Monday, 31 July 2017

Kim Ayres - Butlers, Castles and Tea on the Lawn

Simeon Rosset is a freelance butler - the real kind, not the strippergram, although he says he periodically gets enquiries about it. He served his time as head butler at Leeds Castle and now hires out his services for events such as exclusive gatherings, weddings, and shooting parties, and can be found butlering anywhere from Scottish castles to European palaces to Super yachts.

Our paths crossed when he was looking for a photographer for a particular event, and although I was unable to help him on that occasion, we subsequently met up for morning coffee, which merged into lunch. What was going to be a general introduction to each other turned into a few hours of questions, storytelling and idea swapping. It wasn't long before we started talking about creating a butler-in-action shot.

And so last summer later I found myself out at Craufurdland Castle near Kilmarnock.

Although this castle was built in the 18th century, the land has been in the family for nearly 800 years. The current descendants/owners/custodians are Simon and Adity Houison Craufurd and their two daughters, Indra and Manisha.

We decided to do the shoot in the library, as a wall full of books would make a timeless backdrop. Many of those tomes dated back hundreds of years.

Simeon also runs a Butler School service, training potential butlers to the high standards required. On this day he was completing the training of Alistair, which gave us a 2nd butler to include in the shots.

The shoot went well. Everyone adopted their roles and got into the part, and it wasn't long before I managed to get a couple of photos I was really pleased with.

Don't be fooled into thinking this was a well behaved dog. This was the only shot where he sat still for a moment. Every other shot had him rolling on his back, nuzzling the girls dresses, clambering under the table, until eventually he had to be put out of the room.

And what better way to end the day than butler-served tea on the lawn?

Kim Ayres


  1. I am seeing the photographs for nth time and I never get tired looking at Adity regaul in her maroon Banarasi sari, her daughters, her husband Mr. Simon, the butlers and the nos so patient pet of theirs. A click of your camera and they are captured for eternity. It would be lovely to hold your heavily bound book that has these photographs in them, in glossy/Matt finished paper.

    1. Unless I become super famous, Viji I would never sell enough books to cover the cost of printing them. However, I greatly appreciate your kind words and support :)