38NADFAS REVIEW / AUTUMN 2010Christopher Lloyd, President ofNADFAS, likes to say with typicalmodesty that he lives in theunfashionable part of Suffolk far awayfrom the smart Constable Country andthe picture postcard villages ofLavenham and Long Melford. And ifhistoric, remote, quiet and breathtakinglybeautiful equals 'unfashionable', he iscertainly right.Masterful collectionClare Pardy, Fine Art Underwriting Manager at the specialist insurer Ecclesiastical, meetsNADFAS President Christopher Lloyd and his wife Frances at their Suffolk home to uncoverthe personal stories and friendships that lie behind their collection of artCHRISTOPHER LLOYDThe house is an old moated siterecorded in the Domesday Book andwhat was a relatively modest timberframed old hall house was 'Georgianised'in about 1810 to produce Frances'sdream 'little Jane Austen house'.Although rescuing it from its DIY past hasbeen a long and painstaking process,none of that hard work is evident whenwe visit on a perfect English summer'sday and are greeted by two Labradors,Pickle and the elderly lame Monty.Instead, we are immediately struck byhow comfortable and unspoilt the houselooks amid its barns and outbuildings,hidden from the road across the fields bya screen of trees.And, once inside, theapparent ease with which the Lloydshave succeeded in restoring its originalproportions and accommodating its richhistory in updating it to a family home arereadily apparent. Christopher refers to itas a palimpsest and as Frances talksabout the gulley in the kitchen floororiginally used for cheesemaking and thesluice gate in the cellar for washing andsoftening the flax (which explains thehouse's name of Linstead Hall), thehouse begins to reveal its many secrets.After we've had coffee under the crabapple tree, we start to talk about thepictures, prints and objects in the houseand what first sparked Christopher'sinterest in art history. An inspirationalmaster when at school at MarlboroughCollege, the Print Room of theAshmolean Museum (where he wentevery week in his last year at ChristChurch, Oxford), Villa I Tatti in Florencefor a year and an appointment at The ArtInstitute of Chicago have all contributedto his deep love of the Renaissance andwere the grounding for his subsequentpassion for the Impressionist artistCamille Pissarro and for much modernand contemporary art. But it is to theAshmolean that we return as we start totalk about some of the pictures thatparticularly caught my eye. "The PrintRoom job was so marvellous because itwas an opportunity to meet the greatestauthorities in the subject," Christopherconfides, as he begins to explain why heis so fond of the wonderful aquatint byGeorges Rouault of the Ecce Homo."Rouault was profound although prolific -in many ways 'the poor man'sRembrandt'." The print was bought for£30 or thereabouts in the early 1970sfrom Fred Mulder at the very start of hiscareer as a distinguished print dealer.Indeed, it is friendship that lies at theheart of much of the collection. When hebecame Surveyor of The Queen'sPictures and moved into St James'sPalace, Christopher began to forge linkswith contemporary galleries such asPurdy Hicks and through them took theopportunity to meet artists and visit theirstudios. Arturo Di Stefano was notableamong these and it is a large abstract byhim that I ask Christopher about next."Looking at contemporary art broadensthe mind," he tells me as he elaborateson the artist's technique of counter-proofing in oil and informs me that one ofArturo's principal sources of inspiration isthe poetry of TS Eliot.Photography: © Richard Proctor
www.nadfas.org.ukNADFAS REVIEW / AUTUMN201039ART IN ACTIONLeft:ChristopherLloyd in the hallwith part of hiscollectionAbove:Prints arefound throughoutOpposite:ThestudyChristopher, however, attachesparticular importance to the last of mychoices which turns out to have been awedding present. An early 17th-century gilded alabaster of Christ and theWoman of Samariaby the Flemishsculptor Nicolas Daems was given tothem by James Byam Shaw, the widelyrespected scholar and connoisseur of oldmaster drawings for many yearsassociated with the London firm ofColnaghi's in Old Bond Street, whoChristopher met when he was at ChristChurch. "It means so much to me, notonly because of my friendship with andadmiration for Jim from whom I learnt somuch, but also because I had neverbefore owned such a precious object."As we prepare toleave,Frances showsme her extraordinary ceramic collection.Consisting of highly coloured chargersand pots by notable contemporarydesigners, they congregate on tables andshelves throughout the house as acomplement and counterpoint to the artcollection. She asks me about damageand depreciation and I touch oninsurance values, conservation andsecurity and outline the Company'sspecialist approach to heritage buildingsand works of art. After such a relaxingday full of insight and anecdote, I findmyself almost apologetic, but Frances isquick to say how relieved she is to be withpeople who know and understand oldbuildings and art and although it is true tosay that, like most people, insurance is notat the top of their priority list, it is a realcomfort to be with a specialist.