Through the gourmet fads and sartorial fashions of its 99-year history, Soho’s The Ivy restaurant has retained its ultra-chic and exclusive cachet. So much so that sister venues are now opening around London – on Covent Garden’s Piazza and in the gardens of Chelsea. But change begets change, and so back to the flagship, which is undergoing a major refurbishment and is set to reopen in May.
The Ivy’s starry and successful roll call of regulars may miss the signature elements of such a dining grande dame, but there’s a shimmering silver lining: the restaurant is auctioning everything off – from its napkins to its artwork – in aid of Child Bereavement UK, which will put the funds towards supporting families when a baby or child dies or is dying or when a child faces bereavement.
Taking place at 10.30am on Wednesday March 25 as part of the annual Sotheby’s Made in Britain event, the sale features small items such as two cocktail shakers (estimated at £80-£120, second picture) and three pairs of aluminium champagne buckets (£100-£150, third picture) shaped like giant champagne glasses.
Those looking to emulate the The Ivy’s flair for entertaining at home can bid for complete table settings (£200-£300 for a dinner set for two; £800-£1,200 for eight, first picture), comprised of the linen napkin, wine glass, side plate, starter plate, fish plate, main plate and accompanying cutlery for each course.
Larger pieces, such as the famous oak, glass and brass front doors (£1,000-£1,200) with leather handles, the mirrored bar (£1,000-£1,500), the oak and leather upholstered c1916 banquette that was said to be “the best seat in the house” (£800-£1,200) and even the c1930 brass and glass sign for the ladies’ toilet (£100-£150), will also be up for auction for the charity.
The Ivy’s association with British art means that the sale incorporates several eye-catching commissions that have adorned the restaurant’s walls. Highlights include Bridget Riley’s colour-infused The Ivy Painting (£120,000-£180,000, just seen in first picture) and Allen Jones’ dynamic Mural for the Ivy (£40,000-£60,000), alongside now-iconic pieces including Joe Tilson’s Dionysus, the Ivy and the Vine (£30,000-£50,000, fourth picture) and Peter Blake’s Marilyn Monroe White No 7 (£3,000-£5,000, fifth picture).
“I’ve often had people tell me that they wish they could buy some of our pieces and furniture,” says owner Richard Caring. “Now they can.”