Lancashire art collectors received sombre news in November 2010 – Dodie Rosenkrans was dead. An internationally renowned American philanthropist, she amassed a huge collection of valuable antiques and artworks during her lifetime, some of which recently went under the hammer at Sotheby’s New York, realising more than $6.2m in total.
Many items in the sale had an estimated value of $250,000 – 350,000. But while a Louis XV Chinese lacquered antique desk remained unsold, two modern gilt bronze Claude Lalanne armchairs, featuring entwined crocodile backs, realised $512,500 – making these the top-selling lot of over 480 items.
In Cumbria, antique balloon backed dining chairs are always in demand by those who like to sit comfortably. Evidently, Dodie Rosekrans felt the same way, as the Sotheby’s sale included several upholstered seating lots – including 6 Russian giltwood antique dining chairs or salon chairs, c.1919, which realised $80,500 (est. $40 – 60,000. However, the most impressive seat sold was an elaborate George II gilt gesso/giltwood armchair, circa 1727, attributed to Richard Roberts (d. 1729). He was the cabinetmaker to the royal family, and the chair is believed to have been made for the coronation of George II. However, it failed to reach its lower estimate, going under the hammer for $242,000.
antique cabinet bureaux were another Dodie Rosenkrans passion, with one magnificent baroque example realising $122,500. An Italian lacca provera blue japanned and parcel-gilt design achieved $53,125 against an upper estimate of $15,000. An almost identical early 20th century design realised a more affordable $6,250. If, like Dodie, you love the Italian baroque, ask antique dealers in Lancashire about antique desks and cabinets copying this flamboyant style.