Tom Devenish is an established name in the English furniture industry based in New York. He died in 2002 and had left ample 18th-century antiques (typically furniture and mirror) in his packed, cigar-smoke-occupied shop at 929 Madison Avenue. He was little interested in selling any of his collectible. Earlier he made up to the news on the basis of one oft-told story, perchance mythical, when one fine day Anne Bass, the patron cum collector, rang his bell and Devenish unbolted the door and said: “I don’t deal with blondes” and banged it.
And today he has again reached to the headlines as his entire catalog, one-of-its-kind English furniture collections would be up for auction at Sotheby’s on 24 April. The luminary lots comprise of three impressive japanned bureau cupboards from the 1700s (two in red, one in green), a pair of George II gilded armchairs with eagle-head armrests, an 18th-century Irish side table with a lion mask and a George III semi-elliptical marquetry-inlaid commode that hides a desk.
In total, there are 203 products to be sold and it is anticipated that it will fetch $14- $21 million. The presale analysis starts on 19 April. The top lot, likely at $800,000 to $1.2 million, was Devenish’s favorite: a George II Chippendale style carved mahogany open armchair, from around 1755.