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01-Feb-2017 10:04

A consummate shopper with a discerning eye and an unlimited budget, Bunny had taken great pleasure in furnishing her homes in Virginia, Manhattan, Washington, Paris, Antigua, Cape Cod and Nantucket.To glide up the escalators at Sotheby’s was visually overwhelming, due to the vast quantities of objects: dozens of antique porcelain tureens and serving dishes shaped like cabbages, cauliflowers, sunflowers, pineapples and asparagus, silver candlesticks, gold and lapis snuff boxes, Aubusson and English needlepoint carpets, a Louis XVI writing table, an eighteenth-century Regency chest, and black lacquered chairs with gold chinoiserie.

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They were like a pair of twins with their own special language, their own love of mischief, and their own special combination of respect for tradition masking a complete disregard for convention.”Buy Now In November 2014, Bunny Mellon’s possessions were auctioned off at Sotheby’s with the proceeds benefitting the botanical library foundation named after her father, Gerard B. The sale received glowing media coverage as magazine and newspaper articles stressed two themes: her exquisite taste and how much she abhorred attention.

“We talked two days before she died,” Hubert de Givenchy, the French fashion designer, told me.

“About flowers, about a book, about the nice time we had on a boat trip.” During the final 24-hour bedside vigil at her home, Bunny bestowed a frail but loving smile on her irrepressible six-year-old great-granddaughter, Fiona Lloyd, who came skipping into Bunny’s bedroom, bearing a bouquet of just-picked crocuses.

For Louise Whitney Mellon, who had been married to Paul Mellon’s son, Timothy, the porcelain cabbages brought back memories.

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Tim Mellon had been five years old when his widowed father married Bunny in 1948, and he did not always get along with his stepmother.

Philanthropist Deeda Blair recalled the heiress’s eccentricities.