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Landmark auction celebrates Annabel's, 44 Berkeley Square
Christie's art handler with one of the 'Annabel's' set of 14 by Nicholas Garland © Paul Grover.

LONDON.- Christie’s will hold a landmark auction celebrating Annabel’s, 44 Berkeley Square ·1963–2018· on 20 November 2018. The legendary destination of royalty, fashion icons, recording stars and Hollywood greats alike, from Kate Moss to Frank Sinatra, The Rolling Stones and The Beatles, to Jack Nicholson, Elizabeth Taylor and Leonardo DiCaprio, among many others, Annabel’s was founded 55 years ago by Mark Birley; Richard Caring acquired the Birley Group – including Annabel’s – in 2007. The auction comprises over 250 lots, spanning Modern British, Old Master, 19th century and Victorian Paintings and Drawings; Political Cartoons; Prints; Vintage Posters; Furniture, Glassware, Silver and Lighting; as well as a complete Annabel’s table setting for eight (estimate: £1,000-1,500); the sale will also feature a small number of works from Harry’s Bar. Led by one of the final portraits of Henry Thomas by Glyn Philpot, R.A., 1937 (estimate: £80,000-120,000), estimates range from £50 to £120,000. Offering unprecedented access to the normally private world of Annabel’s, the pre-sale public view will take place in-situ at 44 Berkeley Square from 16 to the 20 November, with one catalogue admitting two visitors. The auction at Christie’s, King Street, will also be live streamed into the new club at 46 Berkeley Square.

Among the rich array of evocative highlights offered from the old Annabel's club, including 'the red velvet corner sofa' (estimate: £2,000-4,000) and the iconic Bodhisattva from The Buddha Room (estimate: £10,000-20,000), is Christian Voigt’s last picture of Annabel’s taken before the doors were closed (estimate: £5,000-8,000). The proceeds from this lot by Voigt, along with another lot comprising 10 framed prints by photographer Richard Young celebrating the many legendary Members and Friends who have gathered at Annabel’s over the years – including iconic images of Princess Diana, Elizabeth Taylor, Kate Moss, Jack Nicholson & Michael Caine, will go to The Children’s Charity For The Good Of All Children (estimate: £5,000-8,000).

Orlando Rock, Christie’s UK Chairman: “Everyone has a story to tell about Annabel’s, the iconic and visionary London nightclub founded by Mark Birley over half a century ago. Emerging from the ashes of London’s post-war gloom, Annabel’s became synonymous with glamorous sophistication, epitomising the heady cocktail where ‘old’ and ‘new’ world’s collided. Witnessed by a cast of thousands who represent a veritable who’s who of London society since the ‘60s, Christie’s is incredibly excited to have been chosen to present the iconic backdrop of so many fabled evenings for sale at auction.

The taste is uniquely Birley’s – caricatures by Bateman and sketches by Ward jostling with theatrical Jazz age posters by Colin and costume designs by Bakst from the Ballet Russes, whilst Modern British works by Philpot, Orpen and Munnings remind us all of the intellectual inheritance of his painter father Sir Oswald Birley. Each and every lot - from The Buddha Room’s Bodhisattva to the well-trodden dance floor and even the toast racks - is sure to evoke many memories and excite collectors internationally who want to celebrate the unique atmosphere, laughter and friendships that Annabel’s represents. We look forward to welcoming the public to the free pre-sale public exhibition in-situ at Annabel’s 44 Berkeley Square from 16 November, ahead of the sale on 20 November.”

Richard Caring: ‘Since its ground-breaking opening 55 years ago, Annabel’s has earned a global reputation founded on luxury, style and unrivalled atmosphere making it one of the most elegant and glamorous Clubs in the world. Home to an Aladdin’s cave of treasures, known and loved as a landmark of opulence and revelry, it is my great privilege to offer Annabel’s Members and friends the chance to own a piece of its history as a permanent keepsake. It’s a celebration of the atmosphere, style and people who made Annabel’s the place to be, then and now. Annabel’s has always been an avid supporter of charitable causes and I am delighted that the proceeds of Christian Voigt’s iconic photograph of the Club, as well as Richard Young’s celebrity portraits taken at Annabel’s, will be sold to benefit The Children’s Charity For The Good Of All Children. As the greatest and most iconic nightclub in the world, I’m honoured to have had the opportunity to carry on its legacy.’

The ultimate memento, Annabel’s, Table for Eight comprises eight dining chairs with the quintessential red and green upholstery, a circular restaurant table, a table lamp and eight elegant place settings, including wine glasses, plates, cutlery, table cloth, napkins, salt and pepper and a toast rack (estimate: £1,000-1,500).

Conjuring images of extraordinary evenings in the private dining room is a George III silver soup tureen, cover and liner, with the mark of Paul Storr, London, 1815, which was presented by the Ambassadors to the Court of St. James to Prince George, Duke of Kent (1902-1942), fourth son of King George V, and his bride Princess Marina of Greece and Denmark (1906-1968), at a reception held at the home of Raul Regis de Oliveira, Brazilian Ambassador to the Court of St. James 1933-1940, doyen of the diplomatic corps, on 23 November 1934 (estimate: £8,000-12,000).

From crystal champagne coups (estimate: £300-500), Limoges Tableware and multiple sets of bar stools, to the mirrors from Annabel’s infamous bar, this sale offers endless tantalising and storied delights.

The collection of posters from Annabel’s and Harry's Bar celebrate the excitement and thrills of the jazz age and the best in art deco graphic design. Highlights include iconic designs by two of France's master poster artists, Paul Colin and A.M. Cassandre, as well as a collection of stunning early Swiss ski posters for resorts including St Moritz, Zermatt and Ste Croix les Rasses. A rare poster by François Jacques depicts Ste Croix les Rasses, a much-loved cross-country skiing paradise amidst the Jura landscape in the Lake Geneva region of Switzerland, circa 1910 (estimate: £2,500–4,000). Jacques employs a technique inspired by pointillism to create a romantic image highly evocative of its place and era.

Throughout the 20th century, French graphic artist A.M. Cassandre produced an oeuvre of lithographic posters that are now counted among the most influential and highly sought after Art Deco designs in the history of the medium. Born Adolphe Jean-Marie Mouron in the Ukraine in 1901, Cassandre moved to Paris in 1915 where he later began his education at the École des Beaux Arts. In Nord Express, Cassandre employs unadorned linear and streamlined forms, taking inspiration from contemporary avant-garde movements in art, namely Bauhaus, Cubism and Futurism, to reflect the speed and dynamism of his era (estimate: £7,000-10,000).

Among the wealth of prints and cartoons being offered are fourteen original lino-cuts by Nicholas Garland depicting scenes inspired by London’s most fashionable nightclub. For over forty years Garland was the political cartoonist for The Daily Telegraph, these works were a private commission by Annabel’s owner at the time, Mark Birley (estimate: £4,000-6,000). Making up the majority of the pictures around the main Bar and entrance, the works by Henry Mayo Bateman, such as The Outrage: Someone threw confetti at a society wedding (estimate: £2,000-3,000) will be memorable to most of the visitors to Annabel’s (estimates range from £700 to £4,000).

The sale presents a particularly strong group of works by Modern British painters, including the top lot of the collection: one of the final portraits by Glyn Philpot, of Henry Thomas, 1937 (estimate: £80,000-120,000). Thomas is the sitter in the artist’s most sought after works. A Royal Academician and trustee for the Tate Gallery at a relatively young age, Philpot had established a strong reputation as a portrait painter capturing British and American society portraits in the years before the First World War, including skilful renditions of Siegfried Sassoon, Stanley Baldwin and even the King of Egypt. Philpot’s uncanny ability to capture his sitter’s physiognomy is highlighted in this very intimate portrait. Having been at Annabel’s for decades, this work is undoubtedly the jewel in the crown of their collection, enjoyed and admired by its exclusive visitors for many years. The sale also includes a pair of head studies depicting Henry Thomas (estimate: £15,000-25,000), one of which is believed to be a study for the first painting he sat for, Balthazar, which is one of the artists’s most celebrated work.

Further Modern British highlights include a striking Portrait of a Lady by Augustus John, which in the sitter’s apparently cool knowingness reminds the viewer of all that this painting will have ‘seen’ hanging on the wall at Annabel’s (estimate: £20,000-30,000); The Cenotaph, The Morning of the Peace Procession by Sir William Nicholson, 1919, depicts the original memorial by Sir Edwin Lutyens, which was erected in wood and plaster and replaced the following year by the current memorial in Portland stone (estimate: £50,000-80,000, second left); The Window, Night by Sir William Orpen, is a classic portrait imbued with a sense of stillness and calm as the sitter looks out to a boat on the horizon (estimate: £50,000-80,000).

British Impressionist paintings include a Study of a Grey Horse by Sir Alfred Munnings, a fluid study which demonstrates Munnings’s considerable technical abilities in accurately depicting the horse’s anatomy, whilst his rapid brushstrokes and use of light give life to the majestic animal that he so admired (estimate: £15,000-25,000). Old Master paintings are led by a captivating image representative of 17th Century tenebrism, executed by the mysterious artist PseudoCaroselli, who was active in Rome in the first quarter of the century, highly influenced by Angelo Caroselli (estimate: £30,000-50,000).

Among the many dynamic costume and set designs which have provided the appropriately theatrical backdrop for many stories to unfold at Annabel’s over the years, is a jewel-like set design for Petrouchka by Alexandre Benois (estimate: £8,000-12,000).

One of the most celebrated and beloved Russian ballets, Petrouchka, the famous ballet burlesque brought together the most pre-eminent luminaries of 20th century Russian Culture. Set to Igor Stravinsky’s rhythmic music, with ground-breaking choreography by Michel Fokine, Petrouchka was brought alive by performances from ballet stars Tamara Karsavina and Vaslav Nijinsky, with brightly-coloured sets and costumes designed by Alexandre Benois. Deemed a glittering spectacle, the ballet quickly conquered the European theatres, and to this day remains one of the most popular ballets. Costume designs include 'Moskwa': Peasant woman by Léon Bakst (estimate: £10,000-15,000).

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