October 26, 2014

From the Collections of Mrs. Paul Mellon

The collections of Mrs. Paul Mellon, aka Bunny, are being auctioned by Sotheby’s in November, but the catalogues are on-line now for your perusal. And what fun perusing they make! imageThis is a woman who only had the finest of everything – art, houses, gardens, jewelry and more. And that’s certainly reflected in this auction. image

I’ve picked out a few of my favourite pieces to share with you, but you should really take the time to browse through the catalogues yourself – there are three of them. One’s for Masterworks and fine art, one is for Jewels & Objects of Vertu and one is Interiors, with more than 1,200 lots. imageAll are amazing. There’s not a clunker in the lot.

English brass tea caddy with six compartments.image

Meissen Sea Life chess setimage

Five volume set of 18th century garden plansimage

Green-painted desk from Syrie Maughamimage

Group of three 19th century tureens in cabbage-ware. There are dozens of pieces of fruit- and vegetable-ware.image

Chinese export porcelain “Tobacco Leaf” patternimage

Massive collection of table linensimage

Pair of French Louis XV chairs. Love the contemporary pillow!image

19th Century American sheet-iron finials. image

Decorative painted backdrop for a party at Oak Spring Farm. There are several dozen of these panels, each painted for parties with different themes.image

From the catalogue: Mrs. Mellon’s personal jewels and objects of vertu reflect her close relationships with the designers she loved: pieces from Verdura, Schlumberger and Givenchy appear in the collection, as well period jewels from Cartier.

Charm bracelet with cocktail and bar itemsimage

La Bomba brooch by Verduraimage

Gold, gem-set, rock crystal and sodalite rhino by Verduraimage

A group of gold keychainsimage

Three gold tassel keychains, marked Hermèsimage

Gardening themed charm braceletimage

Whimsical jewelryimage

White gold and gem-set bunnyimage

I am wondering if the pieces in this auction will go way above their estimates like the pieces in Brooke Astor’s auction did. Some of the estimates for the lots in the interiors auction are quite reasonable. Time will tell!


  1. Thanks for this post, Meg! I will definitely dig into these catalogs, wow.

  2. Mrs. Mellon was the last of a particular breed and I would imagine buyers from all social strata will be lining up to bid. Any idea who gets the auction proceeds?

    1. A foundation she established in her father's name.

  3. Oh this is all utterly divine, I would love to own a little something with BM provenance.

  4. love seeing these + must go to site now. xxpeggybraswelldesign.com

  5. Feels kinda sad to know about all her collections being dispersed to the four winds. Growing up in Middleburg we used to drive by the Mellon place all the time as one of my best friends lived out in Delaplane past Rokeby. Another friend's dad was the vet who cared for the Mellon's horses, including the thoroughbreds, so we occasionally went on runs with him. My grandparents were from Upperville and considered the Mellons "newcomers," having only arrived
    in the 30s. The Episcopal church they built there is beautiful...memories :)

  6. I'm sure each piece has a story behind it. It makes me think of each of the things I hold precious in my drawers and rooms. Looking forward to examining the catalogue. In general, I think auction companies tend to price things "low", so the feel more accessible. I remember for the Jackie Kennedy auction, things went WAY beyond the estimate.

  7. Oh my gosh the chess set! And the Verdura jewelry! Can you imagine living in such close contact with so much ornate beauty! I
    would probably have swooned.

  8. I hope my other comment made it! The proceeds go to her foundation!!!

  9. Did you notice that on her desk she had a copy of the photo of Jackie O. tumbling off her horse when it was taking a fence?

  10. Me too.

    Bunny & Bunny.

    Discovered Bunny Mellon via a pic of a garden. Never saw one exactly like mine, till then. Imagine my shock at discovering this wonderful person. Anyone who adores and creates a rustique flagstone terrace with low meadow is my kind of person...

    Garden & Be Well, XOT

  11. I noticed it Janet. I think that was a nice remembrance of Jackie. Jackie herself laughed and permitted it to be published.


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