. September 27, 2007

Bonhams is delighted to announce that it has been appointed by The Fairmont Hotels & Resorts to hold an auction of selected contents from The Savoy Hotel, London. Three thousand items of furniture from the hotel will be sold by Bonhams, the international fine art auctioneers, on 18 – 20 December 2007 at the hotel, just days after it closes for a £100 million refurbishment.

Since it was built in 1889 by the great theatrical impressario Richard D’Oyle Carte, who owned the adjacent Savoy Theatre, The Savoy Hotel has become a name synonymous with luxury and style. For over a century many of its guests have included the world’s most glamorous, wealthy and powerful figures, who have demonstrated a devoted loyalty to a hotel, which has consistently offered a standard of service that meets the most discriminating taste.

The Savoy Sale, to be conducted by Bonhams, will feature stylish items of furniture with impeccable provenance at affordable prices. The furniture to be sold, which includes lighting, mirrors, works of art, and silver plate, will all be offered at “no reserve”, which means that items could go for as little as £20. However, some of the more important furnishings are expected to fetch in excess of £15,000.

Bonhams’ Director of The Savoy Sale, Harvey Cammell, says: “The auction presents everyone around the world with a “once-in-a-lifetime” opportunity to acquire an extraordinary range of iconic items from one of the most famous hotels in the world.”

The three-day sale is expected to fetch in excess of £1 million. The majority of lots consist of furnishings from 215 bedrooms and suites, including the famous Monet Suite, as well as The Royal Opera House Suite and The Richard Harris Suite, in which the famous actor lived for a while. In addition, selected items from The Savoy Hotel’s public areas including The Lobby, The Upper Thames Foyer, The Thames Foyer, The Beaufort Room, The River Restaurant, The Manhattan and Parlour Bars and The Abraham Lincoln Room will be auctioned.

Such is the five-star hotel’s global status and unique appeal; it has attracted the world’s most important dignitaries, politicians, film stars and musicians through its doors. The Savoy’s first manager was César Ritz, who later founded the renowned Ritz Hotel in London’s Piccadilly. In 1892/3, the legendary French chef Auguste Escoffier created the world famous dessert Peach Melba – in honour of the actress Dame Nelly Melba. In addition, the celebrated bartender Harry Craddock invented countless classic cocktails in the 1920s and ‘30s from hotel’s American Bar. He single-handedly popularised the Dry Martini across the world.

The French Impressionist artist Claude Monet and the American painter James Whistler both stayed at the hotel and from their respective rooms painted their evocative views of The River Thames. Other celebrated guests have included the political heavyweights Sir Winston Churchill and Harry S Truman; music legends Noel Coward, Enrico Caruso, Giacomo Puccini, Maria Callas, The Beatles and Bob Dylan; and film stars, such as Charlie Chaplin, Marilyn Monroe, Elizabeth Taylor, and John Wayne. The tradition of celebrity guests continues to this very day.

Star Lots for sale include:

Over 200 bespoke made beds complete with laundered bed linen mattresses (estimate from £400-600);

An early 20th century mahogany and gilt metal mounted cylinder bureau from The Monet Suite’s sitting room, overlooking The River Thames. Estimate £1,000-1,500.

An Edwardian satinwood and rosewood banded bookcase from the 4th floor landing. Estimate £6,000-8,000.

Over 200 pairs of the highest quality lined curtains. Estimates from £50-500.

Two pairs of 24-light tôle-peinte chandeliers from The Thames Foyer (each pair estimated at £10,000-15,000).

A large oak parquet dancefloor consisting of 100 sections, each section 92cm wide x 92cm deep, from The Lancaster Ballroom. Estimate £400-600.

A Grotrian Steinweg white grand piano, played every Sunday in The River Restaurant for the Jazz Brunch. Estimate £2,000-3,000.

The Beaufort Screen – a large 12-panel trompe l’oeil screen, which handsomely divides The Beaufort Room and The Thames Foyer. Estimate £10,000-15,000.

A George III mahogany serpentine chest of drawers found in the sitting room of the suite famously occupied by the actor Richard Harris. Estimate £3,000-4,000.

A David Linley specimen wood five-panel marquetry screen, commissioned especially for The Thames Foyer. Estimate £3,000-5,000.

Twenty silver-plated rectangular butlers’ trays made by Elkington & Co for The Savoy, which bear the Savoy name. Estimate £100-150.

A three-tiered planter, located at the front entrance of the hotel – the only place in the UK that cars can drive on the right hand side of the road. Estimate £400-600.

A donation from the proceeds of the auction will go to Farms for City Children (FFCC), the charity founded by award winning children’s author and former Savoy Writer-in-Residence, Michael Morpurgo.

For further information about The Savoy Sale, go to Bonhams website:

Category: Auction News

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