LONDON.- Christies announce Dealing in Excellence: A Celebration of Hotspur & Jeremy on Thursday, 20 November 2008. Two of the greatest names in the Furniture business, they have decided to auction their stock and continue as consultants. Both are family firms founded in the 1920s and 40s whose galleries became a destination for quality and excellence in furniture and objects, principally dating from the 18th and early 19th centuries. This sale will present international collectors and institutions with an opportunity to acquire both superb English Furniture, for which these firms are renowned, and spectacular European works. Combining timeless beauty, history and tradition this sale celebrates not only the elegance of the past but also the inspiration that exceptional 18th and 19th century furniture and works of art can bring to contemporary living. The
highlight of the sale is The Cusworth Suite, a magnificent set of eight mahogany chairs, circa 1755-65, with their original needlework covers (estimate: £500,000-800,000).
The 200 lots comprise chandeliers, candelabra, ormolu by Matthew Boulton and classic English carved mahogany from both 18th and 19th centuries, as well as Oriental lacquer & Japanned pieces. With estimates ranging from £2,000 to £500,000 the sale as whole is expected to realise £4 million.
Patronised by the most discerning of collectors and Institutions ranging from the Metropolitan Museum of Art, the J. Paul Getty Museum, the Peabody Essex Museum and the Victoria and Albert Museum, Hotspur & Jeremy are British institutions in themselves. Founded in 1924, Hotspur is owned by Robin Kern, the third generation of his family to run the gallery which has been members of the British Antique Dealers Association since 1932 and founding members of the Grosvenor House Antique Dealers Fair in 1934. Jeremy, established in 1946 Geoffrey Hill MBE, is owned and run by his sons, brothers Michael and John Hill and has provided two past presidents of B.A.D.A.
It is a great honour for Christie's to have been asked to organise this sale. Both firms stand for the highest levels of excellence in Furniture dealing: values which Christie's respects and appreciates. This is exemplified by the objects we have been asked to catalogue for this celebration of two profoundly British, yet uniquely international firms. Although the galleries will close, fortunately both Robin Kern of Hotspur, and brothers Michael & John Hill of Jeremy will remain central figures in the international furniture world through their decision to continue as consultants. Rufus Bird, Director of Christies Furniture, London.
Setting the tone of excellence for this unique sale, The Cusworth Suite, circa 1755-65 (estimate: £500,000-800,000), conforms to designs made fashionable in Thomas Chippendales Director. The exquisite needlework, which is all original and in extraordinary condition, is derived from a ceiling pattern from the Temple of Apollo at Palmyra: both sources of inspiration were published in London in the mid-
1750s. A superb George III mahogany breakfront bookcase, circa 1765 (estimate: £250,000 - 400,000), illustrated top centre page 1, presents beautiful balance and line, with rich, refined carving.
The work of another esteemed English craftsman, Matthew Boulton, is exemplified by the luxurious ormolu and Blue John Sphinx perfume-vase, circa 1770 (estimate: £50,000 - 80,000). A very similar vase, is in the Royal Collection, Buckingham Palace. The Blue John stone, from the famous Castleton mine in Derbyshire, perfectly offsets the warm tortoiseshell and the gold flecks in the aventurine glass. The ormolu mounts retain their original mercury gilding and are of the highest quality.
Japanned works are led by a captivating scarlet-red and gilt-Japanned bureau-cabinet, attributed to Giles Grendey, circa 1740 (estimate: £250,000 - 400,000), and a dramatic black and gilt-Japanned and Chinese lacquer open china display-case, attributed to William and John Linnell, mid-18th century (estimate: £120,000 - 180,000).
Elsewhere, an exceedingly rare early 18th century Queen Anne gilt-gesso lowboy (estimate: £100,000 200,000) is designed with restraint, yet is entirely gilded, whilst other pieces of luxurious furniture include a George IV ormolu-mounted brass and mother-of-pearl inlaid parcel-gilt satinwood, maple and marquetry octagonal centre table, in the manner of Morel and Seddon, circa 1830 (estimate:
A 20th century European cut and moulded glass centre table, offers chic curiosity with a twist (estimate: £50,000-80,000). Made from thousands of rectangular chandelier pendants, drops, and glass beads, with central ruby and pale amber cut-glass, the table-top design comprises concentric rings with a central design of spiralling of beads, detail illustrated left. The irregular placement of the columns suggests that this table was designed to be placed in a specific area of an important interior.
Other lots designed to reflect and refract light and bring wonder and delight to the most sumptuous or minimalist of interiors, and include a Regency twelve-light cutglass ormolu chandelier, early 19th century (estimate: £60,000 100,000), and a late George II giltwood mirror, mid-18th century (estimate: £100,000 150,000). The mirror was originally part of the famous collection at Wanstead House, Essex. The mirror was included in the sale of the houses contents held in 1823.
This auction provides a treasure trove of exceptional craftsmanship and fascinating history. One lot of particular historical significance is a French giltwood Couronnement, attributed to Pierre-Gaston Brion, circa 1820 (estimate: £15,000 25,000). It depicts the Royal Arms of France encircled by the Orders of Saint-Michel and Saint-Esprit. A couronnement was executed to go over the sovereign's throne or the Royal bed. Pierre-Gaston Brion was working in the Tuileries Palace and
was also instructed to furnish items for the sacre of King Charles X.