“Ann was working here until midnight last night sewing cushions and arranging her furniture,” noted Jo Schuman Silver, as a crush of designers and friends wended their way among Getty’s gilded Chinese Chippendale chairs.
“Just look at my bloody fingers,” laughed Getty. “There was a little stitching to be done.”
Getty proved herself not only handy with a needle, but served as a knowledgeable historian while guests examined the Anglo-Dutch Queen Anne chairs, gilt Louis XV side chairs and water-gilded Georgian side chairs in her collection, which has to-the-trade prices that range from $2,000 to $20,000 and is sold through the Shears & Window showroom here.
On display in the showroom, which duplicates the flavor of the Gettys’ lavish San Francisco home, were museum-worthy Getty family originals (a ravishing tortoiseshell bookcase, gilt mirrors) as well as replicas of her favorite English antiques, crafted in California, Italy, China and India.
“I like the heft and the eccentricity and the comfort of those pieces,” she said. “I admire the 18th and 19th-century craftsmanship of those noble English designs and I love their gutsy shapes and silhouettes.”
Interior designer Michael Smith was seriously considering acquiring a pair of Getty’s Badminton House George II gilt armchair replicas.
“They would look great in my new bedroom,” mused Smith. “They have character. And the provenance is terrific.”
For Getty, origin is important, but so is price. “I’m developing pieces — chairs, tables, upholstered furniture — that have an interesting provenance but which are less expensive,” she said. “I want young people to be able to buy them.”
Indeed, Getty’s next project will benefit very young people — she’s working on a collection of antique-inspired children’s furniture.