AN ARCHITECTURAL MODEL OF FLAXLEY ABBEY, GLOUCESTERSHIRE
BY OLIVER MESSEL
Showing the principle elevations and immediate grounds
Mounted on a pine board
79cm wide, 52cm deep
Made by Oliver Messel for Frederick and Phyllis Watkins
Oliver Messel initiated and was almost unique in his technique of scale model making to instruct set builders. These would work less like an accurate architectural plan but more as an object to express colour and atmosphere of the proposed set deigns to his clients and the craftsmen who would eventually be tasked with making them. With such an exacting eye, many craftsmen were at first scared to work with Messel, often being asked to re-create details and sometimes entire sets multiple times until he felt that they captured his vision.
The present lot is a Model of Flaxley Abbey made by Messel in 1960. He was firstly commissioned to remodel the Morning Room and Dining Room however this commission and his mantra of romanticism would eventually expand throughout the entire house and gardens. It was a project which he would come back to multiples times from 1960 until his death in 1973. The detailed model was built particularly to depict the, then proposed, new Regency-style connecting wing between the main house and the orangery as well as his, now lost, design for the water gardens inspired by the gardens of Catherina Boevey and that of the Westbury Court Dutch gardens nearby.
Other recognisable models of interior design projects Messel undertook include his design for Rayne shoe shop, Maddox and the Dorchester. Upon Messel's death his estate past to his nephew Anthony Armstrong-Jones, Earl of Snowdon and the contents of his studio were moved to the Kensington Palace stables. Upon the instigation of Princess Margaret and Lord Snowdon, the majority of his theatrical and interior design models are now stored at the Victoria and Albert Museum.
Wear, marks, knocks and scratches as per age, handling, use, and cleaning.
Looks to have been constructed on a laminate base with plaster or composition foundation. The model has never been covered and therefore exposed to atmosphere and is dirty with dust, bird mess etc. The foundation has reacted to damp and heat and lifted and buckled resulting in tears and losses to covering. Sunlight has bleached back colours overall and caused decorative elements (detailing, paper and laminates) to dry up and detach resulting in loss throughout.
As with any house- will greatly benefit from conservation, preservation and restoration throughout
Please see additional images for visual references to condition which form part of this condition report.
All lots are available for inspection and Condition Reports are available on request. However, all lots are of an age and type which means that they may not be in perfect condition and should be viewed by prospective bidders; please refer to Condition 6 of the Conditions of Business for Buyers. This is particularly true for garden related items.
We must advise you that we are not professional restorers or conservators and we do not provide any guarantee or warranty as to a lot's condition. Accordingly, it is recommended that prospective buyers inspect lots or have their advisors do so, and satisfy themselves as to condition and accuracy of description
All lots are offered for sale "as viewed" and subject to the applicable Conditions of Business for Buyer's condition, which are set out in the sale catalogue and are available on request.
Buyers are reminded that liability for loss and damage transfers to the buyer from the fall of the hammer. Whilst the majority of lots will remain in their location until collected, we can accept no responsibility for any damage which may occur, even in the event of Dreweatts staff assisting carriers during collection.
ELECTRICAL GOODS. These are sold as decorative items only and if bought for use must be checked over for compliance with safety regulations by a qualified electrician before use.
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