Margaret Thompson Biddle was born in Helena, Montana in 1896. She was the daughter of notable copper miner and financier, William Boyce Thompson.
Margaret’s father was born and raised around mining in Montana, so it was no surprise that he went on to make a name for himself in the copper mining industry. He attended the prestigious Philips Exeter Academy in New Hampshire, and Columbia University. After retiring from the New York Stock Exchange around 1915, Thompson’s interests returned back to mining where he founded the Newmont Mining Corporation.
Margaret Thompson married Anthony Drexel Biddle Jr. in 1931. That year he was also appointed the Minister to Norway by President Roosevelt, and then Ambassador to Poland 1937. This role led Biddle and his family all over the world. After fleeing Poland in 1939, they landed in England for one of Anthony’s commissions. In this position, he worked with the governments-in-exile of Belgium, Czechoslovakia, Luxembourg, the Netherlands, Norway, Poland and Yugoslavia. Biddle held numerous ambassador positions in the years that followed before re-enlisting in the army in 1944.
Margaret relocated to France after she and Anthony separated at the end of World War II. She had a home on the French Riviera, and a spectacular hotel particulier on the notable boulevard St. Germain in Paris. Not only was she a writer and author of The Women of England, Margaret was also known to be quite the hostess and socialite. One could find the Eisenhowers, the Duke and Duchess of Windsor, and many other notable French creatives at her soirees.
In addition to having a wonderful jewelry collection, Margaret was an avid collector of fine porcelain, silver, home furnishings and art by the most distinguished artists and makers. She gifted a 1,575 piece dinnerware service to former First Lady Eisenhower. Select pieces of the ‘Vermeil’ collection are still on display at The White House present day.
Christie's is delighted to offer the following six lots from Mrs. Biddle’s collection. Her keen eye for design is evident from the delicate Chaumet Art Deco tiara (Lot 152) to the significant Cartier carved emerald brooch (Lot 157). Spanning multiple decades of jewelry craftsmanship, this assemblage illustrates Mrs. Biddle’s exquisite taste.