Author, design aficionado, and longtime ELLE Decor contributor Julia Reed, who died last August at the age of 59, was well known for entertaining her readers—and she was almost as well known for entertaining her guests. This week, the New Orleans auction house Neal Auction announced that starting February 5, many of the heirlooms, art, and objets that filled Reed’s homes and enlivened her spirited gatherings will be up for sale.
A decorated journalist whose passions ran from politics to literature to food, Reed built her collection over the years from her travels around the world and in her native South.
“The layering that happens over time has brought more meaningful pleasure than I imagine any ‘instant house’ would have,” Reed wrote in a 2012 ELLE Decor feature about decorating her house in New Orleans’s Garden District.
Included in the auction’s 190 lots are Portrait of a Young Cricket Player, an 1862 English School painting Reed inherited from her great-grandmother; a vast selection of china, silver, and crystal that has been pictured throughout Reed’s cookbooks; and her Italian Neoclassical writing desk.
Photographs by the actor Jessica Lange, a watercolor by the American painter John Alexander, and four beetle prints from the French artist Emile-Allain Séguy will also be featured. Other highlights include a platinum-and-diamond brooch and clip set, jade-and-diamond earrings, and a selection of custom pieces by New York jeweler Mish Tworkowski.
Over the years, Reed’s homes in New Orleans, New York, and Greenville, Mississippi, which were designed by the likes of Thomas Jayne and Brockschmidt & Coleman, as well as the various treasures from her estate, have been featured in the pages of ELLE Decor, Vogue, and Garden & Gun.
The auction will benefit the newly formed Julia Evans Reed Charitable Trust, which is dedicated to supporting organizations whose work contributes to what Reed found to be essential for a good life: a good home, nourishing food, a quality education, and an opportunity for learning, literacy, and engagement in the arts.
“No one put her heart into things like Julia did,” said Anne Flaherty Heekin, a member of the trust. “She gave to the world in extraordinary ways, and our board looks forward to having her spirit guide us in our work.”
Visit Neal Auction to view the complete catalog and to register for the auction.
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