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November 15, 2016, 03:59 PM

Six Piero Fornasetti plates and Robin Day at Gaze modern

By Thornton Kay

Six Piero Fornasetti plates 550 [photo Gaze

Robin Day Hille Unit B sideboard 480 [photo Gaze
Hille early circular logo with serif font [photo Gaze

Lombardia (Lombardy), Italy - Natalina Cavalieri was an opera singer who sang with Caruso, married a Russian prince, and was reputedly one of the world's most beautiful women. In her 40s she opened a beauty salon, wrote about make-up and launched her own perfume, Mona Lisa. Her marriages were short-lived: the Russian prince lasted a year, and one of the Astors was over by the end of the honeymoon.

Piero Fornasetti (1913-88), a Milanese sculptor, painter, decorator, furniture maker and engraver is known for his monochrome architectural cabinets. Lina Cavalieri was the face that appeared repeatedly, obsessively, in Piero Fornasetti's Tema E Variazioni (theme and variation) household china plates.

"What inspired me to create more than 500 variations on the face of a woman?" asked Fornasetti of himself. "I don't know," he admitted, "I began to make them and I never stopped." The six plates at Gaze's Modern Design sale were Fornasetti originals and sold for 550 (plus 20% buyers premium) - the second highest lot. Piero died in 1988 but his son Barnaba curates the archive, produces new lines, and still lives in the family home in Milan built by the grandfather Pietro Fornasetti.

It is possibly to buy melamine reproductions on Etsy for 35. (Not sure how they get around EU design copyright laws).

Third highest lot at 480 was a Hilleplan Unit B sideboard designed in 1952 by Robin Day with an agbar carcass with sliding doors and drawer (in what possibly looked like satinwood in Gaze's photo). The Hille circular serif font logo looks to be an early style, subsequently replaced by lower case sans serif.

T W Gaze Llp

Mr Porter: Barnaba and the family home of the Fornasettis

Story Type:  Auction Report

ID: 97746

Date Modified: November 17, 2016, 09:23 PM

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