The sale of the former home of Dame Rebecca West
Ibstone House at Ibstone in Buckinghamshire has recently come to the market at a price of offers in excess of £15 million. Now owned by Ariadne “Ari” Getty Williams, the daughter of Paul Getty and Abigail Harris, Ibstone has also been home to Sun City tycoon Sol Kerzner, who is currently divorcing his wife Heather. This Grade II listed house is situated in the Chiltern Hills and was originally built in the late 18th century.
Arranged over three floors and including an extensive leisure and entertaining complex, the property includes 6 principal reception rooms, 7 bedrooms and an indoor pool. A 2-bedroom lodge cottage and large barn stand in the 79-acre grounds that also include gardens designed by Lady Arabella Lennox-Boyd.
Dame Rebecca West, described by TIME Magazine as being “indisputably the world’s number one writer” in 1947, purchased Ibstone House in the late 1930s and lived there with her banker husband Henry Maxwell Andrews.
West, who had affairs with H. G. Wells, Charlie Chaplin and Lord Beaverbrook, used the grounds of the house as a small dairy farm and also housed Yugoslav refugees in the blacked out spare rooms of the manor during the Second World War. After the death of her husband, she sold up and moved to an apartment next to the Iranian Embassy in Prince’s Gate, London. During the 1980 siege there, aged 87, she had to be evacuated.
Kerzner, who has been married four times to Kerzner and tragically lost his son, Butch, in a helicopter crash, has homes around the world and both he and his wife blamed the breakdown of their marriage on his workaholic lifestyle.
Of divorcing her husband, Heather Kerzner commented:
“He’s a hugely important person to myself and my children. I have only positive things to say about him. He’s the most influential person in my life – and that’s worth a lot. He’s one of the world’s most incredible men, he has shown me a different world and we had an incredible life together but sometimes I guess it just doesn’t work out.”
Some time ago the Kerzners sold Ibstone House to Ms. Getty but now she too has decided to sell up. Though best known because of her family name, Aridane Getty has run the Fuserna Foundation since 2005 and is considered a great philanthropist in her own right.
It’ll be fascinating to see what chapter opens next for this magnificent house.
For more information contact Stephen Christie-Miller of Savills on +44 (0) 1491 843000. To download a brochure for Ibstone House go to: http://residentialsearch.savills.co.uk/property-detail/333522/list
For more details on the Fuserna Foundation, go to: http://fusernafoundation.org