An Allegorical Tapestry, Les Pêcheurs. Photo Courtesy of Sotheby's.
A client in Northern California retained our services in the sale of an extensive collection of English furniture and decorations from a gloriously restored Julia Morgan villa of 1920. Julia Morgan was the first woman to graduate from the Ecole des Beaux-Arts in Paris with a degree in architecture. She is perhaps best known as the principal architect of William Randolph Hearst, her most famous creation La Cuesta Encantada, better known as Hearst Castle, in San Simeon, California.
The collection comprised many important works acquired from major London dealers. These included a pair of George IV mahogany armchairs from Hamilton Palace, circa 1827, estimated at $80,000-120,000, which brought $254,500. Among other highlights was an extraordinary set of eighteen George III Mahogany dining chairs, circa 1765, estimated at $120,000-180,000, which brought $446,500; and a magnificent George III Mahogany eight-pedestal dining table, which also made $446,500. Also included in the sale was a glorious tapestry, Les Pecheurs, woven between 1744 and 1761 by the Imperial Tapestry Manufactory, St. Petersburg, commissioned by Prince Maurice of Nassau and given to Louis XIV in 1679. Estimated at $120,000- $150,000, this spectacular work of art achieved a price of $350,000.
Amidst a fragile economic climate, the collection stirred intense bidding, notably from the London trade, greatly exceeding the high pre-sale estimate in making a total of $2,470,000.