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  • Posts Tagged ‘Duchess of Devonshire’

    BIDDERS BATTLE FOR PERSONAL POSSESSIONS OF DUCHESS OF DEVONSHIRE

    Wednesday, March 2nd, 2016
    Deborah, Duchess of Devonshire feeding her chickens at Chatsworth, 1995 wearing a Balmain ball gown and pearls. Copyright Bruce Weber

    Deborah, Duchess of Devonshire feeding her chickens at Chatsworth, 1995 wearing a Balmain ball gown and pearls. Copyright Bruce Weber

    Hundreds of collectors battled at Sotheby’s in London today for the sale of personal possessions of Deborah, Duchess of Devonshire. The auction brought £1.8 million, three times the pre-sale estimate of £500,000-700,000.   The top lot was a Japanese  lacquer and ivory mounted guardian figure Meiji Period which sold for £62,500. The same price was paid for a c1880 diamond and ruby brooch designed as a butterfly. The first edition of Brideshead Revisited given to her  by Evelyn Waugh sold for a record £52,500, two pine and plywood travelling poultry boxes used by the chatelaine of Chatsworth to take her hens to country shows made £10,625, her personal keyring made £2,000, Nancy Mitford’s painting of their childhood home made £15,000 and the Duchess’s Elvis Presley memorabilia collection made £4,375.  Her friends included President Kennedy, Winston Churchill, Lucian Freud, Evelyn Waugh, Alan Bennett, members of The Royal Family, Hubert de Givenchy, Oscar de la Renta and Cecil Beaton. The 450 lots largely came from The Old Vicarage, the 18th-century house on the Chatsworth Estate where the Duchess spent the last ten years of her life.

    (See post on antiquesandartireland.com for January 22, 2016).

    FOUR EGGS ON A PLATE FROM FREUD TO DUCHESS OF DEVONSHIRE

    Monday, June 1st, 2015
    Lucian Freud, Four Eggs on a Plate, 2002. Copyright Sotheby's

    Lucian Freud, Four Eggs on a Plate, 2002. Copyright Sotheby’s  UPDATE: IT SOLD FOR £989,000

    The late Dowager Duchess of Devonshire, a frequent visitor to the family estate in Lismore, Co. Waterford, always brought eggs to Lucian Freud when she went to London.  In return Freud gave Four Eggs on a Plate as a gift to the Duchess in 2002.   Their enduring friendship is highlighted by the sale of the painting at Sotheby’s Contemporary Art evening auction  in London on July 1. It is estimated at £100,000-150,000.

    Deborah was youngest of the six Mitford sisters who captivated British society in the 1940s and 50s – marrying Andrew Cavendish in 1941. Cavendish became the 11th Duke of Devonshire in 1950 and she dedicated her life to the running of Chatsworth. The Duchess was famed for a somewhat eccentric pursuit for a society beauty: a passion for chickens. Freud’s gift is a tender memento of a lifelong bond between the great artist and the larger-than-life duchess.

    Oliver Barker, Sotheby’s Senior International Specialist in Contemporary Art said: “We’re incredibly excited to be offering a work of such personal significance to both Lucian Freud and the late Dowager Duchess of Devonshire. This small, exquisitely beautiful painting was a treasured gift and today it stands as a token of their enduring friendship. Four Eggs on a Plate is a painting like no other. We see Freud’s tremendous virtuosity as a painter, transforming a simple subject into a work of extraordinary power – and we see the portrait of a friendship between an artist and a duchess.” Deborah, Dowager Duchess of Devonshire, died aged 94, in September 2014.

    UPDATE: This work sold for £989,000 after a bidding battle by seven bidders.