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Sotheby's to auction iconic items of legendary significance from The Ivy restaurant
Champagne Buckets on stands by Future Systems, circa 1990. Est. £100-150 each. Photo: Sotheby's.

LONDON.- From Harold Pinter to the Beckhams, from Kate Moss to Tom Cruise, internationally renowned London restaurant The Ivy has witnessed countless celebrity moments. Now, Sotheby’s London announced the auction of the contents of The Ivy on 25th March 2015 as part of its Made in Britain sale. Items from each of the dining rooms and VIP areas of the restaurant, which have acquired legendary status thanks to the famous diners who have frequented the restaurant, will be sold to benefit the charity Child Bereavement UK. With The Ivy temporarily closing from January until May 2015 for a major refurbishment, owner Richard Caring wishes to share some of the iconic art and memorabilia from the restaurant with those who have been part of its history.

Richard Caring commented: “I want the legend of The Ivy to live on, and now that we are making some contemporary amendments I thought it would be a good opportunity to offer people the chance to own some of its history. I’ve often had people tell me that they wish they could buy some of our pieces and furniture and now they can.”

The auction will feature items ranging from the famous front doors and doormat to the cutlery and glass cocktail shakers, from the iconic stained-glass windows to the napkins that have been draped across many a celebrity’s lap.

Henry Wyndham, Chairman of Sotheby’s UK, said: “We are thrilled to be working with Richard and The Ivy team to create an auction experience that provides not only a glimpse of - but also access to - a restaurant that has been long established as a celebrity institution. The Ivy is synonymous with glamour, great fun, excellent food and above all a truly memorable time. As is so often the case with achieving success, it’s the details that are so important. It is therefore only fitting that we should offer for sale items ranging from the great works of art that adorned the walls, through to the cutlery and napkins that carry The Ivy’s iconic motif - and even the doormat trodden by the great and the good.”

Julia Samuel, Trustee and Founder Patron of Child Bereavement UK, said: “We at Child Bereavement UK are absolutely thrilled to be the beneficiary of this incredibly generous offer from Richard Caring. It will enable us to continue to give the much needed support to families when a child dies or when a child is bereaved and will make a very real difference to many people’s lives.”

Art and artists have always played significant roles in the life of The Ivy, which was the setting for a rare display of daring commissions. The restaurant’s walls have long been adorned with the works of some of Britain’s most celebrated artists, including Bridget Riley, Allen Jones, Peter Blake, Patrick Caulfield, Barry Flanagan, Michael Craig-Martin, Eduardo Paolozzi, Joe Tilson and Howard Hodgkin. Frank Auerbach-taught painter Tom Phillips’ hand-etched glass screen and design for the reverse side of the menu have both long been integral to The Ivy’s experience. Works of art in the sale will include:

Joe Tilson Dionysus, the Ivy and the Vine, 1990 Oil on board 228.5 by 228.5cm; 90 by 90in. Est. £30,000-50,000
Joe Tilson, a key member of the British Pop movement, was commissioned to produce this mural which has held pride of place in The Ivy’s bar. The architectural screen of vine leaves, dedicated to Dionysus, exemplifies the artist’s sophisticated mixing of Classical Greek motifs with his Pop idiom.

Sir Peter Blake, R.A. Marilyn Monroe White No. 7, 1990 Oil and collage on board 14.5 by 11.5cm; 5¾ by 4½in. Est. £3,000-5,000
Blake is one of Britain’s most revered and respected artists – celebrated around the world for his design for the sleeve of The Beatles’ Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band. Blake’s work is a unique blend of bright Pop imagery and a rough-around-the-edges collage aesthetic – and his injection of Victoriana and quintessentially British subject matter gives a subtle and beautiful play to Pop’s usually straight-up representation of material culture.

Dining at The Ivy has always been an experience for Epicureans, where meticulous attention is paid to food, the décor, the service and the ambience. The forthcoming auction will comprise iconic furniture and tableware, including the famous front doors designed by the architectural practice of M. J. Long circa 1990 and held open for many a VIP (est. £1,000-1,500), the entrance mat that has welcomed the great and good (est. £300-500) and the sign for the Ladies (est. £100-150).

Souvenirs from the cocktail bar include glasses engraved with an ivy leaf (two lots of 12, each estimated at £100-150), two shakers, 20th century (est. £80120), three pairs of Champagne Buckets on stands by Future Systems, circa 1990 (est. £100-150 each) and a set of eight hock glasses by Luminarc, France, circa 1970 (est. £50-70).

The auction will also be a unique opportunity for regulars, and those who have never booked a table, to buy complete table settings from The Ivy. Each lot will include a linen napkin, wine glass, side plate, starter plate, fish plate, main plate and accompanying cutlery for each course. Estimates range from £200-300 for a supper for two to £800-1,200 for eight.

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