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An exceptional carved mahogany bed, second half 19th-century. Estimate £500,000–800,000. The precise history of this unique commission remains shrouded in history, yet it has traditionally been associated with the legendary Hôtel de la Païva, the Champs-Elysée love nest of Esther Lachmann – the richest and most notorious demi-mondaine of the Second Empire. The matchless bateau-lit found its way into ‘La Fleur Blanche’, the notorious and celebrated brothel at 6 Rue des Moulins. Frequented by international high society, it was most notably where artist Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec set up his easel – in whose biography the bed is described in detail.

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