On 18 November 2015, Christies
London will be offering the former contents of Cheyne Walk, an interior by Victoria Press. Working in the fashion industry in the late 1940s and early 1950s enabled Victoria Press (1927-2015) to hone her love and knowledge of textiles, luxurious materials, intricate workmanship, proportion and scale, passions that are evident in the characterful interior she created at Cheyne Walk. She also studied art, architectural history and interior design, and was an admired member of The Furniture History Society and The Georgian Group. The sale comprises a remarkable trove of approximately 170 lots which were acquired for the impressive Georgian town house, built in 1717. They were sourced predominantly in the 1980s, each chosen to complement, or playfully juxtapose, the surrounding architecture and its historic decorative schemes. The resulting collection is a harmonious and balanced ensemble comprising English and Continental furniture, Italian Old Master paintings and Oriental works of art including lacquer, ceramics and textiles. Victoria Press had a particular interest in the English country house and many pieces in her collection have a distinguished provenance and were acquired from important auctions such as Much Hadham Hall and Godmersham Park, or from eminent collectors such as the Duke of Buccleuch and Sybil Sassoon, 5th Marchioness of Cholmondeley. The top lot of the sale is a pair of paintings formerly at West Wycombe Park by Cesare Dandini (1596-1657) depicting Saint Dorothy of Cappadocia and Saint Catherine of Alexandria (estimate: £150,000-250,000) followed by Victoria Press beloved picture by Salvador Rosa, Phryne and Xenocrates (estimate: £60,000-80,000), which was acquired in 1997, demonstrating that her passion for collecting and improving the interior of Cheyne Walk continued to occupy her to the very end of her life. Estimates range from £500 to £250,000.
This sale is a wonderful opportunity for new and established collectors to choose from an inspiring array of works with notable provenance, collected with passion, knowledge and confidence. Each item was specially chosen for its history and craftsmanship, with a specific position within Cheyne Walk in mind; the resulting collection is a testament to Victoria Press discerning eye and very original flair for interior design.