• Fashion Through the Ages auction at Christies

    Sale 5945

    Fashion Through the Ages

    3 December 2009, London, South Kensington

  • Lot 91


    HERMÈS, CIRCA 1960

    Price Realised  


    HERMÈS, CIRCA 1960
    gilt metal hardware and long shoulder strap
    Varanus Salvator

    Contact Client Service
    • info@christies.com

    • New York +1 212 636 2000

    • London +44 (0)20 7839 9060

    • Hong Kong +852 2760 1766

    • Shanghai +86 21 6355 1766

    Contact the department

    This item may be subject to export and/or import restrictions. It is the sole responsibility of the purchaser to obtain any necessary permissions.

    Special Notice

    No VAT will be charged on the hammer price, but VAT at 15% will be added to the buyer's premium which is invoiced on a VAT inclusive basis.

    Pre-Lot Text


    Anne Moen Bullitt's life story reads like a movie script. She was born in Paris in 1924, the daughter of highly dynamic and literary parents. Anne's mother was the American journalist, Louise Bryant, whose first marriage to the communist John Reed was the basis for the 1981 movie 'Reds'. An alleged sapphic affair resulted in a bitter divorce from her second husband, Anne's father, William Christian Bullitt Jr., after which she was cut off from her daughter.

    Anne married four times. Her first husband was Army Staff Sgt. Caspar Wistar Barton Townsend Jr. Their marriage was brief - by 1947 Anne had married her second husband, Nicholas Duke Biddle, from the family who provided the basis for the 1940 film 'The Philadelphia Story.'

    Biddle was a vice consul in the American embassy in Spain and it was here that the kernel of Anne's couture wardrobe was formed. With easy access to Cristobal Balenciaga's ateliers in Madrid, Anne ultimately had more than a hundred couture ensembles made for her, all under the Spanish name Eisa.

    By the mid 1950s, Anne had divorced and married Roderic More O'Ferrall, of the Irish racing family. Once they were settled at Palmerston House in Kilkenny, she and O'Ferrall established Palmerston Stud, one of the most successful farms in Ireland throughout the 1950s and 60s.

    By 1967, Anne had divorced a third time and married to Daniel Brewster, the man she had been engaged to more than twenty years earlier, only to be divored by 1969. Anne then spent the remainder of her life at Palmerston House with her beloved dogs and horses, until her death in 2007 aged 83.