Enjoy unlimited access: just £1 for 12 weeks

Subscribe now

The house, 4 Fournier Street, pictured here, is a double fronted Georgian town residence built in 1726 by master carpenter Marmaduke Smith, which remained largely unaltered for the rest of the century. It gradually fell into decline over the next hundred years so that by the early decades of the 20th century it was part banana warehouse and part tenement.

Notwithstanding, when Michael Gillingham purchased it from the Spitalfields Historic Buildings Trust in 1979, the building was still in surprisingly good condition, retaining the original roof structure and internal timbers and a fine mahogany staircase. Mr Gillingham and his close friend Donald Findlay spent the next four years restoring it and furnishing it.

The death of Donald Findlay in 1998 and Michael Gillingham last year has brought the remarkable property onto the market. The house is being sold by private treaty by Sotheby's International Realty while the contents will be sold at auction in Sotheby's Bond Street rooms on April 19. The 600-odd lots, an eclectic mix of furniture paintings, prints, textiles, carpets, ceramics and books, are estimated to fetch in the region of £500,000.