BOOK REVIEW: Spectacular Gems and Jewelry from the Merriweather Post Collection

Spectacular Gems and Jewelry from the Merriweather Post Collection

Liana Paredes

Published by GILES in association with Hillwood Estate, Museum & Gardens
PRICE — UK£29.95 / US$39.95
ISBN — 978-1-907804-92-2

Marjorie Merriweather Post is well-known as a collector of Russian and French Decorative Arts but what is less appreciated is the collection of jewellery she amassed over the decades. This ranges from historic pieces such as the diamond earrings believed to have belonged to Marie Antoinette, a diadem and necklace owned by Napoleon’s wife the Empress Marie Louise and an emerald which belonged to the Emperor Maximilian of Mexico (a carpet thought to have been owned by him adorns the dining room floor at Hillwood). Alongside such gems add pieces by Cartier – she was their best American customer –, Harry Winston, Van Cleef & Arpels, David Webb and Fulco di Verdura and you get a marvellous insight to jewellery design and fashion in the first six decades of the 20th century. Flowers, birds, figures, domestic objects all provided inspiration for brooches and bracelets – Mrs Post had a diamond-set brooch in the form of her legendary yacht ‘The Sea Cloud’ and another in the form of her turboprop airplane ‘The Merriweather’.

Turquoise, diamond and platinum necklace by Harry Winston 1961

This is a detailed and highly enjoyable look into this outstanding collection of jewellery and is well-illustrated throughout, including designs and pictures of Mrs Post wearing various pieces. It combines jewellery design and social history in a way that emphasises that Mrs Post’s life was indeed spectacular!

An accompanying exhibition is on at Hillwood Estate, Museum & Gardens until 7th January 2018

 

https://www.hillwoodmuseum.org/Spectacular-Gems-and-Jewelry

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The Palais Rose recalled

Boni de Castellane & Anna Gould, La Mémoire Du Palais Rose, Christie’s Paris, 9 avenue Matignon, 75008 Paris, 7th March 2017

GRAND SALON, Diane de Castellane’s apartment rue d’Andigné, Paris ©Christie’s Images, Ltd, 2017

GRAND SALON, Diane de Castellane’s apartment rue d’Andigné, Paris
©Christie’s Images, Ltd, 2017

This sale takes us back into the Belle Époque where Boniface de Castellane, known as Boni, was one of the more famous dandies of the time and regarded as a tastemaker.  In 1895 he married the American railway heiress Anna Gould and her substantial dowry allowed them the following year to start building the Grand Trianon inspired Palais Rose which was completed in 1902.  It became a major centre in Parisian social life where Kings, Queens and aristocracy were received. The house was sumptuously furnished with old master paintings and drawings, furniture and porcelain of the best quality.

LOT 19 NÉCESSAIRE DE BUREAU ART DÉCO « JARDIN JAPONAIS », PAR CARTIER Estimation : €1.000.000-1.500.000 AN ART DECO 'JARDIN JAPONAIS' DESK SET, BY CARTIER Mouvement no. 2968872 ©Christie’s Images Ltd, 2017

LOT 19
NÉCESSAIRE DE BUREAU ART DÉCO « JARDIN JAPONAIS », PAR CARTIER
Estimation : €1.000.000-1.500.000
AN ART DECO ‘JARDIN JAPONAIS’ DESK SET, BY CARTIER
Mouvement no. 2968872
©Christie’s Images Ltd, 2017

However this idyll was not long-lived for in early 1906 Anna filed for divorce with Boni’s extravagances and expenditure being a major cause. Some of their collections were disposed of after the divorce and more after Anna’s death in 1961.  Anna however did leave a mixture of wonderful things to her grand-daughter Diane de Castellane and she lived surrounded by these elegant pieces, including the group of Boulle furniture which so evocatively recalls the interiors, sadly not photographed for posterity, with the exception of the staircase and a fireplace of the Palais Rose.  The building was demolished in 1969 but its large Salon des Arts decorated with marble carvings celebrating the arts by Jean-Paul Aubé are remembered in the four tinted plaster preparatory studies which hung in the dining room of Diane de Castellane’s apartment.

SALLE À MANGER, Diane de Castellane’s apartment rue d’Andigné, Paris ©Christie’s Images, Ltd, 2017

SALLE À MANGER, Diane de Castellane’s apartment rue d’Andigné, Paris
©Christie’s Images, Ltd, 2017

I think you will agree with me that the photographs of the apartment show what a beautiful place it was, filled with great treasures and giving us a fascinating glimpse into a world gone by.

BIBLIOTHÈQUE, Diane de Castellane’s apartment rue d’Andigné, Paris ©Christie’s Images, Ltd, 2017

BIBLIOTHÈQUE, Diane de Castellane’s apartment rue d’Andigné, Paris
©Christie’s Images, Ltd, 2017

 

LOT 74 JEAN-HONORÉ FRAGONARD (GRASSE 1732-1806 PARIS) L’heureux ménage huile sur toile, circulaire Diam.: 34,2 cm. (12.3/4 in.) Estimation : €500.000-700.000 J.-H. FRAGONARD, THE HAPPY HOUSEHOLD, OIL ON CANVAS, CIRCULAR ©Christie’s Images Ltd, 2017

LOT 74
JEAN-HONORÉ FRAGONARD (GRASSE 1732-1806 PARIS)
L’heureux ménage
huile sur toile, circulaire
Diam.: 34,2 cm. (12.3/4 in.)
Estimation : €500.000-700.000
J.-H. FRAGONARD, THE HAPPY HOUSEHOLD, OIL ON CANVAS, CIRCULAR
©Christie’s Images Ltd, 2017

 

SALLE À MANGER, Diane de Castellane’s apartment rue d’Andigné, Paris ©Christie’s Images, Ltd, 2017

SALLE À MANGER, Diane de Castellane’s apartment rue d’Andigné, Paris
©Christie’s Images, Ltd, 2017

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

GRAND SALON, Diane de Castellane’s apartment rue d’Andigné, Paris ©Christie’s Images, Ltd, 2017

GRAND SALON, Diane de Castellane’s apartment rue d’Andigné, Paris
©Christie’s Images, Ltd, 2017

 

LOT 52 PAIRE DE "VASES" EN PORCELAINE TENDRE DE SEVRES DU XVIIIe SIECLE, A MONTURES EN BRONZE DORE CIRCA 1770, MARQUE EN CREUX P Hauteur totale: 44 cm. (17.3/8 in.) Estimation : €80.000-120.000 Provenance: Boni de Castellane et Anna Gould, Palais Rose, Paris A PAIR OF 18TH CENTURY SEVRES PORCELAIN "VASES", WITH ORMOLU MOUNTS ©Christie’s Images, Ltd, 2017

LOT 52
PAIRE DE “VASES” EN PORCELAINE TENDRE DE SEVRES DU XVIIIe SIECLE, A MONTURES EN BRONZE DORE
CIRCA 1770, MARQUE EN CREUX P
Hauteur totale: 44 cm. (17.3/8 in.)
Estimation : €80.000-120.000
Provenance: Boni de Castellane et Anna Gould, Palais Rose, Paris
A PAIR OF 18TH CENTURY SEVRES PORCELAIN “VASES”, WITH ORMOLU MOUNTS
©Christie’s Images, Ltd, 2017

 

LOT 142 PAIRE DE MEUBLES À HAUTEUR D’APPUI DU DÉBUT DE L’ÉPOQUE LOUIS XVI ESTAMPILLE DE JEAN-LOUIS-FAIZELOT DELORME, VERS 1770-1780, RÉEMPLOYANT DES ÉLÉMENTS DE MARQUETERIE D’ÉPOQUE LOUIS XIV Estimation: €1.000.000-1.500.000 Provenance: Boni de Castellane et Anna Gould, Palais Rose, Paris. A PAIR OF LOUIS XVI ORMOLU-MOUNTED TORTOISESHELL AND COPPER BOULLE MARQUETRY AND EBONY MEUBLES-A-HAUTEUR-D’APPUI STAMPED BY JEAN-LOUIS-FAIZELOT DELORME, CIRCA 1770-1780, REUSING SOME LOUIS XIV MARQUETRY ELEMENTS ©Christie’s Images Ltd, 2017

LOT 142
PAIRE DE MEUBLES À HAUTEUR D’APPUI
DU DÉBUT DE L’ÉPOQUE LOUIS XVI
ESTAMPILLE DE JEAN-LOUIS-FAIZELOT DELORME, VERS 1770-1780, RÉEMPLOYANT DES ÉLÉMENTS DE MARQUETERIE D’ÉPOQUE LOUIS XIV
Estimation: €1.000.000-1.500.000
Provenance: Boni de Castellane et Anna Gould, Palais Rose, Paris.
A PAIR OF LOUIS XVI ORMOLU-MOUNTED TORTOISESHELL AND COPPER BOULLE MARQUETRY AND EBONY MEUBLES-A-HAUTEUR-D’APPUI STAMPED BY JEAN-LOUIS-FAIZELOT DELORME, CIRCA 1770-1780, REUSING SOME LOUIS XIV MARQUETRY ELEMENTS
©Christie’s Images Ltd, 2017

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

www.christies.com

Fit for a Queen

The Private Collection of Joan Rivers, Christie’s New York, 22nd June 2016; Online Auction 16th – 23rd June 2016

Joan_Rivers_03

Joan’s apartment was a reflection of the true Joan: warm, elegant and truly inviting’ is how the celebrity event designer Preston Bailey described this private world of a much-loved entertainer.

Lot 15 PRIVATE & ICONIC New York, Rockefeller Plaza Jun 22, 2016 A FRENCH TERRACOTTA BUST OF A WOMAN Price Estimate: 2,000 - 3,000 U.S. dollars

Lot 15
PRIVATE & ICONIC
New York, Rockefeller Plaza
Jun 22, 2016
A FRENCH TERRACOTTA BUST OF A WOMAN
Price Estimate: 2,000 – 3,000 U.S. dollars

Now the contents are being auctioned off with a portion of the proceeds going to the HIV/Aids charity God’s Love We Deliver and to Guide Dogs For The Blind. The latter reflecting her great love of dogs.  Some two hundred lots will be in the June 22nd auction with many items from her home eloquently reflecting her connoisseurship, wit and elegance.  The latter being especially obvious in her costumes – some by Bob Mackie – and in her jewellery by celebrated makers including Cartier, Van Cleef & Arpels and Harry Winston, some of which are being sold in the online auction 16th – 23rd June.

 Joan_Rivers_06

She was, as many of you may know, a collector of Fabergé and in the words of Geoffrey Munn, Wartski’s director and author of the recent volume on the firm’s history ‘Joan’s connoisseurship was informed and intuitive’. ‘She was conscious of the importance of provenance.’

 Lot 156 PRIVATE & ICONIC New York, Rockefeller Plaza Jun 22, 2016 A SET OF ELEVEN ITALIAN PORCELAIN DINNER PLATES AND A SET OF TWELVE DRESDEN PORCELAIN PLATES Price Estimate: 600 - 800 U.S. dollars


Lot 156
PRIVATE & ICONIC
New York, Rockefeller Plaza
Jun 22, 2016
A SET OF ELEVEN ITALIAN PORCELAIN DINNER PLATES AND A SET OF TWELVE DRESDEN PORCELAIN PLATES
Price Estimate: 600 – 800 U.S. dollars

I will leave the last word on her home to the great lady herself who once said that it was ‘where Marie Antoinette would have lived if she had money’.

Joan_Rivers_01

 I think she got that right!

 

Lot 134 PRIVATE & ICONIC New York, Rockefeller Plaza Jun 22, 2016 AN ASSORTED GROUP OF JOAN RIVERS' TABLE LINENS Price Estimate: 500 - 800 U.S. dollars

Lot 134
PRIVATE & ICONIC
New York, Rockefeller Plaza
Jun 22, 2016
AN ASSORTED GROUP OF JOAN RIVERS’ TABLE LINENS
Price Estimate: 500 – 800 U.S. dollars

 

http://www.christies.com/joanrivers

BOOK REVIEW – Ingenue to Icon

Ingenue to Icon70 Years of Fashion from the Collection of Marjorie Merriweather Post

Howard Vincent Kurtz. Edited by Trish Donnally. Introduction by Nancy Rubin Stuart

9781907804403 Published by GILES in association with Hillwood Museum and Gardens Foundation, Washington, DC

PRICE — UK£29.95/US$45.00

ISBN — 978-1-907804-40-3

 

This book takes us on a fascinating journey through Mrs Post’s life as a philanthropist, art collector and a director of General Foods.  It is told over a seventy year span by her clothes and accessories, including shoes, fans, handbags and parasols.  Many of her clothes were especially chosen to complement her magnificent collection of jewellery.

Marjorie Merriweather Post Davies in the Russian Room at Tregaron, Washington DC, c1950 Yousuf Karsh

Marjorie Merriweather Post Davies in the Russian Room at Tregaron, Washington DC, c1950
Yousuf Karsh

She had a distinctive style and this was created for her by both American and European designers. The book is lavishly illustrated throughout with not only images of the costumes but also of Mrs Post wearing them.  She is caught either by the camera or on canvas by leading exponents of these disciplines such as Yousuf Karsh and Frank O. Salisbury.  It is a celebration of both personal style and the changing world of fashion and is a must-have volume for those interested in fashion and social history or indeed in Mrs Post herself.

Marjorie Merriweather Post 1905

Marjorie Merriweather Post 1905

This book accompanies the major exhibition Ingenue to Icon: 70 Years of Fashion from the Collection of Marjorie Merriweather Post, Hillwood Museum & Gardens, Washington, DC, until 17th January 2016

Marjorie Merriweather Post at the Saratoga Races, 1930

Marjorie Merriweather Post at the Saratoga Races, 1930

gilesltd.com

Marjorie Merriweather Post in 1928

Marjorie Merriweather Post in 1928

 hillwoodmuseum.org

Portrait of Mrs. Post (Davies), 1952, By Douglas Chandor

Portrait of Mrs. Post (Davies), 1952, By Douglas Chandor

 

Mrs Post's Closet in her bedroom suite at Hillwood.

Mrs Post’s Closet in her bedroom suite at Hillwood.

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.

NEWS UPDATE: CARTIER II – MARJORIE MERRIWEATHER POST

NEWS UPDATE: CARTIER II – MARJORIE MERRIWEATHER POST’S DAZZLING GEMS, Hillwood Estate, Museum and Gardens, Washington DC

Marjorie Post and Daughter Nedenia Hutton, 1929 Giulio de Blaas, Italy In this portrait, Post wears the Cartier emerald and diamond pendant brooch. Courtesy Hillwood Estate, Museum and Gardens.

Marjorie Post and Daughter Nedenia Hutton, 1929
Giulio de Blaas, Italy
In this portrait, Post wears the Cartier emerald and diamond pendant brooch.
Courtesy Hillwood Estate, Museum and Gardens.

Further to my blog of December 22nd- it has  been announced that the exhibition will now close on January 11, 2015, rather than on December 31st 2014. So still time to visit it!

 

http://www.HillwoodMuseum.org