A Collection Cultivated by Friendship
A large group of porcelain by Lady Anne Gordon, from the Collection of Alexandra Stoddard, the famed interior designer, and inspirational author, will be included in our Mid-Week at STAIR auction on March 22-23. Porcelain flowers, fruit, and vegetables abound just in time for the beginning of spring.
The stylish appeal of porcelain produce is as hardy as the subject that it mimics. For over three centuries, décor-driven enthusiasts have invited a cornucopia of ceramics into their interiors and onto dinner tables. During the Baroque period, ceramicists invited nature inside by creating soup tureens and dishes disguised as cauliflower and unfurled lettuce heads. Porcelain fruits and vegetables adorned elite European dining tables and display mantels during the 18th and 19th centuries when elaborate table settings were widely in vogue.
The appeal of porcelain fruits and vegetables continues to delight the senses. One ceramicist whose work will never over-ripen or fade is Lady Anne Gordon, Marchioness of Aberdeen. Anne Gordon started making vibrant vegetable ceramics in the 1960s as table centerpieces and worked from her studio in Berkshire perfecting the art of modeling and glazing. Her commitment to clay, first working in tin-glazed earthenware and later switching to stronger porcelain, would lead her to accrue an impressive selection of garden fruits, flowers, and vegetables over the course of decades. Lady Anne Gordon’s enthusiasm and meticulous detail distinguish her work from others; replicas of asparagus bunches, pea pods, artichokes, flower-encrusted eggplants, onions, and berries on leaves are all enticing enough to pick up in fascination.
In the 1980s-90s, Lady Anne Gordon’s work would find its way to New York and into the adoring hands of Alexandra Stoddard, famed interior designer, lecturer, and author on the art of living. Through continuous shipments and sales of Lady Anne Gordon’s tromp l’oeil marvels, Alexandra cultivated a lifelong friendship with the artist, “My friendship with Lady Anne Gordon started with my love of her work and grew into a love of her personality and her artistic spirit. I enjoyed watching her work and listening to her talk about her creative process and her passion for gardening and natural beauty. She was eccentric, earthy, hardworking, and humble, and she lived every moment of her life to the fullest. I am so blessed to have her presence in my life every day through the decorative objects she created, reminding me of all the amazing times we’ve shared. Although she died in 2007, Anne continues to be a great gift in my life.”
When speaking with Alexandra about Anne, she reminisced about pastimes such as a festive Thanksgiving dinner she shared with her and her husband, trips to visit the couple at their home in Berkshire, and memories of the assembly of unglazed works that filled Anne’s garage studio. Anne often drew inspiration from illustrations on seed packets and drawings found in magazines; Alexandra recounted how she sent Anne a postcard from the Victoria and Albert Museum depicting a botanical watercolor of a melon which, lo and behold, later appeared in porcelain form, detailed down to the last seed. That very melon was included in STAIR’s, recent auction, The English Interior on March 9th. The nature of this simple exchange and twist of inspiration roots Alexandra Stoddard’s collection of Lady Anne Gordon’s work in friendship and is what makes the upcoming group in Mid-Week at STAIR on March 22 & 23 so compelling.
Time & Location
Mid-week at STAIR on March 22 & 23 at 11am