Modern & Post-War British Art at Sotheby's

On 13 and 14 June Sotheby’s is hosting a sale of Modern and Post-War British Art which will showcase fresh-to-market works. For many works, it has been decades since they have been on display to the public. To celebrate the sale Sotheby’s is also hosting a weekend of talks, tours and events on 11 and 12 June. Visitors will have the chance to chat to Sotheby’s specialists, have tours of the sale and attend talks with art historians, there will even be children’s activity packs for those visiting with their families.

All places are free and you can find out more by visiting: sothebys.com/modbrit

In anticipation, we’ve chosen a selection of our favourite pieces from the sale, we’ll be looking out for them next week!

Ivon Hitchens has been a longtime favourite of ours as we are drawn to his interplay of bright and muted colours. His subtle colours makes his work easy to place within an interior, they are guaranteed to add charm and character to a room, blending with and not overpowering an existing colour scheme. British painter Hitchens flourished in England during the 1920s, working as part of the London Group alongside painters like Roger Fry. The landscape in West Sussex where he had his home and studio served as his greatest inspiration, and he focused on the light, trees and water that surrounded him. This work ‘Holbrook’ below is a wonderful example of this landscape influence.

Estimate: £50,000-80,000

There are also some wonderful works by Patrick Heron in the auction including 'Complicated Reds' and 'Indigo Round Umber and Venetian and Into Ultramarine' below. These are typical of his 60s style, when he painted in the cleverly described 'wobbly hard edge' manner. He would often draw the shapes quickly, in a matter of seconds, before starting to paint. For Heron, this was a way of returning to the immediacy of drawing and maintaining a sense of energy.

Estimates: (left) £50,000-80,000 and (right) £12,000-18,000

John Piper is one of Britain’s most celebrated war artists and is famed for his paintings and prints of British landscapes. The British landscape is a setting he returns to time and again and this work entitled ‘Beach IIl’ is a classic example of this. His paintings and prints of British towns have in many ways become archives of these sites. We were particularly intrigued by this work for its mixture of both figurative and abstract styles. He also incorporates mixed-media; collage, pencil, felt tip, watercolour and gouache have all been used.

Estimate: £20,000-30,000

We were pleased to see the inclusion of Pauline Boty, who was an important figure in British Pop Art. She sadly died in 1966 at the young age of 28 and has been largely excluded from recognition. The Tate Britain now has one of her keys works ‘The Only Blonde in the World’ on display and she is now gaining some attention. The work in Sotheby’s sale is a small painted and mixed media collage entitled ‘Light my Fire’.

Estimate: £5,000-7,000

Sotheby's Collections & Collectors Auction

You can count on Devas Designs to bring you regular updates and best buys from London’s auction houses! This week we bring you our favourite items from Sotheby’s ‘Collections and Collectors’ auction, taking place on April 28th.

This sale is truly eclectic, bringing together a wonderful variety of objects in varying styles and tastes - Sotheby’s told us ‘there is something for everyone’ and we certainly agree.

We have also been drawn to works by Paul Cesar Helleu when it crops up in auctions. Helleu is known for his drawings of beautiful society women of the Belle Époque era. He has a real sensitivity of style in both his drawings and engravings and although his female subjects typify the French culture of the time, their beauty and elegance become timeless. His son and grandson both became artistic directors of Chanel, so his style certainly had an influence on them! Bow works below are portraits of Helleu's own daughter, Ellen, there is a beautiful and touching sensitivity in the way he has delicately modelled her lips and hair. 

The French marble topped gueridon table below features a beautiful veined white marble top. In its centre is a marble roundel within a Sienna marble border and grey marble concentric rings - we love this amount of detail on an item that at first-hand appears simple in its design. The geometry and minimal tones give it a real elegance which would work wonderfully in a classic interior.

This pair of Regency ebonisded and parcel gilt daybeds also caught our eye. They have a beautiful colouring and texture, having been upholstered in a reddy-orange velvet. These would look elegant and grand in a classic sitting room and compliment a rich, earthy colour scheme.

We source items for clients so we are always looking out for unique items that can add charm to a room without the need for an entire redecoration. The four Louis XV panels below are a brilliant example of how antique items can transform a room, by adding panels like these, colour, flair and character is instantly created.

Bonham's Home and Interiors Auction

Bonham’s new Home & Interiors auctions, which now happen monthly, are perfect sales for us to source items of furniture and works of art for our clients. They bring together truly one-off pieces from a variety of eras and styles. A diverse but trusted sale like this can also be a great place to start for first-time buyers if you are looking to start a collection or add an unique item to your home. We enjoyed the variety of April’s sale, particularly the mixture of antique and contemporary pieces - at Devas Designs we often enjoy incorporating a classic item of antique furniture into a contemporary interior or vice versa, blending styles can make your home unique and characterful.

Alongside the wonderful items of furniture, April’s sale features some exquisite works of art. We love this bronze sculpture by Sir Jacob Epstein. It is modelled from a cast of the hand of singer and actress Bracha Zefira. Zefira was born in Jerusalem and orphaned at a young age. She was raised by several families in Jerusalem and her singing reflected these various influences, covering Yemenite, Shepardic and Persian music. She is known for being one of the first female Yemenite super-stars of that time.

Although not much is known of Epstein’s and her friendship, Epstein was a patron of her concerts with the London Symphony Orchestra and has also created bronze sculptures of her head. As the son of Jewish refugees he was probably also interested in her heritage and early life. This sculpture caught our eye, it has a wonderful sense of conveying both boldness and elegance - the weightiness of the bronze material balances perfectly with the elegance of her pointed finger.

Estimate: £1,500-2,000

This watercolour depicting a young dancer in leotard by Ken Howard also intrigued us and we love its subtle, muted colour palette. The depiction of light is a strong aesthetic theme for Howard, and this work cleverly displays light streaming into the space using highlights of white chalk. This watercolour would look lovely in both a classic or contemporary interior and is a perfect example of the way works of art can often be incredibly versatile pieces for your home, adding charm and character without overpowering the interior details.

Estimate: £600-800

This next item is a slightly more unusual sculptural piece, it depicts a figure on bench with birds and leaf-less trees. It has been made in copper and brass, enabling a beautiful sense of delicacy with its finely modelled tree branches and fencing. It was made in the 1970s by Curtis Jere, the renowned metalwork studio. Curtis Freiler and Jerry Fels started C. Jere in the 20th Century, the company has since been sold and resold but their original designs such as this one are highly regarded in auction houses. A piece like this could look lovely displayed in a sitting room or as part of a collection in a study room and would be a wonderful talking point.

Estimate: £500-700

There are also some wonderful items of furniture that have caught our eye, in particular this French two-tier brass gueridon from the late 19th century. In the style of Louis XVI, the top is on three rams’ mask headed legs which are modelled with beautiful details. The legs terminate in hoof feet which are both elegant and lend a sense of stability.

Estimate: £1,200-1,800

Deborah, Duchess of Devonshire Auction at Sotheby's

This March Sotheby’s in London is auctioning the collection of furniture, objects, artworks and jewellery owned by Deborah, Duchess of Devonshire. Deborah (1920-2014) was the last of the Mitford sisters. The ‘Mitford Sisters’ were six sisters renowned for their social celebrity status and contentious political alignments.

Deborah was somewhat less politically controversial than some of her sisters and was a great patron of the arts. Her collection is a portrait of her interests and friends, most of whom were writers and artists and there are some charming pieces on sale. We’ve chosen a selection of our favourite items …

This portrait of Deborah, Duchess of Devonshire was painted by Duncan Grant. We loved the colour palette and post-impressionistic style. Grant was a member of the Bloomsbury Group and was influenced by both the work of French post-impressionists and his fellow Bloomsbury painter Roger Fry. Grant was co-director of the Omega Workshop with Vanessa Bell whom he shared both a personal and creative relationship with. We are often drawn to the colour tones of the Bloomsbury Group and even drew inspiration from their work for our previous project in Ireland - which you can read more about by clicking here.

Estimate: £2,000-3,000

We also liked these three pairs of George III armchairs (c. 1790). Each have a moulded square back with in swept arms and square tapering legs, and are all in pastel painted beech and cane. They are elegant in their simplicity of design and now have a more rustic feel with their antique paintwork. They were most likely designed by James Wyatt.

Estimate: £1,200-1,800 (per pair)

We were struck by this drypoint portrait of Consuelo Vanderbilt, Duchess of Marlborough by Paul-César Helleu whose work we greatly admire. Helleu is known for his drawings of beautiful society women of the Belle Époque era. He has a real sensitivity of style in both his drawings and engravings. The balance between the subject’s detailed face and more impressionistic clothing create a beautiful harmony.

Estimate: £4,000-6,000

This next piece, a Regency black painted and cane settee was rather striking. Made after a design by Gallows the black frame has ebonised and gilt-line painted decoration. The back features three cane lunettes and segments painted with cherubs. There is a beautiful balance between the rich detail and geometric design which results in a an elegant piece of furniture which could be a real centrepiece in a sitting room.

Estimate: £2,000-3,000

Bonham's Gentleman's Library Sale

This month Bonham’s held a fantastic and intriguing sale of rare items. As the title tells us this is a sale dedicated to ‘gentlemen’s’ pieces, which seems to cause both bemusement and irritation from reviewers. Nevertheless, the sale hosts an array of spectacular items of furniture, objets d’art and unique, rare items.

With love in the air and Valentine’s Day just around the corner we’ve selected a few of our favourite items which could be perfect gifts for your loved ones!

We loved these two heart-shaped silver mirrors. Both mirrors are Victorian pieces and they are embossed with leafy scrolls, large flower heads and cherubs and are delightfully romantic. We also loved this diamond-set Art Deco box by Van Cleef and Arpels, below centre. The lid features diamonds and rubies. These items would all make lovely Valentine’s Day presents

For people who like to entertain in style, these gorgeous Edwardian silver candlesticks would perfectly compliment an elegant table setting. They were designed by William Hutton & Sons Ltd in 1904 and feature bases with shell corners.

We were also drawn to these elegant silver Art Nouveau picture frames. They would look lovely grouped together to display your family photographs. The frame on the left features enamelled flowers, while the frame on the right has delightful details of twisting scrolls and flowers.

For the young at heart or anyone looking for retro inspiration, this vintage amusement machine could be a real conversation piece to brighten up your home. It is coin-operated and features a spiral ball-bearing track and eleven winning shoots … dig out those old one penny pieces!

This item below also makes for an interesting conversation piece and could be a great purchase for the sailor in the family. The set of marine signal flags and pendants can be displayed in their case on unfurled for greater decorative impact.

Finally we thought this painting would be perfect in a townhouse or holiday home with a neutral colour scheme. It was painted by a member of the English Primitive School in the 18th Century and shows a view of upper Mossley with Alderman’s Hill in the distance. It is a calm, rural scene with a beautiful, subtle and muted colour palette.

Bonham's Period Sale

Bonham’s Period Design and Period Art is a regular sale which is filled with treasures and inspiration. It includes a selection of 18th, 19th and 20th century furniture, works of art, mirrors and rugs from across the world. This month we’ve been busy sourcing items of furniture for various clients and Bonham’s Period Design sale was top on our list!

This blue john urn from the 19th century caught our eye immediately. We particularly like its design with its banded decoration and circular support atop a square marble base. The elegance of this design perfectly highlights and exhibits the beautiful material and its natural colouring. Blue-john began being exported during the 18th Century to France and was used for luxurious objets d’art which were adored by collectors including Marie Antoinette. This semi-precious mineral has retained its luxurious regard and its vivid colouring remains lucid.

Estimate: £2,000 - 3,000

We were also intrigued by this beautiful George III tub back bergere. Its body is made from a richly coloured mahogany with square section tapering legs. Its pastel upholstery balances perfectly with the richness of the wood and this chair would look lovely in either a sitting room or bedroom.

Estimate: £600 - 800

This pair of French 19th century mahogany fauteuils would be lovely in a classically decorated sitting room. Each one has lotus leafed clasped arm supports and square splayed legs, their design is a classic Restoration style from 19th century France. Their solid backs convert a real presence while their soft colouring and fluid arms create a beautiful sense of elegance.

Estimate: £1,000 - 1,500

As well as these wonderful items of furniture, there was a stunning selection of rugs on sale at this month’s Period Design sale.

The Khotan saph below is from East Turkestan. Khotan was an ancient Buddhist kingdom that was on a section of the silk road. It was the first place outside China to begin making silk and Khotanese carpets remain a highly prized export.

Estimate: £2,000 - 3,000

We also loved this Agra carpet, pictured below, which comes from North India. Agra rugs are highly sought after as their material and technique makes them highly durable. Their pattern, design and colours are beautifully detailed and vidid. In the past we have taken inspiration from textiles such as rugs and used this is a basis to form an interior’s colour scheme. If a piece like this really catches your eye it can become a centrepiece and dictate the look and feel of your interior.

Estimate: £3,000 - 5,000

Christie's Interiors December Sale

Following our blog about Christie’s Interiors December sale and the stunning works of art included, we also wanted to share with you our favourite items of design and furniture from the sale.

This gold-painted model of a tree is an unusual addition and instantly caught our attention. It has been made from steel and wood, painted gold which imbues a real sense of glamour. Its design is in the style of Curtis Jere, the American metalwork company founded by Curtis Freiler and Jerry Fels.

Estimate: £1,200-1,800

While the work above is styled on Curtis Jere designs, these two bronze skiing sculptures are originals by metalwork company Curtis Jere, and both signed ‘C. Jere’. Each has been cast from a model, one of a slalom skier and one of a young boy pulling a sled. They sit on sloping onyx bases, and we love the use of this material to evoke their snowy landscape. Curtis Freiler and Jerry Fels started C. Jere in the 20th Century, the company has since been sold and resold but their original designs such as this one are highly regarded in auction houses.

Estimate: £1,200-1,800

This Chinese famille rose and gilt dish is a charming item. It is decorated with a pair of ducks and a lotus pond and also features a kingfisher perched on a peony branch. The gilt forward border adds an extra detailed feature which beautifully holds the design together. This dish is decorated in a typical Yongzheng Period manner and would be a wonderful addition to a collection.

Estimate: £500-800

This next lot comes in an impressive size, it features ten French stained-beech dining chairs. We love simple designs like this, they have a timeless elegance that can work in both classic and modern interiors. There is a lovely elegance in their colouring as well, the tones of the stained-beech and mahogany balance beautifully with their pale grey fabric covered seat.

Estimate: £700-1,000

Bernheimer Sale at Sotheby's

This month Sotheby’s is hosting a major sale of antiques and works of art from the collection of the Bernheimer family. The Bernheimers started with a humble market stall in Munich and grew to become one of Europe’s most dominant dealer dynasties. They have been incredibly resilient, overcoming deportation during the war to Dachau and the business being expropriated by the Nazis. During this time some of the family moved to Venezuela and after the war they returned and managed to entirely rebuild and eventually expand their business. The collection is in impeccable condition and features works of art, porcelain and furniture.

Here are a few of our favourite pieces from the sale …

This pair of gilt bronze mounted rouge grotto marble cassolettes from the 19th century are exquisitely sumptuous. They come from France and are in a classic Louis XVI style. Each one has a domed cover which conceals a nozzle. The details are wonderful, with each also featuring ram’s mask supports which are hung with beautiful tasselled chains. The beaded circular base gives a sense of stability to this ornate design.

Estimate: £1,000-1,500

This French grand piano (c. 1902) caught our eye instantly, it is an unusual and unique piece. It is in a neoclassical style known as ‘Adam’ which was inspired by the work of Robert and James Adam who advocated an integrated style for architecture and interiors. This stunning piano is polychrome painted with satinwood, ivory and ebony details. The case is decorated with roundels and rectangular panels. The painted details are very much in the style of Angelica Kauffman, a neoclassical painter from Austria who often worked alongside Robert Adam. Much of her work portrayed pretty and poetic scenes from Classical literature, like the painted roundels on this piano which have an almost Rococo quality. The piano also features decorative musical trophies, drapery and ribbon-tied laurel swags. While an item like this might seem like an extravagant addition to an interior, it would truly be a talking point and add a real charm and history to a room.

Estimate: £5,000-7,000

We loved this sculpture by German artist Hermann Haase-Ilsenburg entitled ‘The Amazon’s Farewell’. It has been cast in bronze with a beautifully rich dark brown patina. The female nude is elegantly modelled and the rich patina reflects light to produce a wonderful sense of movement when you walk around the work. This sculpture would look wonderful in a drawing room, either on display individually or as part of a collection. We source works of art for clients and enjoy finding unique pieces that work with their existing collection.

Estimate: £2,500-3,500

We also loved this sculpture by Max Klinger, a German sculptor and symbolist painter. This sculpture was most likely made during his time in Rome where he was heavily influence by Renaissance works and subject matter. Again this work is cast in bronze with a rich black patina and sits on a mottled green marble base. The female nude is reminiscent of Renaissance and classical figures like Venus.

Estimate: £5,000-7,000

Bonham's 'Britain' - Defining the Interior

This November Bonham’s has an auction of exquisite British pieces of furniture, silver, ceramics, works of art and sculpture. While we love work from across Europe, it is refreshing to view a sale of British pieces and highlights the significance of British craft and design.

Here are our favourite pieces from the sale, you can view more items by viewing the catalogue on Bonham’s website here.

Among the items of furniture were some standout chairs that caught our eye. This pair of Regency mahogany hall chairs we're formerly part of a suite at Brabourne Manor in Kent. They bear the brand of B. Harmer, a contractor who worked for top end firms during the George II period. The chairs are elegant yet retain a sense of solidity with their applied tablet mouldings, dished seats and square moulded outswept legs.

This Regency mahogany side cabinet stood out to us for its elegant and stylish details. Its panel doors are inset with gilt metal grilles and pleated silk panels. The carved lion’s paw feet add a characterful detail. This would look wonderful in a classic interior and its rich colour would really stand out in a subtle colour scheme.

These two George IV gilt wood console tables are a more lavish choice for us, we were dazzled by their materiality. Their white and grey marble tops are inlaid with stylised flowers and leaves. The inlaid details comprises white and brown onyx and green marble. The tops sit on single lion monopodiae and square plinth bases which are equally luxurious with their exquisite detail and opulent gold colour. Inside a classic interior, these tables would be truly eye catching.

These black lacquer stools are from 19th Century Chinese-export. Their ‘X’ form legs, gilt chinoiseries and rectangular padded buttoned seats are a beautifully exotic style that would look lovely in a classic interior.

At Devas Designs we enjoy mixing the old and new and often place items of antique furniture in contemporary interiors. These stools with their characterful design and rich colours could look intriguing in a subtle toned, fresh contemporary room and add a real charm.

'Made in Britain' // Sotheby's

This month’s ‘Made In Britain’ sale at Sotheby’s had an impressive collection of works from Britain’s leading artists, designers, photographers, ceramicists and printmakers. The sale aimed to celebrate the diversity and innovative spirit of these British artists and really succeeded. We had a difficult decision choosing just a few of our favourites, but take a look at some of our highlights and let us know what caught your eye!

Howard Hodgkin’s work always catches our eye for its expressive colouring. The work below, entitled Moonlight (1980) is a beautiful lithograph printed in colours with additional hand-colouring. Hodgkin is one of Britain’s most important printmakers and painters and his bold style is completely captivating. Since the 1970s expressive patterning has dominated his work, combining printmaking techniques, bold brushstrokes and bright daubs of paint to produce punchy abstract works that would instantly enliven a room.

There is a finely balanced tension that we find interesting in Victor Pasmore’s work; the balance of saturated colour and fine black strikes. We were drawn to this piece entitled Senza Titolo (1991) for its unified hue. A work like this can really inform a colour scheme if you are designing a new interior, or help to tie together an existing colour scheme. We are inspired by works of art and their expressive colours and often use them as starting points for a new project’s colour scheme.

There was also a fantastic selection of ceramics on sale. The four pouring vessels by Rupert Spira, below left, are beautifully elegant in their shape and blue glaze. We were also drawn to the ceramic pieces on sale by Lucie Rie. The footed bowl, below centre, has a beautiful matt blue glaze and bronzed rim. On sale were also ceramics from one of Britain’s most respected and influential potters, Bernard Leach. The fluted bowl, below right, is made from porcelain with a celadon glaze. Its size, form and neutral glaze give it a sense of timeless elegance that would sit beautifully in either a modern or classic home.

We were also struck by the painting on sale by Mary Fedden. Fedden’s work is characterised by her use of bold, often contrasting, expressive colours. The vivid colours in the painted still life, below, left, with reds, purples and greens would really bright a vibrant splash of colour to a neutral room. We often enjoy pairing vibrant works of art with interiors that have muted colour schemes, and tie it in with details like cushions that work with the colours.

With the Tate’s major retrospective on this month, we were also looking out for works by Barbara Hepworth. The lithograph printed in black and yellow, below left, is beautifully harmonious and would perfectly compliment an interior with a muted and subtle colour scheme. The screen print, below right, by Ben Nicholson has been printed on woven silk. The delicate quality of the material blends beautifully with his subtle and sensitive colour scheme. Whether your interior is modern or classic, works of art that are elegant and subtle like this piece can really add charm to your home.

Christie’s Interiors Sale // September

Christie’s has another fantastic Interiors sale this month.

Do you read Christie’s Interiors magazine? We love receiving our copy each month as it is always filled with interior design inspiration and interviews, if you want to read more just click here

We love attending the Interiors sales each month, there are always stand-out and unique items of furniture, works of art and decorative objects. We source items for our clients, as part of projects and as a one-off, so we are always on the lookout for interesting pieces as well as spotting the latest trends. This month Christie’s Interiors sale impressed once again, here are some of our favourite items from the sale …

Take a look at this charming French three-piece salon suite from the late 19th Century. The small sofa and two armchairs are made from French giltwood in a classic Louis XVI style. They have been designed with a Louis XVI style tapestry which depicts sweet scenes of children and animals. Their subtle colouring could blend beautifully in a sitting room with a muted colour palette.

Also on sale were a group of three Chinese Thangkas which particularly intrigued us. Thangkas are Tibetan Buddhist paintings either on cotton or silk appliqué which most commonly depicts a Buddhist scene, deity or madala. This group of Thangkas come from 19th and 20th Century China and the first thangka depicts an Avalokitesvara mandala, the second depicts a Mahottara Heruka mandala and the third represents Jambhala on a lion. Thangkas are traditionally hung on a wall and with a piece as elaborate and stunning as this, this could form the inspiration for your interior or room’s colour palette.

This Famille verte bottle vase from 19th Century China also caught our eye. Its exterior is beautifully decorated with continuous floral motifs separated at the shoulder by impressive emblems. The base has been painted with an apocryphal Kangxi mark. Decorative pieces like this can add a real character and eclecticism to your interior.

This pair of parcel-gilt tripod tables really stood out for their sense of elegance. Made from rosewood, their tops have been decorated with gilt and ebonised palmettes on a spiral turned base. The bases are Regency from c. 1800 while the tops are a later addition. 

We also loved these charming brass and glass wall appliqués. Made in the 1930s, they were most likely designed by Bagues in Paris. Bagues set up his business as a creator of art lighting in France in 1840 and became known internationally once he began incorporating bronze lighting. Bagues' recognition rapidly rose with the use of electricity by the end of the 19th Century and set them out as one of the most popular lighting companies in the world. These wall appliqués have mirror backs which support a pair of scrolled candle branches hung with clear glass beads. They also feature fruit decoration with green glass foliage.

Christie's Interiors August 2015 // Part II

Did you see our recent blog post about the stunning works of art on auction at this month’s Interiors Sale at Christie’s – you can read it by clicking here.

Christie’s South Kensington is celebrating its 40th year with some brilliant talks and events, we recently attended a talk on The Art of Interior and had the chance to preview the Interiors sale.

As you’ll see from our post about the incredible works of art on sale, we were struck by the work of Polish painted Zdzislaw Ruszkowski and the chalk drawings by John Golding. The highlight of the Interiors sale was however the exquisite pieces of furniture on display. We source pieces of antique furniture for clients so we are always looking out for pieces that stand out and could work in a variety of both classic and contemporary homes.

Here are some of our favourite pieces from this month's Interiors sale ...

We were instantly drawn to this Swedish parcel-gilt and bronzed sofa. We liked its classic Gustavian style, a style marked by its subtle colours, clean simple designs and handpainted technique. The classic Gustavian design gives it a sense of simplicity and together with its white linen seat and beautifully lotus-carved legs has an overall elegance. This sofa appealed to us for its versatility, it could look beautiful and elegant in both a traditional or contemporary interior and add a classic touch.

Estimate: £1,200-1,800

Price Realised: £3,250

We also loved this set of English iron garden benches, pair of chairs and a table. They have been designed in a Gothic style with charming details. Their pale colour and the delicate sizing of the iron material gives them a feminine and graceful look. These would work perfectly in either a large or modest English garden, providing an elegant place to sit without dominating the space.

Estimate: £800-1,200

Price Realised: £4,750

Although this set of English Coronation chair might seem extravagant for their history, having a few historic and unique pieces in your home can add a real sense of charm and provide a great story! This set comprises two George VI chairs, a George VI stool, two Elizabeth II chairs and an Elizabeth II stool. They are all stamped with the Coronation crown and their makers details, dated 1932 and 1953.

Estimate: £800-1,200

Price Realised: £2,750

This gorgeous George III painted side table is decorated with bell-flowers, paterae and a border of palette and running scroll. It features small cupboards with transfer-printed oval vignettes. Its pastel tones, delicate details and graceful tapered legs give it a sense of chic elegance. It could fit perfectly into a classic interior or add a graceful charm to a contemporary room. At Devas Designs we enjoy blending classic and traditional styles with contemporary interiors.

Estimate: £1,000-1,500

Price Realised: £2,375

Art Antiques London 2015 Fair

We had a lovely time this week visiting Art Antiques London 2015 fair in the stunning surroundings of Kensington Gardens. The fair sits near the site of the Great Exhibition of 1851 so the location is steeped in creative history! On display were some spectacular pieces from artworks, ceramics and jewelry to rare books, textiles and furniture. We loved the variety and eclecticism of the exhibits as well as the insightful lecture programme with experts travelling to share their knowledge.

aal2013.jpg

As always though, we were drawn to some very specific pieces – here’s a selection of our favourite pieces from the fair.

We were really struck by this unique piece on display at Christopher Buck Antiques. This French walnut shell-shaped stool (c.1860) most likely served as a stool for a harp of cello. The piece is highly unusual and features a beautifully carved shell shaped seat on a triple leg cariole stand.

We are always looking out for artworks that can be incorporated into our clients interiors. The Canon Gallery had a delightful display of modern British, European and Victorian paintings and we loved this red chalk and pencil drawing by Sir Edward Burne-Jones. The drawing stood out for us as it is a study for Andromeda, a popular female subject for Burne-Jones, which features in many of his sketches in the Tate’s collection.

Another art dealer that we are always keen to follow is Anthony Hepworth Fine Art, so we headed straight for their display. They always have a fantastic display of British artworks that can really contribute and help enliven a colour scheme. We often like some of their more abstract pieces that evoke space and light with their harmonious use of colour. This piece by Colin Bishop (below left) for example could really play into an interior with blue, grey and green hues. This work by renowned British artist Graham Sutherland (below right) takes a more figurative approach and could beautifully contribute to both a subdued interior and modern collection. They also had some beautiful works by Ivon Hitchens, a personal favourite of ours for his subtle tonality and colours.

Brian Haughton Gallery always has some fine 18th and 19th English and continental ceramics, so we instantly spotted this dessert plate at their display. Unsurprisingly this Hans Sloane Botanical dessert plate is extremely rare. It is of the Red Anchor period and is charmingly painted with a fruiting fig, branches, leaves, butterflies and insects. This characterful piece would add a real charm if displayed in a classic interior.

 

Three Country House Collections at Christie's

You might have noticed by now that at Devas Designs we always love to catch the best sales at Christie’s. As well as finding unique and exciting items for our clients, the sales also serve as a great source of inspiration for us.  This week we attended the Glebe House, Mont Pellier and Woodbury House: Three Country House Collections auction. We wanted to share a few of the items that really stood out for us.

We loved this Regency table, which came from Glebe House. Glebe House was the property of late Anthony Hobson, the world’s leading expert on Renaissance bookbinding. His meticulous approach to his work is clearly reflected in his refined collection that he amassed during his life. He was also fascinated in the notion of the Grand Tour and his collection is a true showcase of European artistic craftsmanship. The Regency table below is brass-mounted, parcel-guilt and ebonised and has a beautiful hand-coloured panel depicting Psyche on the top.

Estimate: £800-1,200

Price realised: £1,500

We were also immediately drawn to this George III mahogany breakfront library bookcase, also from Glebe House. The four astragal-glazed doors together with his mahogany finish and impressive size make it a very impactful piece. It follows a classic 18th Century design and could beautifully display a large book collection.

Estimate: £2,000-3,000

Price Realised: £4,375

The shape of this George III mahogany tub bergere caught our eye. The rounded back and serpentine seat with tapered paneled legs give it a real classic elegance. The aged leather really appealed to us as it would look lovely in a country house, either in a modern or traditional interior.

Estimate: £2,000-4,000

Price realised: £6,625

We were also intrigued by this George IV brass-mounted beech daybed, which came from the collection at Woodbury House in Hampshire, owned by the late Mr and Mrs Anthony Samuel. The Samuels inherited a large collection which they continued to add to, they were known as generous hosts, always entertaining no doubt to show off their collection! We thought this daybed could be exquite if re-upholstered with an interesting fabric and would look divine in a sitting room.

Estimate: £700-1,000

Clerkenwell Design Week 2015 Showrooms

As well as the myriad of pop-up design stands and exhibits at Clerkenwell Design Week 2015, Clerkenwell is known for its impressive array of design showrooms. We visited a few of our favourites that were open during CDW.

West One Bathrooms always intrigues us for their display of both classic and often surprising bathroom designs. One of the ranges that caught our eye was the Vir Stil collection (below left) for Kallista designed by New York designer Laura Kirar. Kirar’s collection was inspired by different design periods including Danish Modern and traditional Japanese forms. From these inspirations she’s created an elegant collection that retains a classic sense of refinement together with subtle modern touches and materials. The console top comes in Calacatta Borghini marble with finishes in bronze, chrome or nickel. 

We also took a look at bulthaup’s showroom, which never fails to impress for its focus on perfect design and innovative kitchen solutions combined with a real sensitivity for the existing architecture of a building. We really liked the bulthaup b2 kitchen workshop (below) which really is designed to be functional and spatially economical.

We were also intrigued to see their arrangements of vintage tools and furnishings. In line with the young designers from our previous blog post, bulthaup also seems to be harking back and drawing influence from classic and older design sources.

Havwoods certainly went for a standout display method, their collection of exquisite wood floors was showcased atop an old fashioned Routemaster bus. Havwoods flooring can really transform a room, their exquisite quality and range of finishes would suit both a classic and modern interior.

From Roentgen to Faberge at Christie's

Another exquisite auction was held at Christie’s last week. ‘From Roentgen to Faberge’ contains stunning pieces from a single European private collection. The collection was formed over three decades by a connoisseur whose taste was clearly impeccable. There were many standout pieces, but we’ve chosen a few that particularly interested us.

As expected, many French pieces caught our eye, particularly this pair of Louis XV grey painted fauteuils (c. 1755-60). Each has a channeled frame and cartouche-shaped padded back and serpentine seat. Their peach mohair velvet coverings give them a beautiful and elegant lightness combined with a rich texture. They were made by Jean and Jean-Rene Nadal, the Parisien Nadal family of furniture makers who had a flourishing business during the mid 18th Century and were known for their master skills, craftsmanship and fashionable Louis XV style. 

Estimate: £4,000 – 6,000

Price Realised: £4,000

There were several dinner service sets on auction as well as this Royal Copenhagen Flora Danica part dinner service. This Danish design varied from the grand Russian gilt set underneath, instead painted with a feminine flower design with serrated gilt rims.

Estimate: £25,000 -35,000

Price Realised: £74,500

While we often like to focus on simple and elegant pieces, this lavish and luxurious Russian porcelain dinner service (c. 1840) couldn’t help but grab our attention. The set features plates and dishes all decorated with gilt scrolling acanthus, with a gilt rosette at the centre. The dinner set is steeped in history as it came from the dowry service of Grand Duchess Olga Nikolaevna. Its grand history and appearance would make a tremendous and memorable addition to a dinner party.

Estimate: £10,000 – 20,000

Price Realised: £35,000

This next piece, a hardstone and diamond table ornament is admittedly a slightly more characterful choice for us. Among the carved spray of wild strawberries are nephrite jade leaves and white hardstone flowers with diamond centres. The gilt stems add a further dazzling touch as does its grand jasper plinth.

Estimate: £3,00 - 5,000

Price Realised: £13,750

The English Collector at Christie's

This week Christie's held an auction of English furniture, works of art and clocks, we loved some of the pieces up for sale so here’s a selection that really caught our eye.

These George III mahogany hall chairs (c.1780-1820) have elegant fan-shaped backs. Their design follows the favoured ‘Roman’ fashion that became popular from around the late 1770s. This particular design seems to have been popular up until the 1820s, as Christie’s have had multiple variations in their auctions of the same design. Once at the height of fashion, the elegance of these chairs now has a timeless sense of style which would beautifully contribute to an interior.

Estimate: £3,000 - 5,000

Price Realised: £12,500

These charming mahogany serpentine commodes (c. 1765-70), sold as a pair, are attributed to George III’s court cabinet-maker John Cobb. Their elegant French antique design was popular during the 1760s and 70s, their bombe form and serpentine outlines is characteristic of Cobb’s design. They are, however, uncharacteristically unadorned. It is this simplicity and classic shape that makes them so appealing for a modern but classic interior.

Estimate: £15,000 - 25,000

There were several truly dazzling pieces at the auction. This neo-classical Italian tabletop from the early 19th Century incorporates semi-precious and hard stones. Its Ormulu border adds a further touch of luxury and rich colour. The arrangement of offset squares is unusual and unique and really would become a strong centerpiece to any room.

Estimate: £8,000 - 12,000

Price Realised: £18,750

The last pieces that caught our eye were these parcel-gilt and rosewood tripod tables. At Devas Designs we always look out for antique pieces that not only contain a rich sense of history in their design, but that become timeless for their sense of elegance and refinement and these tables have an almost modern elegance. The square tops are decorated with gilt and ebonised palmettes and their baluster twisted stems are stunningly chic.

Estimate: £3,000 - 5,000

Phillips Design Sale April 2015

This week we attended Phillips evening and day Design Sale, the first design auction at Phillips new Berkeley Square location. The two sales were auctioning some truly exquisite pieces from top designers from the 20th and 21st Century. With over 250 lots, the sales showcased pieces from almost every major movement during these times, with some classic items and cutting-edge, contemporary designs. Here's a few of our highlights from the two auctions.

While Jean Royére revelled in rich colour and jewel tones, we loved this organic oakwood dining table (below left) from c. 1955.

Est. £70,000-100,000

This folding campaign bed (below right) came from the private collection King Georg V, Royal House of Hanover c. 1800. Its designer is unknown but undoubtedly holds a great deal of history. The combination of forged iron and maroquin leather give it a real sense of elegant luxury.

Est. £30,000-40,000

Sold for £35,000

This pair of wall panels was designed by one of Art Deco's finest lacquer artists; Jean Dunand. They were originally designed for the smoking room of the French Embassy Pavilion at the world renowned L'Exposition Internationale des Arts Décoratifs et Industriels Modernes held in Paris in 1925. Executed in lacquered wood and silver leaf they are a true testament to Art Deco design.

Est. £70,000-90,000

Sold for £80,500

Marc Newson's Lockheed Lounge (below left) c. 1990 was a major talking point at the auction. Newson has become one of the highest selling designers at auction of all time. This piece shows his Biomorphic influence and with its organic curvature and fluidity and really is a spectacular piece of design that could become the unique centrepiece of any room.

Est. £1,500,000-2,500,000

Sold for £2,434,500

Shiro Kuramata's rare two seater sofa uses copper-plated steel mesh and copper-plated steel. Its lattice effect gives it an airy lightness despite its use of durable materials.

Est. £40,000-60,000

Zaha Hadid always triumphs with her modern elegance and purity of design. This white Aqua table below instantly caught our eye. The fluidity of its design is typical of her design and architectural work.

Est. £40,000-60,000

The Decorative Antiques and Textiles Fair 2015

As well as incorporating existing collections to your interior, Devas Designs also specialises in sourcing and buying new items for clients. We source works of art, furniture and paintings that work for your space and tie in with your existing pieces helping you to create timeless and unique interiors.

We're lucky enough to have access to events and special previews of art exhibitions and auctions. The longstanding relationships we have with dealers who notify us of recent acquisitions means that we are able to view items items before most and respond quickly to dealer recommendations.

Last week we attended The Decorative Antiques and Textiles Fair in Battersea Park. On display were some real statement pieces from the 17th Century to 20th Century including furniture, lighting, mirrors and silver. Take a look at some of our favourite pieces from the fair.

This stunning light (below left) from The Trading Room really was a standout centrepiece and caught our attention as soon as we arrived. As always, Hilary Batstone's display featured elegant and chic pieces including both furniture and decorative items. The French Verdigris wall sconces (below right) had a timeless elegance that would suit both a modern and traditional interior.

Magus Antiques had a charming display with pieces sourced from across Europe. We particularly liked the white painted French cabinet (below left) which comes as a pair, their purity and elegance gives them versatility. Another French pair caught our eye - these painted fauteuil chairs (below right) from Brownrigg. They have been recently upholstered in neutral fabric and together with their traditional style have a sense of classic gracefulness

Again French glamour captured our attention! This French mid 20th Century side Table (below left) on display from James Worrall looks elegant as a standalone piece. This magnificent shell encrusted table obviously caught our eye as we have a similar piece at Devas Designs' head office - take a look at our blog post here to see our own shell adorned table top. 

Made In Britain at Sotheby's

March’s Made in Britain auction at Sotheby’s was a rather glamorous affair. Alongside artworks from renowned British artists from David Hockney to Tracey Emin, celebrity hangout The Ivy auctioned off its previous contents for charity. The Ivy is currently undergoing a complete contemporary makeover by Martin Brudnizki Design so its classic furnishings needed to find new homes. The items up for auction ranged from its iconic front doors, doormats and stained-glass windows to cloakroom tips trays, cocktail shakers and napkins.

Here are a few of our favourite pieces from the auction ...

Joe Tilson’s painting Dionysus, The Ivy and The Vine was commissioned for the restaurant in 1990. Having been a founding figure of British Pop art in the early 1960s, Tilson’s time in Italy and Greece in the 1970s-80s dramatically changed his style. He began focusing more on Classicism, taking inspiration from ancient mythology to develop his signature style. The bright colours of this painting hark back to his Pop style, while the work’s subject matter is based on Dionysus the Greek god of wine and festivity – a befitting theme.

Estimate: £30,000-50,000

Price Realised: £25,000

This unique intaglio print by Howard Hodgkin is stunningly rich in colour. It was based on a thick forest canopy and the artist worked over the intaglio print to achieve a richly layered effect.

Estimate: £6,000-8,000

Price Realised: £106,250

Future System’s pair of champagne buckets on stands and designed to appear like oversize champagne glasses. Intriguingly, their otherworldly form was instructed by the optimum angle of the bottle lying in ice.

Estimate: £100-150

Price Realised: £7,500

Some exquisite pieces from London based glass artist Anthony Stern were also up for auction. Stern was commissioned to make a collection of glasses for the restaurant. These beautifully coloured glasses were intended to echo the restaurant’s diamond shaped window panes.

Estimate: £120-180

Price Realised: £1,500