An 18th-century Gloucestershire farmhouse with a simple, relaxed interior

Having lived in this Gloucestershire farmhouse for several years two decades ago, gallerist Thomas Dane found himself drawn back to it in 2015. Once again, it has become a treasured haven for him and his friends, who enjoy its wonderfully relaxed interiors set off by a beautiful garden

Decoratively, the house is simple and relaxed. ‘It would feel wrong to over-egg it on the inside, considering its relatively humble exterior,’ says Thomas, who called on Gloucestershire-based interior decorator and antique dealer Caroline Marcq to help with textiles, furniture and lighting. ‘Working with local people and businesses has been such an enjoyable part of living here,’ he adds.

Lanterns sourced by Caroline Marcq hang over a Spanish 17th-century oak table from Sotheby’s. The lithograph Artichoke I is by Thomas’s friend Sarah Graham. Above the drinks table is an artwork from Howard Hodgkin’s Indian collection

Mark Anthony Fox

All the walls are in shades of white (a combination of Farrow & Ball and Francesca’s Paints), with burnt oranges and olive greens woven throughout in the form of curtains, lampshades and upholstered pieces. A few items, including the 17th-century Spanish table that now plays host to many a happy gathering in the dining room, came from Hanham Court, while others were sourced from Caroline, at auction or via dealers including James Graham-Stewart.

Notably, there is less art on the walls than one might expect from a gallerist. ‘I wanted it to be a retreat from what I do,’ explains Thomas, who opened a second outpost in Naples in 2018 to showcase work by the gallery’s roster of artists; these include painter Cecily Brown and the conceptualist Glenn Ligon. The few pieces that do line the walls, including a work on paper from Howard Hodgkin’s Indian collection in the dining room, and a Ben Nicholson etching of Patmos in the sitting room, all have deep personal resonance. ‘Howard was someone I knew very well and I bought this from a sale after his death. The Ben Nicholson was a present from Hamish,’ Thomas recalls, also gesturing to one of the larger pieces in the dining room, a lithograph of artichokes by his friend, the artist Sarah Graham. ‘Cardoons are one of my obsessions,’ he declares.

A Ben Nicholson etching of the monastery in Patmos – a present from Hamish Bowles – hangs beside a sofa and chair from Caroline Marcq.

Mark Anthony Fox

It was the garden, in fact, that saw the most significant interventions. As Thomas points out, ‘I wanted to enhance the relationship between the house and garden, without interfering with how it links to the agricultural land beyond.’ With the help of landscape designer and plantsman Peter Beardsley – a former right-hand man to Dan Pearson – huge tracts of brambles were cleared to make space for wildflower meadows that now snake around the house. ‘I learned a lot from the magical garden at Hanham Court and I wanted to bring some of that here,’ says Thomas. At the rear, the walled garden – flanked by an impressive bank of trees that were planted in the 1990s – spills over with a riot of cottage-garden favourites, including hollyhocks, foxgloves and geraniums.

‘In the summer, I throw all the doors open and everything just bleeds so beautifully into the garden,’ explains Thomas enthusiastically. As much as it is a house that is bedded into the landscape within which it sits, it also exudes a certain welcoming warmth that only a house that has nurtured many a loving friendship can have. As Thomas says, ‘I’m looking after it not just for myself, but also for a group of friends who love it here so much’.

Thomas Dane Gallery: | Peter Beardsley: | Caroline Marcq: @marcq.caroline