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

Time for Design

At the end of April, Phillips in London is holding a spectacular auction, ‘Time for Design’, to raise funds for the final stages of development of the new Design Museum.

In case you hadn’t heard, the Design Museum is relocating to the former Commonwealth Institute in Holland Park in November this year. Having stood vacant for a decade, the West London building is being transformed into a 21st century museum by a team led by John Pawson - an architect known for his minimalist aesthetic.

The donations for the auction have come from design greats like the late Zaha Hadid, Thomas Heatherwick, Norman Foster and Antony Gormley. Talking about the auction, Design Museum director Deyan Sudjic explains "Friends of the museum ... have donated such outstanding pieces, often from their personal collections, to help us fulfil our ambition of creating one of London's most important new cultural sites."

There are some incredible pieces for sale like this 'D-Sofa' by Ron Arad. Born in Tel Aviv, Arad now lives and works in London, with a studio in Chalk Farm. He is known for pushing heavy materials like metals to their limits and creating objects that go against the grain - this sofa is a great example of his rejection of traditional soft furniture. 

We were obviously devastated to hear about Zaha Hadid's recent passing, her creative brilliance was a major asset to British creativity, architecture and design and she truly left a mark on the cities her creations still stand in. Philips is auctioning this collection of her 'Bianco Covelano' low tables from the 'Mercuric' collection.

We were also intrigued by this large chandelier by Tord Boontje, made from enamelled steel, clear crystal and crystal AB coating. He is widely known for his famous Garland light that was a sell-out Habitat high street piece. Tord wants to stress that modernism doesn’t always mean minimalism. His work blends traditional methods and design with contemporary technology to create sensory pieces. 

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

Pelham: The Public and The Private sale at Sotheby's

Last week Sotheby’s held a spectacular sale, auctioning what they describe as one of the finest groups of antiques to be sold by them in recent years. The lots for sale were all from the collection of Alan Rubin of Pelham Galleries. The Pelham Galleries in London and Paris are known for their exceptional quality of English and Continual furniture and works of art, their galleries have also helped to form some of the best known private and museum collections. Following the decision to start a new chapter of dealership, focussing on antique instruments, Alan Rubin is auctioned a range of items from the Pelham Galleries and personal collections in this sale.

We’ve chosen some of the items that stood out to us the most, take a look at our top picks …

This George III breakfront bookcase (c. 1780) instantly caught our eye for its grand stature. It has been made in satinwood, harewood and tulipwood which gives a beautiful finish and perfect tonal balance. We love the classical details of the bookcase which features a cornice with inlaid pilasters. The inlaid oval medallions on the lower section perfectly balance with the astragal enclosing glazed doors. It is thought that this originally belonged to Henry Temple, 2nd Viscount Palmerston for Broadlands House as it was listed in the Broadlands House inventory from 1786.

Estimate: £40,000-60,000

This lacquered and parcel-gilt cabinet (c.1750) was a slightly more unusual piece for us to chose, we were drawn to its impeccable detail and vibrant colouring. The doors doors are decorated with in the manner of Jean-Baptiste Pater with scenes galantes. ‘Scenes galantes’ or ‘fetes galantes’ were typical of the Rococo era and were initially developed by Watteau, they depicted aristocratic figures in lush landscapes enjoying celebrations. Pater was a student of Watteau and was strongly influenced by this style, borrowing both his themes and Rococo pastel palette. As well as these painted scenes, the interior of the cabinet features architectural coastal scenes within red and gold borders. An item of furniture like this could instantly enliven a sitting room or bedroom. While it would suit a classic interior, it could also add character and charm to a contemporary interior with muted tones. We enjoy mixing contemporary interiors with antique items and a piece like this would certainly become a talking point.

Estimate: £12,000-18,000

Lot Sold: £28,750

Continuing our colourful selection we also were drawn to this pair of Italian gilt wood and polychrome mirrors (c.1770). The mirrors each feature a beautiful central cartouche painted with scenes of putti. The decoration around each mirror plate features finely carved, polychrome floral garlands, scrolls and acanthus. These mirror originated from the Palazzo Butera in Palermo and are wonderful examples of High Rococo design. Their rectilinear shape and moulded cornices were designed to merge with the architecture of their surroundings and were often found in large salons in Palazzi and estates around Sicily. Placed in a classic house or apartment these mirrors could enliven and open up the space while merging with existing architectural features.

Estimate: £30,000-50,000

Lot Sold: £35,000

We were also struck by these interesting George III mahogany hall chairs (c.1760). They feature magnificent shell shaped backs and seat above cabriole legs. Their dark mahogany colouring and shell shaped design give them a real richness and these would suit a classic interior. Their backs are painted with the crest of the Elwes Baronets - John Elwes reputedly being the inspiration for Charles Dickens’ character of scrooge!

Estimate: £10,000-15,000

Lot Sold: £11,250

Bonhams: Britain Defining the Interior

This week Bonham’s is holding one of its regular ‘Britain Defining the Interior’ auctions. At Devas Designs, while we love sourcing a range of European and international items we also enjoy being able to triumph and support the work of British artists and craftsmen. The eclecticism of items on sale is a true testament to British skill and craft and in this blog post, we wanted to share some of our favourite items from this month’s sale.

First to catch our eye was this George III breakfront bookcase. Made from a dark mahogany it has a real sense of grandeur, owed instantly by its lofty stature. The upper part features a broken fret carved swan neck pediment with beautiful foliate scrolls. We loved its classical features, that extend throughout the upper part of the design, lending a traditional aesthetic that would look lovely in a classic interior. The bookcase also features a pair of astragal glazed panel doors and double panel doors on the lower part on a moulded plinth base. While a piece like this would need a well-thought out space to fit, it would be a wonderful addition to a library or study room.

Estimate: £30,000-40,000

This set of six George III mahogany armorial chairs were also a stand-out lot for us. Their shape is elegant and classic, each featuring a pierced lattice back headed by shaped and moulded tablets decorated with the arms of Stackhouse family. The serpentine dished seats on fluted legs perfectly perfectly balance with the latticed backs. The chairs were originally the property of Edward William Stackhouse (1775-1853) who was an MP for Lostwithiel in Cornwall, he assumed the name Pendarves in 1815 having inherited the Cornish Estate. It is thought that along with the estate and the many items inherited from his parents, these chairs were part of that inheritance and are most likely designed by either John Linnell or Thomas Chippendale, two of the most prominent London furniture makers of the time.

Estimate: £12,000-18,000

These charming late George III armchairs made in the style of John Gee also caught our attention. Made from beech, they are painted with beautiful pastel cream colours. They feature pierced top rails above caned backs which are flanked by moulded arms. The caned backs and ring turned tapering legs lend a classic quality that will remain elegant. We often enjoy mixing both classic and contemporary style and while these chairs would perfectly fit in a classic interior, their pastel tones and timeless design could bring character in a modern, white space.

£3,000-4,000

This wig comb and case was a rather more unusual piece for us to choose, but we couldn’t help be drawn in, it also comes with both a controversial history and a surprising price tag …

The wig comb and case were owned by Paul Bennett of Port Royal and are from the late 17th century, made from tortoiseshell. One side bears an engraving of a vase with flowers and the inscription ‘Jamaica 1678’. The reverse side features an engraving of a banana tree with a pair of cactus plants and a scrolling leaf border and the V&A has a similar designed comb.

Estimate: £15,000-20,000

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

Paintings from Christie's Interiors December Sale

Christie’s regular Interiors sale is always on our calendar of must-see auctions. It is a perfect auction for both first-time buyers and seasonal auction hunters as each item has a guaranteed quality.

This month’s sale was no exception. Alongside objects and items of furniture were a selection of exquisite paintings and we wanted to share our favourite works with you.

This painting by Hercules Brabazon Brabazon really caught our eye for its subject matter and colour palette. English artist Brabazon was an accomplished watercolorist. After graduating in Mathematics from Cambridge University, Brabazon travelled to Rome to study art, pursuing his true passion. During his life he continued to travel, mostly across Europe, to explore the artistic feats of artists such as Velazquez, who he greatly admired. His watercolour style was also very much influenced by Turner. This work below depicts Santa Maria della Salute in Venice and is painted in watercolours heightened by white on blue paper. The colouring is sensitive and subtle yet still evokes this Venetian scene. When buying art for an interior, we enjoy selecting works which can either inform or tie together a room’s colour scheme. A work like this is a perfect companion, its colours can be translated into a colour scheme, yet itself would not overpower but compliment the space.

Estimate: £800-1,200

These next drawings, by Henry Parsons Riviere, are on sale as a pair. One depicts the Colosseum in Rome, the other shows a view at Tiber and St Peter’s Cathedral. Like Brabazon, Riviere was also a renowned watercolorist. He also travelled to Rome where he lived and taught for several years. During this time his work became increasingly focussed on ancient ruins and Rome’s historic landscape. These works are both executed in pencil and watercolour, and are beautifully detailed. Works like this are perfect for adding to a collection, particularly when bought as a pair.

Estimate: £1,200-1,800

This painting by Fred Yates has a lovely colourful and cheerful quality which caught our eye. British artist Yates took up painting during his time as a painter and decorator. In 1970 he moved to Cornwall where he painted outdoor landscapes scenes, and became commercially popular following the Tate’s ‘St Ives’ exhibition. His work is often likened to L. S. Lowry for its aesthetic similarities. This painting below depicts the town of Urmston in Manchester, Yates’ hometown, and we love the use of blues, yellows and reds. A work like this would enliven a modern interior, and look lovely in a muted colour scheme to add a splash of vibrancy.

Estimate: £2,000-3,000

The painting below by Julian Barrow shows a street in central Calcutta. Barrow was known for his paintings of London’s architectural features and everyday buildings, but was also a prolific traveller so we were intrigued to see this work. This painting has a lovely character, with almost impressionistic brushstrokes. The colouring is centred around a palette of subtle browns and blues which perfectly compliment each other.

Estimate: £800-1,200

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

Christie's Interiors // November

Regular sales like Christie’s Interiors are excellent for finding pieces for your home.We make sure we keep track of London’s best auctions and regularly attend to pick out stand out pieces for our clients. Christie's have a guaranteed standard of quality with the finest hand selected items of furniture, works of art and decorative pieces. Their Interiors sale this November is no exception and there is a fine selection of pieces on sale.

We wanted to share with you a selection of our favourite pieces from this month's Interiors sale at Christie's ...

There was an impressive selection of antique carpets that would be stunning in a classic interior. We were particularly struck by the two designs below. The carpet on the left has a classic ziegler design, its dual tones could even provide inspiration for an interiors colour scheme. The carpet on the right is from Tabriz in Iran and its decorative design would add a real charm to a sitting or dining room.

This pair of bronze and gilt torches caught our eye. Complete with five light spaces, the touches are decorated with an orb supported by an eagle. Their five branches emanate from lion masks while the triform bases are decorated with dolphins. The details on these torches is exquisite and they would be beautiful centrepieces for a dinner table, truly lighting up the table.

Among the items of furniture on sale were two tables that particularly stood out to us for their classic designs and elegance. The table on the right is made from regency rosewood and tiger maple. It features charming ivory handles, and frieze edged in trellis parquetry.

We also loved this French brass-mounted mahogany bouillotte table on the right. It is in a classic Louis XVI style with a grey-veined white marble top and two ash lined drawers.

This pair of modern stools has been upholstered in floral cut-velvet and are a beautifully rich colour.


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.

Design Sale at Sotheby's

This November Sotheby’s has an exciting and refreshing sale; Design. Their Design sale has an incredible collection on sale from influent 20th and 21st century designers. There is also a specially curated collection that charts the history of lighting design from the 1920s to the present day.

While it was hard to chose just a few, here is a selection of the pieces that were truly eye catching.

Among the wonderful lighting pieces on display was this piece by London based Dutch designer Tord Boontje. He is widely known for his famous Garland light that was a sell-out Habitat high street piece. As well as his belief in low-cost luxury and design, Tord wants to stress that modernism doesn’t always mean minimalism. His work blends traditional methods and design with contemporary technology to create sensory pieces. The ‘Ivy Shadow’ Chandelier on sale at Sotheby’s is made from laser cut aluminium and brass, then hand-painted in a ‘forest white’ finish. The details of this light has a beautiful fairytale like quality, while its pale colour and laser cut precision maintain a contemporary elegance.

Another ceiling light that caught our attention was this piece by Pierre Chareau called ‘La Fleur’. It was made in 1924 from alabaster, patinated iron and nickelled metal. French architect and designer Chateau is credited for building the first hour win France using steel and glass; the Maison de Verre in Paris. He favoured strict lines and pure design, two focuses he carried throughout his architectural work and lighting and furniture design. The geometry of his ceiling light design is beautifully balanced by the softness of the white alabaster.

Alongside some extraordinary lighting designs are also a wonderful selection of ceramics. We’ve written about Lucie Rie’s work before, her Japanese inspired ceramics are stunningly sophisticated and their subtle colouring really compliments a simple and modern interior. The bowl below is porcelain with a manganese glaze and inlay.

This rug made from hand flat-woven wool by Barbro Nilssen also caught our eye. Swedish designer Nilssen was inspired by nature, the sea and folk art for most of her designs. For past projects we have taken inspiration from rugs for a colour scheme. If you see an item like this that really appeals to you, think about using its colours and hues to inform the colours of your furnishings. Taking a subtle colour scheme like this rug below can help to create a harmonious balance in your interior.

Collections Sale at Sotheby's

We love the items in this month’s Collections auction at Sotheby’s. It’s a real eclectic mix of antique, classic, unique and collectable items. We wanted to share with you a selection of the items that really stood out for us.

This exquisite piece instantly caught eye, it is a rare Vincennes group of Venus and Adonis (c.1750-52). L’Heure du Berger is represented by the reclining female figure in loose drapery, with a male youth balanced and twisting towards her. There is a real sense of elegance to this piece, aided by the white colouring. A smaller piece like this is easy to display and can add beautifully to an existing collection.

Estimate: £12,000-18,000

While we enjoy sourcing all types of items for our clients, we love finding precious artworks. A unique and sensitive work of art can make a big impact in your home. This work by old master Rembrandt instantly stood out to us. The etching, made in 1630, shows the bust of a man wearing a high cap, and the model is thought to be Rembrandt’s father.

Estimate: £800-1,200

The Italian 18th Century work below is a charming depiction of the temple of Clitumnus, near Spoleto. It has been drawn in pen and brown ink with a grey wash over traces of black chalk. Its limited colouring makes it versatile, and although it would perfectly suit a classic interior, it could bring character and charm to a contemporary living space.

Estimate: £800-1,200

These George III carved gilt wood and gesso wall lights (pair) from the late 18th Century are truly exquisite. Both elegant and grand, they are typically characteristic of the neo-classical taste of late 18th Century England. They feature the typical classical urn, ram’s head and bell-flower garlands.

Estimate: £4,000-6,000

This walnut dining table (c. 1970) is a real centre piece. Its simple design is both bold and elegant and it sits on six hexagonal shaped steel legs. This table comes from the collection of British filmmaker, Bryan Forbes, best known for directing ‘The Stepford Wives’.

Estimate: £3,000-5,000

'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.

'Style and Spirit' at Christie's

We were very keen on exploring Christie’s sale ‘Style and Spirit’ this September as its features a carefully chosen selection of piece from Core One’s collection. Sadly, Core One Antiques, known for being one of the best and most discerning spaces in London to buy antiques has been forced out from their Kings Road gasworks location. Some of the dealers who shared the space are moving together to a converted aircraft hangar in Gloucestershire so thankfully Core One will live on. Christie’s has marked this moment by auctioning a selection of Core One’s finest pieces, among other spectacular pieces from various sources for ‘Style and Spirit’.

We wanted to share a selection of our favourite pieces from the sale.

We were struck by this marvellous collection of ten French armchairs. Painted blue, they have elegant circular seats within a wire-work frame. They were designed by Pascal Mourgue who aimed to design pieces of furniture that were both modern in design but had a timeless style. He focussed on designing for both home and office interiors. His initial training in sculpture was stayed embedded in his furniture design, and these armchairs are a beautiful example of his sculptural moulding.

Estimate: £1,000-1,500

This Italian stone console table really stood out as being a unique piece. Atop its stone legs sits a stunning specimen marble top. The top is inset with various onyx, granite and breccia marble specimens. While its top has a real sense of luxury, its simple design give it an overall elegance that would sit perfectly in either a classic or modern interior and compliment a subtle colour palette.

Estimate: £1,500-2,500

We loved the elegant simplicity of this Italian vellum and fruitwood sideboard. It was designed by Paolo Buffa in c. 1940 and features a beautiful pleated satin top. Buffa worked initially as an architect and even had a brief stint working for Gio Ponti. Alongside designing incredible buildings including country houses and civic buildings, Buffa designed tables, carpets, lighting and even an espresso machine. He employed renowned artisans such as Mario Quarti and Angelo Marelli to build his stunning pieces of furniture. Buffa's trademark style blends both classical and modern design elements, which is why this sideboard caught our eye. Its elegance means it would look stunning in either a modern or classic interior, and it has a timeless beauty while still hinting at its Midcentury origin.

Estimate: £2,000-3,000

While the items of furniture on sale definitely stood out for us, we were surprisingly drawn to this abstract composition by Charles Gordon. It’s abstract dotted patterning also reminded us of Australian Aboriginal dot paintings. We often find that as well as complimenting an existing interior, if you are really drawn to a particular work of art it can inform and dictate the colour palette for a new interior design project. A work like this would look eye catching in an interior that was based around subtle tones with splashes of matching colours 

Estimate: £1,500-2,000

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