the gravity defying star of the Orangery.
Limited editions are created of each piece, made available exclusively through A Modern Grand Tour.
In the 1990s, James was well known as the founder and driving force behind dance-party powerhouse Fantazia.
James brings his love of spectacle and talent for entertaining to the ethos of Aynhoe today. That’s why events at Aynhoe Park are among the most memorable in the country.
Over the last decade, James has been responsible for large-scale restorations at prestigious historic buildings across the country. A number of his projects – including Aynhoe Park – have been recognised with awards for their sensitivity, accuracy and architectural ambition.
An avid collector of the historic, the unusual and the beautiful since he was very young, James has turned Aynhoe Park into a repository of stories told in objects and artworks.
Aynhoe Park is now the passion project and family home of James and his wife, Sophie – and they are only too happy to share it with discerning guests and those with something to celebrate. Together, they have both restored it to the grandeur of yesteryear and created a mesmerising environment with an extraordinary 21st-century personality.