The furniture, paintings and works of art that were housed in the 61 rooms had been bought since 2007 by the super-collector Sheikh Hamad bin Abdullah Al Thani. They were being sold in a series of auctions running from October 11-17 at Sotheby's Paris.
The first session, titled the chef d’ouevre, included four pieces from the celebrated Dundas suite of giltwood seat furniture designed by Robert Adam, made by the Thomas Chippendale workshop and supplied at great expense to merchant-venturer Sir Lawrence Dundas (1710-81) for the Great Room at 19 Arlington Street, London in 1765. The full suite numbering eight armchairs and four sofas was Chippendale’s most expensive. At £20 each, the chairs alone were twice the cost of those he had supplied to Harewood House (the sofas were priced at £216 for the four).
Finally split up in 1934, pieces have appeared at auction on a number of occasions since.
This quartet had been bought at two Christie’s sales in London a decade or more ago: a sofa and a pair of armchairs that had fetched £2.17m (including premium) and £2.28m respectively in June 2008 and a single chair that made £433,250 in July 2012.
This time around they came with more modest expectations and did not fly. The pair of armchairs took €800,000 (£696,000), the sofa was €550,000 (£478,000) and the single chair €220,000 (£191,000). The three lots appeared to sell to the same buyer in the room.
All but two of 87 lots in the Hôtel Lambert highlights sale got away, led at €3m by a pair of royal Louis XVI giltwood marquises by Jean- Baptiste II Tilliard supplied in 1785 to Louis XV’s daughters Adélaïde and Victoire for the Grand Salon of the Château de Bellevue.