The Collection of the late Rosemary and Theo Cutting

The Collection of the late Rosemary and Theo Cutting

During the Cuttings' custodianship, one might have been forgiven for thinking they had stumbled into an Italian palazzo upon entering The Old Bakehouse, Whepstead, for the first time. In what looked like a humble dwelling from the outside, Theo and Rosemary collected and arranged an impressive collection of fine furniture and works of art from the 17th to 19th centuries, creating a luxurious and elegant home that they shared for some sixty-five years.

20 May 2024




Rosemary (née Eade) was born to a farming family in a remote part of Suffolk, moving to the village of Whepstead after her parents died, where she met Theodore Cutting. Theo – as he was popularly known – was a reporter for the Bury Free Press, and once interviewed and wrote a book on Basil Brown, the local archaeologist who unearthed the ‘million-pound grave’ at Sutton Hoo. After an initial blind date on Angel Hill in Bury St Edmunds, it didn’t take long before they fell in love and married in September 1958, and the next few years passed in happy contentment; Theo travelled extensively throughout East Anglia for work, and Rosemary ran The Old Bakehouse almost as a smallholding, with geese, ducks, chickens, dogs and cats, as well as growing and bottling fruit and vegetables.


A George III giltwood oval mirror c.1790 (£1,000-2,000)

A George III giltwood oval mirror c.1790 (£1,000-2,000) 


Theo’s travels gave him access to some of the grandest houses in the region at a time when they were largely destined for demolition, and with it the opportunity to purchase fine antiques that would otherwise be sold off in a cold marquee. From this, the Cuttings built up a stock of pieces and opened an antiques shop, Guildhall Antiques in Bury St Edmunds, which proved to be a great success, selling to both private clients and great London West End dealers. However, they kept the best for themselves, resulting in the wonderful collection we see today.


An Empire-style patinated and gilt-bronze mantel clock 19th century (£600-800)

An Empire-style patinated and gilt-bronze mantel clock 19th century (£600-800)


Frequent travellers to Europe, particularly to Italy and their beloved Rome, Theo and Rosemary were connoisseurs of the arts, from grand opera and theatre, to gastronomy and the works of Noël Coward. Both were good cooks and loved entertaining, serving the best food and wine on the most stylish china and glass, with piano accompaniment by Theo himself. The couple also held a deep affection for great museums, such as the Fitzwilliam Museum, Cambridge, and the British Museum, London, to which they loaned pieces over the years, including many of the items Sworders are fortunate to now offer for sale.


A George III carved giltwood overmantel mirror (£3,000-5,000)

A George III carved giltwood overmantel mirror (£3,000-5,000)



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