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!
Empire Style: The Hôtel de Beauharnais in Paris
Written by Jörg Ebeling and Ulrich Leben, Photographed by Francis Hammond
It does not come as a surprise to me that over ten years research has been undertaken to bring about this splendid monograph on the Hôtel de Beauharnais.
Built in 1713-15 by the architect Germain Boffrand it was when Josephine Bonaparte bought it for her son Eugène de Beauharnais that the real story of this “hotel particulier” begins. He had the building decorated and renovated at great cost and the results preserved to this day are the remarkable Consulate and Empire interiors which make it such a jewel among Parisian interiors. The costs were so high that his step-father the Emperor Napoleon was angry and took over the use of the building as a place for important visitors.
Following Napoleon’s fall the building was bought by the King of Prussia and the building became the Prussian Legation and eventually the German embassy and today it serves as the Ambassador’s residence.
While the history of this building is of great interest and expertly recalled it is the interiors and furnishings that make this such a special book. As well as a detailed tour of the main rooms there are special essays looking at the decorative paintings, Empire furniture, fabrics and trimmings and at the ideals behind the Empire Style.
This beautifully illustrated book is a great celebration of a historic building and its spectacular interiors. A must for all interested in history and interior decoration.
A Surreal Legacy – Selected works of art from The Edward James Foundation, Christie’s London, King Street, London SW1, 15 December 2016,
Edward James (1907-1984) was a notable patron and art collector and one who particularly embraced Surrealism and indeed transformed Monkton House on the West Dean estate into a Surrealist-inspired home. It was an interest that first started when he lived in Paris as a young man and he became a patron and close friend of artists and writers such as Paul Éluard, André Breton René Magritte and Salvador Dalí. The latter said of him “Edward is as insanely relentless as myself”. He was also a patron of the Russian Neo-Romanticist Pavel Tchelitchew and James built up a large collection of his works and some of these are in this sale.
As well as the Surrealist works there is a mixture of pieces from West Dean House that reflects the taste and lifestyle of its various owners, including James’s father. They are being sold to continue the work of the Edward James Foundation which is based at West Dean.
Christie’s UK Chairman, Orlando Rock says: “Edward James was touched by genius – and the inspirational Surrealist fantasies that he created at Monkton and elsewhere are testimony to his visionary patronage. This eclectic auction embraces the contrasting and pioneering tastes of several generations of this Anglo-American family and will raise funds to safeguard the future of the educational Foundation at West Dean, through which Edward James sought to secure future generations of artistic creativity.”
Treasures from the Prestigious Qizilbash Collection, Sotheby’s France, 76 Rue du Faubourg Saint-Honoré, 75008 Paris, 28th November 2016
There really is only one word to describe the collection of European works of art put together over the years by Hossein and Mariam Qizilbash and that is “prestigious”. The objects in this sale are undoubtedly of museum quality and reflect the exquisite taste of the Qizilbash’s.
These nine stars of 17th and 18th century European decorative arts were “created” by remarkable craftsmen in France, Britain, Italy, Germany and Holland. Here is a selection for your delectation:
Auction: Tuesday, 28th November, 2016 at 7.00 p.m.
Exhibition: 24th to 27th November 2016
Around That Time: Horst at Home in Vogue
by Valentine Lawford and Ivan Shaw, photography by Horst P. Horst.
Foreword by Hamish Bowles
I have to admit that the idea of this book was on my wish list as I was entranced by the 1968 Vogue’s Book of Houses, Gardens, People, which has now become a much sought after book. Now it has been updated in this glorious volume which features the masterful photography of Horst P Horst and the absorbing essays on the homes and their residents by Horst’s partner the writer Valentine Lawford. It is the perfect combination and gives us fascinating insights into society, the arts and politics between 1938 and 1985. A huge thank you to all for this great, delightful book which will become a classic!
The Middle – Tom Ellis at the Wallace Collection, The Wallace Collection, Hertford House, Manchester Square, London, W1, until 27th November 2016
This intriguing exhibition starts on this prestigious Museum’s front lawn and then inside occupies the Front State Room and the downstairs exhibition gallery. The Museum’s own collections have inspired contemporary artist Tom Ellis (b1973) to create these site specific works. His large-scale paintings with their recurring motif of a shoemaker are inspired by work by Teniers the Younger while his furniture is inspired by those 18th century French examples in the Collection which have transformative elements.
The installation’s title reflects the unresolved nature of the works and the idea that the museum is neither a fully domestic or public space. The third inspiration comes from the writer Samuel Beckett who was interested in the idea of the unresolved and open-endedness that can be found in art. Beckett, a frequent visitor to the Wallace in 1935, also shared Ellis’s love of Dutch paintings.
Going Once: 250 Years of Culture, Taste and Collecting at Christie’s
ISBN: 978 0 7148 7202 5
What better way to celebrate two hundred and fifty years as a leading art business than through the two hundred and fifty objects selected for this book. It is a wonderful survey of these remarkable sales and the high prices achieved whether for a 3,000-year-old Assyrian frieze or Dorothy’s ruby slippers from The Wizard of Oz. Paintings, furniture, gold and silver, sculpture, wine, even a London Routemaster bus are included. One feature I like is that as well as giving the original sale price they also give today’s equivalent value.
This is a great book to dip into time and time again as there is much to learn and enjoy from it.
Tomasso Brothers Fine Art at La Biennale des Antiquaires, Grand Palais, Paris, until 18th September 2016
This is the first time that the notable gallery Tomasso Brothers Fine Art have exhibited at the celebrated La Biennale des Antiquaires in Paris. Among the pieces they are showing is this bronze portrait bust of the famed ancient Greek physician Modios Asiatikos by François Girardon, who worked for Louis XIV. It is recorded as being in the sculptor’s own collection and is illustrated in the series of engravings entitled La Galerie de Girardon (c. 1709) and more recently is included in the new monograph on Girardon. If such clear provenance was not enough on its own then prospective purchasers may be interested to know that it also bears an inventory mark for the Tuilleries Palace.
LAPADA Art & Antiques Fair 2016, Berkeley Square, Mayfair, London W1, 13th – 18th September 2016
Now in its eighth year this popular fair is the place to find fine pieces from across all disciplines. It is therefore appropriate that this year there is a select group of highlights from the Chitra Collection which celebrates tea over the centuries through the vessels and other paraphernalia involved in its drinking and preparation.
This is the first time pieces from the collection have been shown in the UK and its curator Olivia Fryman has selected items that reflect the long history of this beverage. Starting with the beginnings of the tea story in China and Japan, we then pass on to the growing interest and consumption of it in Europe (Catherine of Braganza, Charles II’s wife, introduced tea to this country) in the 17th and 18th centuries and then go on to see how it played an important role in the story of the British Empire. The last piece of this story looks at the global interest, especially in Russia and America, and how tea became a part of everyday life for many.
The collection has been put together by the London-based businessman Nirmal Kumar Sethia, who says “The Chitra Collection will continue to inspire generations of tea lovers long after I’m gone. It is my wish that, for centuries to come, the world will be able to appreciate and experience the beauty and significance of tea, art and culture”. His interest has continued since he first started working as an apprentice tea buyer in London, aged 14. He started the luxury tea company Newby Teas in 2000.
There are in excess of 1700 tea-related objects in the collection which was named in memory of his late wife and I think you may agree from the selection illustrated here that it is a fascinating subject.