The Bunny Mellon Sale at Sotheby's

The forthcoming sale, Property from the Collection of Mrs. Paul Mellon at Sotheby's, promises to be a rare event for anyone interested in the decorative or fine arts, or simply fine living. Sales like this do not happen very often anymore: the sheer breadth of Mrs. Mellon's collection ranges from Rothko paints to garden tools.  Her collection of porcelains could have a sale in their own right and includes multiple lots of Meissen, Chelsea (a rare red anchor period asparagus tureen lot 483) and at least 4 lots from the rare Longton Hall factory (including two even rarer melon form pieces, lot 388 and lot 443) and many others. The Interiors sale alone will take 5 separate sale sessions at Sotheby's spread over 3 days, with separate sale dates for the "Masterworks" and another for "Jewels and Objects of Vertu."

The other aspect of this sale (sales) which makes it so unique, is that it is a complete "collection" from a collector of a previous era. This very private person, and artist in her own right, assembled such a broad and yet specific range of high quality pieces. Vegetable-form porcelains, garden tools, rare books, fine art, baskets and so on.  I may be wrong, but this type of collector does not exist any longer, or they are at least a critically endangered species. 

We were lucky to every now and then work for Mrs. Mellon through her various decorators over years. Besides lot 337 which is a set of 3 of the original version of the etageres we designed and created initially for Billy Baldwin, below is a low bookcase and chair model we made for Mrs. Mellon, including their reference sketches from our design archive. If you have a chance to visit the sale exhibition, it begins on November 15 for the Interiors portion.  

The reference sketch from the Victoria & Son Design Archive for a side chair made for Mrs. Mellon

The reference sketch from the Victoria & Son Design Archive for a side chair made for Mrs. Mellon

The only photo we have of the chair model made for Mrs. Mellow, in this case the armchair version. 

The only photo we have of the chair model made for Mrs. Mellow, in this case the armchair version. 

Design Archive sketch for a very versatile Louis XV style book table, made by Victoria & Son for Mrs. Mellon

Design Archive sketch for a very versatile Louis XV style book table, made by Victoria & Son for Mrs. Mellon

Not the exact table made for Mrs. Mellon, but the floor model of the design. 

Not the exact table made for Mrs. Mellon, but the floor model of the design. 

The Designer Showhouse of New York with Harry Heissmann

Earlier this year, we were thrilled when Harry Heissmann used our prototype Portal Sconce in the inaugural Designer Showhouse of New York supported by NYC&G. We first got to know Harry when he was working with the one and only Albert Hadley. As you can see in the photos below (courtesy of NYC&G and Harry Heissmann), his style delicately pushes the boundaries of interior design, which is only one of the reasons we enjoy working with him so much - thank you Harry!

Harry Heissmann's room at the Designer Showhouse of NY

Harry Heissmann's room at the Designer Showhouse of NY

Harry Heissmann's room at the Designer Showhouse of NY

Harry Heissmann's room at the Designer Showhouse of NY

To view all the rooms of the Designer Showhouse of NY, please click here.

Victoria & Son in the White House

Well, two of our Louis XIV Style hurricanes were there anyway... It was very exciting when Michael Smith Inc. contacted us about supplying a pair of our large hurricanes for their Obama White House project. But, being 2 relatively small pieces of such a enormous project, we never thought we'd actually get to see them in situ or being used at all for that matter.  But then the internet happened - thank you! 

Can you find them both? 

Can you find them both? 

"H" for Heritage

We were very excited to to be featured in Veranda's Encyclopedia of Style in their September 2014 issue! Besides their very kind words, Veranda highlighted Victoria & Son's Sunburst Wall Scone twice. This was the very first time Victoria & Son has ever been in Veranda - thank you!

Victoria & Son in Veranda September 2014

Victoria & Son in Veranda September 2014

Making of the Portal Sconce

Earlier in 2014 we were very excited to introduce the Portal Sconce. The sconce was inspired by a new and creative mirrored glass technique we discovered several years ago. The effect of this glass stayed with us but we were not sure how to best use it. Finally, the idea for a low-profile wall sconce with clean lines evolved and took form. But it had been so long our craftsman had to re-develop the technique! Without going into too much detail, the process involves firing glass to get a 3D effect. However too little time/too low a temperature will not yield the effect and too much time/too high a temperature will simply leave you with puddles of glass. After some trial and error, we landed on the correct result. Below are some images from the process - thank you for having a look! 

The first frame test for our Portal sconce. Templates for the glass were based on this prototype. 

The first frame test for our Portal sconce. Templates for the glass were based on this prototype. 

The first frame prototype in American Walnut and brass for the Portal Sconce

The first frame prototype in American Walnut and brass for the Portal Sconce

Un-mirrored glass firing test which was unsuccessful.

Un-mirrored glass firing test which was unsuccessful.

First time we had a fully assembled prototype with mirrored glass in the walnut and brass frame

First time we had a fully assembled prototype with mirrored glass in the walnut and brass frame

Pair of Portal Sconce specially wired with battery pack LED lights for Harry Heissmann's use in a showhouse/ 

Pair of Portal Sconce specially wired with battery pack LED lights for Harry Heissmann's use in a showhouse/ 

Detail of the mirrored glass of the Portal Sconce as lit by 2 halogen bulbs

Detail of the mirrored glass of the Portal Sconce as lit by 2 halogen bulbs

The Portal Sconce by Victoria & Son

The Portal Sconce by Victoria & Son

The New Barroux

We introduced our New Barroux Chair at the recent Architectural Home Design Show in New York City. It is a model that has been a family favorite for many years because of how supremely comfortable it is. Perhaps more well known as a Maison Jansen model, the design in fact predates that eponymous firm. My grandfather attributed the model to Paris' Maison Barroux and some of the very first ones we made still had levers under each arm. These were part of the original design and controlled ratchets which allowed the back to recline so far as to nearly become a day bed. 

We thought our model would lend itself perfectly to being updated so a new generation could appreciate it.

The first thing we did was to elongate the legs and raise the seat height. The original frame is quite low, even allowing for the down cushion. Raising the height we believe will make it more user-friendly in public, social settings. 

The next, and perhaps most obvious change, was the upholstery. We were influenced by contemporary upholstered chairs by designers like the Bouroullec Brothers and Robert Stadler. What inspired us specifically was a quilted or tufted technique applied continuously from seat to back - eliminating the visual seam between the these two parts of the chair. But, while we applied deep tufts over the seat and back of the New Barroux, but we kept one of the construction features that made the original so comfortable - springs in both the seat and the back. The result, we believe, is chair that lends itself to both modern and traditional settings and one that is not only comfortable to sit in, but easy to get in and out of.

 

The classic Barroux model with sprung back and dorp-platform seat, loose down-cushion and bolster. 

The classic Barroux model with sprung back and dorp-platform seat, loose down-cushion and bolster. 

An original style Barroux in reclined position. One of the mechanical levers is underneath the arm. 

An original style Barroux in reclined position. One of the mechanical levers is underneath the arm. 

Our New Barroux in process. Padding and form is supported by springs in the seat and back. 

Our New Barroux in process. Padding and form is supported by springs in the seat and back. 

Traditional trim and tufting by hand. 

Traditional trim and tufting by hand. 

The New Barroux Chair

The New Barroux Chair

Old and New Barroux, side by side. 

Old and New Barroux, side by side. 

The New Barroux Chair at AD Home Show 2014

The New Barroux Chair at AD Home Show 2014

Original Baldwin-Porter Etagere Finial

We recently completed an etagere version of our Cole Porter model and had an occasion to use the original finial for this client’s project. As a model that has been made many times now, by many different hands, we thought this small detail might be intriguing.  When Frederick originally made the etageres for Billy Baldwin, we used a short, domed finial with radiating gadrooning.  We used these for all the etageres made in our shop at the time. However, as the model became more widely made, we ceased making the etageres around the mid-1960′s and, frankly, forgot about the finial model.

Raw and finished castings of our original finial model for the Cole Porter & Billy Baldwin etagere 

Raw and finished castings of our original finial model for the Cole Porter & Billy Baldwin etagere 

Catalog cover for the "Baltimore's Billy Baldwin" exhibit

Catalog cover for the "Baltimore's Billy Baldwin" exhibit

When Tony started producing the re-edited coffee table versions of the model in 2000, there was still no need for a finial on a coffee table.  But around 2009, as John Archer Abbott started putting together his exhibition “Baltimore’s Billy Baldwin” at John Hopkins (http://www.museums.jhu.edu/evergreen.php?section=exhibitions&exhibition=baldwin), he contacted Tony about anything we might be able to loan to exhibit.  Sure enough, we found the finial models (2 sizes) and sent them down for the exhibit along with some archival photos.

The 2 original variations for the finial

The 2 original variations for the finial

Needless to say we were thrilled our client agreed to use this original detail for their etagere and to see the model used again after a 50 year hiatus!