KNOWLES HOSPITALITY FAMILY AUCTION
For the first time in over a half-century, the Knowles family is allowing a portion of its vast collection of dining-centric décor and furnishings, which they have amassed over decades of European travel and antique collecting, to be released for public purchase. As icons in the remarkable mid-century growth of American fine dining and lavish hospitality event making, this notable family helped to define the art and style that now epitomizes the aesthetic of culinary-minded quality. As this multi-generational family of restaurateurs renovates and shifts the composition of its collections and its properties, it is making way for changes, streamlining its archives, and no longer has the need to retain or store specific items amongst its diverse decorative acquisitions. Selected pieces displayed in its various public venues, as well as portions of the personal collection of the family’s matriarch, the late Doris Knowles, are being offered from amongst their significant holdings.
This is a rare opportunity to add to one’s personal collection of unique decorative and functional items that have graced the walls and display cases of the pre-renovation Carolina Room and Buffet Dining Room of “The Manor” of West Orange, the massive northern New Jersey landmark mansion renowned for decades for its fine dining pedigree. In addition, guests of the historic building, “Highlawn Pavilion”, will recognize key statement pieces that once adorned this venue, now released for acquisition. Also included amongst the offerings are a selection of Doris Knowles’ personal pieces, all which speak to a passion for the refinement and class prevalent in the renaissance of quality dining and elegant service. Rounding out the collection are items from “Ram’s Head Inn”, the iconic South Jersey special occasion destination that has hosted generations of families for elite events and gracious dining.Through the mid and late 20th century, these venerated establishments played a significant role in creating the gold standard for elegant events and the upper echelon of gastronomic experience. These venues also greatly influenced the trends in extravagant weddings and social events. For those growing up in New Jersey and beyond, and for those who have celebrated milestone moments at a Knowles venue, the mere mention of one of these properties often evokes quite special generational memories.
Included are oil paintings in gilt gold frames, Belgian tapestries and carved frame mirrors to add refinement to any wall. Custom hand hammered planters, neoclassical lighting, and 18th century continental furniture are also among the collection. The choicest grouping is an unparalleled collection of Limoges porcelain. Hand painted vases, monumental bowls and fish sets are ready for the keen collector. Whether seeking that special piece of décor or discovering a special memento all your own that you remember as a past guest, the Knowles Collection has much to offer.
While standing in their quality alone, these items each also hold their own small piece of local history; as display treasures in these prestigious venues, they have stood on view in the public eye for tens of thousands of welcomed guests, counting among them dignitaries, celebrities, and innumerable other honored guests. Any of these items would take pride of place as functional statement pieces in the finest home dining rooms and beyond.
Whether you are a designer seeking fine appointments to add a sense of classic refinement to a client’s project, a past guest of one of these grand properties looking to capture a personal memento and piece of history, a savvy private collector interested in the quality of old-world art and dining, or simply someone who appreciates the value of the appurtenances of the culinary experience, this distinctive collection is well worth your attention.