Royal lots reign at Bonhams period design sale

Period Design
10 Dec 2013
London, Knightsbridge

A sparkling Empire-style chandelier will be the highlight of Bonhams Period Design sale on December 10th in London's Knightsbridge. Manufactured for Asprey and Company, and with an exciting theatrical provenance, the shining light is estimated at £10,000-15,000.

This tent and bag sixteen light chandelier is made of gilt brass and Swarovski-Strass cut glass, and measures 310cm in drop and 104cm in diameter.

This chandelier of cascading glass was used to dress the set for the meeting room at Buckingham Palace for the production of 'The Audience' with Helen Mirren as the Queen at the Gielgud Theatre. A review of the opening night from the 'The Stage' (6th March 2013) commented on the set design: 'The set is beautiful. The palace meeting room is exquisitely recreated as is the drawing room of Balmoral...'

Another highlight of the sale which also has a Royal Provenance (this time, one that isn't staged), is an early 19th century French 'Palais Royal' jewellery casket, formed as a miniature dressing chest in the Empire taste.

It is believed that this chest was originally owned by Princess Mary, Duchess of Gloucester and Edinburgh (25 April 1776 – 30 April 1857), and fourth daughter of King George III.

This pressed gilt brass and mother of pearl veneered piece measures 25cm high, 15cm wide, and 8cm deep, and is estimated at £600-900.

The pink silk-lined interior of the chest contains two scraps of paper inscribed in ink. The first reads: "This pretty toy was given to Georgina when she was ten years old by the Princess Mary, Duchess of Gloucester, who had requested to see her"; the later note simply states: "Bought from Charlotte, April 1855".


Bonhams, founded in 1793, is one of the world's largest auctioneers of fine art and antiques. The present company was formed by the merger in November 2001 of Bonhams & Brooks and Phillips Son & Neale. In August 2002, the company acquired Butterfields, the principal firm of auctioneers on the West Coast of America. Today, Bonhams offers more sales than any of its rivals, through two major salerooms in London: New Bond Street and Knightsbridge; and a further three in the UK regions and Scotland. Sales are also held in San Francisco, Los Angeles, Carmel, New York and Connecticut in the USA; and Germany, France, Monaco, Hong Kong and Australia. Bonhams has a worldwide network of offices and regional representatives in 25 countries offering sales advice and valuation services in 60 specialist areas. For a full listing of upcoming sales, plus details of Bonhams specialist departments go to

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