A Love Affair with France: The Elizabeth Stafford Collection, Christie’s New York 1st November 2018

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Mimi Stafford in the Dining Room of her New York apartment. © Christie’s Images Limited 2018

I have known of this remarkable collection for nearly two decades and have caught fleeting glimpses of it from time to time in exhibition catalogues and elsewhere, I just wish I could have had the opportunity to meet Mrs Stafford. However, now we have the chance to encounter her and her discerning eye in this sale and some of the more important pictures will appear in specialist sales either just before the 1st November or later in that month.

Claude Lorrain

CLAUDE GELLÉE, CALLED LORRAIN (CHAMPAGNE 1600-1682 ROME landscape with Apollo guarding the herds of Admetus and Mercury stealing them oil on canvas 20 x 27.1/8 in. (50.8 x 68.8 cm.) $700,000 – $1,000,000 Old Masters, October 30 2018 © Christie’s Images Limited 2018

Elizabeth (Mimi) and her husband Frederick collected across a wide spectrum as the 1966-67 exhibition of their collection – “Odyssey of an art collector: unity in diversity -5,000 years of art” – at the Isaac Delgado Museum in New Orleans showed. Indeed in May this year Christie’s sold Brancusi’s La Jeune fille sophistiquée (Nancy Cunard) for US$ 71 million. It had been bought by them from the artist in 1955.

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Mimi Stafford’s Paris apartment. © Christie’s Images Limited 2018

Mimi’s abiding passion was the arts of 18th century France and it was this that formed the background to her daily life, first of all in a Maison Jansen designed apartment in Paris’s Avenue Foch and then later in a New York apartment that had been created for Mr and Mrs Robert R Young by Maison Jansen’s legendary Stéphane Boudin. Both apartments were the perfect backdrop for the paintings, porcelain, furniture and drawings she acquired with an unfailing eye. As her daughter E. Alexandra Stafford says in an interview with Christie’s that “the first questions new friends asked when they entered the apartment was how could she live in such a museum? As they hesitated before sitting down on the silk brocade-covered 18th-century gilded chaise à la Reine, she would answer: ‘No problem!’”

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Mimi Stafford’s Paris apartment. © Christie’s Images Limited 2018

That, of course, is how it should be as such things were made to be used and I am sure that Mimi Stafford would be excited and delighted that things she loved and cherished will be going on to new owners and enriching their lives.

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The niche in the Stéphane Boudin-designed New York apartment’s salon, or living room, displayed a selection of the Sèvres bleu céleste that forms the core of the porcelain collection — including an oval bottle cooler from the first service made for Louis XV. © Christie’s Images Limited 2018

 

Étienne Aubry

ÉTIENNE AUBRY (VERSAILLES 1745-1781 PARIS) ‘La Turque’, presumed portrait of Mademoiselle Duthé Oil on canvas 25 3/8 x 32 in. (64.3 x 81.3 cm.) $300,000 – 500,000 Old Masters, October 30 2018 © Christie’s Images Limited 2018

 

LOT 1229

Lot 1229 A LOUIS XV ENAMELLED GOLD CARNET DE BAL MARKED PARIS, 1773, WITH CHARGE MARK OF JULIEN ALATERRE, 1768-1775, AND DECHARGE MARK OF JEAN-BAPTISTE FOUACHE, 1775-1781 Rectangular with beaded borders, decorated with cornfower blue stripes, one side mounted with a miniature of a lady in white gown with gold embroidery, the other side with a locket of woven hair under a gold script monogram, the hinged cover mounted with gold words SOUVENIR D’AMITIE, interior ftted with gold pencil case 3 æ in. (95 mm.) high $4,000–6,000 © Christie’s Images Limited 2018

 

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Mimi Stafford’s Paris apartment © Christie’s Images Limited 2018

 

LOT 1212

1212 JEAN-AUGUSTE-DOMINIQUE INGRES (MONTAUBAN 1780-1867 PARIS) Portrait of Mrs. Jean-Pierre Granger, née Marie-Jeanne-Catherine Delaigle signed and dated in graphite ‘Ingres/ à Rome 1811’ (lower right) graphite 10 x 7æ in. (25.4 x 19 cm.) $200,000–300,000 © Christie’s Images Limited 2018

 

LOT 1963

Lot 1063 A PAIR OF FRENCH ORMOLU-MOUNTED CHINESE PORCELAIN TWO-LIGHT CANDELABRA THE PORCELAIN QIANLONG, THE MOUNTS PROBABLY BY ESCALIER DE CRYSTAL, 19TH CENTURY Each with a blue-glazed Chinese porcelain parrot on a rock work base fanked by coral-form ormolu branches. 9æ in. ( 25 cm.) high (2) $7,000–10,000 © Christie’s Images Limited 2018

 

Pissarro - Neige, soleil couchant, Eragny

CAMILLE PISSARRO (1830-1903) Neige, soleil couchant, Eragny signed and dated ‘C. Pissarro 94’ (lower left) oil on canvas 24 x 32 1/2 in. Painted in 1894 $2,000,000-3,000,000 Impressionist & Modern Art Evening Sale, November 2018 © Christie’s Images Limited 2018

 

Stafford Paris Apartment

Mimi Stafford’s Paris apartment © Christie’s Images Limited 2018

 

LOT 1041

Lot 1041 JEAN-BAPTISTE CHARPENTIER (PARIS 1728-1806) Portrait of a man, traditionally said to be M. Larchey, son-in-law of the painter Jean-Baptiste Greuze, bust-length oil on panel, oval 7æ x 6Ω in. (19.7 x 16.5 cm.) $8,000–12,000 © Christie’s Images Limited 2018

 

Boudin Panel from New York apartment c1959

A panel from a set of boiserie installed by Stephane Boudin, circa 1959, 900 Fifth Avenue, New York City. © Christie’s Images Limited 2018

 

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BOOK REVIEW: Henri Samuel

Henri Samuel: Master of the French Interior

Written by Emily Evans Eerdmans, Foreword by Jacques Grange and Eva Samuel

Rizzoli

 ISBN: 978-0-8478-6186-6

 £57.95

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For someone who described himself as “a twentieth-century eclectic” Henri Samuel’s skill at historic design was truly remarkable. It was an innate skill since his interiors are not readily identifiable because they seamlessly blend the lifestyle, art and antiques of the very wealthy clients who used him, such as the Rothschilds, the Wrightsmans and the Gutfreunds. He learnt his craft with Jansen and Alavoine before setting up on his own when aged sixty-six.

We see the interiors he created for his clients on both sides of the Atlantic and remarkably they look as inviting and usable today as when first created.  He achieved this by acknowledging that however marvellous his clients’ collections may be they were in rooms that were meant to be lived in and so personal items and the occasional modern touch were subtly incorporated into the overall scheme. This is a book which has been long overdue because Henri Samuel certainly deserves to be in the Pantheon of the great interior designers.

 

 

https://www.rizzoliusa.com/

BOOK REVIEW: Thomas Chippendale 1718-1779: A Celebration of British Craftsmanship and Design

Thomas Chippendale 1718-1779: A Celebration of British Craftsmanship and Design 

Catalogue of the Tercentenary Exhibition

by Adam Bowett (Author), James Lomax (Author)

ISBN-10: 1999922913

ISBN-13: 978-1999922917

£65.00

The Chippendale Society

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This highly readable catalogue is a very welcome addition to the telling of the story of Thomas Chippendale and his enduring legacy. Through it one learns of his life and career, the various styles he used, his customers and his relationship with them and most importantly of all we see examples of the furniture he produced – chairs, chests, tables, stools, beds, picture frames, cornices and lanterns, even coffin furniture. Through the publishing of a pattern book – The Gentleman and Cabinet-Maker’s Director – in 1754 which depicted ‘Elegant and Useful Designs of Household Furniture in the Gothic, Chinese and Modern Taste’ he attracted the interest of possible commissions among the wealthy and indeed it was an immediate success and was re-published the following year. A third edition with extra plates showing neo-classical designs was published in 1762.

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Butler’s Tray, 1763 Dumfries House

The publication of these volumes meant that good examples of furniture could be made by other craftsmen closely following Chippendale’s designs and that is why it has become the norm for firm attributions to Chippendale’s workshop to be backed-up by some sort of documentary evidence such as bills.

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Cabinet, c1773 (one of a pair) which may well have been made to display the Sevres service visible inside. Probably Melbourne House, London

His designs are so enduringly popular that they are being copied or evoked right up to the present day such as, for example, the bookcase produced in c.2000 by Arthur Brett (Norwich) whose design is based on a Chippendale one at Wilton House – on which location a little more later.

 

 

thechippendalesociety.co.uk

Thomas Chippendale 1718-1779

Thomas Chippendale 1718-1779: a celebration of British craftsmanship & design, until 9th June 2018, Leeds City Museum

Free admission

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Chippendale Exhibition Leeds City Museum 2018

It is with a deep chagrin that I very belatedly write about this major exhibition celebrating this great English furniture maker and designer. I had hoped that I would have been able to visit Leeds to see the show but personal reasons intervene.

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Chippendale Exhibition Leeds City Museum 2018

There is no better place than Leeds to see this show as Chippendale was born just down the road at Otley in 1718 – I well remember seeing the commemorative sign there when I lived in Leeds many years ago. I hope that this selection of images will entice you to dash up to Leeds or look at the tercentenary website where many of the houses associated with his oeuvre are mentioned.

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Chippendale Exhibition Leeds City Museum 2018

I shall be reviewing the catalogue published to celebrate this tercentenary and exhibition and also writing about Wilton House where Chippendale furniture bought by the Earls of Pembroke is highlighted in a special publication.

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Chippendale Exhibition Leeds City Museum 2018

 

 

http://chippendale300.co.uk/exhibition/

BOOK REVIEW: Longford Castle

Longford Castle: The Treasures & The Collectors

Amelia Smith

 ISBN: 9781910787687

Publisher: Unicorn

£40.00

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I first learnt about Longford Castle and some of its treasures in an article in the 1968 Country Life Annual and have wanted to know more about it ever since. Well now both you and I can find out more in this fascinating book which is both well-written and well-illustrated.

 

Dating from Elizabethan times the house was acquired by the Bouverie family in 1717 and the story of how they built up the outstanding art collection which consists of Old Masters and family portraits – think Holbein, Claude, Reynolds and Gainsborough – is skilfully interwoven with the tale of the furnishings and decorations of the castle’s rooms which form the backdrop to the paintings.  It really is a celebration and a history of this great collection and house and is such a delight. It is a book I will return to time and time again!

 

http://unicornpublishing.org/

BOOK REVIEW: Versailles – The Great and Hidden Splendours of the Sun King’s Palace

Versailles

The Great and Hidden Splendours of the Sun King’s Palace

 Catherine Pégard, Christophe Fouin

 Thames & Hudson
£50.00
ISBN: 9780500519868

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Take one look at this book and you will clearly see why Versailles endures and attracts new admirers and visitors every year.  From the days of Louis XIV onwards the palace has acted like a magnet to all.

In this sumptuous volume the palace’s official photographers (Christophe Fouin, Thomas Garnier, Christian Milet and Didier Saulnier) take us on a journey, using images from their personal albums, that memorably reveals the place whether it be the Grand Apartments, Chapel, Orangerie or the private rooms of the King and his mistresses. The erudite captions tell of the history and treasures in these rooms and evoke a sense of what Versailles must have been like in the 17th and 18th centuries when the King was in residence.

It is and was a very different world and it is amazing to think that these rooms with their elaborate decoration and furnishings were part of everyday life for their royal inhabitants. Some spaces such as Madame de Pompadour’s “niche” in the Chapel or her maid’s bedroom are small and intimate while others such as the Hercules Salon or the Hall of Mirrors remind you that you are in the palace of a king.

There have been numerous books on Versailles over the years and to my mind this is the best! I shall revisit it frequently and no doubt linger a little over the picture of Madame Victoire’s library – a room I could very happily live in.

http://www.thamesandhudson.com

BOOK REVIEW: How They Decorated

How They Decorated: Inspiration from Great Women of the Twentieth Century

Written by P. Gaye Tapp,

Foreword by Charlotte Moss

£40
Rizzoli
ISBN: 978-0-8478-4741-9

Congratulations are certainly due to P. Gaye Tapp for this wonderful, well-researched journey into the homes and style of these 20th Century trendsetting icons. One knows from the cover alone – the Harrison Williams depicted in their Syrie Maugham drawing room by Cecil Beaton – that it is going to be special.

The four sections of the book – “The Fashionably Chic”, “The Unconventional Eye”, “In the Grand Manner”, and “Legacy Style” – reveal the differing styles favoured by women such as Evangeline Bruce, Georgia O’ Keeffe, Pauline de Rothschild, Lesley Blanch, Louise de Vilmorin and Babe Paley. Some of them worked with leading decorators, often more than one, while others created their own interior worlds.

The end results, beautifully illustrated here, are rooms and homes that have enduring appeal and may well inspire you to a new look in your own homes. I particularly liked the Evangeline Bruce comment about the paintings and antiques in her homes – “I don’t mind mended things’ – as to me it emphasises her love and appreciation of the fine pieces that adorned her homes. True style!

 

www.rizzoliusa.com