RELEASE: The Collections of Principessa Ismene Chigi Della Rovere & A Noble Genoese Family - South Kensington, 4 February 2015






South Kensington – Christie’s announces the sale of two Italian private collections, the first from the Rome apartment of Principessa Ismene Chigi Della Rovere and the second from the palazzo of a Noble Genoese Family. Comprising over 225 lots this diverse sale offers collectors and decorators a wonderful insight into 20th century Italian style and glamour, presenting a rich and varied selection of Old Master pictures and decorative objects from around the world, which range from 18th century Italian and French furniture and Art Nouveau glass, to Chinese and Japanese works of art. Estimates range from £500 to £25,000 and the pre-sale viewing will be at Christie’s 85 Old Brompton Road from 31 January to 3 February. The auction will be held on 4 February 2015 at Christie’s South Kensington and provides an opportunity to acquire exceptional antiques and works of art from two noble Italian families.


From the 1960s, Princess Ismene Chigi Della Rovere lived the dolce vita, embracing a jet-set lifestyle and visiting the most fashionable destinations in Europe and America. She counted many high society figures of the time amongst her friends and frequently attended glamorous European balls with Christina Onassis, Elizabeth Taylor and Richard Burton, Roger Vadim and Jane Fonda, and Prince Rainier III and Princess Grace of Monaco.

It was through her trips to America that Princess Ismene’s passion for art was fostered by her friendship with the renowned Roman gallery owner Gaspero Del Corso, who introduced her to the highly influential contemporary New York gallerist Leo Castelli. Both the Princess and her sister Anna Maria, then a director of the Marlborough Gallery, were immersed in the New York art scene and often visited the legendary Studio 54 nightclub. The Princess also regularly visited the Gardner family in Massachusetts, as her first daughter Manuela married Stuart Gardner, the descendent of Isabella Stewart Gardner. Isabella Stewart Gardner was one of the foremost female patrons in the late 19th century and founded the museum that bears her name in Boston in 1903 to house her collection.

After returning from New York, the Princess created a stylish collection in her palazzo apartment in Rome. She ingeniously juxtaposed antiques with contemporary art, Art Nouveau glass and Chinese and Japanese works of art. Her emphasis was on style and beauty; epitomised by the pair of Royal Louis-Philippe ormolu four-light candelabra from the Château de Neuilly (estimate: £15,000-25,000). Further highlights include a pair of Japanese gilt-metal mounted and black lacquer Hasamibako (estimate: £5,000-8,000); a Gallé globular glass vase (estimate: £4,000-6,000) and iconic monogramed Louis Vuitton luggage, such as a Biston 60 suitcase and an Alzer Anglais 80 suitcase in monogram canvas (estimate: £1,000-1,500). Now living a quieter life, Princess Ismene has decided to part with her personal collection, which Christie’s is honoured to offer to a new generation of collectors.


Also offered in this sale is the collection of a Noble Genoese family, which comprises Italian furniture, porcelain, clocks and silver together with Old Master paintings. Assembled during the 20th century with the help of one of Italy’s most renowned antique dealers, Pietro Accorsi, many of the pieces in this collection bear his trademark label, with the address of his shop ‘via Po.55, Torino’. Accorsi, who was well respected in the European art world as an advisor and dealer to numerous prestigious collectors and institutions, helped to source predominantly Genoese pieces for this collection. Highlights include a North Italian ormolu-mounted tulipwood-banded and kingwood bureau plat (estimate: £20,000-30,000); a set of six late 18th century Piedmontese parcel-gilt and pale grey-painted fauteuils (estimate: £5,000-8,000) and a pair of paintings attributed to Gennaro Greco, called il Mascacotta, both depicting Italianate coastal landscapes (estimate: £6,000-8,000).

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Public Exhibition:

31 January - 3 February 2015

Christie’s South Kensington

The Collections of Principessa Ismene Chigi Della Rovere and a Noble Genoese Family


Christie’s South Kensington

10:30 am, 4 February 2015

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