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    Sale 2042

    Important English Furniture

    17 October 2008, New York, Rockefeller Plaza

  • Lot 30

    A REGENCY BLACK-AND-GILT JAPANNED FAUX-BAMBOO AND POLYCHROME-PAINTED CABINET-ON-STAND

    CIRCA 1800, WITH LATER INTERIOR

    Price Realised  

    Estimate

    A REGENCY BLACK-AND-GILT JAPANNED FAUX-BAMBOO AND POLYCHROME-PAINTED CABINET-ON-STAND
    CIRCA 1800, WITH LATER INTERIOR
    Decorated in the round with floral sprays above figural vignettes, the interior with pigeonholes in front of a hidden compartment, the base inscribed in pencil 'DAUNT', brass caps later
    75¼ in. (191 cm.) high, 32¼ in. (81.5 cm.) wide, 20¼ in. (51.5 cm.) deep


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    A Grecian urn crowns the cabinet, which is conceived as bell-hung pagoda temple on turtle feet, like one of the 'Chinois' clocks exhibited in James Cox's Museum in the 1770's. Japanned with picturesque Chinois vignette medallions in trompe l'oeil lacquer; its stand has Grecian-scrolled pillars in trompe l'oeil bamboo, and was intended to display porcelain vases. This fusion of antique and oriental taste was first made fashionable by Parisian marchands merciers. The Prince of Wales (later George IV) popularized this taste in England with the stately apartments created at his Marine Pavilion, Brighton and Carlton House (see Thomas Sheraton, The Cabinet Maker and Upholsterers Drawing Book 1793, pl.31). Similar scenes, cut from black lacquer chests and screens, continued to remain fashionable in bedroom apartments decorated in the antique or Etruscan fashion introduced by George III's Rome-trained court architects. The japanning on this cabinet may be the work of the celebrated japanner Henry Clay, who opened his 'Birmingham Warehouse' in London's Covent Garden in the early 1780s. Its quality also relates to that of a bedroom Pembroke table, acquired by the Victoria and Albert Museum, and whose herm-tapered legs reflect the elegant Roman fashion popularized by Messrs.A. Hepplewhite & Co's, Cabinet-maker and Upholsterers Guide, 1788 (see J. F. Hayward, Tables in the Victoria & Albert Museum, 1961, fig. 34)

    THE HON. MRS. IONIDES
    The Hon. Mrs. Ionides was the daughter of Sir Marcus Samuel, 1st Viscount Bearsted. After her first husband, Walter Levy, died in 1923, Nellie married Basil Ionides, the pioneering Art Deco designer of the Savoy Theatre and Claridges Hotel. He was also the author of one of the earliest books on modern interior decoration: Colour & Interior Decoration, 1926.

    In 1926 the couple acquired Riverside House, Twickenham, where they entertained notable politicians and members of the Royal family. Next door was James Gibbs' Orleans House which, thanks to her remarkable intercession, was saved. In 1931 they moved into the splendid 18th century Palladian mansion, Buxted Park, Sussex, which they gradually transformed in their unique style.

    Both husband and wife were keen collectors: he came from a long line of patrons and benefactors, whilst she focussed her attention on amassing exceptionally fine paintings, furniture, objets d'art and Chinese porcelain. She also had a passion for animals, in particular the poodles she bred at Buxted Park, and this would occupy Mrs. Ionides for much of her life, and, as a shared interest, would also form the foundation of her lifelong friendship with Queen Mary, wife of George V. The cabinet was sold as part of the extensive two-part sale of the Ionides Collections at Sotheby's in 1963 (with further sales held in 1964 and 1965). More recently, a small group of furniture and objects collected by Mrs. Ionides was sold anonymously, Christie's, London, 15 September 2004, lots 160-167.

    Provenance

    The Hon. Mrs. Nellie Ionides, Buxted Park, Sussex.
    The Ionides Collections: The Late the Hon. Nellie Ionides (sold by Order of the Executors), Removed from Buxted Park (Part II), sold Sotheby & Co., London, 1 November 1963, lot 110 (illustrated; /P1,500 to Harrington).
    Almost certainly, with R. L. Harrington, London.
    Edulji and Bachoo Dinshaw, New York and by descent.


    Pre-Lot Text

    PROPERTY FORMERLY IN THE COLLECTION OF EDJULI AND BACHOO DINSHAW

    Edjuli Dinshaw (1916-1970), a Parsi from Mumbai, settled in New York with his sister, Bachoo, shortly before World War II. In a townhouse at 1080 Fifth Avenue, Edjuli Dinshaw acted as his own interior decorator to create an opulent 18th century European interior filled with museum quality furniture, porcelain and decorative objects of significant historical importance and impeccable provenance. Two of his most notable acquisitions were the mother-of-pearl, polished steel and gilded bronze cylinder desk and matching table that had been made by Riesener for Marie Antoinette at Fontainebleu in 1786.

    Dinshaw was at the end of a generation of collectors in New York City that was active between 1890 to about 1940. Figures such as Henry Clay Frick, John Pierpont Morgan, and Mrs. Hamilton Rice worked with equally legendary interior decorators and dealers such as Elsie de Wolfe and Duveen & Company to created legendary collections on a scale rarely seen today,

    Dinshaw's life outside of collecting was equally sophisticated and luxurious. With a nod to their exotic origins, the Dinshaw's Bentley had an interior entirely upholstered in leopard and Edjuli Dinshaw wore silk slippers embroidered with emeralds. On special occasions, his small dog was seen wearing a collar of diamonds and emeralds. Edjuli Dinshaw's taste for luxury as well as the exotic is aptly captured in the portrait by Tchailetchev reproduced below and is echoed in the following lots offered from the collection.


    PROPERTY FORMERLY IN THE COLLECTION OF EDULJI AND BACHOO DINSHAW
    (LOTS 30-32)


    Literature

    H. Honour, Chinoiserie The Vision of Cathay, New York, 1961, fig. 125.