Christie's announces 'Philip Hewat-Jaboor: An Eye for the Magnificent '

The First Art Newspaper on the Net    Established in 1996 Tuesday, February 27, 2024

Christie's announces 'Philip Hewat-Jaboor: An Eye for the Magnificent '
A pair of Roman giltwood armchairs circa 1815, after a design by Dionesio Santi, which were probably purchased by Beckford from Cardinal Fesch, Paris in 1816 (estimate £30,000-50,000) © Christie's Images Ltd 2023.

LONDON.- Philip Hewat-Jaboor: An Eye for the Magnificent will be offered at Christie’s headquarters in London on 8 February 2024. A highly respected and passionate connoisseur, Phillip Hewat-Jaboor (1953-2022) was a revered art advisor and the chairman of Masterpiece Art Fair in London (2012-2022). Comprising approximately 200 lots, this erudite collection, which celebrates the beauty of hardstones and prestigious provenances, spans decorative arts from Antiquity to the contemporary. Hewat-Jaboor had a particular passion for porphyry, evident in the large and notable group of porphyry objects in the sale, led by a pair of early 19th century Neoclassical porphyry vases (estimate: £100,000-150,000). Other works of art reflect his deep admiration for, and affinity with, the legendary British patrons and collectors William Beckford (1760-1844) and Thomas Hope (1769-1831). The collection is expected to realise in excess of £1.5 million, with estimates ranging from £700 to £150,000. Early highlights will be on view in London from 30 November to 6 December, alongside the Classic Week London sales in December, ahead of the full pre-sale exhibition which will run from 3 to 8 February 2024.

Charles Cator, Deputy Chairman, Christie’s International: “Philip played an important, indeed unique, role in the art world, most especially in the world of the decorative arts that he so loved. With his encyclopaedic knowledge and broad vision, he brought together the commercial and academic worlds in a way that few others have managed to do. Through his passionate support of both, his achievements were many. Philip had an innate understanding of works of art which was immediate and informed. He grasped the creative process — how works of art come into being — as well as the interaction between the artist and the patron, with which he had such affinity as an enlightened and adventurous patron himself.

The story of a work of art was always at the forefront of his mind. No one understood the romance of an object better than Philip and no one did more to communicate that romance to the public. Very few people in the art world have been held in greater respect and affection than Philip for all that he did and created, and it is both an honour and a privilege to pay tribute to him and thank him — as we all owe him so much.”

Highlights include:


Hewat-Jaboor was fascinated by Imperial porphyry and precious marble. Such was the depth of his interest that he made two pilgrimages to the Mons Porphyrites in Egypt. These highly prized ancient stones, which have been reworked over time from Pharaonic Egypt and Imperial Rome through to the 16th, 17th and 18th centuries, found their perfect expression in his collection. He used them not only as works of art but in the very infrastructure of his house in Jersey, creating a wondrous kunstkammer of marbles.

The collection is led by a pair of early 19th century Neoclassical porphyry vases (estimate: £100,000-150,000), believed to be in the collection of Sir Alexander Hope at Luffness House, East Lothian prior to 1837 before being sold in 1923. Further highlights of the hardstone in the collection include an Italian porphyry tazza, circa 1800 (estimate: £40,000-60,000); and a 16th century Roman specimen marble table top which stood centre stage in Hewat-Jaboor’s library (estimate: £50,000-80,000).


William Beckford, the celebrated antiquarian and art collector, was the subject of the landmark exhibition William Beckford, 1760–1844: An Eye for the Magnificent in 2001–2002, which Hewat-Jaboor was very much involved in. William Beckford’s life and work is continued by the Beckford Tower Trust which continues to examine and contextualise the complex legacy of the family.

Hewat-Jaboor collected many works of art commissioned or collected by William Beckford, including items sold from the magnificent Fonthill Abbey auction of 1823. Among the highlights are: a pair of George III gilt-bronze candlesticks by Benjamin Vuillamy commissioned by William Beckford for Fonthill circa 1805-

1810 (estimate: £70,000-100,000); a George III silver-gilt, coral and chalcedony tazza designed by Gregorio Franchi and William Beckford, mark of James Aldridge, 1812 (estimate: £30,000-50,000) which is depicted in one of a set of three paintings Object of vertu by Willes Maddox (1813-1853) and illustrates precious objects from Beckford’s collection; and a pair of Roman giltwood armchairs circa 1815, after a design by Dionesio Santi, which were probably purchased by Beckford from Cardinal Fesch, Paris in 1816 (estimate: £30,000-50,000).


Hewat-Jaboor similarly had huge admiration and appreciation of Thomas Hope, and his enthusiasm and support for the study of Hope were central to the notable exhibition Thomas Hope: Regency Designer at the V&A, in 2008. Works of art with Thomas Hope provenance include: a Regency Coadestone figure of a lioness, circa 1819 (estimate: £15,000-25,000) commissioned for Deepdene, his home in Surrey; and a Regency mahogany cabinet or 'recess', designed by Thomas Hope circa 1800 for his London house in Duchess Street (estimate: £25,000-40,000), which Hewat-Jaboor used to display his collection of specimen marbles and minerals; and a Regency ormolu-mounted bronze hanging lantern, circa 1800 also designed by Hope for Duchess Street circa 1805 (estimate: £6,000-9,000).


Amongst some of Philip’s prized possessions was his collection of Antiquities which he displayed in his inner sanctum, the Library – a room he purpose built for the study of these objects and to house his extensive collection of books. Taking pride of place was the large Roman floor mosaic (estimate: £20,000-30,000), circa 4th century A.D. Other highlights include a Roman marble bust of Bacchus, circa 2nd Century A.D. (estimate: £70,000-100,000) and a Roman marble cinerarium, circa 2nd Century A.D. (estimate: £7,000-9,000).

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