Sotheby's begins sale of Albemarle House interiors

Albemarle House
Albemarle House
(Sotheby's International Realty)

The contents of the opulent 45-room English country manor owned by vintner and philanthropist Patricia Kluge will be sold by Sotheby's June 8 and 9 at her estate near Charlottesville, Virginia. The collection is rich in Georgian furniture, decorative arts, and paintings, and estimated in excess of $13.5 million.

Mrs. Kluge, who says she's downsizing to focus on her winemaking, purchased from London's leading purveyors of English furniture. Among the 900 lots is a George III serpentine dressing commode in sumptuous satinwood and richly patterned mahogany veneers. The piece is attributed to Thomas Chippendale, circa 1770, and estimated at $400,000 to 600,000.

A very intricate Imperial table clock, made for the use of Chinese emperors in the 18th century, is billed as the top lot. The Qianlong Period (1736-1795) piece not only retains its original fire gilding and lavish paste jewels, but also boasts the entertainment value of revolving waterfall rods and figures meandering in a landscape to the accompaniment of musical tunes. The pre-sale high estimate is $1 million.

Collectors, and looky-loos who have been purchased Sotheby's $65, 620-page catalog, have been able to tour Kluge's estate since May 31 to preview lots in their room settings.

Sotheby's International Realty has listed the 300-acre Albemarle House estate, which is near Thomas Jefferson's Monticello, at $48 million, reduced from $100 million last fall. Mrs. Kluge won the house in her divorce settlement with billionaire media mogul John Kluge back in 1990.

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