Christies announces the sale of Alexandra Tolstoy: An Interior by Sibyl Colefax & John Fowler online from 4 25 November. To view the sale please click here
The collection comprises approximately 130 lots from Alexandras former London townhouse in Chelsea, London where she lived for eleven years. Alexandra worked closely with the London-based interior designers and decorators Emma Burns and Daniel Slowik of Sibyl Colefax & John Fowler Interiors from 2008 onwards to create her family home. The property in historic Chelsea was an inspired choice; comprising two former artists studios with high ceilings and large windows, it previously housed the modern British artists Walter Sickert and Sir William Rothenstein. Alexandra recognised the space as a blank canvas to create a welcoming and warm family home in the heart of London. Alexandras inimitable eye for design and eclecticism, combined with Emmas expertise and aesthetic, ensured a stylish and comfortable interior. Alexandra had previously collaborated with Emma on the design of her home in Moscow.
The interior and collection created by Alexandra since 2009, speaks not only of her love of the traditional English country house, but also of her Russian family heritage, innate personal sense of style and a strong desire to create a special home for her children.
The objects and works of art offered at Christies are all highly decorative and desirable. In most cases these pieces would work both in a townhouse as well as in the country, which is something that Alexandra finds so appealing. From a large group of botanical prints to the selection of lamps and the japanned furniture supplied by Sibyl Colefax & John Fowler, the pieces are versatile and would meld into an existing interior scheme individually or as a group. It was in the more unusual and original pieces that Alexandra found most pleasure; the group of collage works by George Smart, (estimate £3,000-5,000 and estimate £3,000-5,000), and the model of the Monastery of St Sergii, (estimate £3,000-5,000), which Daniel Slowik imaginatively magnetised for display, being amongst her most treasured.
Alexandra comments, The sale of the interiors from my Chelsea townhouse at Christies London marks a new chapter in my life. There are many treasured items that I sourced and selected over the years with the expert guidance of decorators at Sibyl Colefax & John Fowler. It was a great pleasure to be able to fully utilise such a diverse and highly personal selection of works of art, furniture and objects in a family home but also to be surrounded by objects that I took great pleasure from every day. I very much hope that these pieces will find a new home and be equally enjoyed.
Emma Burns, Director, Sibyl Colefax & John Fowler Interiors comments, I believe if you are passionate about the art and furniture that you choose as an integral part of your interiors, pieces of different centuries can work well together - volumes need to be correct and well balanced, and pieces need to be thoughtfully placed as Alexandra did throughout the property to great effect. Like all good houses this project was very much a work in progress over the years. With an interesting interior I find that nothing stands still and no piece is forever destined for one place. The joy is to be able to move things around when new furniture arrives or a new painting, or your needs from a room change, in order to keep things interesting.
Daniel Slowik, Director, Sibyl Colefax & John Fowler Interiors comments, Alexandra has a strong sense of place and great style, it was extremely enjoyable to work for her and to enable her to create a warm yet very stylish family home. All these spaces needed to be practical but aesthetically pleasing. Her love of colour and the importance of home, both of which I consider to be part of her Russian heritage, massively influenced the interiors which is evidenced in this sale .
Benedict Winter, Head of Sale comments, The English country house-style, immortalised by Sibyl Colefax & John Fowler, is instantly recognisable. When combined with the personal vision of its owner, the effect is magical. Alexandras selection of objects, furniture and works of art sit harmoniously together creating a highly personal interior and a comfortable family home. Christies has a longstanding relationship with interior decorators Sibyl Colefax & John Fowler. With accessible estimates, we are confident these pieces will find new-buyers and attract seasoned collectors alike.