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March 17, 2020

Auction Preview: Chieveley House Collection at Christie’s

There’s nothing that enchants quite like an old English estate. For many of us, the spell was first cast while reading classic novels such as Wuthering Heights and Brideshead Revisited. With facades that were dignified and haunting and interiors layered over time by generations of occupants, these homes took on a life of their own. This week, Christie’s London draws open the curtains of Chieveley House, a divine example of such a home. On Thursday, March 19th, one can bid on lots from this very estate during their Private Collections auction which features pieces from five other remarkable residences as well.

The dining room at Chieveley House.

“If anyone was asked to describe the perfect English manor house I am sure they would conjure up a house that looks almost exactly like Chieveley House, a perfectly proportioned Queen Anne house,” notes Charles Cator, Deputy Chairman of Christie’s International. We are offered a rare glimpse inside the 300-year-old home that has been restored to its original splendor by recent owners Nicholas and Elodie Stanley. The couple collaborated with trusted interior designer John McCall on the project that saw a reinterpretation of traditional schemes while decorating with their existing collection of treasures.

The gardens by Arne Maynard including a Francis Johnson-designed Chinese octagonal pagoda.

Glorious gardens brought to life by Arne Maynard over the course of seven years enliven the Chieveley House property. Once inside, tasteful rooms brimming with elegance and charm spark a sense of wonder about the home’s rich history. Indeed, Chieveley House has seen its fair share of colorful characters and nobility. In the 1920s, a spirited Capt the Hon Valentine Wyndham-Quin and his wife Marjorie welcomed droves of suitors in pursuit of their three famously beautiful daughters Mollie, Pamela, and Ursula.

After the war, Baroness Howard de Walden took up residence with her producer son Peter Czernin whose film credits include In Bruges and The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel. Great legal mind Baron Goff of Chieveley moved in in 1977 and is said to have penned his volume, The Law of Restitution, in the home’s writing room. If only Chieveley House’s walls could talk! This special sale allows the opportunity to own a piece of history and, judging from these exquisite interior photos, there are myriad ways to live with such antiques. Highlights include a painted model of Buckingham Palace, a pair of blue and white Chinese double-gourd vases, a chinoiserie polychrome-painted wallpaper screen, and many, many more.

“As these works of art go on their journey they will take something of their happy sojourn at Chieveley, with its atmosphere of warm serenity, subtle and intelligent comfort and great taste,” remarks Cator. You may bid on a piece of English history from Private Collections starting this Thursday via Christie’s website or phone. I encourage a look at lots from the other featured collections including items curated by David Hicks, Maison Jansen, and Colefax and Fowler, all included in the sale.

I hope this has been a welcome distraction during this very uncertain time. Stay well, dear readers!

All images courtesy of Christie’s.

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