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Subject: "Fonteyn Sale at Christies" Archived thread - Read only
 
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Conferences What's Happening Topic #1097
Reading Topic #1097
Ann Welsh

28-11-00, 06:32 PM (GMT)
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"Fonteyn Sale at Christies"
 
   Christies Auction house has a very good website. The Fonteyn sale on 12th December is listed and has colour illustrations of the costumes and lots more info, including estimated sale prices. The site is on http://www.christies.com/


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  Subject     Author     Message Date     ID  
  RE: Fonteyn Sale at Christies Bruce Madmin 28-11-00 1
     Fonteyn Sale Catalogue Stephanie Wragg 29-11-00 2
         RE: Fonteyn Sale Catalogue Helen 29-11-00 3
             RE: Fonteyn Sale Catalogue Jane S 09-12-00 4
                 Is the sale going on? Stephanie Wragg 11-12-00 5
                     RE: Is the sale going on? Helen 11-12-00 6
                         RE: Is the sale going on? Jane S 11-12-00 7
                             RE: Is the sale going on? cf 11-12-00 8
                             RE: Is the sale going on? Caz 11-12-00 9
                             RE: Is the sale going on? cf 11-12-00 10
                             Palming off the goods Stephanie Wragg 11-12-00 11
                             RE: Is the sale going on? trogadmin 11-12-00 12
                             RE: Is the sale going on? cf 11-12-00 13
                             RE: Is the sale going on? Viviane 11-12-00 14
                             RE: Is the sale going on? Fuzzyface 12-12-00 15
                             RE: Is the sale going on? Jane S 12-12-00 16
                             RE: Is the sale going on? Katherine 12-12-00 17
                             HIghlights from Christies Stephanie Wragg 13-12-00 18

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Bruce Madmin

28-11-00, 11:47 PM (GMT)
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1. "RE: Fonteyn Sale at Christies"
In response to message #0
 
   Its a frames based site but I've dug out the relevent page:
http://www.christies.com/events/dec00/9030/overview.html

There are some lovely tutu's - this one by Leslie Hurry:


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Stephanie Wragg

29-11-00, 10:31 AM (GMT)
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2. "Fonteyn Sale Catalogue"
In response to message #1
 
   The catalogue is available for 18 pounds.


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Helen

29-11-00, 01:03 PM (GMT)
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3. "RE: Fonteyn Sale Catalogue"
In response to message #2
 
   I've just got the catalogue by post, and it's absolutely gorgeous, full of colour photos and interesting information, including short essays by de Valois and Keith Money. Much cheaper than going to the sale! There are lots of fascinating odds and ends, like an autograph from one of her earliest teachers in Shanghai, reading "To Peggy, may stardom be your future". Also a painting by Keith Money of a Swan Lake scene, that she used as a headboard in the Grosvenor House Hotel! Lots of clothes, costumes, shoes, photographs, and even furniture. It's ultimately all rather sad - so strange that a life can be represented by mere things.


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Jane S

09-12-00, 02:12 PM (GMT)
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4. "RE: Fonteyn Sale Catalogue"
In response to message #3
 
   You can now see the catalogue online at:


http://www.christies.com/index.asp?action=sale&id=11041


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Stephanie Wragg

11-12-00, 10:11 AM (GMT)
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5. "Is the sale going on?"
In response to message #4
 
   I was thinking of attending the sale tomorrow...any grapevine news about whether it's going to go on or have the efforts to save the items from sale worked?


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Helen

11-12-00, 10:41 AM (GMT)
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6. "RE: Is the sale going on?"
In response to message #5
 
   I think it is going to happen. I was idly watching BBC Breakfast this morning and there was a five-minute item about the auction, showing many of the things - not terribly well displayed, I thought. Carey Wallace of Christies was interviewed, saying how Fonteyn came across as a person everybody loved, and Lady Jellicoe said how important it was to keep the collection in the country. Apparently the Royal Ballet has said that they aren't in a position to buy it , but they would be grateful to anyone who would buy it for them.

If anyone does go to the sale, please tell us what it was like!


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Jane S

11-12-00, 12:02 PM (GMT)
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7. "RE: Is the sale going on?"
In response to message #6
 
   I've just got back from the viewing for the sale and there was no sign whatsoever that it would be cancelled. I plan to go tomorrow - may even bid!

Meanwhile, if you're in London, the viewing goes on till 7.30 tonight and you can look at and touch many of the items - including Fonteyn's costumes for R&J, Ondine etc, a costume that (probably) belonged to Nijinsky (they are backtracking on what it says in the catalogue, so although his name is on the label inside it seems he may never have actually worn it in performance - I touched it anyway!), hundreds of photos, lots of clothes that you'll recognise from offstage photographs etc etc.


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cf

11-12-00, 12:25 PM (GMT)
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8. "RE: Is the sale going on?"
In response to message #7
 
   It is easy to get carried away by all the wonderful things on offer, take the view that, 'Oh well what's done is done and SOMEBODY has to buy it!'. Somehow it seems very shabby and in poor taste.

I wonder how Dame Margot would view her soul being exposed to the world. It doesn't matter how tasteful the display, it still leaves a bad taste in the mouth.


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Caz

11-12-00, 01:32 PM (GMT)
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9. "RE: Is the sale going on?"
In response to message #8
 
  
>I wonder how Dame Margot would
>view her soul being exposed
>to the world. It
>doesn't matter how tasteful the
>display, it still leaves a
>bad taste in the mouth.
>

Why? She's dead, she can no longer care one way or t'other. Surely if whoever has inherited these things from from her wants or needs to sell them it's entirely their business and that of the prospective buyers - including those who want to buy the collection 'for the nation' or whatever.


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cf

11-12-00, 02:02 PM (GMT)
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10. "RE: Is the sale going on?"
In response to message #9
 
   It is unfortunate that her family feels the need to 'palm off the goods', one wonders why they waited so long?

I felt the same way about the Churchill letters - look at the post mortem of that sale on the Churchill Society website - it makes sobering reading.

http://www.churchill-society-london.org.uk/PrivLttrs.html

'...the Churchill family's publication of their parents private letters is deeply shaming.'
'One feels like a voyeur'
'Are they not to be allowed even a mite personal privacy?'
'Would any of us want ours revealed to the world?'
'Is it not remarkable that no member of the family has had the courage to speak out against this endless cashing in?'

Securing the collection for Royal Ballet would be the only solution. At least her memory would be treated with reverence and respect.


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Stephanie Wragg

11-12-00, 02:31 PM (GMT)
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11. "Palming off the goods"
In response to message #10
 
   >It is unfortunate that her family
>feels the need to 'palm
>off the goods', one wonders
>why they waited so long? **indeed. One can only assume they kept what they wanted and so should make some money on the rest. It happens a lot. I was very surprised to see the items on sale in the Jackie Kennedy-Onassis estate sale...one would have thought that Caroline would have kept her brother's White House rocking horse for her children, but she didn't and so it went on sale.
>
>
>I felt the same way about
>the Churchill letters - look
>at the post mortem of
>that sale on the Churchill
>Society website - it
>makes sobering reading. ***Well, I feel that if a family wants to keep things in the family, they should take precautions and burn papers to prevent such a sale (look at Cassandra Austen and most of the Jane Austen correspondance). I am sure Fonteyn destroyed her more personal papers if she had any sense at all, so what going on sale is only the superficial layer of her life. And if you look at the catalogue, I don't think buying her signed photos of celebrities or White House invitations makes one a voyeur...

>Securing the collection for Royal Ballet
>would be the only
>solution. At least her memory
>would be treated with reverence
>and respect. **Indeed. My only reservation about such institutions taking 'care' of the collection for posterity is that the pre-posterity crowd never get to see the stuff. Quite frankly, if you knocked at the ROH door one day and asked to see this Fonteyn memorabilia or the Ashton stuff (had they protected it), do you think they would let you see it?

Does anyone have any experience of trying to gain access to such protected items?

Some articles were deploring that the items may leave the UK and heaven forbid go to some college campus in the United States...On the other hand, you have to hand it to the Americans, in that they respect such things and usually put them on display, one could end up with a Fonteyn room, even if it's in little Podunk College, Midwest USA.


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trogadmin

11-12-00, 03:10 PM (GMT)
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12. "RE: Is the sale going on?"
In response to message #10
 
   >Securing the collection for Royal Ballet would be the only solution. At least her memory would be treated with reverence and respect.

But what happens to the items if the RB were to buy them ? At best they would probably sit on a self somewhere and if we are lucky given a very occasional viewing. Most museums and art galleries have huge collections of objects, most of which never see the light of day and many of these objects are not properly catalogued, if they are catalogued at all.

A much wider issue is of what use is saving the collection for the nation ? If in (say) 100 years time, someone was researching into a dancer from the past they had heard of named Margot Fonteyn, they wanted to write about her roles and her ability. Peering at a pair of her old pointe shoes or one of her YSL outfits is not going to be of much use. No, the researcher would have to read reviews of her work (available in newspaper archives) and watch surviving videos. In fact, this ficticious researcher is going to have a much easier job than one trying to write about Essler or Taglionni, if using contemporary sources for information.

At least if some fan (albeit a wealthy one) buys some of her personal items, they will get some pleasure out of them, they will *probably* take very good care of them and *may* even make them available if a museum somewhere wanted to mount an exhibition in the future.


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cf

11-12-00, 04:20 PM (GMT)
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13. "RE: Is the sale going on?"
In response to message #12
 
   'But what happens to the items if the RB were to buy them ? At best they would probably sit on a self somewhere and if we are lucky given a very occasional viewing.'

- quite!, so buying the collection would mark only the beginning, people pressure would ensure access - It needs something as sentimental and important as this collection to get the ball rolling. Perhaps 'the shop' at the ROH should be replaced with a Margot Fonteyn room which paying patrons could visit at their leisure. I would guess the queues would rival those outside Madame Tussauds.

Lets be really cynical now - what if someone turned up at a party wearing one of her gowns (with her Swan Lake tiara perhaps?). Although Princess Diana sold her dresses for charity what happened to some of them was well, still a bit of a shock...

(News Times, Natinal News, Mass.) 'Princess Di probably never pictured her tailor-made pale blue silk gown touring America in, of all things, an 18-wheel truck. And she almost certainly never envisioned it displayed near the food court of a suburban American shopping mall. But there it was Thursday - a Catherine Walker original inspired by Grace Kelly's gown in the film ``To Catch a Thief'' - elegantly encased in glass just feet from a baker, a candle stick maker and a sunglass shop.'


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Viviane

11-12-00, 10:23 PM (GMT)
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14. "RE: Is the sale going on?"
In response to message #13
 
   Just back from an unexpected London-weekend..and the viewing of the Fonteyn-collection.

Indeed Helen, the display was disappointing.
Some ballet costumes (as from 'Le spectre de la rose') were just hanging like in a second-hand shop.
I can't believe that this was displayed the same way in New-York !

But I enjoyed to have a look at the headdresses and the fragile costumes. Some of these had ingenious 'constructions', a real work of art.
And there were the (large) lots of performance- and portret-photographs.

I consider costumes and corresponding photographs as somewhat 'belonging to her public'. Permanent display at the ROH would be great 'cf'!
Concerning the other items I have very mixed feelings :
seeing someone trying-on the black suede YSL-coat just makes me shiver !

In the beginning of this thread Helen wrote so striking : ...'it's ultimately all rather sad - so strange that life can be represented by mere things...'
I prefer to remember Margot Fonteyn through a good video and just loved the comments on her performances I heard at the viewing.
These were -for me- the "real gems" I found at Christies !

Viviane.


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Fuzzyface

12-12-00, 04:04 PM (GMT)
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15. "RE: Is the sale going on?"
In response to message #14
 
   Apparently the ROH bought a lot of stuff at the sale, and the Theatre Museum got the Rose Adagio costume, so at least some of the collection is saved for the nation.


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Jane S

12-12-00, 05:35 PM (GMT)
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16. "RE: Is the sale going on?"
In response to message #15
 
   The auctioneer announced at the beginning of the sale that three lots had been withdrawn from the sale as a result of a private sale agreement with the ROH - I don't know exactly what they were as I didn't have a catalogue, but I think they were all costumes. He said he had been particularly asked to say that the negotiations with the ROH began several weeks ago, before all the speculation in the press.

The Theatre Museum bought about three lots, I think.

There were maybe 200 people there, plus telephone buyers. It was very difficult to judge how much things would go for - some went for a couple of hundred pounds, but one of the couture lots made 80,000. The costumes mostly went for something in the low thousands, and then suddenly Fonteyn's black swan tutu shot up to 55,000. Her shoes went in lots of 8 or 10 pairs for around 1000 a lot, with individual pairs from special occasions making a lot more.

There were many familiar faces there. And I bid for one lot and got it!


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Katherine

12-12-00, 06:27 PM (GMT)
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17. "RE: Is the sale going on?"
In response to message #16
 
   Jane: what did you get??


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Stephanie Wragg

13-12-00, 09:11 AM (GMT)
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18. "HIghlights from Christies"
In response to message #16
 
   >The auctioneer announced at the beginning
>of the sale that three
>lots had been withdrawn from
>the sale as a result
>of a private sale agreement
>with the ROH - I
>don't know exactly what they
>were as I didn't have
>a catalogue, but I think
>they were all costumes.**The three lots were numbers 167 (Giselle headdress from the Nureyev debut), 170 (more hair decorations from Giselle) and 188 (Sleeping Beauty tutu from the 1960s)

>There were maybe 200 people there,
>plus telephone buyers. It was
>very difficult to judge how
>much things would go for
>- some went for a
>couple of hundred pounds, but
>one of the couture lots
>made 80,000.***Lot 19 went for 80 000, 15 for 24 000, lot 20 for 65 000. The most expensive were the St-Laurent lots that all seem to have gone to phone bidders.

I was surprised to see the Dior wedding dress go only for 12 000 and the Dior D.B.E. dress for 8 000.

I left after 118 since it was totally hopeless that I would get anything. Many absentee bids boosted up the price of items to start beyond the estimates.

I was disappointed to see how some of the costumes/garments were limply hanging in the back of the room, I wouldn't have given the stuff a second look anywhere else!



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