Collection of Lord & Lady Weinstock at Christie’s

Christie’s is set to present The Collection of Lord & Lady Weinstock, comprising Old Master Paintings, English and European furniture and works of art, silver, gold boxes and porcelain, as well as important pieces from Lady Weinstock’s extraordinary jewellery collection.

This landmark collection will be offered for sale in three live auctions this autumn: The Collection of Lord & Lady Weinstock will take place at Christie’s London on 22
November; an Important Diamond Rivière Necklace will be included in Magnificent Jewels, Geneva on 8 November; and Jean-Francois de Troy’s The Reading Party will be a highlight in the Old Masters Evening Sale in London on 8 December, part of Classic Week.

Arnold Weinstock was one of the great figures in British business and political life in the second half of the 20th Century. He was a leading industrialist in post-war Britain, and through his vision, energy and astute business acumen, he transformed the General Electric Company (GEC) into one of the most successful companies of the post-war era.

Lord Weinstock’s interests and influence extended far beyond industry into the worlds of business, finance, politics, racing and the arts, particularly music. In 1949, he married Netta Sobell, the daughter of Sir Michael Sobell, and worked for the latter’s company Radio and Allied Industries from 1954, merging it with GEC in 1961. The Weinstocks bought their first apartment in Grosvenor Square, Mayfair, London in the mid-1960s, and began their acquisition of Old Master pictures, French and English furniture and English silver from the most interesting collection sales of the day, including: Baroness Burton, Mrs Derek Fitzgerald, the Earls of Craven, Sir Harry Hague, John D. Rockefeller, as well as the leading dealers, particularly Partridge and also Mallett and S.J. Phillips.

After purchasing Bowden Park in Wiltshire, a fine late 18th Century house in warm honey-coloured stone by James Wyatt, the Weinstocks continued to assemble their collection of elegant and important furniture, always with interesting provenances or from celebrated collections.

Offered during Classic Week, a notable highlight in the Old Masters Evening Sale on 8 December is Jean-François de Troy’s, The Reading Party (Paris 1679-1752 Rome), estimated at £2,000,000-£3,000,000. Acclaimed in his lifetime as one of the most ambitious and fluent masters of grand manner (and grand-scale) paintings of historical, biblical and mythological subjects, Jean-François de Troy is today revered chiefly for a series of small-scale contemporary genre scenes depicting the social rituals of the Parisian haute monde, known as ‘tableaux de mode’ (loosely translated as ‘Fashionable Pictures’), of which The Reading Party is amongst the finest and most seductive.

Jean-François de Troy's, The Reading Party

Amongst the outstanding jewels collected by Lady Weinstock is an Important Diamond Rivière Necklace, included in Magnificent Jewels, Geneva on 8 November. Comprising a pear-shaped brilliant-cut diamond of 10.33 carats, 2 main old-cut diamonds of 7.20 and 4.80 carats, a circular diamond of 4.18 carats (GIA); the remaining diamonds for a total approximate weight of 70.00 – 80.00 carats. Total approximate weight of 95.00 – 110.00 carats, estimated at £500,000–£700,000. Lord Weinstock was one of the most successful English racehorse owners of his time, winning the Derby with ‘Troy’ in 1979 – a particularly proud moment among many decades of triumphant wins. It is fitting, therefore, that the top lot in The Collection of Lord & Lady Weinstock live auction is John Frederick Herring’s The Start of the Goodwood Gold Cup, 1831, estimated at £250,000–£350,000. The painting shows Lord Chesterfield’s Priam, His Majesty King William IV’s Fleur de Lis and Mr Stonehewer’s Variation, all at the start of the race. The work hung in pride of place above the chimneypiece in Lord Weinstock’s study at Bowden Park, alongside his many racing trophies, a number of which are also included in the sale.

Collected with an exacting eye for quality, the English furniture is highlighted by a group of pieces by or attributed to the London cabinet-makers Ince & Mayhew. Particularly fascinating are the magnificent tables from the Drawing room at Bowden – a pair of George III marquetry and giltwood console tables, attributed to Ince & Mayhew, estimated at £100,000–£150,000, which were probably amongst the furniture supplied by the partnership to the Earl of Kerry in circa 1770. There is also a splendid pair of tables which were in the hall at Bowden – A pair of George III marquetry, giltwood and painted demi-lune consoles, by Ince & Mayhew, estimated at £70,000–£100,000, which were almost certainly supplied to the Duke of Dorset circa 1777, and had belonged to Sir Michael Sobell.

Adorning the furniture was a superb collection of ormolu-mounted celadon porcelain and white marble objets d’art. A near pair of Régence ormolu-mounted Chinese crackle-glazed porcelain vases, circa 1725, estimated £70,000–£100,000, are of an extremely rare form with beautifully cast and chased dragon handles, and have been traced back to their 19th-century provenance. A pair of Louis XV ormolu-mounted Chinese celadon-glazed vases, mid-18th century, with an estimate of £40,000–£60,000, display rare underglaze copper-red decoration on their whimsically designed bamboo shoot form stems.

Among other treasures is a wonderful group of silver – including a set of four French silver candlesticks, mark of Gilles Gouel, Paris, 1719, estimated at £20,000–£30,000, which were formerly in the collection of the Tenison family, the Earls of Kingston, at Kilronan Castle, Co. Rosscommon. The select group of glittering gold boxes is led by a Louis XV three-colour gold and enamel snuff box, mark of Jean-Joseph Barriere, Paris, 1768, estimate of £20,000–£30,000. Crowning the selection of Lady Weinstock’s jewellery to be included in the Collection Sale is a fine 19th century diamond tiara with an estimate of £60,000–£80,000, purchased from renowned dealer S.J. Phillips. The tiara is offered alongside a wide range of jewels including a number of highly desirable pieces by Van Cleef & Arpels.

Charles Cator, Deputy Chairman, Christie’s International commented: “It is such an honour for Christie’s to be entrusted with the sale of the Weinstock Collection. I have such a special memory of meeting Lord and Lady Weinstock at the Treasure Houses of Britain exhibition at the National Gallery of Washington in 1985. It was the most incredible exhibition and wonderful to see them both there enjoying this great celebration of all that had inspired them in the creation of their own English Arcadia at Bowden.”

He continued: “It is particularly exciting to be able to bring so many important pieces by Ince & Mayhew to the market in the year of the publication of the monograph on their work that Hugh Roberts and I have been working on for more than forty years. The collection itself includes the very finest examples across a remarkable range of genres.”