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Stern, 1st Baron Michelham, Herbert, Sir

British, 1851 - 1919

Michelham Herbert Stern, 1st Bt. and 1st Baron


[Excerpted from Fowles, 19761]: Lord Michelham died January 7, 1919. Our most important client in Paris at this time was Lady Michelham. After her husband's death in January of this year, Lady Michelham decided that she would continue the decoration and furnishing of the house which her late husband had acquired for her in Arlington Street, near the Ritz Hotel in London's West End.... In May 1919, I was asked by one of the executors of Lord Michelham's estate to make an affidavit that Lord Michelham had given the contents of their apartment at 23 rue Nitot to his wife. His last will and testament were being bitterly contested.... According to the accounts of the trial which were published in the newspapers, Lord Michelham's eldest son Herman, hten aged 18 years, had married three days before his father's death to Miss Capel, aged thirty-nine, a friend of his mother's. The law suit contested the validity of a 1918 will, which favoured the new Lady Michelham to the amount of £100,000, and entirely ignored Jeff Cohn [Capt. Jefferson Davis Cohn], Lord Michelham's business associate and soi disant art advisor, who, in an earlier settlement of 1911, had been left a sum of £30,000 while acting as executor of the estate. Little was later heard of this much publicized law suit. The young brother, Jack Stern, ingerited the estate, retired to Switzerland, and the new lady Michelham took up residence at St. Germain-en-Laye. Jack Stern...had inherited his father's business acumen... In 1926, Lady Michelham decided to sell both the mansion in Arlington St. and its fine collection of English pictures and furniture which she and her late husband had purchased....[S]ome of the paintings reached record sums....The portrait of Master Heathcote by Gainsborough [now in the NGA]...fetched record prices.


"Baron Michelham Dies in London." [obit.] The New York Times. (8 January 1919): 11:2.
Hankinson, C.F.J., ed. Debrett's Peerage and Titles of Courtesy. 144th year. London, 1946.
Fowles, Edward. Memories of Duveen Brothers. London, 1976: 106, 108ff.

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