Sotheby’s to Auction Sir Henry “Chips” Channon’s Mirrored Dining Table

Sotheby’s London announced that it will offer Sir Henry “Chips” Channon’s 25 feet long, mirrored dining table and three sets of double doors from his celebrated rococo dining room at 5 Belgrave Square. The spectacular table (estimated at £5,000-£7,000*) and doors (£3,000-£5,000) will be offered as part of the Fine Furniture Sale on September 20th 2011. Channon, the self-proclaimed “Lord of Hosts” and his heiress wife, Honor Guinness, were renowned for the flamboyance of their entertaining and the glamour of their guest-lists.

Sotheby’s UK Chairman, James Stourton has written about the sale: “The house and dining room at 5 Belgrave Square have an important place in the history of 1930s taste. The dining room was the centrepiece of “Chips” Channon’s makeover of the house, which he and his wife acquired as a stage for their entertaining.”

The monumental table, which fully extended, reaches over 25 feet/7.7 metres, has a mirrored top, which echoed the room’s mirrored panelling. Channon, author of The Ludwigs of Bavaria, took the rococo Mirror Room in the Amaleinburg, outside Munich, as his inspiration. He commissioned Stephane Boudin from the House of Jansen in Paris (who later decorated the White House for Jacqueline Kennedy) to create what he anticipated would be London’s loveliest room.

“Monsieur Boudin of Jansen came to us this morning with his final drawings and estimates for our dining-room which is to imitate and, I hope, rival the Amalienburg. It will shimmer in blue and silver, and have an ochre and silver gallery leading to it. It will shock and stagger London. And it will cost us over £6,000,” recorded Sir Henry in his celebrated Diaries in 1935.

During the War, the Channons held court at lavish parties where leading politicians and European royalty mingled with stars from the worlds of literature, stage and screen. “Chips” commissioned the opulent dining room to entertain King Edward VIII, who duly came to dinner with Wallis Simpson on 11th June 1936.

The dining room chairs were silvered and upholstered in sea-green silk to match the curtains. Meissen porcelain graced the table and the panelling was decorated with panels in the manner of Oudry. The effect was described by Chips on the night of the King’s visit, as dinner was announced: “The doors were flung open…and there was a pause as everyone’s breath was quite taken away by the beauty of the dining-room…”

Sir Henry “Chips” Channon
Sir Henry “Chips” Channon was born in Chicago to an Anglo-American family, which made its fortune in shipping. He moved to England in 1920, studied at Oxford and following his marriage to Honor Guinness in 1933, became Conservative MP for Southend. Society host and author, he is best remembered as one of the most famous political and social diarists of the 20th Century. “I am riveted,” he confessed, “by lust, furniture, glamour, society and jewels.”

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