The tastemaker: Mark-Francis Vandelli

Heralding the autumn edition of The Collector auctions in London on 13 and 14 November, art connoisseur, sartorial man-about-town and Made in Chelsea star Mark-Francis Vandelli brings his unique sense of theatre to the sale rooms


Mark-Francis Vandelli in his Parisian room set, which features his favourite lot in the sale (between the windows): an early Georgian red japanned bureau-cabinet

‘My ambition is to bring these objects to life, and for them to be appreciated by a new audience,’ explains Mark-Francis Vandelli, aesthete and star of the British TV show Made in Chelsea. As one of MIC’s most popular personalities, and with a devoted Instagram following that numbers more than 421,000, his celebrity looks set to draw a new crowd to Christie’s this November.

For The Collector  sales he has designed three film sets — a Manhattan penthouse, a Parisian hotel particulier  and a Roman palazzo — places in which the young Vandelli’s formative love of the decorative arts began. ‘I am an absolute maximalist,’ says the impeccably dressed scion of the Romanovsky family, ‘so narrowing down my selection for only three scenes was almost impossible.’

A george ii red, silver and gilt-japanned bureau-cabinet, CIRCA 1730. 86½ in (219 cm) high; 43½ in (110 cm) wide; 23 in (59 cm) deep. Estimate: £80,000-120,000. This lot is offered in The Collector: English Furniture, Clocks & Works of Art on 13 November 2018 at Christie’s in London

His favourite object is from The Collector: English Furniture, Clocks & Works of Art  sale — an early Georgian japanned bureau-cabinet that forms the centrepiece of his 18th-century Paris vignette in the New Gallery at Christie’s King Street. ‘It opens to reveal a jewel-like interior in a sumptuous red,’ he says with a covetous smile.


Mark-Francis relaxes in his Roman room set

For the Roman room Vandelli has created a dramatic interior in which the hazy view of the Italian city is framed by two French ormolu wall-lights. Made by the Parisian ébéniste François Linke (estimate £20,000-50,000) , they will feature in The Collector: Silver & 19th Century Furniture, Sculpture & Works of Art  on 14 November.


The Manhattan penthouse vignette

Finally, the New York interior reflects what Christie’s UK chairman Orlando Rock describes as ‘Mark’s eye for the exquisite’, and the ‘natural flair that allows him to pick and choose objects across genres, freeing them from their historical shackles.’

A model of a macaw, after one created by Känder for Augustus the Strong’s menagerie at the Japanese Palace in Dresden, is placed behind an elaborate silver epergne from the The Collector: Silver & 19th Century Furniture, Sculpture & Works of Art  auction.

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While Vandelli has never been interested in the general, only the niche — ‘such as 18th-century French porcelain’ —  the Russian-Italian socialite hopes his vignettes will ‘bring to life three totally different aesthetics and moods, and inspire bidders to think differently about art.’

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