We are delighted to be offering the African and Oceanic collection of Chester Jones (lots 21 - 36), one of the U.K.’s most highly respected designers at our forthcoming 1st May auction of African & Oceanic Art and Antiquities in Edinburgh.
After initially training as an architect, Jones spent 21 years at Colefax & Fowler, running their modern design arm before beginning his own practice in 1990. Working in close collaboration with his clients, his encyclopaedic knowledge and ability to produce acutely personal spaces led to him becoming the foremost interior designer working in the U.K. today.
Here specialist Alex Tweedy picks out six select pieces from his collection to be offered in our May auction:
This kinetic 19th century vessel, with the two abstract figures shown as if “pulling” at the sides, is wonderfully inventive. It hails from the tiny archipelago of the Hermit Islands, lying around 300km north of New Guinea. Despite lying within the Melanesian sphere the Hermit Islands culture is Micronesian and such items are rare to the art market.
Dating to the early 20th century and produced from a single tree trunk, these Ethiopian chairs figure prominently in the installation of chiefs amongst the Gurage and Jimma peoples. Some have argued the hand carved lattice work of the high back is a native hybridisation of contemporary western colonial furniture.
The textiles of the Kuba kingdom are among the most distinctive and spectacular works of African art. The present example was brought back to the United Kingdom in the early 20th century by the noted anthropologist and explorer Emil Torday, whose collection is largely now housed at the British Museum.
Mambila shields posses a striking, graphic quality. Made with two layers of braided palm fibres and reinforced with two central wooden slats, they were produced for warfare between competing villages and with Fulani slave raiders from outside the Mambila Plateau.
The kifwebe masks of the Songye people are icons of African art. The iconography contained within them is highly complex and relates to various strands of Songye mythology and cosmology. Amongst the eastern Songye, masks painted in predominantly white are considered female, whilst male examples (such as the present example) are painted with deep striated bands of red, black and white.