SEBASTIAN SHAKESPEARE: Treasures of the Christopher Gibbs up for sale

SEBASTIAN SHAKESPEARE: Treasures of the Christopher Gibbs up for sale

February 8, 2019

SEBASTIAN SHAKESPEARE: Treasures of the King of Chelsea Christopher Gibbs up for sale including 29 letters from French artist Henri Matisse

Treasures of the ‘King of Chelsea’ up for sale 

He spearheaded Swinging Sixties London counterculture, became a style guru for a youthful Mick Jagger and his memorial service last year was attended by the Duchess of Cornwall.

Now I can disclose society antiques dealer Christopher Gibbs, dubbed ‘the King of Chelsea’, is to bequeath an astonishing legacy.

A treasury of his belongings are to be sold at Christie’s — among them 29 letters by French Impressionist Henri Matisse.

Mick Jagger with Christopher Gibbs at a private exhibition in London in September 2003

Gibbs in his ‘set’ or apartment at Albany House in Picadilly – magnificent pieces he kept in his apartment are to be auctioned at Christie’s

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Albany House in Picadilly the apartments of which apartments are referred to as ‘sets’ – one of which was owned by Gibbs

‘They are about Matisse’s work in Tangier, with little drawings,’ explains Peter Hinwood, Gibbs’s partner in both life and business.

Gibbs, who died aged 80 in Morocco, kept the letters at one of London’s most exclusive addresses — Albany, the discreet 18th-century mansion where former hellraisers Bill Nighy and Terence Stamp are among those who have ‘sets’, as apartments in the building in Piccadilly are known.

Gibbs’s own set was just above Nighy’s. ‘Christopher kept the letters in a safe,’ adds Hinwood, ‘although it wasn’t a safe really: more something to keep the cash in.’

In a separate sale, Christie’s is auctioning some of Gibbs’s more substantial pieces, including a pair of George III white-painted bergère chairs from Woburn Abbey — the Duke of Bedford’s family seat — and a George III mahogany desk owned by the 5th Lord Harlech, British ambassador in Washington when John F. Kennedy was president.

‘There was a photograph of my father which Christopher kept in the desk,’ remembers Harlech’s daughter, Jane Ormsby-Gore. ‘Christopher loved things which had wonderful stories.’

Christopher Gibbs (left) and a Christie’s employee (right) carries in a George II mahogany chair as part of his collection

A third sale of some of his quirkier items — the skull of a Roman soldier, a slave’s shackle and his grandfather’s shoes when he was a baby — will take place at south London auctioneers Roseberys.

But his Thirties basin from Albany has already gone: a gift to designer Manolo Blahnik. ‘It was enamel, with lovely enamel taps,’ says Hinwood. ‘A beautiful thing.’

Gibbs memorably observed that taste was not something that could be learnt but was, instead, ‘something you catch — like measles or religion’.

Bold Poppy braves a cold front

Poppy Delevingne, 32, braves the cold

Society model Poppy Delevingne turned heads at a fashion show in New York this week when she arrived in a revealing black jumpsuit with a superhero-style cape.

The 32-year-old daughter of property developer Charles, whose younger sister, Cara, is Britain’s highest-paid model, braved the chill in a £3,200 Tom Ford silk outfit cut at the sides and lower back.

The 5ft 10in blonde complemented it with a £3,150 sparkly purse by the same designer and a pair of sheer black heels.

‘If I am very unsure of a dress code, I like to keep it very, very simple,’ she says.

‘Nothing too out-there that’s going to get me into trouble.’


Ever since he appeared on Strictly Come Dancing, Radio 2 broadcaster Jeremy Vine has been enjoying a higher profile.

‘I was locking my bike up outside the BBC when a middle-aged woman in luminous clothes approached me,’ he says. ‘ “Excuse me, Jeremy — do you have a second?” I said yes, thinking no. “Have you ever experienced a paradigm shift?” Really. That was what she wanted to know. Not, “Can I have a selfie?” Or, “Would you sign this?” A question about a paradigm shift! I’m not even sure I know what they are, and I said I would need time to think.’ Presumably he is still thinking.

 Why bathtime with Sadie could be sticky business

Sadie Frost, who has four children from her failed marriages to film star Jude Law and pop star Gary Kemp, says she eschewed gender stereotypes when it came to passing on beauty tips to her brood.

‘I treated my sons and daughter exactly the same way when it came to skincare advice,’ says the 53-year-old mother of Gary’s son Fin Kemp, 28, and Jude’s children Rafferty, 22, Iris, 18, and Rudy, 16. ‘I taught them about the importance of sleep and to incorporate meditation and mindfulness into their daily routine.

‘I also stressed the importance of how to cleanse and exfoliate properly with natural brands.

‘We made it fun by making our own face masks with oats and honey, or body scrubs with brown sugar or salt and honey.’ But who had to clean out the bath?

Fox stands up for oppressed white men

Lewis star Laurence Fox has declared himself a ‘meninist’ — and he’s got a shirt to prove it.

Laurence Fox wore a ‘meninist’ shirt, the old Harrovian says it’s the male version of a feminist

‘It’s the male version of a feminist,’ he tells me. ‘I’m a meninist, which means whatever feminists do for women I do for men.’ Old Harrovian Fox, who has two sons with ex-wife Billie Piper, was at a private screening of Rain Stops Play directed by Mika Simmons.

He added: ‘I think it’s very uncomfortable being a man in today’s climate and it’s about time we got a hearing — especially for white men.’

Fight the power, Laurence…

Don’t breathe a word to Oscar-winner Colin Firth. Asked who is her greatest love, his eco-fashion campaigner wife Livia Giuggioli replies: ‘How can you have just one greatest love? I have so many great loves in my life, and I’m grateful for all of them. My family in its entirety, for example.’ Only last year Firth’s wife, who is the mother of two of his three sons, admitted she’d had an affair with her childhood friend Marco Brancaccia, whom she accused of stalking her.

Macca hunt for tape of Beatles jam with Elvis

Sir Paul McCartney wants to know if anyone has a recording of The Beatles jamming with Elvis Presley singing a Cilla Black ballad.

The appeal came after a fan asked Sir Paul if ‘there is a recording out there somewhere of a jam session that you had with Elvis and you covered Cilla Black’s You’re My World’?

The Beatles met Elvis at his house in California when the Fab Four were on their 1965 U.S. summer tour.

It did not start well, according to Tony Barrow, the Mop Tops’ press officer. Having walked past Bentleys and Harley-Davidsons into Presley’s home, John Lennon asked what had happened to the old, rock ’n’ roll Elvis.

Presley laughed off the comment, but the conversation remained stilted until he ordered guitars to be brought into the room.

‘They all started jamming and that is when the party took off,’ Barrow said.

Sir Paul admits there is a chance there is a recording of their historic jam. ‘I’d be interested to hear it if anyone has it?’ he said.

Stone me! Actress Tasmin’s £425 ‘rose quartz facial’

There are facials and then there are Hollywood facials. St Trinian’s star Tamsin Egerton, 30, the fiancee of U.S. actor Josh Hartnett, visited LA beautician Angela Caglia — whose clients include Sting and Minnie Driver — for a rose quartz crystal facial this week.

Tamsin Egerton opted for a quartz facial, with the treatment costing £425, it includes a massage and skin peel

The £425 treatment starts with a face massage, light therapy, a skin peel and oxygen infusion before the mask of 1,000 stones is placed on top.

‘The soothing and nurturing power of rose quartz infuses the body, mind and spirit with love, compassion and relaxation,’ its website claims.

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