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Christie's to offer works of art from the collection of legendary designer Michael Inchbald
“I believe the more you design for the future, the more you should know about the past. You’ve got to have a feeling for the great heritage of civilisation. Surrounding yourself with beautiful things gives you a standard.” --Michael Inchbald. Photo: Christie's Images Ltd 2013.

LONDON.- Christie's announced the sale of Michael Inchbald: A Legacy of Design, which will be offered in London on 22 January 2014. This auction provides discerning international collectors with a once in a lifetime opportunity to acquire exemplary works of art from the personal world of this legendary designer. Comprising approximately 250 lots, Michael Inchbald‟s fascinating collection is led by a strong array of important Antiquities, Clocks, Furniture, Old Master Paintings, Sculpture and Silver and also includes fine Arms & Armour, Books, Chinese Porcelain, Old Master & British Drawings and Watercolours, 19th century Furniture, European Porcelain and Travel Science & Natural History. With estimates ranging from £500 to £150,000 the sale is expected to realise in the region of £1.2 million.

A passionate connoisseur, Michael Inchbald (1920 – 2013) showed signs of his interest in architecture and interior design very early in life, winning a drawing competition intended for teenagers in the Daily Telegraph at the age of just nine. At his family home in Halebourne, Surrey, he would re-design entire rooms and wait to see if his father noticed when he arrived home from work. Michael went on to study at the Architectural Association, during which time he lived with his uncle, the horologist Courtenay Ilbert, at Stanley House, Chelsea, London. Early on, his ingeniously decorated small two-room apartment within the house was featured in Ideal Home Magazine and House and Garden Magazine. Making his mark in contemporary design, he won prizes for the design of oil heaters and a safety ashtray in the 1946 exhibition The Shape of Things to Come, also taking part in the Britain Can Make It exhibition the same year. In 1955, his wicker „Mambo‟ chair won the National Design prize and was later exhibited in the 1957 Milan Triennale. Michael inherited Stanley House in 1956, going on to set up his design business in the lower floors and stylishly updating the living quarters to combine, as Tim Knox, Director of the Fitzwilliam Museum, notes “his interest in contemporary design and new materials, with a fearless sense of colour and a taste for theatrical display.” Executed between 1957 and 1959, the interiors of Stanley House cemented his reputation as young designer who could seamlessly fuse the neoclassical with the modern. It is these interiors which are considered to be Michael Inchbald‟s ultimate legacy, even including what is believed to be the first modern solarium in any London house.

The most valuable lot in the sale is a pair of carved marble busts of Augustus and Faustina the Younger after the Antique, Roman, 17th century (estimate: £100,000-150,000). They were formerly part of the Collection of the 9th Duke of Roxburghe at 2 Carlton House Terrace, London. Further sculpture highlights include a carved marble bust of the 1st Earl Stanhope, which is attributed to Michael Rysbrack (1694-1770), circa 1730 (estimate: £40,000-60,000).

A strong selection of Antiquities feature in the collection including a Roman torso of Hercules, circa 1st-2nd century A.D. (estimate: £40,000-60,000) and an Egyptian limestone head from a sarcophagus lid, dating from the Late period to Ptolemaic period, circa 4th-3rd century B.C. (estimate: £40,000-60,000), both of which were acquired by Michael Inchbald in the 1960s from Spink, London.

Michael's uncle, Courtenay Ilbert, formed the great horological collection, "The Ilbert Collection‟, which is now in the British Museum and is said to be the finest ever formed. Highlights from his private collection which remained at Stanley House and are now to be offered include a handsome Regency mahogany and brass inlaid eight-day longcase regulator, Vulliamy, London, circa 1820 (estimate: £40,000-60,000) and a remarkable Augsburg gilt-metal and parquetry automaton lion clock, circa 1620, which has moving eyes and opens its mouth, as if to roar, on the hour (estimate: £40,000- 60,000).

Furniture highlights are led by a pair of Empire ormolu, patinated bronze and black fossil marble six-light candelabra, which are attributed to Pierre-Philippe Thomire, circa 1802 (estimate: £70,000-100,000) and a pair of Regency patinated bronze tripod tables, circa 1810 (estimate: £40,000-60,000).

Portrait of Edward Courtenay, 1st Earl of Devon (1523-1556), half-length, in a black jerkin tied by points and a ruff, leaning on a stone ledge, ruins beyond, by the English School, circa 1555, has an identifying inscription "E. Cortenay Comes Deuonie‟ in the lower right, leads the Old Master Paintings to be offered (estimate: £60,000-80,000). A further notable lot is Circle of Jean-Marc Nattier (Paris 1685-1766), Portrait of Louis Jean Marie de Bourbon, Duke of Penthièvre (1725-1793), full-length, in a breastplate with the sash of the Order of Saint Esprit and the badge of the Order of the Golden Fleece, holding a marshal's baton with the fleur-de-lys, standing by his velvet furlined mantle and plumed helmet, in a rocky coastal landscape (estimate: £20,000-30,000).

The fine silver which is presented in the sale includes an English George II silver epergne, with the mark of John Edwards, London, 1736 (estimate: £30,000-50,000). It is engraved with the arms of William Ilbert and his wife Bridget Courtenay of Powderham Castle, who married in 1736. Another highlight is a German parcel-gilt silver cup and cover, Augsburg, circa 1620 (estimate: £10,000-15,000).

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