This spring, from April 29 to May 20, Christie’s London will be hosting the Collector’s Sale. Featuring an exquisite range of 17th, 18th and 19th century furniture, it includes 400 sets of varying styles, from Louis XVI high rococo to English regency and Japanese inspired and 19th century revival designs, as well as like all aspects of the decorative arts dating from the 17th to the 20th century. To bring the lots to life, the auction house collaborated with designer and former Oscar de la Renta artistic director Peter Copping.
Copping took inspiration from the glorious interiors he and his partner created at their mansion, La Carlière, in Normandy, France – the name he also gave to his own brand of high-quality cushions. After a grueling 12-year restoration, the designer unveiled the last furnished rooms of his 17th-century home and organized Collector’s auction lots to furnish and decorate six of these rooms, as reimagined in paintings by interior portrait painter SJ Axelby.
He tells us what inspired this collaboration and shares his lifelong passion for antiques …
What first sparked your interest in antiques?
“One of my earliest memories was watching my parents sell the contents of Bletchington Park, an 18th century Palladian estate. I remember all the rooms vividly: tiger skin rugs, huge gilded mirrors, antique furniture lined up ready to sell – I thought it was fantastic. We lived in a village just outside of Oxford and regularly visited the Ashmolean and Pitt Rivers museums. I think these trips made me appreciate the decorative arts and taught me to look at objects.
“There was an antique store in our little village. Every Friday after school, I went there. The two women who owned it have always made me feel very welcome – I’ve never been the boring kid who might break something! This is where I made my first purchase: a 19th century English plate. Since then, I have always had a love for China.
How did the renovation of La Carlière go?
“It took my husband Rambert and I a long time to renovate the house, but at the same time, we weren’t in a rush. The house was habitable when we bought it. We wanted to create different atmospheres throughout the house, for example, the Petit Salon is decorated in the Napoleon III style. This contrasts with the Grand Salon, which is light and airy, mixing modern and antique pieces in a more English spirit. Collecting has given the house meaning and personality. “
Where do you go to look for ancient treasures?
“We like to buy things when we travel – it helps create a more eclectic interior. We buy regularly at auctions and also in antique shops in Paris. Some of the local flea markets and merchants in Normandy provided great finds.
What was your favorite find?
An 18th century French style four poster bed covered in a bold red and white stripe. It was the very first thing Rambert and I bought for the house.
What was it like recreating these pieces for Christie’s?
“It was extremely exciting for me to see The Carliere captured in the bespoke paintings of six rooms in my house – I have long been a fan of this medium for interpreting interiors. When creating the rooms, it was a dream come true to be able to choose from the magnificent selection of the Christie’s Collector sale. There are so many pieces that I would be tempted to bid on – only now, as we have moved on to the development of the garden, I equate all the antique purchases with the number of balls and topiaries I could buy at the square! My selection of lots from the sale is listed. “
How does fashion influence your own interiors?
“I think fashion influences the texture and pattern that I like to create in an interior. To create the Haute La Carlière cushions, the process was very similar to fashion design. I research the fabrics first, decide which ones to mix and where to add embroidery. I make models and then look at them in different rooms of the house – it looks a lot like a dress.
‘The Collector: Online’ is open for auction from April 29 to May 20 at www.christies.com. “The Collector: Live” will take place at Christie’s King Street from May 14-20 and will include highlights from “The Collector: Online”. Estimates range from £ 300 to £ 25,000.