Mario Buatta: Prince of Interiors

Mario Buatta: Prince of Interiors

View full screen - View 1 of Lot 496. A REGENCY EBONIZED AND PARCEL-GILT X-FRAME STOOL, CIRCA 1810.


Auction Closed

January 25, 03:59 AM GMT


5,000 - 8,000 USD

Lot Details



covered in Brunschwig & Fils Bagatelle fabric

height 24 ½ in.; width 38 ½ in.; depth 16 ½ in.

62.2 cm; 97.8 cm; 41.9 cm

The Collection of Ronald Tree and Nancy Lancaster, Ditchley Park, Oxfordshire

The Estate of Marietta Peabody and Ronald Tree, Ditchley Park House, Sotheby Parke Bernet, New York, 8-9 October 1976, lot 330

The silhouette of this stool, of ancient Roman curule form, is very similar to that of an X-frame stool published by George Smith in A Collection of Designs for Household Furniture and Interior Decoration (1808), plate 53. A related model was designed by the antiquarian collector and tastemaker Thomas Hope for his house in Duchess Street and published in plate 12 no.4 of his Household Furniture and Interior Decoration (1807). 

In 1933 Ronald Tree was elected Member of Parliament for Harborough, and the same year he and Nancy Lancaster bought Ditchley Park near Charlbury, Oxfordshire. Like Kelmarsh, Ditchley was designed by James Gibbs in 1722, for the Earl of Lichfield, but it was larger and more grand, with an impressive series of state rooms on the ground floor, including a central hall with painted ceilings designed by Henry Flitcroft. The house was acquired partially furnished, but the Trees vigorously embarked on a refurbishment campaign, intermittently with the help of Sibyl Colefax and Stéphane Boudin of the Maison Jansen, incorporating Nancy's own designs and furniture purchases. The redecoration was complete in 1937, and to celebrate their new house and the Coronation of George VI, the Trees held a ball in June, described by Vogue as 'the best party anybody has seen for many years'. The interiors were universally admired, with James Lee-Milne writing 'Ditchley inside is perfection. Nothing jars. Nothing is too sumptuous or too new.' The Duchess of Devonshire was particularly fond of the modern bathrooms, describing them as 'little works of art...with shelves of Chelsea china, cauliflowers, cabbages, tulips and rabbits of exquisite quality'.

The offered lot stood in the Yellow Bedroom, where it was recorded in a watercolour by Alexandre Serebriakoff executed after the Trees had divorced. As the principal guest bedroom it was famously used by Sir Winston Churchill, who was a frequent visitor to Ditchley during the war years as the house was deemed a safer location than the Prime Minister's official country retreat at Chequers in Buckinghamshire. Between 1940 and 1942 Churchill spent twelve weekends at the house