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
‘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.’
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.
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.
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.’