Will It Be London’s Loveliest Room?

Will It Be London’s Loveliest Room?

Select items from 5 Belgrave Square, London, will be offered in our upcoming Fine Interiors sale on 14 & 15 March.

22 February 2023

Will it be London’s loveliest room?’ Henry ‘Chips’ Channon pondered in a diary entry written 17 June 1935, having just met Stéphane Boudin, the influential French interior designer that he had chosen to create his new dining room at 5 Belgrave Square.

Channon was an American millionaire socialite who only wanted the best and most glamorous. Boudin, the president and lead designer of Paris-based decorating firm Maison Jansen was, according to Chips, ‘the greatest decorator in the world’ and worthy of the task of refurbishing parts of the flat he’d purchased with his heiress wife, Lady Honor Guinness.

The Amalienburg Dining Room at 5 Belgrave Square, Country Life ©

The Amalienburg Dining Room at 5 Belgrave Square, Country Life ©

The finished product, a frivolous rococo fantasy painted in ‘cascades of aquamarine’ and dripping in silver leaf, was inspired by the Hall of Mirrors in the Amalienburg, a hunting lodge in the park of Nymphenburg Palace, near Munich, completed by 1739.

The existing Regency cornice and frieze with coved ceiling were replaced with burnished silver plaster decoration depicting scallop shells, scrolls and nymphs, in between walls painted in cool blue, with end sections incorporating mirrored double doors mounted with silver-plated hardware. The effect was dazzling and enthralling to all who visited, including Queen Mary, Edward VIII and Wallis Simpson.

Lot 166, A large Meissen porcelain Schneeballen vase and cover, c.1870

Lot 166, A large Meissen porcelain Schneeballen vase and cover, c.1870

Lot 167, A pair of Meissen porcelain Schneeballen vases

Lot 167, A pair of Meissen porcelain Schneeballen vases

Channon’s personal taste also shone through; along the centre of the custom-made Rococo-style dining table by Jansen lay Meissen porcelain from his collection, including pieces from the famous swan service, commissioned in 1737 by Count Heinrich von Brühl, prime minister to Augustus III, elector of Saxony.

Other Meissen porcelain from Channon’s collection will be offered in our upcoming Fine Interiors sale, including a ‘Schneeballen’ vase and cover, c.1870, which is exceptional in both size and technique. It is complemented by two other lots of smaller ‘Schneeballen’ vases, with estimates upwards of £1,500.

The Library, 5 Belgrave Square, Country Life ©

The Library, 5 Belgrave Square, Country Life ©

The other rooms of 5 Belgrave Square, published in Country Life in the spring of 1941, had a distinctly different feel to Boudin’s creation. In fashionable Regency style, they incorporated the building’s original architectural mouldings and were furnished with classically inspired furniture and works of art. These rooms projected a much more relaxed feel than the grandeur of the dining room, which was perfect for the many evenings Channon spent entertaining guests there.

Channon with guests in the Library, with lot 161, a Blue John or Derbyshire fluorspar chalice, in the foreground

Channon with guests in the Library, with lot 161, a Blue John or Derbyshire fluorspar chalice, in the foreground

Lots 160, 161 and 162 in Fine Interiors

Sworders are pleased to present a select group of lots once owned by Henry ‘Chips’ Channon at 5 Belgrave Square, which can be viewed here.

 


For further information, please contact fineinteriors@sworder.co.uk

 

 


 

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