No VAT will be charged on the hammer price, but VAT at 17.5% will be added to the buyer's premium which is invoiced on a VAT inclusive basis.
This lot, if not collected from Christie's by 3.30pm on the day following the sale, will be removed by Cadogan Tate Fine Art Removals to their warehouse at Cadogan House, 2 Relay Road, London W12 7SJ. Tel: 44(0)20 8735 3700. Fax: 44(0)20 8735 3701.
After Eton and Cambridge (where he distinguished himself as Hamlet in the Marlowe Society's production of 1932 and 1936) he was called to the Bar but never practised seriously due largely to a head injury sustained during the War, in which he served with the Queen Victoria's Rifles (KRRC), being mentioned in despatches.
He was a Director of the family firm, Whitbread & Co. Ltd, and for many years served on the Board of Governors of Westminster Hospital and of the Family Welfare Association, as well as supporting a very wide range of good causes throughout his life.
He had a passionate interest in, and detailed knowledge of, the family home - Southill in Bedfordshire - and when he took the tenancy of Howard's House, Cardington (part of the Southill Estate), he filled it with a superb collection of Georgian and Regency furniture, most of which echoed items in the collection at Southill.
28 JANUARY 2001
The late Humphrey Whitbread, instantly recognisable in one of his checked suits, was an unassuming scion of the Whitbread brewing family who chose to furnish his house in Bedfordshire in the Regency manner, with a special emphasis on collecting pieces which echoed those at Southill, the family home. To fine examples of 18th and early 19th Century English and French furniture, Humphrey Whitbread added Chinese, French and English porcelains, English table silver, objets de vertu and works of art, including a drawing by Ludovico Carracci and a watercolour by Edward Lear. He was also a percipient collector of Post War and modern British art, notably paintings by Keith Vaughan.
The contents of these extremely handsome interiors, so redolent of the influence of Regency taste on British connoisseurs throughout most of the 20th Century are being offered in this sale. Other pieces, including an Old Master Picture by the Master of the Lombard fruit bowl, a painting by Gilpin, the Carracci drawing, the watercolour by Lear, a 'Composition' by Soulages, drawings by Charles Barry and printed books will be included in specialised sales at Christie's King Street and South Kensington during the course of the season.
Humphrey Whitbread, (1912-2000) was educated at Eton, where he became Captain of the Oppidans, and at Trinity College, Cambridge; called to the Bar in the 1930s he served in the Queen Victoria's Rifles in World War II. A director of the family firm of Whitbread, he also served as High Sheriff of his county of Bedfordshire in which Howard's House was situated and where most of his collection was kept.
Humphrey Whitbread was typical of his generation of informed English connoisseur in the predilection for furnishing his house in the Regency and Empire manner - a revival originally inspired by Lord Gerald Wellesley. Architect, connoisseur and collector, Lord Gerald (later Duke of Wellington), was at the centre of an influential inter-war circle which formed and promoted the taste for Regency and Empire furnishings in reaction to what he perceived as the aridity of the Modern movement. This was sometimes known as the 'Vogue' Regency style.
Humphrey Whitbread, like the playwright Edward Knoblock (d.1944) (two of whose objects are included in this sale) played a leading role in the revival of this style named after George IV's 'Regency'. At Southill, Bedfordshire, his ancestors had employed Henry Holland (d. 1806) and Charles Heathcote Tatham (d. 1842) to introduce the elegant French antique style that they also executed at Carlton House, London for George IV while Prince of Wales. In 1951, the architecture and furnishing of Southill was the subject of Professor Albert Richardson and Francis Watson's contribution to the Faber and Faber's publication entitled Southill, A Regency House. It was also in 1951 that Humphrey Whitbread lent some of his own furniture and objets d'art to an important 'Regency Exhibition'. This was held at Brighton in the 'Marine Pavillion' that had been built by Henry Holland for George IV, when Prince of Wales. Ten years later, these 'Southill' Exhibition rooms featured in Clifford Musgrave's book Regency Furniture, 1961. Humphrey Whitbread was again amongst the principal lenders to the Henry Holland exhibition, held at Woburn Abbey in 1971, which included a number of pieces that are now in this sale.
As can be expected from the photographs of the interior so carefully assembled by Humphrey Whitbread at Howard's House over a period of fifty years, the marriage of the very best George II, III, Regency and Empire furniture all contributed to the remarkable harmony and elegance of these rooms, notably the splendid vase-candleabra (lot 390) supplied to Edward, Viscount Lascelles (d. 1814) for Harewood, Yorkshire, with Chinese Celadon porcelain richly mounted by Benjamin Vulliamy, who served as Prince Regent. The objects which stood on the furniture such as the Régence style bronze recumbent sphinxes or the 'Egyptian' bronze and yew-wood ink-stand (lot 384), identical to one supplied to the Prince Regent for Carlton House in 1810, add to the richness of these interiors.
Highlights of the Regency furnishings in this sale include a very smart pair of Regency ormolu-mounted satinwood low bookcases (lot 402) supplied to John, 2nd Marquess of Lansdowne and attributed to Marsh and Tatham. A Regency ormolu-mounted ebonised side table (lot 412) has a beautiful specimen marble top that was probably acquired by Edward, Viscount Lascelles on the Grand Tour. From a somewhat earlier period, the George III giltwood oval mirrors (lot 400) with fluted banded and foliate frames are also important. The many Regency candelabra, candelsticks and chandeliers in this collection bear witness to the central role lighting played in the Regency 'look'. The Regency bronze and ormolu chandelier (lot 385) with a displayed eagle finial is of particular presence and beauty.
To this rich assemblage, Humphrey Whitbread added notable portrait busts, of which the bronze bust of Oliver Cromwell (lot 311), by the Flemish-born Michael Rysbrack is the most important example. Although the attribution to Rysbrack of the model is completely accepted, little is known about the bust's origin. It corresponds exactly to a terracotta version, today in the National Maritime Museum, Greenwich which seems to have been bought by Rysbrack's patron, Sir Edward Littleton in one of Rysbrack's sales of the late 1760s. In another of these sales (20 April, 1765), lots 74 and 75 are listed as bronze busts of Cromwell and Newton. The present bust which was sold in 1967 in the sale of the remaining contents of Cornbury Park, Charlbury, Oxfordshire, for £1200 to Whitbread therefore almost certainly represents the bust of Cromwell which was sold from Rysbrack's own sale in the 18th Century. It is a beautiful quality cast of this heroic portrait of the 17th Century soldier and politician.
Humphrey Whitbread also owned one of the loveliest studies by Ludovico Carraci still in private hands. This is to be offered in the 10 July sale of Old Master Drawings at King Street. From the celebrated Ellesmere Collection, this tender study of The Virgin and Child with the Infant Baptist is executed in pen and brown ink and wash over a vibrant red chalk under-drawing and retains its Ellesmere mount. In a lightly sketched wooded landscape, the two children are cradled by the seated Virgin and nestled upon the billowing folds of her robes, which fill the composition. Formerly in the collection of the painters Sir Peter Lely, Jonathon Richardson Senr. and Sir Joshua Reynolds, this is one of the largest and most important drawings by Ludovico Carracci to be offered in years.
AFTERNOON SALE AT APPROXIMATELY 2:45 P.M. IMMEDIATELY FOLLOWING THE SECOND SESSION OF THE ENGLISH FURNITURE SALE WHICH COMMENCES AT 2 P.M. PRECISELY
THE PROPERTY OF THE LATE HUMPHREY WHITBREAD, ESQ.,
SOLD BY ORDER OF THE EXECUTORS
(LOTS 352, 359, 377 & 411 ARE SOLD IN AID OF A CHARITABLE TRUST)