It is always exciting to walk into a pre auction exhibiton and choose (abstractly) the pieces one wants to buy ! This is exactly what I did at Sotheby’s this week, for the royal collection of the Orléans family. The last king of France, Louis Philipe had a short reign (1830-1848) as you can discover in Munro Price’s excellent biography, “The Perilous Crown” (Macmillan), but he loved the arts and collected when in exile in Claremont house, in England. Some of his paintings are coming up for sale on 29 th and 30 th September and the catalog is online.
The atmosphere was very chic at the cocktail party where Duchesse d’Orléans (nee Gersende de Sabran) was chatting away with her friend Princesse Mirabelle d’Arenberg. There seemed to be many « cousins » in the assembly, as aristocrats like to name their entourage and also historians and socialites who felt a little bit royal in being there.
What struck me is how intimate all these pieces seemed to be, from the children’s desk designed by Roetgen, to the exotic watercolors by François d’Orléans, Prince de Joinville to the fabulous Lami sceneries and Carmontelle works on paper. One felt like entering the daily life of the Orléans.
An illustrated letter by Alexandre Dumas to Louis Philippe and the Sèvres china, fine silver, 18 th century napkins (lot 101 estimated 200-300€) all is interesting and moving. You can go and have a look at Sotheby’s just across the street from the Elysée Palace until he 28 th. (Closed on sundays)
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