Out of the Ordinary Christie’s auction: Extraordinary items, some with big screen connections

Out of the Ordinary Christie’s auction: Extraordinary items, some with big screen connections

I recently had a thrilling visit to the Out of The Ordinary auction exhibition at Christie’s South Kensington which displays an eclectic and fascinating collection of items curated for its forthcoming auction on 10th September. Auction houses are, let’s face it, the most exciting place to ‘shop’ and this auction celebrates all things extraordinary and unusual, presenting collectors with a wealth of unique and fascinating items – some of which have some big screen connections. Here’s our top five:

1. The sculpture

A standout exhibit is “Rocking Machine” by Herman Makkink. This shocking and strangely beautiful piece of pop art is one of an edition of six made in 1969, one of which made a memorable appearance in Kubrick’s masterpiece A Clockwork Orange (1971) in “cat women’s house”.

Rocking-Machine (1969) by Herman-Makkink (Image c/o Phillips.com)
Rocking Machine (1969) by Herman-Makkink (Image c/o Phillips.com)
A Clockwork Orange. 'Cat Woman's' house featuring Rocking Machine (1969) by Herman Makkink
A Clockwork Orange. ‘Cat Woman’s’ house featuring Rocking Machine (1969) by Herman Makkink

As outlined in the Film and Furniture guest feature Kubrick’s A Clockwork Orange: Brutalism in Exteriors, Interiors and a Quilt, Makkink explained that the sculptures “…formed part of my studio work at the time, and, after seeing them there, Kubrick wanted to use them for the film because they probably had the futuristic look he and his wife wanted. In the late sixties and early seventies, we, London-based artists, felt terribly hip. We didn’t want to fight the establishment so much as shock them. Pop Art was in full swing and so was the sexual revolution, so I combined a penis with a beautifully shaped female rear in fibre glass. I thought this would be really shocking. I thought I could make the object move by constructing a heavy pendulum swing inside. To my surprise I found that it made an irregular movement, so I exaggerated that by adding extra weights in various places. That resulted in Rocking Machine’s specific, jerky motion.”  (© 2000 Drencrom V.O.F.).

Here are some snaps of the sculpture in Christie’s display.


A Rocking Machine sold in a Phillips auction in New York for $25,000 in 2010. Despite this piece in Christie’s not being the actual piece used in the film, the sculpture is a rare connection to A Clockwork Orange as memorabilia so very rarely comes onto the market given Kubrick had so much destroyed. This particular piece was given as a gift to the vendor by Richard Lederer, head of Warner Brothers publicity and a close friend of Stanley Kubrick.

Estimate: £10,000-£15,000.

2. The ultimate sideboard

Another item commanding attention is the Symphony sideboard from Boca Do Lobo – a statement piece of furniture deemed good enough for the high standards of Christian Grey in his apartment in Fifty Shades of Grey. Again, although not the actual piece used in filming, you’ll have few chances to add this to your own home or office – this is the first of an edition of twenty designed by Diogo Carvalho in 2011.

Symphony sideboard by Boco de Lobo
Symphony sideboard by Boco do Lobo
The Symphony sideboard seen in Christian Grey's dining area in Fifty Shades of Grey
The Symphony sideboard seen in Christian Grey’s dining area in Fifty Shades of Grey
The Symphony sideboard on display at the current exhibition at Christies
The sideboard on display at the current exhibition at Christie’s

Inspired by female forms and music (due to the designer’s passion for Jazz and Portuguese churches), this sideboard is the first of an edition of twenty to be made. The outside is formed of gilt brass tubes with 3 doors opening to reveal a rosewood interior.

Estimate £10,000-£15,000.

Read our feature in Fifty Shades of Furniture and our interview with the set designer C. Scott Baker.

3. Alien connections

Also of note is a set of three painted, fibreglass ampules, or urns from Ridley Scott’s Prometheus, 2012 (the long-awaited prequel to his original sci-fi classic Alien) with alien runes carved into the bodies of each jar. These would certainly get a conversation started if displayed on a sideboard in your own front room. If you want the full geeky theory on their true purpose in the movie take a look at the Prometheus forum.

Here they are in the Christie’s exhibition.


And here they are in the movie.ampules-prometheous-film-still

It has to be said there a few of these bad boys around on the market and that’s reflected in the estimate of £1000-£1500 for the set of 3.

4. Suspension

One of the most famous and parodied moments in contemporary cinema is Tom Cruise hanging from wires in action spy film Mission Impossible (1996). When the character Ethan Hunt descended from a ceiling heating duct into an impenetrable CIA vault room where touching the floor is a big no-no, anyone with even an ounce of a sense of adventure wanted to have a go.

So although not furniture, decor or art (brand rules were made for breaking right?) we have to mention that the exact suspension suit that made it possible, is included in this auction. This lot comprises of a leather head set and black rimmed glasses, latex surgical gloves, black canvas jacket, T-shirt and jogging bottoms, black lace-up boots and comes mounted on its own bespoke mannequin stand.

Here it is on display in the auction:


Estimate £5000-£7000.

5. The Minotaurminotour-christies

A Minotaur costume from the Chronicles of Narnia: Prince Caspian comprises faux brown fur mask and upper body suit with tail, horns and facial features with glass eyes. With so much being created in CGI these days, such costumes will become real collectors pieces. Alternatively it would make the ultimate fancy dress outfit.

Estimate. £4000-£6000

There are 167 lots of oddities and delights up for grabs in this auction. If like us, you love furniture, decor and art with a story to tell, them there will most certainly be something here with your name on it. If you’re in the South Kensington area, then the exhibition is well worth a visit. See the full catalogue here >

Out of The Ordinary
Christie’s, London, South Kensington
85 Old Brompton Road, London, Sw7
Auction: 10th September 2015
Exhibition open until 9th September: Monday to Friday 9am-5pm. Sat/Sun 11am-5pm.
Late viewing ’til 7.30pm on Mon 24th Aug and 7th Sept.

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