This elegant lacquer commode once formed part of the collections of Lady Baillie (1899-1974), the celebrated Anglo-American collector and society hostess. The commode probably formed part of the lavish interiors of her London townhouse in Lowndes Place, which she decorated under the guidance of the legendary French designers Armand-Albert Rateau and Stéphane Boudin, director of Maison Jansen. Boudin was a highly influential and celebrated decorator who worked with many of the great collectors and society figures of the age including Mrs Charles Wrightsman, Sir Henry 'Chips' Channon and who oversaw the redecoration of the White House for Jackie Kennedy. Rates and Boudin also assisted Lady Baillie with refurbishing Leeds Castle, Kent, which she acquired in 1926. In the 1930s Leeds Castle was one of the great society houses of England, often entertaining members of the British Royal family as well as figures from glamorous world of entertainment such as Douglas Fairbanks, Errol Flynn and James Stewart at lavish parties. Following her death in 1974, much of the contents of Lowndes Place was sold at Christie’s in London (13 December 1974) and Leeds Castle was left to the nation in perpetuity.
THE KECK COLLECTION
The collection of Howard and Elizabeth Keck was one of the largest and finest collections of 18th-century French furniture and decorative arts created in the second half of the 20th century. The collection was acquired to furnish the couple’s sumptuous residence, La Lanterne, Bel Air, California, named after the pavilion in the grounds of Versailles upon which it was based. With an incredible wealth inherited from his father, founder of Superior Oil, one of America's largest oil-and-gas companies and later horse racing, Keck and his wife were able to amass their impressive collection in just over a decade. They had a particular interest in work by royal cabinetmakers and lacquer. The collection was dispersed at auction in New York 1991.