Wednesday, 7 January 2009

Haunt of intellect and daring

Cafe Royal London 1912 by Sir William Orpen

Café Royal was founded by French wine merchant Daniel Nicholas Thévenon. Fleeing bankruptcy in France, he arrived in England in 1863 with five pounds and his wife Célestine. A new country called for a new name, and he became Daniel Nicols. What didn’t change was his flair and Célestine’s thrift, and in just two years they were able to take over a small shop in Glasshouse Street and turn it into a café.

Good food, good service and Nicols’ knowledge of wines made the Café-Restaurant Nicols a success. Within ten years, he had created one of the most famous and cosmopolitan of establishments. Oscar Wilde made the Café his own and his followers — followed suit. And with them came the beau monde. Their sport was a battle of wits, but the real fights took place under the direction of the National Sporting Club whose boxing activities found a permanent home there in 1955.

On January 20th Bonhams will be auctioning off the contents of Café Royal. The ballrooms and suites with names such as Napoleon, Dubarry and Dauphin, are to make way for a new five-star hotel.

Just what the world needs.

Lot No: 1
Cafe Royal - The Front Hall
A pair 20th century cut glass tent and bag chandeliers.

Now playing: Ron Goodwin - Café Royal Waltz Theme
via FoxyTunes


An Aesthete's Lament said...

What a waste and a loss. How irredeemably stupid.

Pigtown-Design said...

So sad. I am sure the new place won't have half the character!

HOBAC said...

And, they are planning to pedestrianise that part of Regent Street. I am so glad I got to see London before it becomes Disneyland UK.