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  • Video

    Émile-Jacques Ruhlmann The 'Redhead' dressing table [360° view]

  • Provenance

    Margaret Hunam Harmsworth, née Redhead, 154 avenue des Champs-Elysées, Paris
    The Estate of Ellen L. Parkinson, Medfield, Massachusetts
    Christie’s, ‘Important 20th Century Decorative Arts,’ New York, March 16, 1991, lot 129
    Christie’s, ‘Important 20th Century Decorative Arts,’ New York, December 9, 1995, lot 374
    Acquired from the above

  • Literature

    Florence Camard, Ruhlmann, Paris, 1983, illustrated p. 274
    Florence Camard, Ruhlmann: Master of Art Deco, New York, 1984, illustrated p. 274
    Florence Camard, Jacques Émile Ruhlmann, New York, 2011, illustrated p. 277

  • Catalogue Essay

    In 1919, during the Versailles Peace Conference, Margaret Hunam Redhead (1898-1995) met Lieutenant Esmond Cecil Harmsworth (1898 -1978), later the 2nd Viscount Rothermere, while the latter was stationed in Paris as aide-de-camp to Prime Minister Lloyd George. That same year, the young lieutenant won election to Parliament from the Isle of Thanet. Miss Redhead, born in Brentford, Middlesex, married Lieutenant Harmsworth early the following year. At times during their nearly two decades together (they divorced in 1938), the Harmsworths resided in Paris at 154 avenue des Champs-Elysées, then the apartment of the Lieutenant’s father, Lord Rothermere, proprietor of various British newspapers including the Daily Mirror and the Daily Mail. When Lord Rothermere died in 1940, his eldest son inherited the viscountcy and the newspapers.

    Following his triumph at the 1925 Exposition International des Arts Décoratifs, the designer Emile-Jacques Ruhlmann undertook a number of significant commissions, among them the refurbishment of Lord Rothemere’s residence on the Champs-Elysées. The apartment, with its broad view of the Arc de Triomphe, included many grand rooms including several for the Viscount’s daughter-in-law, still known subsequent to her marriage as ‘Miss Redhead’. As Florence Camard notes (Camard, 2011 p. 278), Ruhlmann created a number of works for the young lady during his renovation of the apartment: “Her name was given to about —fteen remarkable pieces between 1925 and 1930,” among them the present dressing table, listed in the Ruhlmann inventory as the ‘Redhead’ vanity AR 1537 / NR 1828, which was accompanied by a ‘Tivo’ chair and pair of ‘Redhead’ beds.

PROPERTY OF A CALIFORNIA COLLECTOR

Σ25

The ‘Redhead’ dressing table, model no. AR1537/NR1828, and ‘Tivo’ side chair, model no. AR29/NR57, for Margaret Hunam Harmsworth (‘Miss Redhead’)

circa 1925
Dressing table: amboyna-veneered wood, macassar ebony, shagreen, ivory, bronze, mirrored glass; chair: amboyna-veneered wood, fabric.
Dressing table: 48 1/2 x 35 1/2 x 19 1/4 in (123.2 x 90.2 x 48.9 cm); chair: 26 7/8 x 15 x 19 1/2 in (68.3 x 38.1 x 49.5 cm)
Underside of table base branded with ‘Ruhlmann’ and an encircled ‘A’ (2).

Estimate
$200,000 - 300,000 

Design

15 June 2012
New York