T he S. J. Phillips: A Bond Street Legacy sale at Sotheby’s on 18 October includes a remarkable collection of English and continental silver and exquisite vintage jewels spanning over 500 years.
The sale, which comes after one of London’s oldest and most cherished antique galleries relocated from Bond Street to Bruton Street, will offer a fantastic opportunity for collectors to acquire some of the timeless pieces in the collection.
AN IMPRESSIVE COLOURED DIAMOND NECKLACE, CIRCA 1910. ESTIMATE: 240,000-280,000 GBP
The gallery has long been a favourite of taste-maker and former Vogue editor-in-chief Dame Anna Wintour, DBE, who said:
"A visit to S. J. Phillips has always been the highlight of any London trip for me - and, indeed, this is also the case for many of my friends. What I find especially captivating are the estate pieces, those dazzling, romantic reminders of past eras and personal histories. Tortoise-shell hair combs by Cartier from the Twenties sit alongside 19th century rococo charm bracelets by Boucheron. Some pieces date to the 17th century - family heirlooms, lovers' baubles, memento mori. It will be thrilling to see so many of the Nortons’ exceptionally beautiful and highly curated treasures find new homes, and to see my great friends embark on the next chapter of the S. J. Phillips story in their new Bruton Street location.”
GEM SET AND DIAMOND BRACELET, 1950S. ESTIMATE: 120,000-150,000 GBP
Celebrating the gallery’s rich and distinguished history, the sale will comprise some 260 prized lots from this much-loved treasure house, including exceptional English and continental silver and antique jewels, many with a fascinating story to tell.
Silver highlights include The Marquess of Abercorn's fine George III silver-gilt tray. An exceptional example of the work of 18th century London silversmith, James Young, it has been expertly and boldly engraved with the coat of arms of John James Hamilton, 1st Marquess of Abercorn.
THE MARQUESS OF ABERCORN'S TRAY, 1791. ESTIMATE: 150,000 – 200,000 GBP
Nicolas Norton, Director of S.J. Phillips and great-grandson of the original founder, said: “Earlier this year, we moved to our new premises on the second floor of 26 Bruton Street, marking a new chapter in our history. Owing to the smaller space we now have available, we are no longer able to display all of our collection successfully and have decided to part with a number of beautiful objects, which we hope will bring pleasure to new owners. S.J. Phillips and Sotheby’s have been neighbours on New Bond Street for over a century now and this sale celebrates our fantastic working relationship.”
A FRENCH PARCEL-GILT SILVER VASE, COVER AND STAND, CIRCA 1815. ESTIMATE: 70,000 – 100,000 GBP
British Designer Jasper Conran OBE is another devotee, saying: “I was first introduced to SJ Phillips one dark, wintery afternoon over thirty years ago by the author Bruce Chatwin. He said to me ‘Let's go and see Marie Antoinette's hatpins’. This was, I thought an extremely odd and incongruous proposition to come out of Bruce's mouth, he of the backpack and muddy boots, totally spare aesthetic and witheringly scornful of the pursuit of possessions by others. However, upon entering the glittering Aladdin's cave of a shop on Bond Street and meeting the extraordinarily friendly and learned members of the Norton family I could quite see how even Bruce might be captivated, I was certainly spellbound. There, nestling in the vitrines with Marie Antoinette's sparklers glittered a myriad of beautiful objects of historical interest and sometimes great value, often invested with tales of romance, connoisseurship, revolution and lost fortunes. Heady stuff.
“Since then, like Truman Capote's heroine Holly Golightly, if feeling a bit down I make a beeline for SJ’s not necessarily to purchase Barbara Hutton's perfectly matched canary yellow diamonds but to be soothed and amused by being amongst them.”
Other highlights of the sale include an impressive coloured diamond necklace, circa 1910, featuring front suspending swags and pendent floral motifs set with cushion-shaped diamonds of yellow tint (top picture).
And a similarly beautiful gem set and diamond necklace, from the late 19th century, with cushion-shaped and oval stones including hessonite garnet, pink and white sapphire, aquamarine, pink and yellow topaz, yellow zircon, green tourmaline and alexandrite.
Sotheby’s Silver Specialist, James Clare added, “It is a great pleasure to offer this collection at Sotheby’s to a worldwide audience, giving our buyers the opportunity to buy a piece of silver epitomising the family ethos of quality and fine taste, as well as taking away a piece of the company’s rich Bond Street history.”