Sotheby’s is trotting out Jayne Wrightsman’s furniture in a rather public way. They’re drawing attention to the sale of the contents of her London apartment:
French court artisans produced many of the apartment’s objects. Jean-François Oeben, the maker of her 1760s mahogany commode (estimated at $30,000 to $50,000), supplied at least 17 similar ones for Madame de Pompadour’s quarters. The leather book bindings in Mrs. Wrightsman’s library bear the stamps of Russian and French counts, and her 1770s dining chairs with scrollwork legs ($50,000 to $80,000 for her dozen) have twins at Fontainebleau palace.
Mrs. Wrightsman humanized the apartment somewhat with feather patterns, which are molded into her Art Nouveau earthenware umbrella stand ($1,000 to $1,500) and stitched into velvety green upholstery on a canapé with flared arms ($25,000 to $35,000) and a five-legged gilded chair ($20,000 to $30,000). She collected peacock feather fans ($400 to $600 for a pair) and amassed about 500 loose feathers ($1,200 to $1,800 for an armload).
Sotheby’s has cleared out her china cabinets (Louis-Philippe’s 1840s Sèvres dinner service is estimated at $30,000 to $50,000) and her linen closets, filled with ruffled canopies that cascaded over her beds ($3,000 to $6,000, complete with Porthault pillowcases). Her 1760s dog kennels are for sale, as well ($25,000 to $35,000 for a pair). No dog seems to have ever dared scratch the gilded doorways, or left a hair or stain on the 18th-century green silk curtains embroidered with flowering vines.
A London Apartment Done Up in French (New York Times)