Philip Hewat Jaboor (1953–2022) | Apollo Magazine

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Philip Hewat Jaboor (1953–2022) | Apollo Magazine

Philip Hewat-Jaboor (1953-2022) was a mainstay in the art deco, design and collecting worlds. He began his career in the furniture department of Sotheby’s Belgravia as an art consultant and chairman of the Masterpieces Art Fair, where his keen eye and talent were discovered by Peter Wilson, then chairman of the auction house. In 1979, Philip took over the Hatfields Restoration and was joined a year later by his former Sotheby’s colleague and close friend, the late Philip Astley-Jones (1946-2021). Together, the two Philips oversaw the conservation of the badminton cabinet, which later became famous for twice breaking records for the most expensive furniture in auction history.

A Regency lover, Hewat-Jaboor was the curator of two important exhibitions, whose multi-author catalogue bears witness to his dedication to scholarship: “William Beckford, 1760-1844: The Magnificent Eye” (2001 , Bard Graduate Center and Dulwich Gallery) and “Thomas Hope: Regency Designer” (2008, Bard Graduate Center and Victoria and Albert Museum). Philip’s knowledge of these two outstanding collectors is unrivaled, and he is living proof that he can become a leading figure in the field of art history even without a college degree.

Passionate about cross-collecting, mixing old and new, nature and culture, Philip and his partner of 30 years, ingenious hatter Rod Keenan, have created an oasis in Jersey. The gem of the library they built on the hill could almost be a pilgrimage site for art historians; although in many ways he was a very personal man, Philip was happy to share it with anyone interested.

Known for his prudence, which comes in handy when advising serious art collectors (or “adult” as he calls them), one can be sure that Philip is better at keeping secrets than himself. A passionate traveler, his love of India was gradually replaced by an obsession with Egypt. He tirelessly sought monuments and quarries—the farther the better. My phone is full of pictures he sent me on his last visit three months ago, including one of the alabaster shrines he hasn’t seen in 40 years; he’s sure no one has visited it in the meantime.

Philip will be remembered by many for his expertise in royal porphyry – a fascinating dark purple stone mined in Egypt and revered by Roman emperors and early modern European monarchs. Not only did Philip collect his own significant porphyry work, but his love of the fascinating colors of rare rocks extended to clothing choices, cars, the inks in his pens, commissions (eg Stephen Cox, RA) and interiors, Most notable is the foyer he photographed in Ennismore Gardens. In fact, multiple compliments on social media have highlighted Philip’s fashion sense and how he “owns” purple.

His impeccable demeanor and traditional attire may conjure up a somewhat intimidating aristocratic image, but behind the glamorous purple exterior is a real Moderate Man, a kind soul, probably the most open person I’ve ever met. He’s the exact opposite of a snob – although he can’t help but chastise me every time I order a cappuccino after lunch: “Where did you grow up?!” His wit and hopelessness Medicine’s sense of humor will be most missed by his friends, along with his infectious laugh and his impressive nose wiggling rhythmically from left to right — a gift for any cartoonist.

Photo: Danny Evans Photography

Philip’s extraordinary spirit of generosity and his desire to engage with the next generation has made him a voice for many curators and decorative arts historians in the making – he himself seeks advice from young people to make his mentoring even more Meaningful, thus demonstrating how much he values ​​his students. He has friends of all ages, and while his rare lifestyle may lead people to accuse him of being isolated, he is actually acutely aware of the tribulations of his career and the struggles of young curators and academics to establish their own the predicament of the position. He helps in any way he can and is a passionate advocate for the Bard Graduate Center, Art House Jersey, the Furniture History Association, and many others. Importantly to him, in addition to academic qualifications, emerging museum professionals will have the opportunity to train their eyesight. So he arranged for young trainees to follow Masterpiece’s review board, allowing them to learn from the sensibilities of well-known experts.

Exactly ten years ago, I met Philip Hewat-Jaboor on a trip to St. Petersburg for the Furniture Historical Society (FHS). For dinner the first night, we sat next to each other. I did my homework and he did his: I had read many of his accomplishments, and although I was just a humble PhD student, he knew exactly where my interests lay. “Lisa White told me you were interested in Savonnerie rugs.” Many FHS visits followed, for which I made plans: Hannover, Vienna, Paris and Lisbon. The bus tour between stops brings out the immature schoolboy within us – the naughty leader is our mutual friend Philip Astley-Jones. The three of us became an inseparable trio on those trips, and when Astley-Jones passed away in August 2021, Hewat-Jaboor and I were heartbroken. Hewat-Jaboor is my ace in every formal dinner with the host curator. No one can resist his subtle charm.In Vienna, I sat next to him next to the head of the Hofmobilien warehouse, and hey, the next day, we were allowed into the otherwise inaccessible ceremonial apartment of the President of the Austrian Republic, which was densely hung with Peter Durr Plaque collected by Francis, Duke of Lorraine.

Many of Philip’s friends have known him much longer than I did. 30, 40 and older. I only got ten, but am ready to keep him at least another 20. Some of my happiest moments were watching us race the narrow serpentine roads of Jersey on a late summer day (he was a great driver), tackling all sorts of problems; no matter how serious the topic, the conversation usually Ended with laughter.

When Philip learned that I had turned down a job offer to work in New York (which I deliberately didn’t tell him because I knew exactly what he was going to say) he called me to the Masterpiece Fair that was going on at the time and told me that it was impossible for me to turn down a job like this proposal. Of course, he was right. Three and a half years later, he and Rhodes made a special trip across the Atlantic to open an exhibition I curated, and he accompanied him throughout.

Even after I moved to the US, Philip and I kept in touch almost every day. When we learned that his life was running out and that he was too weak to speak on the phone, I sent him pictures I took for “Old Friends,” the Met and Wallace’s collection of porphyry vases, because ” I think they might brighten your day.” ‘yes! ‘ he answered enthusiastically. The essence of his enjoyment of art and life is reflected in the last message I received from him in response to the last porphyry we shared: “Interesting!”

Wolf Burchard is the Associate Curator of the European Sculpture and Decorative Arts Department at the Metropolitan Museum of Art.

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