02 December 2014

The Bunny Effect

"I don't want to hear one more word about that sale," said my friend's partner upon hearing our topic of conversation.  Indeed the Bunny Mellon auction is STILL a subject of conversation - mainly what we didn't win - and has unleashed a passion in many of us for ceramic vegetables and painted fauteuils (a market on which Mrs. Mellon seemed to have a monopoly).

If you viewed the sale, you couldn't have missed the ginormous five-tier etagere arranged with all manner of porcelain cabbage, asparagus, and lettuce, faithfully replicating how it was in her Virginia house*, as seen above.

One of the many interesting things about Mrs. Mellon is that even though she could have lived in the most ducal surroundings, she preferred things rustic and light.  She wasn't afraid to paint a bronze Giacometti white or let it rust out in the garden, and she didn't think twice about whopping off the Chippendale Gothic cresting...

of that etagere, which she purchased from Colefax and Fowler, as seen in this 1964 photo that John Fowler sent Mario Buatta.

* Not the Georgian style red brick house her husband built with his first wife.  Apparently it was too formal and stiff for the 2nd Mrs. Mellon who used it instead as a walk-in closet.


Mitchell Owens said...

The étagère was formerly owned by Syrie Maugham, who sold it to Colefax & Fowler, which sold it to Mrs M.

Lynne Rutter said...

Seeing pictures from that auction nearly drove me bonkers! I love thise soup tureens shaped like... whatever, but they really are useless unless you have 50 of them on an etagere like this.