Paintings, furniture and furnishings which featured in the cult British film Withnail and I (1987) are to be auctioned at Christies
South Kensington saleroom on Sunday, 31 July 2011. West House was used as the filming location for Uncle Montys townhouse in the film Withnail and I, and items including an early Victorian mahogany armchair, a pine library ladder, and a Victorian brass inkstand, form part of The Collection of Professor Bernard Nevill: Property from West House, Glebe Place a collection of 227 lots, which is expected to realize in the region of £200,000.
The sale features a variety of home furnishings, fine antiques and decorative objects with impeccable provenance, at affordable prices, with estimates starting at only £100. The highest value item within the collection is a sporting painting, The Lost Scent, by the pre-eminent Maud Earl (1863-1943), which is expected to fetch £8,000 to £12,000. The most affordable item is a photographic reproduction after Philip Webb (1831-1915) of a design for West House (the original drawings of which are housed at the Victoria and Albert Museum) estimated at £100 to £150.
West House was designed in 1868 by Philip Webb, the Arts and Crafts architect responsible for William Morriss Red House. Just over 100 years later, Professor Bernard Nevill acquired the house, and spent more than three decades perfecting the interior. Situated in an idyllic pocket in Chelsea, between the Kings Road and the River Thames, the house has featured in Tatler, Vogue, House & Garden and other glossy publications.
A forerunner of the shabby chic style in the 1980s, Professor Bernard Nevill used his academic expertise and sensitive decorating skills to compile the collection on offer. The youngest ever student to attend St. Martins College of Art, London, Nevill later returned to teach there, as well as at the Royal College of Art in London. In 1960 Nevill was appointed as consultant designer for Liberty, and later became Design Director, and he remained at the famous London luxury department store for more than ten years. He has been credited with playing a large part in revitalizing Libertys traditional prints, and also had great success in designing furnishing fabrics and designs for the theatre. The collection perfectly displays his inimitable style by drawing together objects that reflect the diverse influences ingrained in the history of West House. Some of the quirkier items on offer include a Victorian servants call box (lot 37-£200-400), an Edwardian mahogany tennis racquet stand (lot 72-£400-600), and an early Victorian mahogany wine cooler (lot 213-£1,500-2,500).
Items which once featured in the cult classic Withnail and I include:
Circle of Jonathan Richardson Portrait of a gentleman, half-length, in a red coat and a white cravat
An early Victorian mahogany library table, mid-19th century
A pair of Italian alabaster figures, early 19th century
A Victorian brass inkstand, late 19th/early 20th century
An early Victorian mahogany armchair, second quarter 19th century
A group of three Victorian pine library ladders, two by Slingsby, circa 1894, one by F. Hazeldine, late 19th century
Manner of Sir Anthony Van Dyck Portrait of Diana Cecil, Countess of Oxford, standing three-quarter-length, in a white silk gown with a blue wrap, with pearl earrings and necklace, holding a flower in her right hand
An English lead garden urn in the George III style, late 19th/early 20th century
*Prices do not include buyers premium
Friday 29 July: 9.00am 5.00pm
Saturday 30 July: 11.00am - 5.00pm
The Collection of Professor Bernard Nevill: Property from West House, Glebe Place.
Sunday, 31 July 2011 at 11.30am