Webb’s is delighted to present Chattels of the Chateau, arguably the finest single-owner collection of European furniture and decorative arts ever to be offered for sale in New Zealand. The vendor of this collection is a lady of distinction and taste, born in Christchurch in the 1940s. At that time, the city was the creative capital of New Zealand, booming with writers, painters, publishing, music and theatre. In this this artistic atmosphere, our vendor’s interest in decoration and design flourished, leading to what would be a lifetime of collecting and appreciating beautiful objects. In the 1970s, a relationship with a French gentleman brought her to Paris, where she lived in the fifth arrondissement, near the left bank of the River Seine.
Surrounded by galleries, museums and the historic architecture of Paris, such as the Panthéon, she began to build her collection. With a penchant for luxury and a love of the Versailles style, her considerable means enabled her to source the finest quality pieces from important antique dealers in the seventh arrondissement of Paris and across France.
The vendor became a fixture of Parisian society, frequenting the finest restaurants and most luxurious hotels. A life of travel across Europe and further afield allowed her to collect broadly, always applying her keen eye for design. Her reputation as a woman of taste and discernment in furnishings led to her apartment in the fifth arrondissement being nicknamed “The Chateau,” due to the care with which it was curated. She had a second residence in Cannes, where she would attend the annual film festival and rub shoulders with everyone from rock stars to streetsweepers. She regularly dined at Roger Vergé’s legendary Moulin de Mougins restaurant, and drank champagne at the iconic Carlton Hotel with celebrities ranging from U2 to Ivana Trump.
However, her heart always remained in her homeland of New Zealand. After the passing of her husband she returned to New Zealand and set up a new “Chateau” on the East Coast, near her family.
Highlights from this auction include a Louis XIV Commode (Lot 63), attributed to master cabinetmaker Thomas Hache, which has an estimate of $25,000-$45,000. Lot 40, another very fine Louis XIV commode, has an estimate of $20,000 – $40,000. Splendid examples of seventeenth-century European furniture design such as these are true rarities to the Australasian market and represent unique opportunities to own a part of history.
Also included in the sale is a fabulous selection of jewellery, including a gold Rolex Oyster Perpetual Datejust wristwatch (Lot 1), with an estimate of $17,000 – $22,000. Paintings, textiles, silver, glass, and Chinese ceramics also feature in this stunning catalogue, which is sure to inspire collectors just as much as these objects did their original owner.