The Duchess – Update

The Library, West Horsley Place

The Library, West Horsley Place

The Sotheby’s London auction of Property & Precious Objects from the Estate of Mary, Duchess of Roxburghe had a pre-sale estimate of £1.6 – £2.3 million but after two days of keen bidding it realised a total of £3,701,654. When this is added to the amount raised by the Duchess’s jewels when auctioned earlier this month it comes to a grand total of £8,861,939. The total pre-sale estimate was £2.6 – £4 million.

Mary Crewe-Milnes before her marriage to the Duke of Roxburghe, age 19, wearing the Cartier diamond ring (Lot 662) which sold for  £167,000 (est. £8,000-12,000)

Mary Crewe-Milnes before her marriage to the Duke of Roxburghe, age 19, wearing the Cartier diamond ring which sold for £167,000 (est. £8,000-12,000)

The Duchess’s heir Bamber Gascoigne commented: “I’m delighted with the results of Sotheby’s sales results which exceeded expectations, both in London and Geneva. While it has been poignant to see the extraordinary array of my aunt’s possessions go, it has been heartening to see the enthusiasm with which they were received – both prior to the sale and played out in the sale room. Importantly we are now able to start the process of restoring West Horsley Place to secure its future.”

This silver-plated breakfast-in-bed tray sold for nearly 60 times over its pre-sale  high estimate ((£200-300) by to selling for £17,500. That’s auctions for you!

This silver-plated breakfast-in-bed tray sold for nearly 60 times over its pre-sale
high estimate (£200-300) by selling for £17,500. That’s auctions for you!

http://www.sothebys.com

‘Mad Men’

Mac Conner: A New York Life, House of Illustration 2 Granary Square, King’s Cross, London N1, until 28th June 2015

How Do You Love Me Mac Conner 1950 Courtesy of Museum City of New York

How Do You Love Me
Mac Conner 1950
Courtesy of Museum City of New York

 ‘Mad Men’ comes to London in this exhibition that features works by one of the leading exponents of this form of illustration – McCauley (‘Mac’) Conner. There are over seventy artworks from the 1940s-1960s which totally capture the spirit of American post-war life and define the look of a generation. They appeared in magazines such as Cosmopolitan and Good Housekeeping.

Strictly Respectable Mac Conner 1953 Courtesy of Museum City of New York

Strictly Respectable
Mac Conner 1953
Courtesy of Museum City of New York

Alongside the illustrations are reference photos, letters to/from editors and art directors, and sketches which build up a picture of Conner’s working life. The gallery’s director, Colin McKenzie, says: “Mac Conner is one of an influential group of New York illustrators from the golden era of advertising, when New York was the world’s media capital. We are delighted to show his remarkable work, which was created at a time when illustration defined the popular aesthetic and had a huge influence on mainstream publishing”.

Let's Take a Trip Up the Nile Mac Conner 1950 Courtesy of Museum City of New York

Let’s Take a Trip Up the Nile
Mac Conner 1950
Courtesy of Museum City of New York

 

Don’t miss it!

 

Where is Mary Smith Mac Conner 1950 Courtesy of Museum City of New York

Where is Mary Smith
Mac Conner 1950
Courtesy of Museum City of New York

http://www.houseofillustration.org.uk

The British Museum

“Indigenous Australia: enduring civilisation”, supported by BP, The British Museum, Great Russell Street, London WC1, until 2nd August 2015

Pearl shell pendant with dancing figures.  Kimberley region, Western Australia, before 1926.   Pearl shell, charcoal  © The Trustees of the British Museum.

Pearl shell pendant with dancing figures.
Kimberley region, Western Australia, before 1926.
Pearl shell, charcoal
© The Trustees of the British Museum.

This is a fascinating, if somewhat uncomfortable exhibition that looks at the indigenous peoples of Australia and the Torres Strait Islands and their relationship with the land and sea in a history that stretches back over sixty thousand years. A relationship which changes forever in 1770 when Captain Cook landed on Australia’s East Coast.

Shield believed  to have been collected  during Captain Cook's visit to Botany Bay, 1770.  Mangrove bark   © The Trustees of the British Museum

Shield believed to have been collected
during Captain Cook’s visit to Botany Bay, 1770.
Mangrove bark
© The Trustees of the British Museum

The complex story of the years from 1770 to the present is told through objects from the Museum and other notable collections such as the Pitt Rivers Museum, the Cambridge Museum of Archaeology and Anthropology and the National Museum of Australia. Some items were also specially created to reflect the fact that the culture of the many groups that make up Australia’s Indigenous population continues today.

Land rights placard frm the aboriginal Tent embassy, erected, as a site of protest, in 1972.  Paint on Masonite board,  Old Parliament House, Canberra, Australia, 1972.   National Museum of Australia

Land rights placard frm the aboriginal Tent embassy, erected, as a site of protest, in 1972.
Paint on Masonite board,
Old Parliament House, Canberra, Australia, 1972.
National Museum of Australia

It is a glimpse into both British and Australian history that should be seen and reflected on.

Britishmuseum.org

'Yumari' Uta Uta Tjangala (c. 1926–1990), Pintupi people, Papunya, Northern Territory, 1981,  Acrylic on canvas.  National Museum of Australia

‘Yumari’
Uta Uta Tjangala
(c. 1926–1990),
Pintupi people, Papunya, Northern Territory, 1981,
Acrylic on canvas.
National Museum of Australia

The Art of Integration

The Art of Integration ‘Islam in England’s green and pleasant land’, Brunei Gallery, SOAS, Thornhaugh Street, Russell Square, London WC1, until 21st June 2015

The  Prince of Wales at Clarence House  with  Asmaa Georgiou, CEO of the Yusuf Islam Foundation and Mosaic mentor; Uzair Bawany, Mosaic Board member and mentor at Brondesbury College in London; and Ishreen Bradley, also a Mosaic mentor at Brondesbury College. Brondesbury College is also a part of the Yusuf Islam Foundation network of schools.  ©Peter Sanders Photography

The Prince of Wales at Clarence House with Asmaa Georgiou, CEO of the Yusuf Islam Foundation and Mosaic mentor; Uzair Bawany, Mosaic Board member and mentor at Brondesbury College in London; and Ishreen Bradley, also a Mosaic mentor at Brondesbury College. Brondesbury College is also a part of the Yusuf Islam Foundation network of schools.
©Peter Sanders Photography

This exhibition is a reminder that Muslims have been an integrated part of British life for over a century now as the image below reminds us. All the images in the exhibition are by the noted photographer Peter Sanders who has captured a wide variety of subjects, including: physicians, scholars, writers, teachers, calligraphers, rock and folk-rock icons, a city councillor, an award-winning architect, a publisher, a sculptor, a graffiti artist, a cosmetician, a police constable, a fashion designer, a driver, Etonians, Oxbridgians, and many others as well. All amply proving the point this timely exhibition makes.
Sanders says of his recently unveiled photograph of HRH The Prince of Wales, taken in the Garden Room of Clarence House against a tapestry after a painting by Horace Vernet (1789 – 1863):

“In 2000 I had photographed HRH Prince of Wales when he visited Islamia School. Never hurried, the Prince spent time with the children, making his visit a memorable experience for all.
“Fifteen years later with Mosaic now in its seventh year, I was invited to photograph him meeting with some of the Mosaic mentors. When I saw the room, I felt this tapestry depicting the Ottomans, Mamluks and Arabs’ colourful past, and the antique sofa was the perfect setting. Again the Prince never rushed, engaged with his guests. All I had to do was capture the moment.”

Mosaic is a mentoring initiative which the Prince created in 2007 to help young people of all backgrounds coming from very deprived communities.

A Resting Place This Muslim graveyard was built in 1915 for Muslims who lost their life fighting for Britain in The Great War ©Peter Sanders Photography

A Resting Place
This Muslim graveyard was built in 1915 for Muslims who lost their life fighting for Britain in The Great War
©Peter Sanders Photography

http://www.soas.ac.uk/gallery
http://www.artofintegration.co.uk
http://www.petersanders.com

The Piet Jonker Collection

The Piet Jonker Collection – Garden Ornament, Architectural Fittings and Interior Decoration, Dreweatts at Mallett, Ely House, 37, Dover Street London, W1 on 27th May 2015

_MG_7047def2As Piet Jonker himself says his collection was started ‘decades ago’. Starting first with reclaimed and antique building materials such as marble and timber flooring, stone and terracotta, he then progressed by adding chimneypieces and fire-surrounds so that all combined to produce attractive room sets.

Jonker Interior 01
It follows on, rather as day does night, that furniture, lighting and works of art also became elements in the sumptuous interior sets that he created at his country estate Lindenhoff close to Amsterdam.

Jonker Interior 03

The gardens became a repository for statuary and other garden ornaments so it is no wonder that interior designers and collectors have been coming there not only to buy but also for inspiration indoors and out.

_MG_7466def
This sale features three hundred lots and will offer an opportunity for buyers worldwide to acquire some of his unique style.

465426-79

http://www.mallettantiques.com
http://www.dreweatts.com

The Duchess – II

The Duchess – Property & Precious Objects from the Estate of Mary, Duchess of Roxburghe, Sotheby’s, 34-35 New Bond Street, London W1, 27th – 28th May 2015

Mary Crewe-Milnes before her marriage to the Duke of Roxburghe, age 19, wearing the Cartier diamond ring (Lot 662)

Mary Crewe-Milnes before her marriage to the Duke of Roxburghe, age 19, wearing the Cartier diamond ring (Lot 662)

In my previous blog I gave some of the story of Mary Roxburghe’s life and showed views of West Horsley Place. This wonderful, historic house has not been fully used for many decades and so now restoration is an urgent issue as Bamber Gascoigne explains: “West Horsley Place played an integral part in my aunt Mary Roxburghe’s fascinating life. It was completely unexpected by me that I would be heir to her estate. She had expressed that, given the work required to restore the house, she expected I would sell it. But having spent many memorable times with my aunt here, and knowing how special the house was to her and her family, together with my wife I decided to take up the challenge of carrying out the essential work to the house to ensure that it can withstand what may lie ahead over the course of its future, and continue to stand as a monument of its remarkable past.

Lot 224 GLYN PHILPOT, R.A. 1884-1937 PORTRAIT OF MARGARET (PEGGY) CREWE-MILNES, MARCHIONESS OF CREWE Signed and dated 1917 oil on canvas 120 by 79cm. 47 by 31in. Estimate : £10,000-15,000

Lot 224
GLYN PHILPOT, R.A.
1884-1937
PORTRAIT OF MARGARET (PEGGY) CREWE-MILNES, MARCHIONESS OF CREWE
Signed and dated 1917
oil on canvas
120 by 79cm. 47 by 31in.
Estimate : £10,000-15,000

“The history of West Horsley Place dates back as far as the 11th century, and the 16th century reconstruction of the house hosted notable guests including Henry the XVII. It also carries the legend of Sir Walter Raleigh’s embalmed head being buried in the garden from the time his wife and son lived there, and the house was also the depository for the famed papers of Sir Edward Nicholas, Secretary of State to Charles I, which are now largely among the Egerton manuscripts in the British Museum. With this and the other literary associations of the house in mind, my aunt left Trinity College Cambridge their choice of books from the three miles of book shelves to their library.”

Below is a small selection of some of the lots being auctioned. Sadly while none of them will be a “starter for ten” there will be many lots of an affordable nature.

Lot 466 A GEORGE V SILVER BISCUIT SERVER, H.H. PLANTE, LONDON, 1935 31cm., 12 1/8 in. wide 1648gr., 52oz. 19dwt. Estimate:  £500-700  This was a Wedding Present (24th October 1935), described as 'Biscuit Toaster', given by the Princess Royal and Countess of Harewood, and the Earl of Harewood

Lot 466
A GEORGE V SILVER BISCUIT SERVER, H.H. PLANTE, LONDON, 1935
31cm., 12 1/8 in. wide
1648gr., 52oz. 19dwt.
Estimate: £500-700
This was a Wedding Present (24th October 1935), described as ‘Biscuit Toaster’, given by the Princess Royal and Countess of Harewood, and the Earl of Harewood

 

Lot 51  AN AXMINSTER CARPET, ENGLAND  Approximately 800 by 432cm; 26ft 3in., 14ft 1in. circa 1765/80  Estimate:  £50,000-80,000 Formerly in the Red Drawing Room and then later the North Drawing Room at Crewe House, London

Lot 51
AN AXMINSTER CARPET, ENGLAND
Approximately 800 by 432cm; 26ft 3in., 14ft 1in.
circa 1765/80
Estimate: £50,000-80,000
Formerly in the Red Drawing Room and then later the North Drawing Room at Crewe House, London

 

Lot 349 A SET OF NINE GEORGE III BLUE AND WHITE PAINTED ARMCHAIRS, AND ONE SIDE CHAIRCIRCA 1775, IN THE MANNER OF MAYHEW & INCE Estimate: £15,000-25,000  Although thought to have been commissioned or purchased for Crewe Hall in the 18th century several of them appear in a 1934 drawing of the State Drawing Room at Crewe House, London.

Lot 349
A SET OF NINE GEORGE III BLUE AND WHITE PAINTED ARMCHAIRS, AND
ONE SIDE CHAIRCIRCA 1775, IN THE MANNER OF MAYHEW & INCE
Estimate: £15,000-25,000
Although thought to have been commissioned or purchased for Crewe Hall in the 18th century several of them appear in a 1934 drawing of the State Drawing Room at Crewe House, London.

 

Lot 662 DIAMOND RING, CARTIER, 1930S set with two pear-shaped diamonds weighing 2.31 and 2.34 carats respectively, further accented with two marquise-shaped diamonds, size L, signed Cartier London, case stamped Cartier Paris. ESTIMATE 8,000-12,000 GBP

Lot 662
DIAMOND RING, CARTIER, 1930S
set with two pear-shaped diamonds weighing 2.31 and 2.34 carats respectively, further
accented with two marquise-shaped diamonds, size L, signed Cartier London, case
stamped Cartier Paris.
ESTIMATE 8,000-12,000 GBP

 

Lot 519 A CHRISTMAS PRESENT FROM JAMES DE ROTHSCHILD A GOLD-MOUNTED LACQUE BURGAUTÉ VASE, MADE BY LAVABRE FOR CARTIER PARIS, 1926 12.8 cm., 5 in., high Estimate: £2,500-3,500  This was a Christmas present in 1926 from Baron James de Rothschild (1878-1957) of Waddesdon Manor.

Lot 519
A CHRISTMAS PRESENT FROM JAMES DE ROTHSCHILD
A GOLD-MOUNTED LACQUE BURGAUTÉ VASE, MADE BY LAVABRE FOR
CARTIER PARIS, 1926
12.8 cm., 5 in., high
Estimate: £2,500-3,500
This was a Christmas present in 1926 from Baron James de Rothschild (1878-1957) of Waddesdon Manor.

Frederic, Lord Leighton Study for Flaming June ESTIMATE 40,000 - 60,000 This the only known head study for one of the most famous 19th century pictures.  It used to hang in an ante-room to the Duchess's bedroom and was last publicly seen in an art magazine in 1895. It will be auctioned in London on 15th July, 2015

Frederic, Lord Leighton
Study for Flaming June
ESTIMATE 40,000 – 60,000
This the only known head study for one of the most famous 19th century pictures. It used to hang in an ante-room to the Duchess’s bedroom and was last publicly seen in an art magazine in 1895. It will be auctioned in London on 15th July, 2015

 

 

http://www.sothebys.com

The Duchess – I

The Duchess – Property & Precious Objects from the Estate of Mary, Duchess of Roxburghe, Sotheby’s, 34-35 New Bond Street, London W1, 27th – 28th May 2015

A View of West Horsley Place

A View of West Horsley Place

This is a remarkable sale in that it reveals a way of life that has now vanished. The story is told through the seven hundred lots that make up this auction. Mary, Duchess of Roxburghe (1915-2014) was born into one of the great families; her father was Marquess of Crewe and her mother was Peggy Primrose, who was the daughter of the Earl of Rosebery, a British Prime Minister, and his heiress wife Hannah de Rothschild.

A View of the Drawing Room.   This elegant room had not been used for about fifty years and workmen were needed to prise open the shutters which had warped.

A View of the Drawing Room.
This elegant room had not been used for about fifty years and workmen were needed to prise open the shutters which had warped.

Mary Roxburghe, who was named for her godmother Queen Mary and whose husband George V was her godfather, was brought up in the glittering social world of her parents. Their London house was Crewe House in Curzon Street and they also had Crewe Hall in Cheshire. She became engaged to the Duke of Roxburghe at the age of 19, a fact celebrated by a ball at Crewe House and attended by the King and Queen at which the Crewe china and glass, featured in this sale, was used. The 1935 wedding was deemed worthy of being screened in cinemas across the land. The Duke and Duchess travelled extensively – some of the Duchess’s Cartier luggage is in the sale – and she spent part of World War II in the Middle East to be close to the Duke.

A View of the Morning Room, showing a table setting, the Axminster Carpet (Lot 51) and a male servant's livery.

A View of the Morning Room, showing a table setting, the Axminster Carpet (Lot 51) and a male servant’s livery.

However after the war one day as she was sitting at breakfast with the Duke the butler presented her, on a silver salver (naturally), with her divorce papers. After a rather fraught period a settlement was reached and Mary Roxburghe then divided her time between her apartment in London and her parents country home West Horsley Place. The Crewe’s had bought the house in the 1930s after disposing of their other properties following the death of their son and heir. The house contains a melange of items from these other houses, although larger family pictures had also been sold and so when Mary inherited the house in 1973 it became a repository for her things too.

The Duchess's Bedroom, with a silver-plated breakfast-in-bed tray by Asprey & Co Ltd (£200-£300) on the bed.

The Duchess’s Bedroom, with a silver-plated breakfast-in-bed tray by Asprey & Co Ltd (£200-£300) on the bed.

What a great selection there is; footmen’s livery, Coronation robes, paintings, furniture, silver, porcelain, jewellery and Objects of Vertu. All combine to be an integral part of a fascinating story that combines social and historical threads into a whole and tells the story of Mary Roxburghe’s life.

http://www.sothebys.com

 

In the following second blog I will include a comment from Bamber Gascoigne, the Duchess’s heir, who is selling these items to help secure the future of this house and show a small selection of items on offer.