BOOK REVIEW: Villa Astor

VILLA ASTOR Paradise Restored on the Amalfi Coast

Introduction by The Right Honourable the Lord Astor of Hever

Text by Curt DiCamillo, Suzanne Tise-Isoré, Alexandra Campbell and Rita Vessichelli Pane Photography by Eric Sander

£40
Flammarion 
ISBN 978-2-08-137592-5

The Villa Astor has, as the cover illustration suggests, rather a splendid location in the town of Sorrento overlooking the Bay of Naples. A former American ambassador to Italy William Waldorf Astor (1848-1919) acquired the Villa and its surrounding properties in 1905 and then went on to transform it. He was certainly well practiced in such matters for in the United Kingdom he had an office at 2, Temple Place, and also homes at Hever Castle and Cliveden (he gave the latter to his son as a wedding present in 1906). As well as building up a large collection of classical sculpture at the Villa Astor he also had a Pompeian-style villa built on the east side of the gardens. Following Astor’s death the Italian government stepped in and said the sculpture collections and gardens should be protected and remain part of the villa.

 

It is a great survival having withstood different owners and World War II – and now following a restoration by the new owners, with the help of the famous French decorator Jacques Garcia. this extensively illustrated book celebrates the Villa in its full glory while telling the tale of its intriguing history. Can’t ask for much more really.

editions.flammarion.com

The 2017 Summer Olympia Art & Antiques Fair

The Art & Antiques Fair Olympia, Olympia London, Hammersmith Road, London W14, 26th June – 2nd July 2017

Lady Henrietta Spencer-Churchill who will be speaking at The Art & Antiques Fair on ‘Incorporating Antiques in Design’ on Thursday 29 June at 12.30-13.30.

This is this fair’s forty-fifth year and as ever potentially offers much to its visitors. There is no doubt that change is inevitable and that emphasis and focus changes as one generation of collectors is succeeded by another. Styles of living change and what may have been our ideal does not necessarily resonate with our children and grandchildren.

It is therefore probably a sound idea to launch an Interior Design Talk Series at this year’s fair. The speakers include Henrietta Spencer Churchill, Douglas Mackie, Christopher Vane Percy, April Russel, Emma Burns from Sibyl Colefax and John Fowler, Susie Rumbold and Caroline de Cabarrus from Hotspur Design and the wide-ranging topics covered include Incorporating Antiques in Design and how to Decorate your House in a Day.

The fair’s director Mary Claire Boyd said, ‘We are excited about our new Interior Design Talk Series. There is a strong demand for advice from experts on how to incorporate art and antiques into interiors and previous designer talks have been very well attended. We are taking it to the next level this year by hosting top designers throughout the run of the fair.’ Perfect for inspiration to go out into the fair afterwards and buy!

It is also interesting to note that the number of picture dealers attending this year’s fair will be double that of last year’s. This increase is made up by new and some returning former exhibitors. The Chicago-based show, Sculptural Objects Functional Art and Design Fair (SOFA) who first showed three-dimensional contemporary art and design last year also returns.

Galerie Boccara
Sonia Delaunay.
Serpent Noir’, wool tapestry,151 x 308cm

As these changes evolve over the Fairs I wish this Olympia Fair a fair wind in its voyage to different waters.

http://www.olympia-art-antiques.com

A new exhibitor at The Spring Decorative Antiques & Textiles Fair

The Spring Decorative Antiques & Textiles Fair, Battersea Evolution, Battersea Park, London SW11, 4th – 9th April 2017

Alison Elliott
Tinker
Oil on gesso panel
5.91 x 4ins (15 x 10cm)
Courtesy of Jonathan Cooper
Copyright Alison Elliott

This edition is slightly earlier than usual and its special stand – The Morning Room Revisited – near the fair’s entrance updates the traditional idea of such rooms by transforming them into a space where the outside can be brought in or as a place of display for collections.

Rebecca Campbell
The Artist’s Muse
Oil on linen
35.2 x 45.75ins (89 x 116cm)
Courtesy of Jonathan Cooper
Copyright Rebecca Campbell

The highly successful gallery Jonathan Cooper makes its first appearance at the fair and I feel sure that visitors will find much of interest among its fine contemporary artworks.

 

www.decorativefair.com

http://www.jonathancooper.co.uk

Hollywood Style!

Betsy Bloomingdale: A Life in Style, Christie’s New York, live auction on April 5th 2017 and online sale March 30th-April 6th2017

The Atrium, Mrs. Bloomingdale’s Hollywood Regency villa, Los Angeles.
Photography by Spencer Lowell. Courtesy of Christie’s.

In her later years Mrs Bloomingdale summed up her thoughts on style saying: ‘To me, style in anything you do, whether dressing, entertaining, collecting, whatever, is a sureness of choice. It can be learned, it can be developed, but to be successful, it mustn’t be perceived.’

Both the online auction and the live auction reflect her philosophy whether it be in jewels, or clothes – Oscar de la Renta, Valentino and Christian Dior – or her home. A leading figure of Los Angeles society she was known for her philanthropy and her entertaining. She welcomed many legendary Hollywood figures to her home as well as the Reagans and the Annenbergs.  She kept a record of every dinner party she gave from 1959 until her death last year.

The Dining Room, Mrs. Bloomingdale’s Hollywood Regency villa, Los Angeles.
Photography by Spencer Lowell. Courtesy of Christie’s.

Her home was a fine example of Hollywood Regency and was one of the legendary designer William (Billy) Haines last remaining masterpieces.  Haines started his career as a silent movie star but his refusal to end his relationship with his long-term partner Jimmie Shields led to his MGM contract being ended in 1933.

The Bedroom, Mrs. Bloomingdale’s Hollywood Regency villa, Los Angeles.
Photography by Spencer Lowell. Courtesy of Christie’s.

However this inspired Haines (1900-1973) to set himself up as a designer of both interiors and furniture.  His clients included Joan Crawford, Jack Warner, George Cukor, the Goetzes and the Annenbergs at both their home Sunnylands, near Palm Springs and also at Winfield House, London when Mr Annenberg was the US Ambassador to the UK. As these images show Haines had a deft touch creating an 18th century feel in rooms that were very easy to use and so perfectly crafted that the owners rarely changed anything.

This sale is truly a celebration of 20th century American style and taste!

The Living Room, Mrs. Bloomingdale’s Hollywood Regency villa, Los Angeles.
Photography by Spencer Lowell. Courtesy of Christie’s.

 

www.christies.com

A New Home!

Sibyl Colefax & John Fowler, 89-91 Pimlico Road, London SW1

Copyright: Sibyl Colefax & John Fowler. Photographer: Simon Brown.

This celebrated firm is newly arrived in  Pimlico Road where whilst combining the traditions of Brook Street also allows their interior decorators a chance to display their skills in an entirely new way. There will be a mixture of antique and contemporary pieces, including artworks on display to catch the eye. Exciting times lie ahead!

Copyright: Sibyl Colefax & John Fowler. Photographer: Simon Brown.

 

Copyright: Sibyl Colefax & John Fowler. Photographer: Simon Brown.

 

Copyright: Sibyl Colefax & John Fowler. Photographer: Simon Brown.

 

 

 

 

 

 

http://www.sibylcolefax.com

Retreat and Rebellion

Sussex Modernism: Retreat and Rebellion, Two Temple Place, London WC2, until 23rd April 2017

Duncan Grant (1885 -1978) Bathers by the Pond,c1920-21 Oil on canvas, 49x 90cm, Pallant House Gallery (Hussey Bequest, Chichester District Council) © 1978 Estate of Duncan Grant, courtesy Henrietta Garnett / DACS 2016

Duncan Grant (1885 -1978)
Bathers by the Pond,c1920-21
Oil on canvas, 49x 90cm,
Pallant House Gallery (Hussey Bequest, Chichester District Council)
© 1978 Estate of Duncan Grant, courtesy Henrietta Garnett / DACS 2016

While to many of us the coast or countryside of Sussex appear idyllic places to live in the first half of the 20th century avant-garde artists and writers were drawn to live there.  Their communities were experimental whether artistically or domestically.

Sussex Modernism: Retreat and Rebellion 28th January –23rd April 2017 Two Temple Place, London WC2R 3BD All images courtesy of Two Temple Place and Rohan van Twest

Sussex Modernism: Retreat and Rebellion 28th January –23rd April 2017
Two Temple Place, London WC2R 3BD
All images courtesy of Two Temple Place and Rohan van Twest

At Charleston Vanessa Bell and Duncan Grant not only painted but created interiors whose appeal lasts to the present day while at Ditchling Eric Gill and David Jones followed the arts and crafts tradition and at West Dean Edward James with Salvador Dali followed the Surrealist road (see my blog A Surreal Legacy, 07/12/2016).

David Jones (1895-1974) Madonna and Child in a Landscape, 1924 Oil on canvas, 61 x 61 cm, Ditchling Museum of Art + Craft © Trusteesof the David Jones estate. Image courtesy of Ditchling Museum of Art + Craft

David Jones (1895-1974)
Madonna and Child in a Landscape, 1924
Oil on canvas, 61 x 61 cm,
Ditchling Museum of Art + Craft
© Trusteesof the David Jones estate. Image courtesy of Ditchling Museum of Art + Craft

Add to this mix artists such as Edward Burra, Serge Chermayeff, Eric Ravilious, Henry Moore, John Piper, Lee Miller, Eileen Agar and Paul Nash and you will see how they individually reacted to their surroundings – some embracing and others more unsettled by them.

Sussex Modernism: Retreat and Rebellion 28th January –23rd April 2017 Two Temple Place, London WC2R 3BD All images courtesy of Two Temple Place and Rohan van Twest

Sussex Modernism: Retreat and Rebellion 28th January –23rd April 2017
Two Temple Place, London WC2R 3BD
All images courtesy of Two Temple Place and Rohan van Twest

The exhibition’s curator Dr Hope Wolfe summed it up saying: “The metropolis has long been assumed to be a catalyst for Modernism: a melting pot in which people from different places could meet, exchange ideas, and explore new ways of thinking and making. This exhibition asks what experimental artists, writers and makers of other kinds were doing in Sussex in the early twentieth century. For some, a rural retreat provided an opportunity for escape and alternative living. Enclaves were made of homes and communities, although works created in them are often suggestive of anxieties that accompanied attempts to break with convention. Others critiqued their new contexts, troubling the idea of Sussex as an idyll and sparking controversy with work created for local audiences. Comparing the lives and works of makers associated with different modernist movements, the exhibition illustrates how the regional setting both amplified their contrary energies and facilitated their attempts to live and represent the world differently. In turn, it shows how seemingly picturesque scenes were reimagined and transformed by the unsettled artist.”

 

 

Exhibition Opening Times: Monday, Thursday – Saturday: 10am – 4:30pm Wednesday Late: 10am – 9pm, Sunday: 11am – 4:30pm, Closed on Tuesday

www.twotempleplace.org

Fancy a Bargain?

George III period mahogany framed elbow chair, the three upper splats to the back, well carved arms with fine reeding over shaped and turned uprights with block toes, c. 1790 Height34.00 inch(86.4 cm) Width24.00 inch(61.0 cm) Depth25.00 inch(63.5 cm)

George III period mahogany framed elbow chair, the three upper splats to the back, well carved arms with fine reeding over shaped and turned uprights with block toes, c. 1790
Height34.00 inch(86.4 cm)
Width24.00 inch(61.0 cm)
Depth25.00 inch(63.5 cm)

The noted antique dealers Windsor House Antiques have found a novel way of marking sixty years of trading. They have launched House Bargains on their new website.  There you will find some wonderful pieces, including chandeliers, mirrors and cushions listed at substantial discounts.  Well worth a peek!

An exceptionally finely figured burr amboyna Gueridon of wonderful colour and patina and with original inset marble top. Second quarter of the 19th century, c. 1840 Height 30.00 inch (76.2 cm) Width 27.00 inch (68.6 cm) Depth 27.00 inch (68.6 cm)

An exceptionally finely figured burr amboyna Gueridon of wonderful colour and patina and with original inset marble top. Second quarter of the 19th century, c. 1840
Height 30.00 inch (76.2 cm)
Width 27.00 inch (68.6 cm)
Depth 27.00 inch (68.6 cm)

www.windsorhouseantiques.co.uk