Get What You Want At The Keith and Patti Richards Auction
By Jamie Larson
Ever wonder what a Rolling Stone does gather? The answer, it turns out, is a whole lot of fine, high-style, Victorian antiques. Legendary Stones guitarist Keith Richards and wife Patti Hansen are auctioning off a huge collection of elegant antiques at Hudson’s own Stair Galleries on Saturday, June 24, and all the pieces are now on display for perusal.
“As all of us grew up listening to The Rolling Stones,” said the Stair in Stair Galleries, Colin Stair. “We are thrilled to have Keith and Patti Richards’ personal property here in the gallery. The entire music community in Hudson is abuzz.”
Best of all, you can feel especially vindicated about how much you drop at this auction because the proceeds will be donated to SPHERE and Prospector Theater in Ridgefield, Conn. Hansen’s 24-year-old nephew has autism and both organizations help adults with developmental disabilities actualize their dreams.
Hansen’s eye is responsible for the classic aesthetic of the items at auction, which adorned the pair’s Manhattan apartment for many years. With well over 500 items of surprisingly traditional historical European furniture, art, ceramics, dinnerware and more on display, the auction is about much more than the Richards’ name… although it certainly doesn’t hurt when it’s time to brag about where your beautiful new chairs came from. Many of the items’ estimated prices, and therefore starting bids, are set in a manageable price range, making them more attainable than one might expect. We’re highlighting a few of our favorites here, but the whole catalog is available online.
Lot 464: MELODY ROSE HAND-PAINTED NORITAKE PORCELAIN TEA SERVICE
Supremely British but with an undeniably wry, rock-and-roll edge, this tea set — actual Japanese porcelain — was hand painted by artist Melody Rose. It’s hard not to see the appeal here and we wouldn’t be surprised if this piece in particular goes for much more than its estimated price, not just because of its punk elegance but its provenance as being previously owned by the fourth greatest guitarist of all time (according to Rolling Stone). This is a perfect example of how the magical power of touch adds value to an item. It’s great on its own, but knowing this was Richards’ tea set adds another ethereal layer of enamel to the set, which includes a teapot, a pair of cups and saucers, a dessert plate, a creamer, two butter plates, an ashtray, and a pair of cordials.
Lot 554: ENGLISH TUFTED LEATHER UPHOLSTERED CHESTERFIELD SOFA
Richards’ favorite piece in the auction is this sofa, which sat prominently in their Manhattan living room. Hansen designed the space to feel like a box of treasures and one certainly gets that feel from the items in this collection. While not many of the items scream rock and roll, there is a theatrical feel to the offerings. And there’s certainly something enjoyable about picturing Richards, with his debauched public persona, lounging on this lush sofa.
Lot 8: HIPPOLYTE DELAROCHE (1797-1856): THE GUILLOTINE
There are many exquisite paintings in the collection but none are more arresting than this depiction of a nun before the guillotine, acquired from the Nashville Museum of Art. It may not be to everyone’s taste, or the most valuable piece at auction (it’s unsigned), but it vividly depicts the 1794 guillotine deaths of the Martyrs of Compiegne, the 16 Carmelite nuns who were sentenced to death during the Reign of Terror. During the anti-clericalism of the French Revolution, the nuns refused to obey the mandate that suppressed their monastery. They were arrested, imprisoned and brought to Paris where they were condemned as traitors and sentenced to death. On July 17, 1794, all 16 nuns were guillotined. The novice, Sister Constance, was the first to die, followed by the lay sisters and ending with the prioress, Mother Teresa of St. Augustine.
Lot 81: VICTORIAN STAINED FRUITWOOD RETRACTABLE LEATHER ARMCHAIR
This piece, which dates back to the 19th century, has more going on than one might think at first glance. This still-functional Literary Machine was an early mechanical recliner invented by John Carter of London (not to be confused with “of Mars” c.1911). This recliner was meant to be used in consort with a book and candle stand so that when the seat was fully reclined and the stand was swiveled in front, you could comfortably read hands free. While a number of the handsome stands are still available online, you would be hard pressed to find another chair like this, especially in this condition and working order.
Lot 431A: CHINESE SILK AND METALLIC THREAD EMBROIDERED ROBE, POSSIBLY QIANLONG
Richards acquired this robe in trade for one of his own leather jackets. The Quianlong Emperor reigned from 1711 to 1799 and this elegant ceremonial robe is an example of the highest luxury of that time. Interestingly, it’s hard to say what’s worth more, this beautiful one-of-a-kind historic artifact or a leather jacket worn by Keith Richards. In 2008, a leather jacket gifted to Richards by Mick Jagger was sold at auction and, while we couldn’t find the sale price, the pre-auction estimate was $6,000-$8,000. So who knows which is more valuable — but it’s hard to imagine Richards didn’t walk around that fabulous apartment, at least once, draped in some Quianlong noble’s ceremonial robe.
The full auction catalog is well worth flipping through and further enhanced by a visit in person. Whether you’re there for the style or there for the provenance, this auction is a can’t-miss.
Auction of the Keith and Patti Richards Collection
Saturday, June 24 at 3 p.m (approx.). Doors open at 9 a.m.
549 Warren St., Hudson, NY
Open for preview: Monday-Friday, 10 a.m.–5 p.m.
Also currently open for weekend previews until auction.
Saturdays, 11 a.m.-5 p.m. & Sundays, noon-5 p.m.