Obituaries United Kingdom

Film director and art collector Michael Winner has died, aged 77

What will happen to his historic home built by a Victorian artist?

Michael Winner at his home in London, around 2010. Photo by Eamonn McCabe/Redferns

Michael Winner, who directed films starring the likes of Robert Mitchum, Charles Bronson and Sophia Loren, began collecting art and antiques in the 1960s. Much of his collection hung in his 47-room home in Kensington, west London, which was built by the Victorian artist Luke Fildes and designed by the architect Richard Norman Shaw.

In 2008, Winner told The Art Newspaper that that after his death he wanted the house and collection to be open to the public. Winner built an art collection that included many works by British illustrators. “I’ve got the best collection… outside a museum,” he said. There were three E.H. Shepard drawings on the grand staircase, including one of Christopher Robin bumping Winnie the Pooh down the stairs. The retired film-maker added that his favourite pastimes were “walking around art galleries, museums, antique shops, eating and being difficult”. In December, Winner sold a collection of illustrations at Sotheby's London. The top lot of the £1.1m sale was Shepard’s original ink drawing of Pooh coming downstairs.

What happens to Winner's home, where he had lived since 1946, remains to be seen. We reported that discussions in 2008 with Kensington and Chelsea petered out partly because the house's lease ran out in 2046 and the council was only willing to consider taking it over if it had the freehold.

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31 Jan 13
16:17 CET


thank you for yor newspaper.

22 Jan 13
17:46 CET


Winner thanked me for pointing out that any conditions attached to his bequest would quite likely be ignored in due course. I also suggested to Kensington & Chelsea that the gift might be a white elephant.

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