This has already happened at the highest level in America to a piece made by Chippendale himself of importance to our national heritage.
This piece is the Sir Rowland Winn commode offered at Christie’s Thomas Chippendale: 300 Years sale with an estimate of £3m-5m.
“Antiques being mutilated has already happened at the highest level in America
Interior pigeon holes within this fabulous cabinet were accentuated with beautiful ivory letters inlaid into the wood. Christie’s catalogue describes the letters as ivorine (celluloid). I understand that the original ivory letters were recently removed in the US so that the commode could be offered in London.
One wonders whether this desecration leaving the commode in less than the perfect condition in which it was made contributed to its failure to realise the expected price.
Let’s hope the original letters have been saved for replacement in their old positions at some time in the future when more common sense prevails.
Thomas EF Sainsbury
President, Jonathan Sainsbury furniture (dealer, now retired)