Thursday - 21 August 2014

£17m cabinet record

14 December 2004Written by ATG Reporter

Breaking its own record as the most expensive piece of furniture ever sold at auction, this massive, 12ft 8in (3.86m) high, 18th century Florentine ebony, ormolu and pietra dura architectural display piece known as The Badminton Cabinet brought Christie’s December 9 sale of European furniture to a dramatic climax last week when it sold for £17m (£19,045,250 including premium).

The ultimate Grand Tour souvenir, which takes its name from Badminton House, home of the 3rd Duke of Beaufort for whom it was made in the Florentine Grand Ducal workshops around 1720-32, it established an auction high for any piece of furniture back in 1990 in the same London rooms when it sold for £7.8m to the current vendor, pharmaceutical heiress Barbara Piasceka Johnson.

Last week bidding opened at £4m and although there were four bidders in total, the main contest was a tense and protracted battle between the successful purchaser, Dr Johan Kraeftner, director of the Vienna-based Liechtenstein Museum who was acting on behalf of Prinz Hans-Adam II of Liechtenstein, and a telephone bidder. The museum hopes to have the cabinet on show by next spring.

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ATG Reporter

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