Guinevere, the long-established taste-making ‘hub’ of antique finds on the King’s Road, is to curate a special auction at Dreweatts on May 23, celebrating the shop’s 60th year supplying antiques and decorative arts from around the world to its wide-ranging clientele.
The family-run business was the brainchild of French-born Genevieve Weaver, who moved to London in the 1960s. Already a creative force as a hat designer, her passion for antiques was inspired by furnishing her own homes. Having purchased certain pieces to fit into her own interiors, she would then sell them on in order to recreate her ever-changing taste. Her move to Chelsea saw her develop her skills into a business and Guinevere was born as a shop on the Kings Road.
The main draw was the range of extraordinary finds sourced on Genevieve’s travels around the world. These rare and sometimes one-off pieces soon Genevieve as a tastemaker, who set new trends and broke boundaries – something the company says it prides itself on continuing. Today Genevieve’s sons Kevin and Marc and Marc’s wife Heather Weaver continue to build on this creative foundation and strong passion that was instilled from the company’s beginnings, sourcing collections and one-off works from around the globe.
The carefully chosen works include rare furniture, textiles, lighting, decorative works of art and curious antique pieces, as well as contemporary works that are out of the ordinary and always of exceptional quality.
The premises have expanded over the years and as well as being a ‘go-to’ for celebrities, interior designers and private clients.
The upcoming auction will offer Guinevere a chance to champion what they’ve achieved, while they continue to evolve in the ever-changing digital landscape, as tastes change and demand soars for certain works and styles in a contemporary age. This means the sale will be the last chance to shop at Guinevere as we know it.
As visitors enter the premises they wander through expansive galleries on a mini ‘Grand Tour’, with rooms arranged as settings for dinner, drinks, relaxing or entertaining. The arrangements also change regularly, so there is never the same journey.
Commenting on the specially curated auction, Will Richards, Deputy Chairman of Dreweatts, said: “We are absolutely delighted to be holding the Guinevere sale, celebrating 60 years of this well-loved Kings Road institution. For generations Guinevere has been at the centre of London’s famous international antiques and interior design world. Famed for their fusion of cultural influences from around the world and range of periods from antiquity to modern and contemporary, they have a truly global client base. We are thrilled to be working with Kevin, Marc and Heather to celebrate this landmark!”
Commenting on celebrating 60 years with this special auction, Marc Weaver, said: “It would be impossible to let our anniversary pass without a celebration. For us this means an auction, a big party and a chance to reflect on the past and consider what lies ahead.”
Among the highlights of the works in the sale is a stunning Italian marquetry inlaid vellum sideboard by Italian designers Giuseppe Anzani and Paolo Buffa. Anzani and Buffa collaborated on many commissions from the 1930s to the 1950s. Both esteemed designers in their own right, their original designs and quality craftsmanship are still highly sought-after. Here Anzani has created stunning detailed inlaid panels depicting cupid figures in chariots, which have been mounted into an overall sideboard design, created by Buffa. Paolo Buffa was extremely popular, not just for his furniture design, but also for his architectural and interior design of hotels, villas and offices, to special projects, such as original designs for royal yachts. The sideboard in the sale dates from 1941 and carries an estimate of £7,000-£10,000.
A grand pair of French silvered and gilded bronze Pompeiian tripod torcheres in the sale are attributed to the French sculptor Ferdinand Barbedienne (1810-1892). Barbedienne was considered one of the most significant casters of bronze works during the late 19th Century and the founder of one of the most important artistic foundries of the period. Championed for bringing artworks to the wider public, by initially creating miniatures of famous sculptures found in museums around the world, his business evolved into the creation of domestic works in bronze and other metals for the home, as well as huge public commissions for which he was awarded several honours. The ornate, yet stylish torcheres in the sale date from circa 1890 and carry and estimate of £5,000-£8,000.
A George IV carved giltwood wall mirror is believed to be in the manner of Irish makers Francis & John Booker of Dublin, the foremost glassmakers in Ireland. The business was established by John Booker Snr. in the 17th century and their reputation grew to extend to supplying the royal family and the wealthy of Ireland, alongside the wider community. Listed as ‘specialised in glass grinding and cutting’, they worked with leading wood carvers to create the bespoke frames that adorned them. On John Booker Snr’s death in 1750 his sons took on the business with great success. The mirror in the sale dates from circa 1830 and is in the classic ornate Booker style. It carries an estimate of £2,000-£3,000.
A set of four ‘en-grisaille’ oil paintings of winged putti representing the arts in the manner of Belgian artist Piat Joseph Sauvage (1744-1818) are also on offer. ‘En-grisaille’ is a historic technique of painting in neutral shades to imitate sculpture. It was usually used in large decorative schemes and was a stunning art form in its own right. Early known examples date back to the 13th century and some are still used today, with a wider colour palette. Piat Joseph Sauvage was a master in the art form, undertaking Royal and public commissions. This particular set of paintings dates from circa 1830 and is estimated to fetch £3,000-£5,000.
Guinevere also specialises in tapestries, from antique to contemporary and in the sale is a rare wool and silk historic tapestry. It depicts a scene from the life of one of the most daring military leaders in history, the Carthaginian general and statesman Hannibal (247-181 BC). The central panel depicts Hannibal deploying cattle with flaming horns at the Battle of Ager Falernus in 217AD. The tapestry is believed to be after 16th-century designs by Francois Geubels (Flemish Fl.1546-1579) for Brussels workshops and is estimated to fetch £15,000-£25,000.
Among the contemporary works is a pair of silvered and lacquered leaf chairs by celebrated French artist Joy de Rohan Chabot. Inspired by nature she uses a honed laser-cut metal technique to create stunning furniture with seemingly suspended adornments, such as leaves and butterflies. They are sculpted as one piece, creating a stable and beautiful piece of hand-painted furniture. The chairs in the sale were created in 2018 and are estimated to fetch £1,200-£1,800.
Among smaller pieces in the sale is a Victorian silver plate novelty cruet by Gotscher & Co. Birmingham, in a design registered in 1886, which is estimated at £150-£250, a pair of 19th century Chinese flambe porcelain vases, estimated at £1,500-£2,500; a pair of 20th century Italian glazed pottery models of leopards, estimated at £3,000-£5,000 and a striking Chinese powder blue rectangular section gilt metal ‘gu’ vase mounted by the famous Escalier de Cristal in Paris, which first opened it shop in the Palais Royale in 1808. The vase dates from the late 19th century and is estimated to fetch £800-£1,200.