The Collection of Raine, Countess Spencer (1929-2016), Christie’s King Street, London SW1, Old Masters Evening Sale (6th July 2017) and The Collection of Raine, Countess Spencer (13thJuly 2017)
I count myself fortunate in having encountered Raine, Countess Spencer several times over the years and she was always the epitome of elegance and charm. That sense of style is very much reflected in her home, the contents of which are to be found in these sales. While the paintings, furniture and objects contributed to the glamour of the rooms they were not mere ‘background’ objects but were bought because Lady Spencer liked them and wanted to live with and use them.
She was very much drawn to the arts of 18th century France and numbered works by Boucher, Fragonard and Greuze among the pictures she collected. On some purchases she was advised by Sir Francis Watson (former Director of the Wallace Collection) who also advised the Wrightsmans with their legendary collection. Regency furniture was another love and it blended well with her French pieces. Her last dining room recalled the Art Deco period and there was also a collection of French Art Nouveau lithographs.
From her birth – she was the daughter of the novelist Dame Barbara Cartland – onwards Lady Spencer was the focus of media interest whether through her marriages or her work as a Westminster City Councillor and in the conservationist campaigns she supported. In later years she was a director of Harrods and had a hands-on approach. The thread of perfectionism that runs through her life is also reflected in her clothes, jewellery and other accessories in the 13th July auction. This is very much an opportunity to appreciate, enjoy or even acquire a piece of the elegant perfection that was Lady Spencer’s way of life.
Given the amount of the new and proposed tall buildings that will be pricking London’s skyline I thought some of you would be interested in this update from
STOP WESTMINSTER COUNCIL APPROVING A MASSIVE 30 STOREY TOWER IN WEST END GREEN
WEST END GREEN APPROVED 3-1
London, United Kingdom
12 Apr 2016 — Very unfortunately, following an extremely well-argued case for refusal by Cllr Caplan, Councillors Davis, Mitchell and Burbridge decided to disregard WCC’s own policy on the basis that, supposedly, the scheme delivers more significant benefits than it causes harm.
Their arguments were less than persuasive and disingenuous to say the least, but there was clearly a desire to gloss over principles and truths about this scheme in order to wave it through.
It is a dark hour for Westminster and for London, in terms of its built environment, its legacy to future generations, and its democratic decision-making process.
The Skyline Campaign and other opposition groups are considering their next moves.
Thank you all for your great support. We were told that the Council had never before received such a high number of objections for a planning application!
I am sure many Londoners, especially Westminster residents, will be very disappointed in this decision by WCC (Westminster City Council).
Another WCC planning decision that has caused controversy can be found on the website of the Victorian Society (http://www.victoriansociety.org.uk/news/damaging-scheme-for-londons-first-great-department-store-approved/). Here is a brief extract but please do visit their website:
“Westminster Council’s decision to approve a damaging scheme for Whiteleys, London’s ‘first great department store’, will leave this part of West London architecturally poorer. The proposed roof extension would be highly visible and harm the Queensway Conservation Area.”
These are worrying decisions by WCC who have charge of such an historic area of London. One can understand why there is such concern from residents and others working in the area at such planning choices. Perhaps time for WCC to listen??