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    Thursday, September 8th, 2022
    SIR JOHN LAVERY, R.S.A., R.H.A., R.A. (1856-1941)
    Lady Gwendoline Spencer-Churchill in The Merchant of Venice. COURTESY CHRISTIE’S IMAGES LTD. 2021. UPDATE: THIS MADE £44,100

    Paintings and furniture in the home of a husband and wife over a remarkable span of almost 125 years will come under the hammer at ‘Churchill to Eden: The Collection of The Earl and Countess of Avon’ at Christie’s in London on October 21. On offer is an eclectic collection – the property of Sir Robert Anthony Eden, 1st Earl of Avon, K.G., M.C., P.C. (1897–1977), the former British Conservative Party politician who served as Foreign Secretary (1935–1938; 1940– 1945 and 1951–1955) and Prime Minister of the UK (1955 – 1957) and his second wife, Clarissa Spencer-Churchill (1920–2021).

    The sale is an evocative journey into an almost vanished world of politics, society and inter-connections. It will include English furniture, Impressionist and Modern Art, Modern British Art, Antiquities, Chinese Works of Art, Islamic Works of Art, Books and Manuscripts and Silver, all collected by Lord and Lady Avon over many decades.  The couple met at a dinner party in 1947 and were married in 1952 in London, garnering international media attention. The reception was held at 10 Downing Street, the official residence of the Prime Minister and hosted by Winston Churchill. Eden eventually succeeded Churchill as Prime Minister in 1955. Upon retiring from the House of Commons and being elevated to the House of Lords, Eden was created Earl of Avon in 1961.


    Georges Braque, Verre et Huîtres, a gift from Anthony to Clarissa, Courtesy CHRISTIE’S IMAGES LTD. 2021. UPDATE: THIS MADE £378,000

    Away from his life of politics Eden had a passion for art from an early age, with a keen eye which helped to form this collection. Clarissa Eden counted friendships with Lucian Freud and Greta Garbo among others. Unsurprisingly for a British Prime Minister the collection is led by important Modern British Art; including two paintings by Winston Churchill given to Eden during his political career, three works by Sir John Lavery and works given to Lady Avon by her friends Cecil Beaton and David Jones. There is art by Picasso, Braque, Degas, Laurencin and Corot. The sale also features highlights from Lord Avon’s library including signed Churchill, Field Marshal Montgomery and de Gaulle editions, alongside signed works to Lady Avon from notable authors Evelyn Waugh, Noel Coward and Cecil Beaton.

    Many lots graced the Eden’s Green Drawing Room at 10 Downing Street and featured in archive issues of Country Life in 1961 and in Apollo in 1969 when Lord and Lady Avon were living at Fyfield Manor in Wiltshire where they resided until Lord Avon’s death in 1977. Clarissa lived to the age of 101 and died in 2021.