Size was certainly a feature of Christie’s South Kensington (17.5/10% buyer’s premium) mammoth gathering of furniture and works of art held on June 12, but so was variety.
The 631 lots incorporated a mix of English and Continental furniture and included sections devoted to Anglo-Indian and colonial furnishings, light fittings, Grand Tour objects and a wide mix of sculpture and decorative objets that featured anything from tea caddies and white marble statuary to a Black Forest canine hall stand.
The event topped the million mark at £1,237,720, with selling rates of 68 per cent by lot, and for the auctioneers, a more encouraging 81 per cent by value.
The biggest single contribution to the total came from a French ormolu-mounted cartonnier bonheur du jour in kingwood parquetry and rosewood. Inspired by an 18th century model of Louis XVI’s reign, but very obviously a 19th century interpretation, the piece evidently had quality and was a good commercial size at 3ft (1.17m) wide.
Although the estimate was modestly couched at £3000-5000, it left that far behind when the table sold for no less than £24,500.
There was some speculation that the piece was by a known 19th century ébéniste. Christie’s Philip Duckworth said last week he had looked and had not been able to find a stamp on it but that it was certainly “of the quality that could be”.
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