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Blake and co. of london english, flourished 2nd quarter 19th century

Each with a bevelled levanto rosso marble top above a pair of concave and convex drawers, front and sides inlaid in première partie boulle marquetry, the back inlaid in contre partie, the handle of each top drawer cast with the maker's name Blake, some mounts with the letter P, the mounts marked A followed by Roman numerals for one commode, the others marked B. This pair of commodes was seemingly created as part of a suite of four commodes, most likely commissioned by the 4th Marquess of Hertford. As a group, these lavish pairs of meticulously inlaid commodes represent the highest quality work produced by the firm Blake of London. The companion pair to the present examples is now in the Frick Collection in New York and are marked C and D to their mounts, while the commodes in this pair are marked A and B, indicating that they were indeed conceived of as a group. The Commission by the 4th Marquess of Hertford This group of four commodes was possibly commissioned by the 4th Marquess of Hertford, Richard Seymour-Conway. Lord Hertford was an avid collector of eighteenth century furniture, as evidenced by the Wallace Collection which is now the repository for his extensive collection, but he showed equal zeal in buying nineteenth century recreations. The nineteenth century versions were actually often more expensive than the originals because of the cost of high-quality labor and materials. In 1853, the Duke of Hamilton and other collectors of eighteenth century furniture lent their pieces to the Gore House Exhibition in London. The Duke of Hamilton lent a commode by André-Charles Boulle, which is now at Petworth House, Sussex. The Petworth commode is one of several of this model produced in the eighteenth century. The design, probably conceived of by Gilles-Marie Oppenord, was originally executed by Boulle in 1708-1709 for a pair of commodes for Louis XIV at the Grand Trianon. After they were supplied, Boulle received many other commissions for the model. At least five examples are accounted for in eighteenth century auction catalogues, which indicates the success and popularity of this model. The keen interest in the model’s complex structure and its unique juxtaposition of convex and concave drawers did not abate but continued into the nineteenth century, as evidenced by its sustained reproduction. Lord Hertford was among the commode’s many admirers after his visit to the Specimens of Cabinet Work exhibition at Gore House. Inspired to acquire his own version of the Duke’s Boulle commode, he obtained permission to copy it. On June 11, 1853, the 4th Marquess wrote to Samuel Moses Mawson, a dealer, saying, “You might do me a great service & oblige me very much. You know there is at present an exhibition of works of art at Gore House. I should very much like to have drawings made of some of the principal & the most beautiful articles furniture not of the middle ages but of Louis XIV, XV & XVI…”. After expending the effort to obtain drawings, Lord Hertford realized that the cabinetmakers could not produce copies from drawings aloneand had to rethink his commission process. After revising his plan, he commissioned John Webb, a cabinetmaker listed on Old Bond Street and an organizer of the Gore House exhibition. Webb most likely subcontracted much of the work to other cabinetmakers, and in particular to Henry Blake. The original mounts were likely copied using the most expensive and time-consuming processes available to nineteenth century bronziers in order to produce mounts of identical size and quality. To achieve this, the bronzier must have created either a squeeze or a wood model of the original and adapted it to accommodate for shrinkage. It is important to note that there are a few slight modifications from the Duke of Hamilton’s eighteenth century version. The nineteenth century version features slightly shorter bail handles and foliated cups on the bottom of the helical feet. While it has been argued that this indicates that Hertford did not copy from the Hamilton commode but rather from another now-lost example, it has also been suggested that the bronzier made slight adaptations while copying. The other mounts, which have been previously removed and directly compared to the ones on the Hamilton commode now at Petworth, are identical in detail. Lord Hertford’s Legacy Lord Hertford is documented owning three of these commodes and this is not unusual as he was generally known to have multiple examples of pieces he admired. After Lord Hertford’s death in 1870, his son, Sir Richard Wallace, inherited his father's collection, the apartment in the rue Laffitte, the chateau of Bagatelle, and the estates in Ireland. He soon also bought the lease of Hertford House. Upon Sir Richard Wallace’s death in 1890, the estate and its property were bequeathed to his wife Lady Wallace. Lady Wallace left the Hertford House to England, while her other properties were bequeathed to her secretary and principal advisor, Sir John Murray Scott. In turn, Sir John Murray Scott sold Bagatelle in 1900 and left the rue Laffitte apartment and a large sum of money to his friend Victoria Sackville-West upon his death in 1912. It appears that the commodes are documented again at this point in the Paris probate valuation of 2 rue Lafitte in 1912: “trois meubles de style Louis XV en marquetrie de cuivre… à deux tiroirs… quatre pieds cambrés a cariatides ailées”. It is curious that there are only three listed, which means that one was sold early on or it was mistakenly unaccounted for at the time. However, it seems clear that the four were indeed created as a group, as supported by the fact that they are marked in order (A, B, C, D). Additionally, upon close examination, it also appears that the walnut drawer linings were cut from the same section of wood. Lady Sackville eventually sold en bloc the art and furniture given to her by Sir John Murray Scott to Jacques Seligmann, a Parisian dealer. Seligmann sold the majority of the pieces during World War I and he included a penciled addition to the 1912 probate that there was a pair rather than three commodes, thus possibly indicating that the other pair was sold prior to his purchase of the stock. The pair from the Frick Collection came from Duveen Brothers in Paris, so the commodes could have been split between the two dealers meaning that this pair could be the ones sold by Seligmann. Blake of London As noted earlier, John Webb most likely employed the Blake family to reproduce the Duke of Hamilton’s commode while it was on display at the Gore House Exhibition. Webb and Henry Blake are documented working together on the Alnwick table for the Duke of Northumberland in 1865, so it seems likely that Webb went to them for assistance with the Hertford commission as well. The Blake family has very few signed pieces to its name; however, there are several mentions of its members throughout the nineteenth century. Robert Blake was first described in the 1820 Directory as being located at 8 Stephen Street, Tottenham Court Road. By 1843, he was apparently either retired or deceased because the Directory lists George Blake and Brothers. Robert had four sons: Charles (b. 1814), Henry (b. 1821), George, and James. It appears that George separated from the brothers in 1843 when he was listed as being set up at 53 Mount Street, while his brothers in 1851-2 were still documented at Stephen Street. By 1860, George was no longer listed, and by 1866 Charles appears to be the sole Blake cabinetmaker. Charles continued the firm on Stephen Street throughout the 1870s. In 1879, upon his death, his effects were sold at Christie’s. A pair of commodes of this celebrated model by Henri Dasson were sold in these rooms, October 27, 2007, lot 326 for $853,000.

  • USAUSA
  • 2015-10-15
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A pair of george i gilt-gesso bureau-cabinets, circa 1720, attributed

The gilt surface decorated overall with strap-work and foliage patterns, the pointed arched moulded cornice with a carved shell motif, above sides and two doors with bevelled mirror plates, the interior side of the doors in walnut opening to reveal fitted interior with pigeonholes below central arched door surrounded by small drawers all yew veneered below opening for shelves, the upper section out-facing uprights kingwood veneered, the fall front desk with fitted interior with pigeonholes and drawers also yew veneered,  above  lower section with two short and three long drawers, the sides with carrying handles, all raised on boldly carved paw feet;  Bureau A with replaced mirror plates and replacements to some internal drawers, Bureau B with reinstated feet and shell cresting, both regilt These extraordinary bureaux can be ranked among the finest examples of 18thcentury English furniture and are reunited here for the first time after many years apart. They were certainly produced for the Portuguese market in a period when art patronage in Portugal was under the auspices of king Dom João V (r.1709-1750), one of the foremost patrons of arts in 18th century Europe. Anglo-Portuguese relations were strengthened after the Treaty of Methuen signed between the two allied countries in 1703. On this treaty, the export of manufactured goods to Portugal was encouraged, furniture included. At the same time, with Portugal's newly found Brazilian wealth, Dom João became an important patron of the arts commissioning works of art from London, Paris and Rome, setting a trend within his court. Although not recorded in any document or inventory associated with the royal house, the present bureaux only have as comparison one other pair of bureau-bookcases, this one in fact historically linked to the King of Portugal, which is mentioned further below. Although tempting to also associate the present lot to the royal house, it is worth considering that the commission might have come from a prominent member of the Portuguese court. The ambassador to the court of St. James c.1715-1719, Dom Luís da Cunha (1662-1749), was a sophisticated diplomat and art connoisseur and one could speculate that he would have been involved in this commission on someone's behalf, as his assignment dates coincide with the period when James Moore was at the height of his career. Bureau A appeared on the Portuguese market in the 1960’s in Lisbon and was sold again at Sotheby’s in 1977 by a Portuguese dealer. Before that we do not know its provenance or when it parted ways from its pair. The second bureau also appeared on the market in Lisbon, with a reputed royal provenance although after extensive documentary research no proof has been found of this connection. When purchased by Mallett in 2002, the London dealers had it conserved and removed the later additions to match the state of bureau A. The additions removed included a plaque with an inscription in Portuguese reading: “According to the tradition of my family, this beautiful eighteenth century gilded lady's bureau bookcase, of English origin, considered to be unique, belonged to Her Royal Highness Dona Carlota Joaquina, wife of Dom João VI, King of Portugal. It was later offered by  Queen Maria II of Portugal, to her lady-in-waiting the 1st Duchess of Ficalho (Dona Eugenia of  Almeida), and subsequently offered as a birthday present by the 2nd Marques of Ficalho and his wife, to my great grandmother the Countess of Geraz, Lima and Folgosa (Dona Júlia Sofia de Almeida Brandão e Sousa), today belonging to his grandson the 3rd Count of Folgosa (the title created by His Highness Dom Luis I, by decree on 5th December 1885) António Teodorico Ponte Horta Gavazzo do Rego Barreto da Fonseca Magalhães da Costa e Silva (son of the 1st Count of Almarjão).  Carcavelos, Portugal March 1962”. The second pair of bureaux (fig.1), and the only know comparison to this, was in the collection of the family of one of the King’s lovers, the nun Paula Teresa da Silva e Almeida.  The King was extremely fond of Madre Paula, as she was known, providing her with a lavish life in the monastery of Odivelas. An eighteenth century manuscript existing in the Biblioteca Nacional in Lisbon recorded the interiors of Madre Paula’s lavish private apartments. The account mentions “two bureaux with mirror in the doors, ornamented with gilt reliefs“, which match the bureau first published by R.W.Symonds in 1940. According to the author, this piece was originally made for King João V and stayed with the descendants of Leocádia Assis e Almeida, sister of Madre Paula, until sold in London in the 1930’s. It formed part of the stock of Frank Partridge & Son, of King Street, where it was tragically destroyed during the London Blitz. Its pair, we believe, lives today at Dr. Anastácio Gonçalves Museum in Lisbon, though almost unrecognisable, after losing all gesso decoration, according to Malheiro Dias, on an accident in Funchal harbour. (Cartas de Lisboa, 1905, p.109). It is now red japanned but it keeps the superb yew veneered interior. In this group of bureaux, gilt-gesso, a type of plaster, was applied on the wooden carcass in layers and then the design would be cut into it. In the same way wood is gilded, a red clay ground was applied and then gold leaves would be individually applied. The decorated surface was then burnished in the raised areas and punched and stippled on the ground, creating different glittering effects and textures. The elaborate French influenced strapwork designs covering almost the entire surface of the exterior in this imposing piece would have had, when delivered to Portugal, a striking effect with its bright shiny surface resembling solid gold, highly appropriate for the gold rich monarch. The rich fitted interiors veneered in yew would originally resemble the then fashionable tortoiseshell. The present lot is among the best examples ever made, and certainly the grandest surviving, in this technique and has been attributed to the workshops of the royal cabinet-maker James Moore, the elder (c.1670-d. 1726). They are the only surviving bureaux known to have been fully decorated in gilt-gesso, a technique always seen in smaller pieces such as tables, chests and mirrors. The quality and richness of the design is of the highest order and the unusual feature of having mirror plates on the sides indicate a commission made for the export market. The quality and grandness of the piece and the similar ornament designs found in pieces long attributed to Moore, such as a chest in Boughton House, and the Bateman chest, re-affirm the involvement of this royal cabinet-maker. According to Tessa Murdoch “Moore's giltwood desk with bookcase, (…), demonstrates the application of imported techniques to produce a unique form of English furniture, with the addition of the most sumptuous decoration. (…) The bold design and decoration of the marriage chests and the desk with bookcases indicate Moore's extraordinary level of confidence and invite curiosity about his background and training.” (Murdoch, 2003) James Moore, of Nottingham Court, Short’s Gardens, St. Giles-in-the-Fields, London, had an exceptional career working for a group of forward thinking patrons. He started his career possibly as an apprentice with Elizabeth Gumley and her son John and, in 1714, Moore enters into partnership with the Gumleys, an association that continued until his death in 1726, although it is obvious from surviving documentary evidence that the partners frequently carried out individual commissions, besides those for the Royal Household. Some of Moore’s known patrons include the Duchess of Marlborough, Duchess of Buccleuch, the Duke of Montagu, and the Earl of Burlington. These bureaux attributed to Moore support much of his reputation, demonstrating a gallant style and utilization of a wide array of influences. His works draws from an awareness of English baroque architecture and from the influence of both oriental export and French styles, but also show a willingness to adapt his production to the export taste. Less progressive in terms of design than some of his other works, and showing Moore’s close contact with the cabinetmaking industry of the Strand, the form of this bureau relates to other pieces made by cabinet-makers such as Peter Miller. The Le Pautre inspired foliated engraved lock and hinges also appear in other period walnut bureaux.

  • GBRUnited Kingdom
  • 2015-07-08
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Coppia di specchiere in legno dipinto, laccato, intagliato, scolpito

Ciascuna con la cimasa traforata, coronata da due volute con ghirlande, centrata, così come ai lati e sul grembiale, da cartella mossa dipinta con personaggi cinesi entro paesaggio, volute ai lati con mascheroni grotteschi, la cornice interna rettangolare, di linea spezzata, decorata a cineserie policrome a rilievo su fondo verde scuro intervallate da cartelle a specchio che sugli angoli assumono forme di cuore; piccole cadute alla doratura ed alla decorazione pittorica Questa eccezionale coppia di specchiere si segnala per una impostazione che abbina all’uso della lacca un esuberante intaglio dorato. Appare infatti abbastanza rara l’inserzione, sopra il battente interno, di cornicette allungate, composte di volute, che racchiudono piccole lastre a specchio: un motivo analogo, anche se non rifinito con specchi, si ritrova sulle cinture di una coppia di tavoli parietali del Kunsthistorisches Museum di Vienna. In quei sontuosi arredi incontriamo anche l’uso dell’intaglio, comune con i nostri esemplari, per incorniciare pannelli a se stanti con scenette a chinoiseries (ill. in A. Gonzàlez-Palacios, Il Tempio del Gusto, Milano, 1986, tav. LII, p. 314). Andra’ anche ricordata una cornice illustrata da G. Morazzoni (Le cornici veneziane, Milano, s.d. tav. I) quando si trovava nella collezione dei Conti Castelbarco Albani che, come la nostra, presentava un battente rettilineo, lievemente bombato, con fiori laccati alla cinese e piccole cartelle intagliate. L’uso magistrale della lacca, in cui i veneziani eccelsero, si esplica sui nostri esemplari in due diversi modi. Se sul battente, infatti, viene adoperata una pittura dai toni accesi su fondo scuro, concedendo un sensibile rilievo alle raffigurazioni, nei pannelli incorniciati I paesaggi con figure hanno una stesura assai piu’ magra e nelle colorazioni tenui ricalcano le gamme delle carte cinesi in voga nel pieno Settecento. La datazione delle nostre opere deve comunque risalire a poco prima della meta’ del secolo come sembrano testimoniare la forma rettilinea dei battenti e la presenza di mascheroni nell’intaglio. Questi ultimi, derivati da un gusto ancora tardo barocco, possono essere confrontati con i finali di alcuni stalli nel coro della Chiesa dei Gesuati, a Venezia, intagliati da Francesco Medici e Bortolo Cerani fra il 1740 e il 1744 su probabile disegno dell’architetto Andrea Massari C. Alberici, Il mobile veneto, Milano 1980, fig.250. This exceptional pair of mirrors stands out for their combination of lacquer with exuberantly carved giltwood. The insertion over the internal mouldings of elongated frames composed of scrolls, enclosing mirror plates, seems fairly rare: an analogous motif, although without mirrors, is found in the friezes of a pair of console tables in the Kunsthistorisches Museum in Vienna. In these sumptuous items of furniture we also encounter this use of carving to frame panels applied with chinoiserie scenes, as on these examples (ill. A. Gonzàlez-Palacios, Il Tempio del Gusto, Milan, 1986, pl.LII, p.314). A frame should also be remembered, which was illustrated by G. Marazzoni (Le cornici veneziane, Milan, pl.I), when it was is the collection of Conti Castelbarco Albani, that, like these mirrors, presents a rectilinear, gently bombé, moulding with lacquered Chinese flowers and small carved panels. The masterly use of lacquer, in which the Venetians excelled, is apparent in the present examples, in two different ways. On the mouldings, a depiction in bright colours is used on a dark ground, granting the representation a sense of relief, whilst in the small framed panels, the landscapes with figures employ a very thin lacquer and the soft colouring recalls the palette of the Chinese wallpapers in fashion in the mid-18th century. The dating of these works must however stretch back to slightly before the middle of the century as borne testament to by the rectilinear form of the mouldings and the presence of masks in the carving. The latter, derived from the taste of the late Baroque, can be compared with the finials of the choir stalls in the Chiesa dei Gesuati, in Venice, carved by Francesco Medici and Bortolo Cerani between 1740 and 1744 probably after the designs of the architect Andrea Massari (C. Alberici, Il mobile veneto, Milano 1980, fig. 250).

  • ITAItaly
  • 2003-10-21
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Gruppo delle sorelle Campbell in atto di ballare il Valzer: The Campbell

Introduction Since the two major retrospective exhibitions –of plaster models at Prato (1978); and of marbles and plasters at the Accademia, Florence (2011) – Lorenzo Bartolini (1777-1850) has been recognised as one of the great sculptors of Europe. His style is quite different from the traditional neo-classical style of Antonio Canova and Bertel Thorvaldsen, because it is not based on the antique or on standard academic principles. He was a controversial and polemical artist. His fascinating life has all the drama of a novel by Stendhal. He was proud and independent; a rebel, revolutionary and republican. At Paris he became Napoleonist and remained so all his life. His views were always strong and he was inclined to quarrel, even with friends. Today there can be few connoisseurs who do not appreciate the beauty and quality of his works. The Campbell Sisters is more than one of the most beautiful Italian portrait groups of the neo-classical period: it is an action group. It is Bartolini's representation of a dance, or perhaps more specifically a dance lesson. Although few details of Emma and Julia Campbell's lives are known, Bartolini has sculpted a scene of an intimate moment between the two sisters, as the elder guides her sibling in learning the delicate routine. It is an evocative image. We can imagine the Campbell family in Italy, Lady Charlotte, their mother, with her eight children living away from the formalities, and expense, of London and Edinburgh society. The Campbell Sisters could be an episode from a Jane Austen novel, captured in marble. The girls practice their steps for a Florentine ball, and the grace and charm of their youth shines in the white marble. Bartolini's innovative approach to sculpture, discussed below, both softens and enlivens the often static and cold neo-classical portrait genre to create one of the masterpieces of early 19th century Italian sculpture. Bartolini’s portrait busts may be found throughout Europe, and a good number of them are in Britain. To Britain too there came only three portrait statues, all dating from his early career in Florence (1815-23). The group of the Campbell Sisters is the finest of them, and was modelled by 1821. Emma and Julia Campbell were the youngest of Lady Charlotte’s children. It was made at the time when Bartolini’s oldest and best friend, J.-A.-D. Ingres, was living in Florence. The group is Bartolini’s only composition that shows figures actually in motion (except for the unique and dynamic Astyanax group made after 1840; Milan, Poldo Pezzoli Museum). The date, 1821, places The Campbell Sisters in the period of fully developed neo-classicism: that of Canova’s late works, and Thorvaldsen’s mature works, both of whom worked in Rome. The format looks classical, with the girls wearing mid-length tunics in Greek style. Yet Bartolini was opposed to the classical style of Canova, aiming instead to imitate the ‘beauty of nature’ according to principles he had learnt at Paris in the studio of Jacques-Louis David. It invites comparison with groups by other sculptors. It has a certain, if remote, similarity to the group of Princesses Luise and Friederika of Prussia by Gottfried Schadow (1793, Berlin, Nationalgalerie); but we are not certain if Bartolini knew it. Both Canova and Thorvaldsen modelled groups of The Graces, (in 1812 and 1817 respectively) which, compared with this, seem classical and static; while The Dancing Hours by Carlo Finelli (1824, St Petersburg) in comparison seems frivolous. Bartolini described the work as ‘Gruppo delle sorelle Campbell in atto di ballare il Valzer’. However, it is not our present day idea of a waltz: the girls dance side by side and are out of step. On the right, Emma, the older sister, appears to be teaching the dance to Julia, whose fluttering tunic implies rapid motion. The folds resemble those on Canova’s statue of Hebe carved for Empress Josephine, which Bartolini may well have seen when it arrived in Paris in about 1805. The marble is of extreme delicacy. The sculptor’s working model in plaster is among his many surviving gessi, which are on permanent display at the Florence Accademia. The finished marble appears to be identical to the model in all respects except for Julia’s hair, which in the model has a wreath of flowers. It is certainly amongst Bartolini's most important sculpture, and it is odd that contemporary or original documents relating to it are very few. Notes made in Bartolini’s studio were transcribed by Tinti (1936) and quoted in the catalogue of the 1978 Prato exhibition. They give no dates, but say that the group was commissioned by the brother of the girls for a cost of 1200 florins or 500 luigi (i.e. about £500), and was sent to Edinburgh. No evidence has as yet been found in the Argyll archives at Inveraray Castle. Lady Charlotte Campbell (1777-1861) and the commissioning of the marble in Florence Lady Charlotte was the youngest daughter of the 5th Duke of Argyll. She had beauty and intelligence, and was well known in society at Edinburgh and London. In 1808 their father died and her elder brother William (1766-1839) became 6th Duke. In 1796 Charlotte married a distant cousin, John Campbell who, as eldest of the fourteen children of Walter Campbell of Shawfield, had only a modest fortune. At Edinburgh Lady Charlotte ‘queened it’ over the literary set, and wrote poems. Her marriage however was not happy. In 1809 John Campbell died, leaving her with eight children but little money. For financial reasons, in 1810 she accepted the position of lady-in-waiting, or ‘governess’, to Caroline, Princess of Wales, who was by then irrevocably separated from the Prince. Although Lady Charlotte’s sympathies were on the whole with the Princess, the position was not an easy one and in 1815 she resigned. Before long, being short of money, Lady Charlotte took up residence in Florence. The dates and movements are not known for sure, but Lord Gower reported, on 24 November 1816, ‘The Campbells are just arrived here’. Her friend Mary Berry saw her there in September 1817; and she seems to have been in Florence until August 1820. On 17 March 1818 Lady Charlotte married the Rev. Edward John Bury. He was sixteen years younger and earlier had been tutor to the eldest son. The ceremony took place in the British Minister’s house in Florence. Mary Berry was present, but the family and society as a whole were not pleased. Around 1820, the time when Bartolini modelled the group, Lady Charlotte Bury (as she was now) appears to have had with her only the two youngest girls, Emma and Julia. But she was never well off, and the person who paid for the sculpture is not certain. Bartolini described it thus: Gruppo di due Danzatrice sorelle di sig. Campbell da lui comesse, e spedite a Edimbourg. In spite of this record, it seems unlikely that the group was ordered and paid for by the eldest son, Walter. The cost was 500 luigi, which was about £500. That was not expensive for such a work, yet £500 was an unwarrantable extravagance for a family that had come to Italy to save money. Possibly Lady Charlotte’s brother, the 6th Duke of Argyll, paid for it. They are said to have been ‘very close’, and both enjoyed spending money. In fact, on his death in 1839 the Duke left considerable debts on the estate. Nor is it known when the group went to Inveraray. So far, the only evidence we have for its presence at Inveraray Castle is from Mario Tinti, writing in 1936, who said that it was in the dining room. This has a really splendid interior, decorated in the 1780s by Robert Milne for Lady Charlotte’s father, the 5th Duke of Argyll. Two British travellers noticed our group in Bartolini’s studio. The novelist Lady Morgan wrote a book on France (1817), and then another on Italy (1821) in which she said: ‘There is scarcely a living bust in great Britain, on which fashion has set her mark, or notoriety stamped her signature, that may not be found in the studio and galleries of Signore Bartolini’; and she went on: ‘The groups of the lovely children of Prince Esterhazy, and the beautiful daughters of Lady Charlotte Campbell, are historical works; and…independent of the extraordinary fidelity of the likenesses…they are eminently precious as specimens of the perfection to which modern sculpture has arrived.’ Mary Berry, writer and diarist who knew ‘everybody’ at home and abroad, made visits to Rome and Florence, and on one of her visits she wrote in her journal: ‘7 June 1821. Dined at the Lockes with Bartolini, at whose house we had been to see the Duke of Devonshire’s vase, and two of the young Campbells, Emma and Julia, grouped as dancers, now modelled in terra cotta. The pose of the figures is really charming, and the drapery simple and flowing, without affectation.’ It is due only to Mary Berry that we know the names of the girls. Her mention of ‘terra cotta’ is puzzling. Bartolini, and most sculptors of his day, did not work with terracotta models. The original modelling will of course have been in clay, which then, unfired, would be cast in plaster. In 1820, Lady Charlotte still had a long life before her. She wrote more than a dozen novels, but the only book to be remembered, and the only one to make money, was the Diary illustrative of the Times of George IV (published anonymously in 1838), this being a personal journal of her time as governess to Princess Caroline. The dedication to John Flaxman The tree stump is inscribed: BARTOLINI FECE E DEDICÒ FLAXMAN (made by Bartolini and dedicated [to] Flaxman).  Only three of Bartolini’s statues bear dedications in a similar lettering: the plaster model of Madame Gouriev (1821) (but not the finished marble) is dedicated to Ingres and the Nymph of the Arno (1825) is dedicated to Giovanni degli Alessandri, President of the Florence Academy. It is highly unlikely that Bartolini ever saw any sculpture by John Flaxman (1755-1826), but the English sculptor had exercised a strong influence over him. Bartolini first came across Flaxman’s illustrations in 1797, at Volterra. When he came to Paris two years later, he found Flaxman was eagerly studied by David’s pupils, and in particular by young Ingres. These works caused a classical simplification of style in the works of David, Ingres and others. In autumn 1802, Flaxman himself came to Paris. He came to know Ingres, and Bartolini will certainly have met him. What can we detect of Flaxman’s influence in Bartolini’s works? Certainly, his few surviving classical bas reliefs show the same firm, economical outlines; and in 1972 a vase signed by Bartolini was on the London art market, carved in relief with the Furies after Flaxman’s Aeschylus. In his statues, the spare contours seem to owe something to Flaxman. Then, Flaxman when drawing was able skilfully to combine two or more figures and fuse them as it were into unity. Something of this closeness can be observed in the Campbell Sisters. Lorenzo Bartolini and the British Grand Tourists After the fall of Napoleon’s empire in 1814, British tourists came to Italy in great and ever increasing numbers. Some of them were scholars, some artists, and some merely sightseers. The majority were on their way to Rome and they would stop off for a few days at Florence. From 1814, Lord Burghersh (later 7th Earl of Westmorland) was British Minister, and his wife Priscilla Anne, the favourite niece of the Duke of Wellington, was active and highly intelligent. Largely through her support and encouragement, many English tourists found their way to Bartolini’s studio, and some had their portraits made. Curiously, Lord and Lady Burghersh seem not to have commissioned their own portrait busts until 1817; Bartolini’s reputation was established before that. His earliest known mention by an Englishman is by Lord Gower (later 2nd Duke of Sutherland), who wrote to his mother on 24 November 1816: ‘There is an excellent bust-maker here, Bartolini, but as you have one already of me [by Nollekens, 1810], I have not thought it advisable to repeat the likeness.’ However, when he reached Rome that year he had his bust made by Thorvaldsen. Mary Berry, a delightful chatterbox, was often at Florence. On her first meeting with Bartolini, she wrote in her journal: ‘2 October 1817 In the morning we went to Bartolini’s, the sculptor. He makes very good likenesses in his busts; but he works to sell, and not to immortalise his name. One group, however, of a Venus and a Cupid, and a figure of a Nymph, are really fine. He would part with them for almost nothing, to show what he can do in marble of his own composition.’ In the New Monthly Magazine (1824) there is a long article describing Bartolini’s studio, and the anonymous writer mentions ‘the original models of the infinite number of the busts which Bartolini has taken’, both of distinguished, and (the majority) undistinguished people. The article is appreciative not only of Bartolini’s talent, but of his intellect and conversation. While admitting the excellence of Greek sculpture, Bartolini had discovered another style to imitate. He saw in 15th century Florentine art a particularly satisfying blend of classicism and naturalism. The style appears most obviously in his statues, particularly in the Vendemmiatore or Grape Presser (c. 1820), and the beautiful Arnina or Nymph of the Arno which, although not completed in marble until 1825, was probably the model which Mary Berry saw in 1817. At this early stage his ideal statues were not numerous, but they included the Carità Educatrice (1817-35, Palazzo Pitti), a recumbent Juno (c.1823-32?) and the Bacchante (1824-34, Chatsworth). After that he made a number of ideal nudes such as Fiducia in Dio (1834, Poldo Pezzoli Museum, Milan), and the Nymph with a Scorpion (ante 1837, Louvre) which Baudelaire greatly admired at the Paris Salon in 1845. In 1819 and 1820 Ingres came to Florence and remained there for four years. Initially he lived in Bartolini’s house and shared his studio and painted a very fine portrait of the sculptor (Louvre). In 1820 he wrote to a friend: ‘[Bartolini] is surrounded by enemies of every kind, who [do not comprehend] his great talent which, among them, resembles a bright shining light in the midst of chaos; he has an honest mind and despises everything that is bourgeois.’ RELATED LITERATURE Lady Morgan, Italy, 1821; H. Matthew, The Diary of an invalid, 1824; New Monthly Magazine II, London, 1824, pp. 231-237; Lady Lewis (ed.), Extracts from the Journals and Corrrespondence of Miss Berry [1783-1852], 1866; Lord Gower, Stafford House Letters, 1891; Lady Bury, The Diary of a Lady-in-Waiting (1839), 1908; M. Tinti, Lorenzo Bartolini, Rome, 1936; G. Hubert, Les sculpteurs Italiens en France sous la Révolution, l’empire et la restauration, Paris, 1964; G. Hubert, La sculpture dans l’Italie napoléonienne, Paris, 1964; Lorenzo Bartolini, exh. cat. Prato, 1978; J. Kenworthy-Browne, ‘Sculptor and revolutionary. British portraits by Bartolini’, Country Life, 8 June 1979, pp. 1655-1656F. Falletti, S. Bietoletti and A. Caputo (eds.), Lorenzo Bartolini. Beauty and truth in marble, exh. cat. Galleria dell’ Accademia, Florence, 2011 We would like to thank Jonathan Kenworthy-Browne for his assistance in cataloguing this lot. Inscribed: BARTOLINI / FECE / E DEDICÒ / FLAXMAN.

  • GBRUnited Kingdom
  • 2014-07-09
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A gilt-bronze-mounted moulded and blown frosted and pearlised cut

The body of the elephant in frosted and pearlised crystal with a harness, draped and ornamented with gilt-bronze, supporting a palanquin in the form of an Indian temple carved with the god Ganesh in low relief, the palanquin in the form of a liqueur set containing a removable stand containing six decanters in engraved and gilded crystal with a harness for two rows of six goblets with handles, standing on a bevelled and diamond cut crystal tray with a gilt-bronze border and handles forming the trunk and heads of the elephant (the tail, decanters and the glasses remade by the Baccarat manufactory) COMPARATIVE LITERATURE: M. Lerch and D. Morel, Baccarat, The Legend of Crystal,Catalogue of the Exhibition at the Petit Palais, October 15th 2014-January 4th 2015, memorial exhibition of 250 years of the factory of Baccarat. D. Sautot, Baccarat, Paris, 1998. J.-L and V. Curtis Nansenet, Baccarat, Paris, 1991. M. Beauhaire Mr. Béjanin, H. Naudeix, Napoleon's Elephant, Verona, 2014. A Rediscovery: This liqueur set is to date the only prestigious example known and identified by the Baccarat Factory as being one of the rare examples having been made for or just after the 1878 Exposition Universelle in Paris, as it is can be seen in the black and white photograph in the archives of the Baccarat Manufactory, (fig.1). The model enjoyed great success, which launched other examples some years later and in around 1920, there was a specific commission for the Maharaja of Baroda to celebrate the Elephant Festival in India. This initial model has certain technical characteristics in common with other examples made by the Baccarat manufactory in about 1878, which differ totally from the series of re-editions made by Baccarat between 1982 and 2004. In effect, the body of the elephant is made in two sections in a mould of blown polished frosted crystal glass. These two distinct parts (front and rear) were skillfully assembled by a system of rods and nuts hidden by the long drapery issuing from the palanquin. The drawing (fig. 2) is a very interesting document in that it shows the dots located above the front and rear legs indicating that the elephant's body is hollow. The ears were molded and separately attached. Another distinctive element is the gadrooned border on the middle portion of the palanquin which differed from later revivals, since these later models have been made without a precise drawing after the black and white photograph, or on the basis of a detailed preparatory drawing of the earlier model, (see fig. 1), but not from a detailed preparatory drawing (as was the case for the dromedary "le vaisseau du désert "), which will be discussed later. The re-editions of 1982–2004 amongst which it is worthwhile citing the one sold by Me Kohn, Cannes, 3rd August 2007, and the one from the Hôtel Crillon, presented at the Petit Palais in Paris during the Baccarat exhibition, The Legend of Crystal, the re-additions have been made in plain crystal and (not in two sections joined together), with the ears molded with the rest of the body. The bronze is stamped with the round mark and the signature `Baccarat’. This information was kindly provided by Madame Michaela Lerch, Curator/Head of Baccarat Heritage Department and who confirms the rediscovery of the offered lot. "Elephant" cave à liqueur and "ship of the desert Dromedary": The elephant enjoyed its hour of glory in the 1878 Exhibition and it was even exhibited some years later in bronze supporting a clear crystal vase enhanced with polychrome enamels directly inspired by Japanese prints by Hokusai and Hiroshige (fig. 3). Heralding the fashion for Japonisme, this elephant model also coincides with the opening of a branch of Baccarat in India in 1886. In the last quarter of the 19th century, rich motifs painted in polychrome enamels with gilded glassware and Oriental ceramics inspired European decorative arts and it therefore entirely natural that the Baccarat factory presented at the 1878 Universal Exhibition a number of examples directly inspired by Islamic works of art and fashion for Orientalism at the time. The dromedary brûle-parfum is well documented due to a preparatory drawing preserved in the archives of the Baccarat factory (fig. 4) of which two versions were made, (fig. 5). These examples illustrate the perfect mastery of the Baccarat crystal workshops and the 1878 Exhibition confirmed their dominance in this field. The cave à liqueur replicated in miniature based on a project by Jean-Antoine Alavoine: This elephant produced by the Baccarat manufactory in crystal and gilt bronze was inspired by the project of the architect Jean-Antoine Alavoine following the desire of Napoleon I to redevelop Paris by erecting to the east of Paris a pendant to the Arc de Triomphe. Under the direction of Dominique Vivant Denon, it was ultimately decided that "there would be erected on the place of Bastille, a fountain in the form of an elephant made from the bronze melted down from the cannons captured from the Spanish insurgents’. After many drafts and procrastination, it was the project of Jean-Antoine Alavoine which was finally adopted in 1812 (fig. 7). This bronze colossus measured fifteen meters high and sixteen metres long and eventually rose to twenty-two meters. It was richly decorated in order to hide the clever hydraulic mechanism to power the fountain under the drapery(fig. 8). A life-sized plaster model was erected pending the final consecration but with the collapse of the Empire, the new regime deemed that the project was too grandiose and reminiscent of Napoleon and its past glory.`The foundations of this fountain were begun on the Place de Bastille which would support a guargantuan bronze elephant and the plaster model survives to this day in a nearby warehouse’. (Louis Rainiez Lanfranchi, Voyage à Paris ou esquise des hommes et des choses,1830).This plaster giant was forgotten which had made passers-by, rats and a resourceful young boy who lived there happy and who Victor Hugo instilled with all the characteristics of Gavroche in Les Miserables, would be finally destroyed in 1846. Finally, a luxurious reduction of this fountain project can be seen today at Baccarat in the form of a liqueur set. The manufacture of Baccarat and Exposition Universelle of 1878: It all began in 1764 when King Louis XV accorded to the Bishop of Metz permission to establish a glass factory on their land, in the small village of Baccarat in Lorraine, in order to compete with the celebrated Bohemian production. Lorraine is traditionally a glass making region, due to the abundance of silica in the soil and due to its large forests which supplied the wood to fuel the ovens. The Baccarat manufactory rapidly became a leading producer with highly skilled maître-verriers. The Restoration fostered the emergence of a new knowledgeable bourgeoisie anxious to promote the art of French living and the art of dining where crystal took pride of place also consolidated by the first royal commissions . In 1823, Baccarat presented for the first time at the National Exhibition, " crystal decorated with simple carving in which its merit was in the purity of the material, in the elegance of form and the relatively modest price." Louis XVIII was seduced by the quality of the pieces presented which received the praise of the jury and the first gold medal. As a result of its success and an increasing reputation, the manufactory following its research gradually consolidated its reputation which allowed it to dominate the French market. The opening of a shop in Paris in 1832, cemented this dominance and it was not only a question of a simple sales depository, but also the relocation of the workshops, commercial offices and becoming the ambassador of the Lorraine manufactory in Paris. After the success brought by the National Exhibition of Products and Industry which succeeded until 1849, these Exposition Universelles, which began in 1851 served to increase the prestige of Baccarat. Thanks to special orders for chandeliers, emblematic projects such as the Harcourt Service , it became an icon, the reputation of the factory based both on exceptional technical mastery and extraordinary creativity that had seduced Louis XVIII, Charles X and Louis-Philippe continued during the Second Empire and the splendour of the Expositions Universelles of 1855 and 1867. The young Third Republic wanted to perpetuate this tradition by highlighting its industry and artistic expertise by hosting the Expositions Universelles of 1878. It attracted thirty-six countries on the Champs de Mars keen to promote their creations and attracted nearly sixteen million visitors. The Visitor's Guide discussed the stand of the Baccarat crystal workshops and commented on the Temple of Mercury, a glass creation in crystal five meters high, supported by six Corinthian columns which housed "a court composed of candelabra, chiselled decanters, delicious goblets with a lightness, sparkling chandeliers, prisms and pearls, where colours of the rainbow played so that one believed it to be under a shower of diamonds. "(fig. 6).

  • GBRUnited Kingdom
  • 2015-07-08
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Bust of John Churchill, 1st Duke of Marlborough (1650-1722)

Inscribed to the front of the socle: IOHANNES / DUX MARLBURIENSIS / S.R. Imperij Princeps &c / Angliae et Bataviae Libertatum / periclitantuim Assertor, / Galliae Triumphantis / Domitor et Flagellum / Germaniae ruentis Liberator / ac Tutamen. / Qui, per acerrimum Decenne Bellum /' Hostium copias Saepius aggressius, nunq: / non fudit, EorumqE oppida oppugnans / nunquam non expugnavit. inscribed to the reverse of the socle: IOHN Duke of MARLBOROUGH / Prince of the Roman Empire, & ca. / The Rescuer of the Liberties of / ENGLAND and HOLLAND / when in most Imminent Danger, The Subduer and Scourge of FRANCE when in its Height of Power, The Deliverer and Protector of GERMANY, When at the Point of Ruin, Who through the whole course, of A Ten Years Vigorous War, In Repeated Attacks, Upon The Enemies, Armies and Continual Assaults upon their Strong Townes, Never once fail'd of Success. This highly important bust of one of Britain’s great military heroes, John Churchill, 1st Duke of Marlborough, is a new addition to the autograph oeuvre of Michael Rysbrack, the most celebrated British sculptor of the first half of the 18th century. Superbly carved, it is distinguished by an unbroken provenance stretching back to at least 1748, when it is recorded as having been in the possession of Charles Seymour, 6th Duke of Somerset, one of Marlborough’s political allies. Rysbrack famously carved Marlborough’s tomb at Blenheim Palace, Oxfordshire. One of the crowning glories of the English Baroque, it has been described as ‘an apotheosis of the great general in Roman military dress attended by his mourning family and by winged figures of Fame and Victory, either side of a sarcophagus’ (Roscoe, op. cit. p. 1077). The tomb was a collaboration between Rysbrack and the architect William Kent and was constructed between 1730 and 1733. Rysbrack's Portrait Bust of Marlborough Rysbrack’s bust of Marlborough falls into the category of his celebrated all’antica busts, in which the sitter is presented in the guise of a Roman, togate, with a laurel wreath threaded through his hair. This classicising model is believed to have been created before 1730, because a version was presented by Sarah, Duchess of Marlborough, to Oxford University in that year; it remained in the Bodleian Library until 1926, when it was transferred to the Ashmolean Museum, where it can still be viewed today (inv. no. WA 1926.32). Significantly, that bust has the same Latin inscription on the front of the socle as the present bust, also with an English translation to the reverse. George Vertue, Rysback’s close friend, records that the sculptor made two busts of Marlborough, one of which he describes as being ‘From the Life’ (Webb, op. cit., p. 95). Four other versions are known to have been made: a marble in the National Portrait Gallery, London (inv. no. NPG 2005) (formerly in the British Museum); one formerly in the collection of the Earls of Shaftsbury at Wimborne St Giles, Dorset; and a third, formerly in Sarah, Duchess of Marlborough’s personal collection at Wimbledon House, which she left to Francis, 2nd Earl of Godolphin and which was tragically destroyed by fire in 1789. The fourth is the present bust from Syon House. The Ashmolean bust has long been given to Rysbrack on the basis of its firm provenance, whilst the remaining marbles have been presumed to be Workshop versions, overseen to a greater or lesser extent by the master, with the present marble being the superior of the group; Webb describes it as ‘a good one’ (Webb, op. cit., p. 95). The Syon bust is, however, unquestionably the superior marble, both in terms of quality and composition. The traditional assessment of Rysbrack’s busts of Marlborough ignores the fact that the Syon bust has a different, more elaborate and ultimately more accomplished composition than the Ashmolean marble, which, until now has been considered to be the progenitor of the group. The Ashmolean bust is noticeably shallower in the torso, and the Star of the Order of the Garter, adorning his left breast, looks as if it has been cut in two, its bottom half absent. These compositional weaknesses led Nicholas Penny to suggest that the bust may derive from Rysbrack’s figure of Marlborough on his tomb at Blenheim: ‘an abbreviation… of the sculptor’s full-length effigy of the Duke’ (Penny, op. cit., p. 155). Whilst Penny’s suggestion does not accord with Rysbrack’s working practice, it is interesting to note that, like on the tomb, in the Ashmolean marble the Duke looks upwards to the Heavens, his head sharply angled to the dexter. In the Syon marble, Rysbrack’s sitter adopts a more natural pose. Whilst Marlborough still turns to the dexter, the angle is less acute, and, instead of gazing upwards, the Duke looks out onto the horizon. There are also clear physiognomic differences between the Ashmolean and Syon busts: the former has a leaner, more skeletal, face, with a more angular nose. Anatomically, the Syon bust is much more sophisticated. Marlborough has a broader neck, which perfectly balances his prominent jowls, whilst his facial features, notably the nose, are softened. However, the most obvious difference is found in the eyes, which are incised in the Ashmolean bust, but left blank in the present marble (like a memorial). A further development is seen in the armour. In the Syon version Rysbrack has deepened the torso and has added Roman leather strap sleeves, which elongate the shoulders, giving the sitter more presence, together with an added sense of classical authenticity. The superior level of attention to detail in this bust culminates in the addition of one of Rysbrack’s characteristic, exquisitely carved, Medusa heads at the centre of the breastplate. Given its superiority in composition and execution, it seems probable that the Syon bust is a finely-tuned reworking of the Ashmolean marble; essentially a second type. We know that the Ashmolean marble must have been made before 1730, because of the details of the Oxford University bequest. The process of refining earlier models is also consistent with Rysbrack’s working method. His 1736 terracotta Queen Elizabeth I (1533-1603) in the Royal Collection (inv. no. 45101), for example, is a more elaborate reworking of his earlier bust of the same subject made for Stowe possibly as early as 1726. There are also numerous stylistic affinities between the Syon marble and several busts of contemporary figures dressed in cuirass’ with classical drapes, dating to the 1730s, and therefore later than the Ashmolean bust: compare, for example, with his bust of King William III, dating to around 1736 (discussed below). It is, of course, possible that the present marble may itself be the progenitor of the rest of the group, with the Ashmolean and NPG marbles simply being lesser or Workshop versions, loosely following a successful commission. The NPG marble, which broadly follows the same composition as the present bust, is markedly less refined and is certainly likely to be Workshop. The observation that Rysbrack’s busts of Marlborough fall into two related but distinct types might explain Vertue’s mention of the sculptor making two busts of the Duke, one of which was from life (the writer was probably referring to two autograph models: the Ashmolean type and the Syon type). It is probable that one of the busts, either the Ashmolean or the Syon version, was made as early as 1722, when the Duke was still alive, and when Rysbrack carved a marble bust of Charles, 3rd Earl of Sunderland for Blenheim (still in situ; see Roscoe, op. cit., p. 1084). As was his working method, the sculptor would first have modelled his subject in clay, before converting the resultant life-size model into marble. Sarah, Duchess of Marlborough’s bust of her husband is likely to have taken the same form as the Syon marble. Fortunately, we know from her will that she left two busts to Lord Godolphin: the Marlborough, and a bust of the 1st Earl of Godolphin, which Webb suggests was its pendant (Webb, op. cit., p. 96). Significantly this marble, which is considered to be autograph Rysbrack (Roscoe, op. cit., p. 1085) and is now in the Spencer collection at Althorp House, Northamptonshire, has precisely the same type of socle as the Syon bust. The front of the socle is likewise inscribed with a Latin eulogy in a similar typeface. This is an important observation, because this design of socle appears to be relatively rare in Rysbrack’s oeuvre; both the Ashmolean and NPG busts have plainer socles without the arched sides seen in the present sculpture. Furthermore, both the Godolphin and the present bust have the same unincised eyes, giving both of them a memorialising aspect. Another important point to note is that Godolphin turns to the sinister, and would therefore function effectively as a pendant to Marlborough, as Webb suggests. Godolphin also likewise sports a complete Garter Star and the same leather strap sleeves, which elongate his torso. It could therefore be the case that the present model was intended to form a pendant with the Godolphin bust, and that this may have happened before or after the creation of the Ashmolean marble. Rysbrack and the all’antica mode Michael Rysbrack was the first 18th-century British sculptor to successfully represent his sitters all’antica, in the style of the ancient Romans. His earliest classicising marble bust, Daniel Finch, 2nd Earl of Nottingham and 7th Earl of Winchilsea (1647-1730) in the Victoria and Albert Museum, London (inv. no. A.6-1999), was described by Margaret Whinney as being ‘a landmark of English sculpture (and indeed probably unique in the Europe of its day)… There can be no doubt that it is a novel and deliberate attempt at portraiture in the Roman manner, and that it is at first sight both convincing and successful’ (Whinney, op. cit., pp. 165-168). In the present bust, the superb passages of carving in the elaborate sash, draped across Marlborough’s chest, are reminiscent of the multiple folds of cloth, suspended from Finch’s shoulders in the classical manner. Marlborough, though, is presented in armour in the guise of a triumphant Roman military leader, befitting his position as a seasoned General. It is interesting to note the correspondences between the reverses of both the Finch and the Syon bust. Typical of Rysbrack’s approach, the back has been carved out and smoothly polished, with overhanging shoulders. Note how the resultant arch at the back of Finch is likewise not fully symmetrical, as the sitter’s right shoulder is pushed backwards as his head twists to the dexter. In both busts, Rysbrack has lavished attention on the supposedly unseen details at the back. The laurel branches, at the back of Marlborough’s head, tied with bands of ribbon, are a particularly beautiful detail, which evidence superb undercutting. Both the laurels, and the wonderful Medusa head, with its hair of writhing snakes, compare very closely with Rysbrack’s circa 1736 bust of King William III in the Yale Center for British Art (inv. no. B1977.14.27), which also has a similar construction at the back. Medusa heads are characteristic of Rysbrack’s finest busts of men presented in armour all’antica. The Sculptor: Michael Rysbrack (1694-1770) Flemish by birth, Michael Rysbrack arrived in London in 1720, having trained under Michiel van der Voort I in Antwerp. He worked for many years with the celebrated architect James Gibbs, collaborating on numerous important funerary commissions, including one for a pair of figures of the muses Clio and Euterpe for the tomb of the poet Matthew Prior. Flanking a bust of Prior by the great sculptor to the French royal court, Antoine Coysevox, these elegant statues launched Rysbrack’s reputation. The British public were captivated by the Fleming’s inventiveness and soon he could count Lord Burlington, Richard Temple, 1st Viscount Cobham, and, of course, Sarah, 1st Duchess of Marlborough, amongst his most loyal patrons. Sarah Churchill’s patronage led him to create one of his most important tombs, that of John Churchill, 1st Duke of Marlborough at Blenheim, as well as busts of both the Duke and Duchess, and a life-size statue of Queen Anne. Rysbrack’s greatest public commission was his equestrian statue of King William III in Queen Square Bristol of 1733-1736, which he won in the face of younger, and increasingly fashionable, competition from Peter Scheemakers. Important works by Rysbrack can be found in many of the world’s leading museums, including the Victoria and Albert Museum, London, and the Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York. The Sitter: John Churchill, 1st Duke of Marlborough (1650-1722) John Churchill began his career as a mere Page in the Stuart royal court, serving James, Duke of York (later King James II), who introduced him to military service. After years of training, he quickly established his reputation as a first class soldier by suppressing the Monmouth Rebellion, in which the illegitimate son of King Charles II, James Scott, 1st Duke of Monmouth, had sought to whip up insurrection against the newly crowned James II. Despite this loyalist victory, Churchill quickly switched allegiances, aiding William of Orange to seize the English throne; he was subsequently rewarded with the Earldom of Marlborough. It was, however, under Queen Anne that Marlborough rose to become one of the most powerful men in Europe. As Captain-General of British forces during the Wars of the Spanish Succession, he secured stunning victories over his enemies at the battles of Blenheim (1704), Ramillies (1706), Oudenarde (1708) and Malplaquet (1709). His reputation was such that Queen Anne personally rewarded him by building Blenheim Palace, and Churchill commanded considerable influence in British politics for much of the rest of his life. His wife, Sarah Churchill, became one of the most influential and controversial women in 18th-century Britain. Her close friendship with Queen Anne fuelled the jealously of her rivals and eventually led to her family’s temporary self-imposed exile. On the death of her husband, she was said to be one of the richest women in Europe. The Commission: Sarah Churchill, 2nd Duchess of Marlborough (1660-1744) and Charles Seymour, 6th Duke of Somerset (1662-1748) Given Sarah Churchill’s patronage of Rysbrack, her obsession with her husband’s memory and her recorded bequest of a bust of Marlborough to Oxford University, it seems entirely possible that she may have presented the Syon bust to Charles, Duke of Somerset as a personal gift. Such a gesture should not be seen as surprising. Sarah frequently presented her favourites with sculptural gifts and she is recorded as leaving both a bust of her husband and another of the 1st Earl of Godolphin, her close confident, to the 2nd Earl of Godolphin in her will. She grew increasingly close to the Duke of Somerset in the last decades of her life – partly as he was trying to court her following the death of his first wife - and so it is entirely plausible that she would have given him such a gift. Furthermore, Webb notes that it is probable that the Duchess forbade signatures on her commissions, as they do not appear on her husband’s tomb (Webb, op. cit., p. 95). Whilst it is true that Rysbrack rarely signed or dated his sculptures before about 1738, this is a point worth noting in the case of the present unsigned bust. Conversely, numerous of the busts she commissioned exhibit lengthy inscriptions of the type appearing on the socle of the Syon bust (Kenworthy-Browne, op. cit.). Charles, Duke of Somerset was himself, for much of his life, a political ally of Marlborough. It is consequently equally possible that Somerset commissioned the bust of his old friend from Rysbrack himself, perhaps through his close relationship with Sarah Churchill. Whatever the exact circumstances of the commission, he is definitively recorded as having the bust in his possession at Northumberland House by 1748. RELATED LITERATURE J. Kenworthy-Browne, 'Portrait Busts by Rysbrack', National Trust Studies 1980 (1979), 67; R. Williams and K. Eustace. "Rysbrack." Grove Art Online. Oxford Art Online. Oxford University Press. online edn., [http://www.oxfordartonline.com/subscriber/article/grove/art/T074782pg2, accessed 11 May 2014]; K. Eustace, ‘Rysbrack, (John) Michael (1694–1770)’, Oxford Dictionary of National Biography, Oxford University Press, 2004; online edn., May 2009 [http://www.oxforddnb.com/view/article/24427, accessed 11 May 2014] Sotheby's would like to thank Katharine Eustace FSA, author of Michael Rysbrack, sculptor, 1694-1770, for her assistance in cataloguing this lot.

  • GBRUnited Kingdom
  • 2014-07-09
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An imperial presentation jewelled gold and enamel box, carl blank

Rectangular, the lid applied with the diamond-set crowned cypher of Emperor Nicholas II within fleur-de-lys corners and flanked by sunflowers, on a translucent white enamel ground over sunburst engine-turning, bordered and divided by diamond-set leaf-bound reeds, the sides of translucent green enamel over wavy engine-turning, struck with workmaster's initials and K.Hahn in Cyrillic, 56 standard, scratched inventory number(s) 44 844 According to surviving records relating to the administration of gifts from the Russian emperor, this box was presented by Emperor Nicholas II on two occasions before finally being placed into the capable hands of Professor Dmitri Oskarovich Ott (1855-1927), who served as Accoucheur (or obstetrician) to the Court of His Imperial Majesty and delivered all five of Empress Alexandra Feodorovna’s children.  The gift was bestowed on 21 January 1900 in gratitude for Ott having safely delivered the Emperor’s nephew, Prince Nikita Alexandrovich, born to Grand Duchess Xenia Alexandrovna and her husband Grand Duke Alexander Mikhailovich on 4 January 1900 at their palace on Moika Embankment, St Petersburg. The box is first listed in the inventory ledgers of the Imperial Cabinet on 27 April 1896; the cost of 800 roubles and the name of the supplier, the jeweller Hahn, are recorded.  The same date is given for the notation of its first recipient, State Counsellor Dobriakov, accountant of the Chief Administration of State Domains.  Dobriakov was one of sixteen Russians given a jewelled snuffbox with the Emperor’s cypher in honour of the coronation of Nicholas II, which took place in Moscow on 14 May 1896 (see U. Tillander-Godenhielm, The Russian Imperial Award System, 1894-1917, Helsinki, 2005, p. 324).  The coronation provided the Emperor with an opportunity to thank those who had served his late father and to engender feelings of goodwill toward his own reign and was therefore an occasion of unprecedented dispensing of gifts, orders, appointments and promotions.  Various gifts to members of the Imperial Family were made on the day of the coronation; at various dates, four foreigners, all active military leaders in Germany, also received snuffboxes bearing the Emperor’s cypher.  It is known that most of Dobriakov’s fellow functionaries were given their boxes after the event, in July; it is unclear from the ledger entry whether Dobriakov received his box earlier, on 27 April, or, more likely, that it was merely selected and designated as his gift on that date. Little is known about State Counsellor Dobriakov other than his rank and his position in the Chief Administration of State Domains.  His given and patronymic names are not recorded, though he may have been the same Alexander Dobriakov who registered a coat of arms on 14 February 1902 following elevation to the nobility.  Our Dobriakov returned the box to the Cabinet and was given its cash value on 8 October 1899.  The system allowed for the return of such gifts in exchange for money; in effect, the giving of gifts was a tasteful way for the Emperor to remunerate people for their service to the State, and there was no sense of affront attached to their return and no cause for embarrassment.  As Dr Ulla Tillander-Godenhielm notes in her seminal book on the subject of Imperial gifts (ibid., pp. 309-312), the selling back of gifts bestowed by the Crown had its antecedents in 18th century France.  Interestingly, Dobriakov seems to have made a small profit, as the box was entered back into the Cabinet’s inventory at 825 roubles.  This may have been a gesture in acknowledgement of some increase in value given the three years which passed between Dobriakov receiving and returning the object. Following Dobriakov’s return of the box in October 1899, it was sent back to Hahn for embellishment in order to increase its value, thereby making it suitable as a gift to someone of higher rank.  This, too, was common practice, and usually involved re-setting the box with larger stones.  In this case however, given that the interior base of the box and the flange are struck with kokoshnik marks which only came into use on 1 January 1899 and which bear the initials of St Petersburg assay master Yakov Lyapunov, appointed in August 1898 (please see V. Skurlov, ‘Russian Hallmarks at the Turn of the 19th Century’, Fabergé: Imperial Craftsman and His World, ed. G. von Habsburg, London, 2000, pp. 404-405), it seems that the base and sides were remade by Hahn at this point, with the lid being repurposed on an otherwise new box.  It is likely that the original sides were plain gold, given other examples of Hahn boxes from the mid-1890s, and that the decision was taken to increase its value with the addition of the richly green-enamelled sides now present, rather than with larger diamonds.  The new value following Hahn’s refurbishment was recorded as 1,079 roubles on 29 November 1899. The next recipient was designated on that date as Major-General Alexei Nikolaevich Ostrogorsky (1840-1917) ‘for the Office of the Minister of War’.  Ostrogorsky taught at military institutions throughout his career and published a number of pedagogical journals focusing on Christian ethics.  The Major-General, unlike the previous owner of his box, wasted little time in cashing in.  He returned the box to the Cabinet and was paid his 1,079 roubles on 21 December, a month before it was given to the Imperial obstetrician. Professor Ott A renowned doctor and professor of gynaecology, Dmitri Ott was appointed Accoucheur to the Court in 1895, a position he held until the Revolution.  His main occupation was running the midwives institute which, under his leadership, ‘became Russia’s leading scientific, medical, and educational institution in this field’ (Tillander-Godenhielm, op. cit., p. 357).  In addition to delivering the four Grand Duchesses and the Tsarevich, he attended the Empress throughout her pregnancies, including that which sadly resulted in a miscarriage in 1902.  His fee for each delivery averaged 10,000 roubles, this in addition to his salary of 8,000 from the midwives institute.  This was supplemented further with gifts of presentation gold boxes including the present lot.  He received twelve in total between 1896 and 1906, ranging in value from 1,000 to 1,350 roubles; Ott sold back seven and kept five (ibid., p. 357).  The present lot is not recorded as having been returned so was presumably among the five that he kept. The box which Professor Ott received following the birth of Grand Duchess Olga Nikolaevna, the Emperor and Empress’ first child, in November 1895, also survives.  It was also made by Carl Blank and supplied by Hahn and bears the cypher of the Empress in diamonds on a pink lid with gold sides (illustrated, ibid., p. 359).  Its value was 1,001 roubles.  Interestingly, the box he received following the birth of the long-awaited Tsarevich in 1904 was valued at 1,000 roubles, although one might have expected something more expensive on that occasion.  The values of the boxes given following the births of the Emperor's niece and nephews were likewise commensurate. Proof of Professor Ott’s delivering the children of Grand Duchess Xenia Alexandrovna is provided by a letter, dated 15 February 1897, from her husband Grand Duke Alexander Mikhailovich to Professor Ott following the birth of their son Prince Andrei Alexandrovich, referencing ‘a gold snuff box decorated with diamonds with the cypher of His Imperial Majesty’ and thanking him for his services. Prince Nikita Alexandrovich The baby delivered by Professor Ott, the service for which he was thanked with the present lot, Prince Nikita began his life cosseted in the Imperial splendour of his uncle’s reign until, when he was in his late teens, everything he knew was upended by the Revolution.  He was the fourth child and third son of his parents.  The baby’s birth was celebrated by the whole family.  Grand Duchess Olga Alexandrovna wrote to her sister on a postcard which she had painted herself, ‘It was too stupid last night, the telephone muddled everything…. I congratulate you with dear baby Nikita’ (J. van der Kist and C. Hall, Once a Grand Duchess: Xenia, Sister of Nicholas II, Stroud, 2002, p. 58).  Dowager Empress Maria Feodorovna, the baby’s grandmother, wished to see her daughter Xenia’s children treated as Grand Dukes, despite their lesser titles, and thus insisted on a full twenty-one-gun salute to announce the birth of Prince Nikita and his brothers and sister, not the fifteen-gun salute they should have had as grandchildren of an Emperor.  In the years to come, Xenia’s children would become a special delight for their grandmother.  As her relations with her daughter-in-law Empress Alexandra were strained, she enjoyed a closeness with Xenia’s family that she could not find with Nicholas’. Prince Nikita, accompanied by his dog Bobi, was with his mother and grandmother on HMS Marlborough, the British warship sent by King George V to rescue his Russian relations in April 1919.  Boarding at Yalta, the family were transported to safety in Malta via Constantinople.  Nineteen-year-old Nikita, another passenger remembered, seemed to be the only Romanov who had no thoughts as to what the future might hold (F. Welch, The Russian Court at Sea, London, 2011, p. 93).  His first years in exile were spent living in Paris.  In 1922, following his graduation from Oxford University, he married Countess Maria Vorontsova-Dashkova, famous in White Russian circles for her elegance and grace.  The couple had two children, and later lived in Rome, Czechoslovakia, California and New York, though the Prince never adopted any nationality other than Russian.  He died in Cannes on 12 September 1974. Hahn and Blank This Imperial Presentation snuff box is one of fifty-nine boxes with the cypher of Nicholas II supplied by Hahn to the Imperial Cabinet between 1895 and 1907; the boxes ranged in cost from 592 to 2,700 roubles, according to Dr Tillander-Godenhielm’s research (op. cit., pp. 179-184).  Karl August Ferdinand Hahn, an Austrian by birth, founded his company in 1873.  He became an important supplier to the Imperial Court, awarded the distinction of ‘Purveyor to the Court’ during the reign of Alexander III, a title renewed for his son, Dmitri Karlovich Hahn in 1903.  Although less mythologised than Fabergé, Hahn’s production was also of the best quality and was equally well-regarded by the Imperial family.  It was Hahn who created Empress Alexandra Feodorovna’s coronation crown, invoiced at 76,200 roubles, in 1896, and it was to Hahn, not Fabergé, that the new Empress went to purchase her first New Year’s present for her new husband in 1895, just weeks after their wedding, a very fine enamelled gold cigarette case with diamonds, which sold, Sotheby’s London, 27 November 2012, lot 586.  Hahn also supplied the cufflinks given as gifts to guests at Grand Duchess Xenia Alexandrovna’s wedding, on 4 August 1894 at Peterhof, one with a miniature photograph of the bride, the other with that of the groom, within borders of diamonds and enamel. Carl Blank (1857-1924), whose maker’s mark was only identified in recent years, was the son of a Finnish blacksmith.  From 1882 to 1909 he served as Hahn’s head workmaster, establishing his own workshop in 1894.  He worked in partnership with Hahn from 1909 to 1911 when that firm closed.  Blank then founded his own entirely independent business and continued supplying objects to the Cabinet.  In addition to presentation snuff boxes, he supplied diamond insignia and swords, as well as presentation jewellery. Sotheby’s is grateful to Dr Ulla Tillander-Godenhielm for her assistance in researching this lot.

  • GBRUnited Kingdom
  • 2015-07-08
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A set of twelve george iii amaranth, ebonised and polychrome-painted

The looped moulded and foliate carved backs with three medallions inset in to the interwoven design painted with sphinxes flanking an urn, a mask and an athenienne with horsehair covered padded seats with two rows of close-nailing on square-section tapering legs and ebonised ogee-moulded feet This magnificent set of dining-chairs highlight James Wyatt's adoption of the newly fashionable Etruscan style of the early 1770s. The incorporation of grisaille-painted medallions and the use of exotic amaranth in the frames would have made an extraordinary statement at the time and their design fitted with the larger scheme of the dining room at Nuthall Temple, where the walls and ceilings are conformingly decorated with bold medallions (see fig 3). Wyatt's designs for the ceilings at Nuthall are held in the collections of The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York (58.511 (32-34) and the theme for Nuthall was a continuation of the interiors he produced in 1771 for Sambrooke Freeman's Temple Island at Fawley Court, Henley, considered the earliest Etruscan scheme in England with it's green walls and bronzed figures and decoration. These chairs, with their green-painted medallions, conform to this newly realised design and formed part of a suite of furniture, which also included a pair of semi-elliptical tables, also inset with medallions to the frieze which was sold, The Property of Mrs Charles Burrell, Christie's London, 3 July 1997, lot 96. THE DESIGN AND ATTRIBUTION The interlaced splat design of these chairs would appear to have been conceived from an earlier design initially published by John Smith in 1753 under 'Six New Designs of Chairs' and later reproduced by Robery Sayer in 1766 under the title 'The Chair Maker's Guide by Robert Manwaring, Cabinet-Maker and Others' (see Christopher Gilbert, 'Smith, Manwaring, Sayer and a Newly Discovered Set of Designs', Journal of the Furniture History Society, 1993, pp.129-133, fig. 2 (see fig.2) The design also closely relates to the celebrated set of fourteen dining chairs probably supplied to John Baker Holroyd, 1st Earl of Sheffield, for Sheffield Park, Sussex. The Sheffield Park chairs bear similarity to the current set in the form of the moulded looped back and an interwoven splat. The Wyatt manuscript design for the Sheffield chairs was discovered in an album of drawings belonging to the Vicomte de Noailles in Paris. The Sheffield Park chairs were most recently sold, Christie's London, 11 November 1999, lot 50 (£430,000 hammer) where the Wyatt design is reproduced. NUTHALL TEMPLE As one of the great Palladian temples, Nuthall Temple, prior to its demolition, may have been compared to Lord Burlington's Chiswick villa and the Earl of Westmorland's Mereworth Castle in Kent. Built for Sir Charles Sedley between 1754--1757 by Thomas Wright (1711-1786) a scientist, garden designer and architect, the house, while later than some of its English Palladian equivalents, was based upon Palladio's Villa Rotonda and Scamozzi's Rocca Pisana. The original hall with ornate rococo plasterwork, (as illustrated in fig. 1) gives an indication of the original design but within a decade or two, Sir Charles had instructed Wyatt to update a number or rooms, including the dining-room, to reflect the change in taste to more classical ideals. In 1819 Nuthall passed to Robert Holden in whose family it remained until the 1920s when the estate was eventually sold to a demolition company owing to high taxes and death duties. In 1916, the Reverend R. Holden published an account of Nuthall, Nuthall Temple, Nottinghamshire, Its History and Contents, in which he lists the dining chairs (and tables as mentioned above); 'Much of the furniture in the hall and gallery is worthy of notice. In the former are a set of twelve Hepplewhite chairs with painted medallions in the backs.....a pair of Hepplewhite pier tables with inlaid work and medallions. These tables and the twelve Hepplewhite chairs were probably made for the room now called the music room, but which was originally the dining room, and were bought with the house in 1819.' The Reverend Holden continues his descriptions to include the Music Room; 'The music room was originally the dining room. It is a handsome apartment with five windows to the floor, and six mahogany doors with painted panels and silver handles... On the walls are eleven frescoes representing figures of men and women. These figures and the decoration of the room are believed to be the work of the Adam brothers, after Wedgewood.' (see fig. 3) His description, along with the early Country Life photographs give us a clear indication of how Wyatt's scheme, now long lost, would have appeared. BIAGIO REBECCA (1734-1808) A precocious talent for decorative painting led Biagio Rebecca to the forefront of the Adam school of neo-classical decoration of the 1770s, working for both Adam brothers on numerous projects, along with other major protagonists of the new taste such as James and Samuel Wyatt and Henry Holland. Having met fellow artist Benjamin West at the Accademia di San Luca in Rome he travelled to England in 1761 with the portraitist James George with whom he established a brief partnership. He formed part of the initial intake of students at the newly formed Royal Academy Schools in January 1769 and was elected an associate of The Academy in 1771. Rebecca is recorded having worked with Wyatt on several occasions, as recorded by Edward Croft-Murray, Decorative Painting in England, 1537-1837, Country Life, 1970, pp. 258-261, where his most notable commissions include Wyatt's Pantheon in London, Heaton Park, Lancashire and Heveningham Hall, Suffolk and it would seem very probable that Wyatt would have turned to one of his trusted circle for his work at Nuthall both in terms of the furniture and the redecoration of the interior schemes as previously mentioned by Reverend Holden.

  • GBRUnited Kingdom
  • 2012-07-04
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Withdrawal

A Highly Important Ivory-Inlaid Rosewood Dressing Table, India, Vizagapatam

A Highly Important Ivory-Inlaid Rosewood Dressing Table, India, Vizagapatam circa 1750, The rectangular finely figured rosewood top ornamented with a broad band of engraved ivory-inlaid small trailing branches and leaves issuing various large and small exotic flower heads, tied at each corner with ribbons, the square outer edge similarly inlaid with a running band of flat scrolled leaves with serrated edges entwined with smaller leaves and flower heads, above a long drawer in the frieze and an arched, shaped recessed kneehole fitted with five graduated drawers, the arched top one inlaid at the front with scrolling tendrils with small leaves and various blossoms, each conforming shaped drawer front with a broad banding similarly inlaid as the top within a figured rosewood rectangular panel with lozenge-shaped escutcheons and silvered rectangular cast handles with flat square and faceted back-plates; flanked at each side by four graduated drawers similarly mounted and inlaid, all within narrow frames with running bands of flat scrolled leaves with serrated edges entwined with smaller leaves and flower heads; the figured rosewood sides with similar broad bands of engraved ivory as the top, and fitted with large silvered metal carrying handles, and supported on rosewood bracket feet of molded ogee form. Height 30 ¾ in.; width 44 in.; depth 29 ½ in. 78.1 cm; 111.8 cm; 74.9 cm

  • USAUSA
  • 2008-10-16
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DESC-A brilliant and very rare 'snowflake blue' glazed Dicebowl mark

DESC-A brilliant and very rare 'snowflake blue' glazed Dicebowl mark and period of Xuande with massively potted rounded sides, the exterior covered with a heavily mottled deep cobalt-blue glaze suffused with minute contrasting turquoise highlights, the flat rim and the interior glazed in white centred with the mark within a double-circle, the unglazed base with very shallow footrim burnt pale orange in the firing 25.3 cm., 10 in. This 'snowflake blue' glaze is one of the rarest glaze types achieved by the Ming imperial kilns. Only six pieces with this glaze appear to have survived worldwide, five of them bowls of this type, of Xuande mark and period, and the sixth unmarked and of different form. Fragments with this glaze have also been discovered in the Xuande stratum at the waste heaps of the Ming imperial kilns, where this type seems, however, also to be extremely rare. Of the six preserved 'snowflake blue' vessels, which come with and without incised decoration, two are preserved in Chinese museum collections, two in Western museum collections, and two were sold in our rooms. No bowl of this kind appears to be preserved either in the Palace Museum, Beijing, or in the National Palace Museum, Taiwan; but one bowl of the same type as the present piece is in the Capital Museum, Beijing, illustrated in Shoudu Bowuguan zang ci xuan, Beijing, 1991, pl.104, probably the piece mentioned by Geng Baochang, Ming Qing ciqi jianding, Hong Kong, 1993, p.66, as belonging to the Beijing Cultural Relics Shop, and published, on the occasion of a National Exhibition of Cultural Relics held in Beijing in 1978, in Wenwu 1978, no.6, p.31, as a piece formerly used by a Beijing housewife to put food in, and illustrated p.44, fig.25. Another undecorated bowl of this type is in the Percival David Foundation, illustrated in R.L. Hobson, A Catalogue of Chinese Pottery and Porcelain in the Collection of Sir Percival David, Bt., F.S.A., London, 1934, pl.CXXIII; and a bowl with incised decoration in the Freer Gallery of Art, Washington, D.C., is published in Oriental Ceramics: The World's Great Collections, vol.9, Tokyo, New York and San Francisco, 1981, no.97. Of the two bowls sold at auction, one was undecorated and sold in our London rooms, 16th May 1967, lot 95; the other had incised decoration and was sold in these rooms, 25th November 1980, lot 50, from the Edward T. Chow collection, and again 19th May 1987, lot 245, from the T.Y. Chao collection; it has since been illustrated in Geng Baochang, Ming Qing ciqi jianding, Hong Kong, 1993, col.pl.16. The National Palace Museum, Taiwan, holds a smaller unmarked bowl with the same kind of glaze, but of the usual flared bowl form with thin walls; see the Catalogue of the Special Exhibition of Hsuan-te Imperial Porcelains of the Ming Dynasty, National Palace Museum, Taipei, 1998, no.131. A bowl of this type with incised design, reconstituted from sherds recovered at the wasteheaps of the imperial kiln site at Jingdezhen, was included in the exhibition Imperial Porcelain of the Yongle and Xuande Periods Excavated from the Site of the Ming Imperial Factory at Jingdezhen, Hong Kong Museum of Art, 1989, cat.no.94, where the snowflake blue glaze is characterized as being 'exceedingly rare'. The same bowl was exhibited again at the Chang Foundation, Taipei, 1998, together with a fragmentary snowflake-blue bowl of flared form, of Xuande mark and period, and with snowflake-blue fragments of a meiping with carved designs, a stem bowl and a narcissus bowl, all from the same site; see the exhibition catalogue Xuande Imperial Porcelain Excavated at Jingdezhen, nos.15, 114, and F33-F35, where this type is called 'one of the precious types of Xuande imperial ware' (p.283). This unusual mottled cobalt-blue glaze, which is known by the terms salan, 'sprinkled blue' or, as Hobson suggested (ibid., p.124), 'freckled blue', xuehualan, 'snowflake blue', or qingjinlan, 'metallic blue', is a low-fired lead glaze which was achieved by a completely different process than the high-fired glossy and even cobalt-blue glazes of the same period. The reason for its rarity is most certainly the complicated production process, which is described by Wang Benzhu in the Chang Foundation catalogue, ibid. p.299: "This type of glaze first appeared on Xuande imperial ware. It is made in the following stages: (1) A blue glass is made with cobalt at a high temperature. (2) The glass is ground to a powder and mixed with powdered quartz and a compound of lead. (3) This mixture is blown on to the surface of the porcelain, which has earlier been fired at a high temperature. (4) It is fired again at a low temperature of 800 - 900° C, the lead content acting as a flux. Aside from the specimens found at Jingdezhen, there are very few surviving examples of this type of glaze." Experiments with applying low-fired glazes onto high-fired porcelain began in the Yongle reign and by the Xuande period yellow, green, turquoise and aubergine glazes were successfully fired by the imperial kilns in addition to this cobalt-blue. Only the blue glaze was, however, applied in this way, by blowing it onto the surface through a tube. This technique was revived again in the Kangxi period of the Qing dynasty for the so-called 'powder-blue' glazes, where the tube was covered with a piece of fine gauze which created a completely different effect. The use of these heavily potted bowls, which are also known in blue-and-white and in plain white, but did not survive beyond the Xuande reign, has been much discussed but is still unclear. They are generally called dice bowls, since it has been suggested that they were used for casting dice. Quantity: 1

  • HKGHong Kong SAR China
  • 2001-05-01
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DESC-A magnificent and fine copper-red and blue 'nine dragon' Vase

DESC-A magnificent and fine copper-red and blue 'nine dragon' Vase (meiping) seal mark and period of Qianlong well potted with broad high shoulders gradually tapering to a gently splayed foot, superbly painted in early Ming style in copper-red with nine awesome five-clawed dragons with undulating scaly body, their eyeballs picked out in blue below forked horns issuing from a tufted mane, all prancing and striding in fury around the sides, reserved on a dense ground of rolling waves accented with high crests above two craggy pierced rocks emerging from the base in textured wash technique, all beneath the shoulder with a collar of pendent lappets enclosing bud motifs and a narrow border of scrolling lingzhi, the slightly waisted neck with upright plantain and lipped rim 34.4 cm., 13 1/2 in. Exhibited: Special Exhibition of Chinese Ceramics, Tokyo National Museum, Tokyo, 1994, cat.no.339. Two other nine-dragon meiping of Qianlong mark and period are painted in this extremely rare style with underglaze copper red dragons among cobalt blue waves, following early Ming prototypes: one from the Qing court collection in the Palace Museum, Beijing, is illustrated in The Complete Collection of Treasures of the Palace Museum: Blue and White Porcelain with Underglazed Red, Shanghai, 2000, vol.3, pl.205; the other in the Royal Ontario Museum, Toronto, is published in The T.T. Tsui Galleries of Chinese Art, Toronto, 1996, cat.no.124; and a second meiping in the Palace Museum, Beijing, has a similar design with the dragons painted in overglaze iron red, see Kangxi, Yongzheng, Qianlong: Qing Porcelain from the Palace Museum Collection, Hong Kong, 1989, p.327, pl.8. An unmarked meiping painted in underglaze red and blue with another version of this design, from the collection of Mrs. J.F. Pye, was sold in our London rooms, 27th November 1973, lot 275, and again in these rooms, 22nd May 1979, lot 197. Meiping vases of Qianlong mark and period, decorated in this complex technique in underglaze red and underglaze blue, are also known with other designs, all of them apparently done in very small numbers only, and none with the red used to such dramatic effect as on the present design. A meiping of the same proportions painted with fruit sprays was sold in these rooms as one of 'Eight Treasures from a Private Collection', 2nd November 1998, lot 301; two others with a different version of the fruit spray design are illustrated in The Complete Collection of Treasures of the Palace Museum, op.cit., pl.231, and in Min Shin no Bijutsu, Tokyo, 1982, pl.168; and a piece in Taiwan painted with a red-and-blue lotus scroll design is included in the Illustrated Catalogue of Ch'ing Dynasty Porcelain in the National Palace Museum, Republic of China: Ch'ien-lung Ware and Other Wares, Tokyo, 1981, pl.20. Quantity: 1

  • HKGHong Kong SAR China
  • 2001-05-01
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Attributed to the johannes mann (1679-1754) and emanuel eichel (1690-1752)

The chessboard of silver and silver-gilt mounted pewter, brass, copper, mother of pearl and stained ivory inlaid boulle marquetry,  the whole decorated with panels of chinoiseries, exotic animals and mythological creatures with a velvet-lined drawer in either side probably in jacaranda wood, with Meissen porcelain Pagoda figurines as Kings and Queens, the `black' set of pieces in aventurine glass with silver-gilt mounts and tortoiseshell bases; the bishops with blackamoor busts in jet and the knights with horses' heads in ebony; the `white' set in mother-of-pearl with gold mounts, the finials of the castles in rock crystal, the kings and queens as seated Chinese men (Pagoden) in white Meissen porcelain, the `white' pair with silver crowns with large simulated and seed pearls; the black pair with faces and crowns of aventurine glass, the carcass below one drawer with an 18th century ink inscription `Rohte, the other `Gelbe' ; in a later walnut case with brass handles Comparative Literature: G. de Bellaigue, The James A. de Rothschild Collection at Waddesdon Manor, Vol. II, Fribourg, 1974, p. 550, no. 114, illustrated p. 553. C. Boltz, ,Figürliches aus Meissen vor Kändler', in Keramos, no. 21, July 2008, p. 16-32, figs. 4-8. T.H. Clarke, The Rhinoceros from Dürer to Stubbs 1515-1799, London, 1986, pp. 120-121, figs. 91-83. Goldschmidt and Schmidt, Catalogue, Die Sammlung Wilhelm Gumprecht, Numbers 347 and 348. R. Rückert, Meissener Porzellan 1710-1810, Bayerisches Nationalmuseum, Munich, 1966, cat nos. 793, 833ff. G. Himmelheber, Ulrich Schneider ed., exhib. cat., Schönes Schach. Die Spiele des Bayerischen Nationalmuseums in München und des Germanischen Nationalmuseums in Nürnberg, Bayerisches Nationalmuseum, 1988, cat. nos. 24 & 26. C. Kowalski, Die Augsburger Prunkkabinette mit Uhr von Heinrich Eichler d. Ä. (1637-1719) und seiner Werkstatt, Berlin 2011. F. Michler, Konservierung und Restaurierung von Kistlerarbeiten mit Silberfolienbelag, (Diplomarbeit am Institut für Technologie der Malerei an der Staatlichen Akademie der Bildenden Künste Stuttgart, vorgelegt am 2. May 1997.W. Seipel ed., exhib. cat., Spielwelten der Kunst. Kunstkammerspiele, Kunsthistorisches Museum Vienna, 1998. P. von Stetten the Younger, Kunst-, Gewerb- und Handwerks-Geschichte der Reich-Stadt Agusburg, vol. I, Augsburg 1779. U. Pietsch, K. Jakobsen ed., exhib. cat. Frühes Meissener Porzellan. Kostbarkeiten aus deutschen Privatsammlungen, Hetjens-Museum, Düsseldorf 1997, p. 116-117, no. 80 (Private Collection). We would like to thank Dr. Max Tillmann for his research and attribution of this piece and for writingthe following footnote on the Augsburg Silberkistler and Boulle technique. Also Dr. Jutta Kappel of the Grünes Gewölbe, Dresden, Gerhard Röbbig, Dr. Sigrid Sangl of the Bavarian Nationalmuseum, Munich, and Dr. Alfred Ziffer for discussing specific issues arising during the course of Dr Tillmann's research.  The Augsburg chessboard, Silberkistler and Boulle technique: Chessboards and other board games were an integral part of princely treasuries and Kunstkammern. They were also an indispensable part of the collector's cabinets, the Kunstschränke of the Baroque age. The German penchant for Kunstkammer objects in precious materials, executed to the highest standards, is epitomised by the present chess set. It reflects the interests and passions of its illustrious original owner and the enthusiasm for Chinoiseries and the exoticism of the East. The use of Chinoiseries and European mythological figures pays homage to the Oriental origin of chess and the erudition of the players and owners. The delicate engraving and charming pictorial marquetry on this magnificent chessboard are virtuoso examples of the Boulle technique as practised by Augsburg craftsmen. Augsburg cabinet-making was closely intertwined with the city's role as a thriving trading and financial centre. The extensive trade connections in Augsburg allowed the local craftsmen to acquire many rare and exotic materials for manufacture. The branch offices of Augsburg merchants at international ports, such as Venice and Antwerp, imported tortoiseshell and mother-of-pearl from around the world. In Augsburg from the 1670s, tortoiseshell and metal Boulle marquetry increasingly supplanted earlier 17th century ebony veneered furniture. Particularly characteristic of early 18th-century Augsburg production is the colourful combination of brown tortoiseshell, coloured green ivory and engraved mother-of-pearl making this a most sumptuous commission. The celebrated Silberkistler, a silver and wood joiner/cabinet-maker, were responsible for the production of such furniture with costly marquetry veneers.  According to the chronicler of the Augsburg history of craftsmanship, Paul von Stetten the Younger, the Silberkistler were not considered to be 'ordinary craftsmen', but were counted among the artists of the city. The Silberkistler of Augsburg specialised in costly veneers particularly of gold and silver inlaid into tortoiseshell. Stetten referred to their production of furniture as being not only of wood-marquetry but 'mostly with tortoiseshell-panels, mother-of-pearl, ivory and the like.' (Stetten, op. cit., p. 118). Based on the recent study of Christine Kowalski op. cit, an attribution for the present chess set can be proposed. Kowalski succeeded in linking a prestigious group of Augsburg altar clocks to their maker, the Silberkistler Heinrich Eichler the Elder (1636-1719). This identification was achieved based on a newly discovered engraving depicting an altar clock, which the cabinet-maker published as his own work (Kowalski, op. cit., illustrated p. 101). Eichler the Elder, born 1636 in Liebstadt close to Meissen, was a master cabinet-maker from 1664. Registered in Augsburg from 1677, his furniture production is characterised by the use of coloured green ivory and for the inlay on a wooden carcass of silver foil and tortoiseshell on gilt brass foil and/or on red vermilion. His style of marquetry is exemplified by roughly a dozen known altar clocks in collections, such as Copenhagen, Rosenburg Palace (two examples), the State Hermitage Museum, St. Petersburg or the Berlin Kunstgewerbemuseum, see ibid., illustrated p. 30-42, and a garniture of table and guéridons, Augsburg (c. 1711-1715) in the Badisches Landesmuseum at Karlsruhe. It has marquetry on the table top depicting horsemen very close to those on the drawer of this chessboard. This garniture Kowalski, convincingly attributes to Heinrich Eichler the Elder, his pupil Johannes Mann and further craftsmen, exhibits a complex marquetry of Chinoiserie and exotic motifs of silver and ivory inlaid into tortoiseshell. The manufacture of these magnificent pieces of furniture draws attention to a working process that can be compared to the structures of an early form of production which included a centralised workshop organisation with ten or more craftsmen, based on the division of labour and the infringement of the guild-system. The outstanding artistic quality is also explained by the dynastic structure of the workshop and cooperations with other craftsmen. This is relevant to the cabinet-making of Johannes Mann (1679-1754), who was Eichler's apprentice and married his daughter Jakobina. Stetten highlighted Mann's repertoire comprising luxurious desks, cabinets and mirrors, characterised by a marquetry which from around 1720 tended to become more colourful due to the new use of materials such as amethyst, lapis lazuli and ivory in piqué technique (Stetten, op. cit., p. 116.) This distinct style of marquetry is exemplified by a magnificent altar (c. 1725) preserved in the Wavel Palace in Cracow, illustrated by Kowalski, op. cit., p. 76-77.The painted decoration of the interior of the altar in a rhombic pattern filled with Chinese motifs is stylistically very close to the decoration of the present chessboard. Also see a slightly earlier table en suite with a pair of candlestands (c. 1710-1720) in the James A. de Rothschild Collection at Waddesdon Manor (National Trust),  by De Bellaigue, op. cit., p. 550, no. 114, illustrated p. 553, the top of which is reproduced here in fig. 1, both of which can be attributed to the workshop of Johannes Mann and further craftsmen. A fascinating comparison can be made for the first time, with the table in the Rothschild Collection at Waddesdon Manor as various figures on the chessboard are repeated such as the rhinocerous, the Chinamen with his head in a block, the faun with pipes, the seated Buddha, the pagoda amongst rockwork and clouds. Also the gilt-bronze lion mask mount on the base of the feet is similar to that on the frieze of this chess board. Both the table and chess board must almost certainly have been inspired by the same sources. The material, technique and style characteristic of Augsburg cabinets and altar clocks of the Eichler/Mann workshop clearly influenced smaller furniture and new types after 1700, including the substantial group of chessboards with similar Boulle Chinoiseries. It seems that after c. 1720 Johannes Mann's role became that of an agent who maintained contact with his prestigious clients, as for instance in imperial Vienna, seeking commissions, while the workshop was run by his pupils, such as Emanuel Eichel (1690-1752) and Johann Heinrich Vogt (1683-1733). Vogt is recorded to have produced the garniture of table and two candlesticks at Weikersheim Palace, illustrated ibid. p. 81. The Danzig-born Silberkistler, Emanuel Eichel, also worked mostly on a small scale, a little with wood (veneers), but mostly with tortoiseshell-panels, mother-of-pearl, ivory and the like. According to Stetten, Eichel produced , 'very fine jewellery-cases, boxes and further objects made of similar materials. His greatest piece was a jewellery box with the deeds of Emperor Charles VI referring to the territories gained back from the Turks, of which he had a description printed. Mister Karl Friderich Maurer, of Dresden, was Eichel's pupil.' (Stetten 1779, p. 118). The production of the present Augsburg chessboard may be attributed to the workshop of Johannes Mann and Emanuel Eichel, c. 1720-1730. This is based on von Stetten, who in 1779 named three contemporary Augsburg specialists using tortoiseshell, mother-of-pearl and ivory, namely Herz, Eichel and Maurer. The attribution also takes into account the new research on the material and stylistic development originating from the Eichler workshop, as transferred to his pupils. The Chinoiserie chess-pieces are of great appeal due to their highly elaborate shape. Their combination of different materials from a variety of geographical areas such as the Meissen porcelain with gold mounts, imitation and seed pearls, tortoiseshell and rock crystal, is part of the tradition of the small grotesque figurines much in vogue in princely jewel-cabinets around 1700. The kings and queens appear as Oriental princely couples. They are flanked by the bishops in the form of Indian busts crowned with headdresses, which are linked by their exoticism and costliness to the elaborate shape of the rooks with finials of rock crystal. The closest comparison to the present chessboard has been brought to our attention by Annette Loesch at the porcelain collection of the Zwinger Palace. The chessboard exhibited in Düsseldorf in 1997, Cat. Frühes Meissener Porzellan, op. cit., reproduced here in fig. 4, is of the same outline and has a drawers in two sides enclosing the chess pieces. The Chinoiseries and its colourful marquetry of brown tortoiseshell, engraved mother-of-pearl and transparent cow horn backed with red and green are very similar to those on the top of the present chessboard. Furthermore the kings and queens are made of the same Pagoden of Böttgerporzellan, which are mounted in a very similar fashion to those on the present set. The decoration of the Meissen figurines and porcelain bases in gold, silver and Muffelfarben may be securely attributed to the Auffenwerth workshop in Augsburg, dated 1725/26. Of the same date are the Southern German faience figurines of the pawns and the marquetry-work of the contemporary chessboard, equally attributed to the workshop of Mann and Eichel. The existence of this second complete chess set indicates that the board and the pieces of both sets are original and were made for each other. It is worthwhile noting that the illustrated chessboard has a 19th century inscription `Ambassade Royale de Swede', which provides an interesting link with the provenance of the present chessboard as a diplomatic gift. The Meissen chess pieces: There is a history of Meissen chess pieces made for Augustus the Strong as early as 1713 and these would have been made by Johann Friedrich Böttger, who died in 1719. There are several small-scale Pagoden, i.e. seated Chinese men, from this early period that have survived. Rückert op. cit., illustrates two figures similar to the kings and queens in this set, now in a private collection in Munich (cat nos 838 and 839) and refers to another example in Dresden. Two others formed part of the Gumprecht collection see F. Goldschmidt & R. Schmidt, op. cit., nos. 347 and 348.  Also see another pair in the Margaret and Franz Oppenheimer collection, Schnorr von Carolsfeld, 1927, cat. Nos. 22-23. Four others appeared at auction on Paris see post. Two examples of the figures used as stems of ruby glasses in the Württembergisches Landesmuseum, Stuttgart, see Boltz, op. cit., p. 27, fig. 6. The decorative style of the white Meissen porcelain and its gilding consisting of many little curves and arcs is indeed characteristic of the Augsburg Hausmaler of the 1720's. In 1765, Paul von Stetten  records Johannes Auffenwerth and his daughter Frau Hosennestlin, as decorators of Meissen porcelain in gold and silver; so it is conceivable that the gold and silver painted decoration on the present figures was added in Augsburg by the Aufenwerth workshop. Sources for the chinoiserie designs: The designs on this chessboard take their inspiration from printed sources widely disseminated in Augsburg during the first quarter of the 18th century. Chinoiserie subjects were in high demand by Augsburg painters of Gold-Chinoiserien on Meissen porcelain. This may also have included Paul Decker's (1677-1713) pattern book, `Camin, Tabacks, Büchsen and Tischblatt Modelle' , a German architect and ornamental designer for goldsmiths' work, glass engraving and lacquerwork who plagiarised a number of Neuhof's engravings and have inspired the marquetry on both the Waddesdon table (see ante) and the present chess board. The source for many of these Chinoiserie designs was Jan Neuhof's illustrated account of the first Dutch East-Indies embassy to China published in Amsterdam in 1655 (Het Gezantschap der Neêrlandtsche Oost-Indische Compagnie), the English edition by John Ogilby, An Embassy from the East-India Company of the United Provinces to the Grand Tartar Cham Emperor of China..., 1669) and Olfert Dapper's account of the second and third printed in 1670 (Gedenkwaerdig Bedryf der Nederlandische Oost-Indische Maetschappye). Some direct references can be seen seen, for the reclining Chinaman with his head in a block, from Jan Neuhof, reproduced in fig. 2,  and the dragon, bird and the figure with the parasol from Decker, reproduced in figs. 3. One should also consider the three Neuhof engravings illustrated by Clarke, op. cit., p. 202, plates (1), (2) and (3), which must have influenced the depiction of the rhinoceros (originally inspired by Dürer's engraving), bird, banana tree, camel and monkey. Furthermore, the printed sources could have been the engravings by Martin Engelbrecht (1684-1756), working in Augsburg and illustrated by Siegfried Ducret, Meissener Poirzellan. bewalt in Augsburg, 1718 bis un 1750, Vol. I, Goldmalereien und Bunte Chinoiserien , Zurich, 19171, pl. 279 and 286. Comte Louis-Gabriel du Baut-Nançay(1732-1787): He was a French diplomat and a historian who was elected to the Elector's court in 1772 (R. d'Amat & R. Limouzin, Dictionnaire de Biographie Française, Paris, 1966, fasc. LXV, p. 1098; De Laage de Meux, Un gentilhomme normand, 1902; Nouvelle Biographie Générale, Paris, 1855, Vol. VII, p. 679; Biographie Universelle, Paris, 1812, Vol. VI, p. 189). According to family tradition, 1772 is also the year in which du Buat-Nançay received the chessboard as a gift from the Elector. In September 1787, du Buat-Nançay died without issue and was survived by his second wife, Louis (or Marie-Sophie, according to family history) Le Cordier Bigars de la Londe. Upon her death, the chess set was inherited by her brother, the Marquise de La Londe, president of the Normandy Parliament and mayor of Versailles who escaped to England during the revolution. His daughter married Comte Charles-Eugène de Gallye d'Hybouville, Master of the Hunt at the court of Charles X. Their son Henri married Eugenie Passy, daughter of Hippolyte Passy, Louis Philippe's finance minister. Roger, their son, married Marthe Berard, daughter of Paul Berard, secretary to the French Embassy and an art collector. The chess set then passed by descent .

  • GBRUnited Kingdom
  • 2012-07-04
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An exceptional and rare louis xvi style gilt-bronze mounted bleu turquin

The D-shaped marble top above a segmented frieze adorned with vine leaves joined by a central Bacchante mask, the curved sides with a semi-circular apron centered by a Mercury mask, above four square tapering legs adorned with gilt bronze Ionic orders, terminating in acanthus leaves on flattened bun feet The Frick Console The original console table was made after the designs by François-Joseph Belanger and Jean-François-Thérèse Chalgrin and the bronzes by Pierre Gouthière in 1781. On account of the quality of its bronzes and the originality of its design it is regarded as one of the most outstanding pieces of the last decades of the 18thcentury. The provenance of the piece is just as remarkable: commissioned for Louise-Jeanne de Durfort, Duchesse de Mazarin (1735-1781), the console formed part of the furnishings for her Parisian residence, the Hôtel de La Roche-sur-Yon on the Quais Malaquais near the actual location of the Ecole des Beaux-Arts. She married Louis-Marie-Guy d'Aumont (1732-1789), son of the famed collector Louis-Marie-Augustin, Duc d'Aumont. In 1780, the architect Belanger was awarded the task of redecorating the Duchess' hôtel in the style antique. Preliminary drawings for the interiors - preserved in the Metropolitan Museum of Art, and illustrated in Pierre Verlet, op. cit., figs. 88-90, pp. 147, 149 - reveal that the console table formed part of an ensemble including a monumental mirror to stand above it and a bleu turquin marble fireplace also conceived by Bellanger. The fireplace was decorated with bronze satyresses modelled by Foucou and executed by Gouthière and today preserved in Frerrières, the former Rothschild estate outside of Paris. The console table, however, never made it into the fine interior of the hôtel on the Quais Malaquais, as the Duchess died that same year in 1781 at the age of forty five. It remained in storage along with the rest of the furnishings with its mounts waiting to be gilt. Documents from the eight-year litigation reveal that the side roundels were originally fitted with the initials MA, for Mazarin-Aumont, and it was probably not before the end of the case on December 2, 1789 that the roundels were replaced with Mercury masks and the mounts gilt. Other examples There are six recorded 18th century ormolu-mounted stone tables, four of which belonged in the collection of Louis-Augustin duc d'Aumont and father-in-law of the duchesse de Mazarin. The four recorded in his sale of 1782, however, are of much smaller size and of porphyry and jasper with legs adorned with ormolu Egyptian busts, duc d'Aumont sale, op. cit. pp. 141-144. All were bought by the crown and are now lost. A larger console of green marble with mounts by Gouthière is known to have existed based on the drawing by Jean-Démosthène Dugourc and preserved in the Musée des Arts Décoratifs and illustrated in Verlet, op. cit. p. 294, no. 325. The present console Although this console is virtually identical to the Frick model there are, however, some minor discrepancies, notably to the central mask, and capitals. As Christopher Payne points out, the original table by Gouthière in the Frick Collection has two narrow bronze mouldings stamped on the reverse 'J.A. Hatfield, London'. The Hatfield foundry was active from the mid-nineteenth century. Unfortunately, under the later name of H.J.Hatfield, all the firms' records were lost in a fire in the twentieth century. They were able to produce castings to the very highest standard, every bit as competent as their French counterparts. They are known to have made complete items and not solely repairs, for example a set of four four-light candelabra made by the firm for Baron Ferdinand de Rothschild in 1882, copied from the British Royal Collection by kind permission from Her Majesty Queen Victoria. Verlet, op. cit., p.364) notes a remark made by Victor de Champeaux in circa 1880 ' Hatfield, fondeur et ciseleur du XIXe Siecle. Etait tres habile dans la reproduction des oeuvres francaises de l'epoque de Louis XVI. Il eut un neuveu qui herita de la delicatessen de son burin'. An important cabinet made for the Marquess of Hertford in 1855-1857, with gilt-bronze mounts with a possible attribution to Hatfield's was sold in these rooms: 'A Private Collection, Part II', April 19th 2007, lot 105. Opportunity is the key to such high quality copies being made. The Hertford cabinet was made during preparations for the 1853 Gore House Exhibition in London. As the present lot was in England at the end of the nineteenth century, there were several such opportunities during the Belle Epoque. The original table had been owned by the distinguished English collector Alfred Morrison (d. 1897), of 16 Carlton House Terrace, London SW1 and of Fonthill. In 1895 it then passed to the dilettante Paul Ernest Boniface (1867-1932), comte de Castellane, nicknamed Boni de Castellane. Two years later the extravagant count married the American heiress Anna Gould, but was ruined by 1906 only to rebuild his life as a dealer in antiques and journalism. He may have bought the table from the eminent London dealer Asher Wertheimer, whose relation Charles sold it to J.Pierpoint Morgan in 1905. Presumably this resale in 1905 was to stave off Castellane's mounting debts. Subsequently, in 1915 the celebrated international dealer Duveen sold it to Henry Clay Frick.

  • USAUSA
  • 2013-04-19
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Withdrawal

Tappeto

Tappeto

  • ITAItaly
  • 2001-12-19
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A swiss parcel-gilt silver drinking cup in the form of a lark, nicholas

Naturalistically modelled, detachable head, raised on a tapered circular base, embossed with acanthus leaves, scrolling foliage and birds, the base embossed with the Lerber family coat-of-arms This ancestral drinking cup of the von Lerber family is in the form of a skylark, a charge of the family coat-of-arms which is emblazoned in full on the cup's base (see Fig.1). Although it is not known for certain which member of the family commissioned the piece, it must have been a descendent of either Daniel von Lerber (1569-1648) or his brother, Hans Rudolf (1582-1645). When catalogued by the director of the Swiss National Museum in 1938, the cup was thought to have been commissioned by the grandson of the former, also called Daniel (1624-1684). This theory was modified by Catherin Jobin in her thesis on the skylark's creator Nicolas Matthey (circa 1646-1723), who suggested that Daniel von Lerber's son Franz Ludwig (1648-1721) originally ordered the skylark, on the grounds that it could not have been made before 1684 when Daniel was dead1. Due to a subsequent discovery, what is certain is that in 1745 the skylark was presented to the Weavers' Guild in Berne by Daniel and Franz Ludwig's cousin, Johann Rudolf the younger (1692-1766). It was customary when joining a guild in Berne, which by the late 17th Century had become governing clubs for the ruling elite as much as trade associations, for new members to endow their guild with a piece of silver. Intended to be drunk from at guild festivities, these valuable gifts could also be converted into cash in times of crisis. In 1745 The Weavers' Guildbook, records the presentation of the skylark cup by a 'General Commissarriij Lerbers', later identified as Johann  Rudolf (1692-1766) when he introduced his kinsman Sigmund Ludwig (1723-1783) as a new member of the guild2: 'den 25 feb(ruar)ij 1745 ist bey Annemung Herrn Sigmund Lerbers von Meinen Gnädigen Herren General Commissarriij Lerbers ein Bächer in form einer silbernen Lerch verehrt worden'3 One explanation for this unusual transaction is that Johann Rudolf had no children while Sigmund had lost both father and grandfather by the time he was ten. As Johann Rudolf appears to be the giver of the skylark, its commissioner is as likely to be one of his direct forebears, as one of Sigmund Ludwig's.  The former's uncle Johann Jakob (1657-1725), married in 1680 Maria Matthey presenting a tentative connection with the skylark's creator the goldsmith Nicholas Matthey. On the other hand, Sigmund Ludwig's grandfather, Franz Ludwig I (1648-1720) had the means to commission the skylark; not only was he also a member of the Weavers' Guild but he was a director in 1707 of the lucrative Roche salt mines4. Only Sigmund of his generation in the von Lerber family had any issue: Franz Rudolf (1757-1822), Vinzenz Hieronymus (b. 1759) and Rudolf Emanuel (d. 1794) and it is through his first-born that the cup ultimately descended. In 1767 the Weavers' Guild sold many of its treasures. One of the conditions of such sales was that donors would be given the opportunity of buying them. It seems likely that Sigmund Ludwig, by then a prominent and influential Bernese lawyer, took advantage of this condition and took possession of the von Lerber skylark. On the 12 March 1875 it was his great great grandchildren, the children of Franz Gustav (1827-1887) Frantz, Conrad, Arnold; and of Karl Ludwig von Lerber (1830-1896) Agnes, Ellen, Hilda, Walter and Margarita, who scratched their names on its underside. The publication between 1858 and 1862 by Arnold Streit of the Album Historisch-Heraldischer Alterthümer und Baudenkmale der Stadt Bern und Umgegend, which included illustrations and descriptions of notable items from Berne and the area under its control (a large part of French-speaking Switzerland), alerted a wider public to the existence of guild and private treasures (see Fig. 2). This coincided with the growing demand for antique German works of art by such collectors as Baron Meyer de Rothschild. In 1860 he purchased another figural cup by Nicolas Matthey, the Society of Archers's owl cup, which is still in his family collection (see Fig. 3). It is believed that the skylark cup left the von Lerber family following the death of Karl Ludwig in 1896; not only was he a collector of note but he was also the only private owner who contributed to the exhibit of antique silver from Berne guilds shown at the Vienna International Exhibition of 1873. The next owners were Henry (Heinrich) Budge (1840-1927) and his wife, Emma (née Lazarus) (1852-1937). They were married in Hamburg in 1879 and subsequently moved to New York where for more than 20 years Mr Budge was connected with J.P. Morgan, Hallgarten & Co and other companies involved in building the United States' railways infrastructure. The couple returned to Hamburg in 1903 and settled in a mansion on Harvestehude Weg known as Budge-Palais, where Mrs  Budge amassed an impressive collection of porcelain, especially German of the 18th Century, silver, textiles, bronzes, majolica, furniture, miniatures, snuff boxes and other works of art. Following her death in 1937 the collection was sold at auction, which included the skylark cup, purchased by the Swiss National Museum in whose possession it remained until this year. A number of public institutions, including the Swiss National Museum, have recognized that the Emma Budge collection was sold under duress by the Nazi regime and have generously returned the property to the Budge estate. The reason that a Neuchatel goldsmith rather than one from Berne was chosen to make the skylark is open to guesswork. Neuchatel was also a Protestant city so there would have been no religious constraint to this happening; it may simply have been that Matthey was the pre-eminent local sculptor for this kind of highly skilled work.  He was commissioned to make such models for Bernese societies other than the Weavers.  An example being the previoulsy mentionned Owl cup commissioned by a minister of the Dutch king of England, William III and given as a sweetner to the influential Bernese society the Äussere Stand around 1690. The same society also received a Lion cup similarly on behalf of William III around the same time.5  Although this Lion cup has the mark of the Bernese goldsmith Emanuel Jenner, it is possible that Matthey was actually the sculptor of both pieces, Emanuel  Jenner marking as guarantor of the precious metal not as goldsmith fabricant.  This was probably the case with another cup of the Weavers' Guild, made around 1711 in the form of a griffin, the guild emblem.6 The griffin has the mark of two goldsmiths; Nicolas Matthey, its accepted sculptor goldsmith and the Bernese citizen Bernard Bourgeois who took the commission and acted as intermediary with the guild. There is no doubt that cups in the form of animals or beasts such as these were actually used to drink from at guild ceremonies. The Society of Archers in Berne had bought the Owl and Lion cups from the Aussere Stand in 1801. On the 5 May at the dinner following the annual shooting competition , having crowned the winning archer who was referred to as `Your Majesty' for the evening the members sat down to dinner at a table dressed with the newly acquired silver and (in translation) `joyously the cups of fine wine made the rounds. Of the many toasts, one in particular is remembered. It was proposed to England, that nation of faith and belief...singing and clanging of cups resounded till midnight when we left for home...as best we could. Governor Graf emptied the King William (as the lion cup was known) nine times and Carl von Graffenried von Burgenstein drained his minister, as we call the Owl, in one go'.7 Sotheby's is very grateful to David Wille for his help in cataloguing this lot. 1 C. Jobins asserts that the skylark cup bears Nicolas Matthey's second maker's mark which he used from 1695. 2 R. Wyss, op. cit. Proof that the skylark cup recorded in this quotation is the same as that now offered for sale is confirmed by the Weavers' Guild account of 1758, where the cup is recorded as weighing 41 lots. This is equivalent to 599.25grams, a difference from its current weight of only 9 grams. (It should be noted that weights in Berne at that time were based on the Cologne system where one lot weighed 14.616 grams). 3 on the 25th of February 1745 Mr. Sigmund Lerber's introduction was honoured with a beaker / cup in form of a silver lark from milords General Commissarriij Lerbers" 4 Such mines were capable of generating great wealth, as evinced by the success of Martin Zobel, an Augsburg merchant who in 1583 gave to the city of Berne a silver basin with verre fixe armorials in gratitude for the lease he was granted on the Aelen salt mines. This basin is now one of the greatest treasures of the Historisches Museum, Berne. 5 Sotheby's London, 11 February 1999, lot 41. 6 R. Wyss, op. cit., p. 151-152. 7 Manuel III of the Bogenschützengesellschaft, 1801, p. 117.

  • GBRUnited Kingdom
  • 2012-07-04
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François linke french, 1855 - 1946 a rare gilt bronze-mounted kingwood

The serpentine hinged lid, above shaped bombé sides, with pierced music rest and lyre-shaped pedal support, signed F. Linke to the right side of the keyboard, the reverse of the mounts stamped FL and LINKE, the movement and pedal support stamped with Erard serial number 98602 and patent stamps, the interior of the case further stamped F. TURBEC/A LEMOINE Entered in the Linke daybooks with Title: ‘Piano Louis XV bois de satiné et marqueterie, Instrument Erard’ …. Sculpture Only  the heady genius of Léon Messagé working with Francois Linke could have produced such an extraordinary design for a piano. It takes a unique mind to create such an innovative musical instrument such as this piano a queue, number 1400 in Linke’s registre of furniture. The present lot can be dated with unflinching accuracy to 1910 although the first date for a piano of this model is as early as May 1907. In inimitable style, Linke, who only wanted the best craftsmanship and materials for his output, favoured using Erard iron-frame piano movements, arguably the best movements available at the time. While the inspiration for this extraordinary piano a queue clearly has its roots in the sculptural genius of Léon Messagé. Messagé was for at least the early part of his career an independent sculptor and designer, designing furniture in an elaborate rococo revival form as well as silver and other decorative objects. He is most remembered today for his sculptural mounts and his ability to translate his elaborate drawings into three dimensions, creating gilt-bronze models of a unique character and form.  Following the eighteenth century practice of  publishing his designs for general consumption, Messagé issued a quantity of his varied designs in his Cahier des Dessins & Croquis Style Louis XV, the second issue being circa 1890. Drawing on the rococo designs of the eighteenth century, notably those of  J-A. Meissonnier, Messagé has conceived a unique and very specific style that links the Louis XV period to the contemporary art nouveau. Client Madame d’Astoreca and her family were established and good clients of Linke who also undertook to do minor repairs for her at her Paris home at 8 Boulevard Maillot, Neuilly with a varied series of orders between 1907 and 1913 of which the present lot is the most important. The present piano, the last recorded commission, was ordered in 1910 by Madame d'Astoreca, originally from Madrid, at a cost of 7,891.85 French francs. The order of ‘Commande’ number for the present lot was 1405 with no specific date given however it can be seen from the Linke’s minutely detailed records that the first recorded date was for the locks and similar fittings entered on 6th march 1910. However the complex and detailed chasing of the mounts was still being done the following year. Other work for the family includes a unique vernis Martin cylinder bureau (index number 515). Interestingly, the order number 1405 for Madame d’Astoreca included a variation of the table index number 930, offered as lot 161 in The Property From A Distinguished Private Asian Collection, Sotheby's New York, October 15, 2015 Erard The Erard firm was founded by the German-born Sébastien Erhard (1752-1831) and his 1821 patent for a ‘double escapement’ action is the basis for the modern grand piano. The stability of the iron frame has been a stable movement for many of the better piano case makers such as Linke. The serial number 98602 coincides with the order in the Erard archives of October that year for the movement and the Erard records show that  this movement was derived on 7 October 1910 to M. Linke, cabinetmaker, 170 Faubourg Saint-Antoine, Paris, confirmed by an entry in the Linke daybook. Opera Linke’s short title for  the piano in his price list ‘Piano Louis XV bois de satiné et marqueterie, Instrument Erard’ has no allusion to the three characters represented as gilt-bronzes sculptural figures at the head of each leg of the instrument. However two of the figures were used earlier in his repertoire, for a commode exhibited at Linke’s Gold Medal winning stand at the Paris Exposition Universelle of 1900. The only indication as to the characters is in the title of the commode, Linke index number 553 Line titled the ‘Commode Figaro’.  However Linke’s inspiration for the figures is not clear. Clearly a concept by Linke’s sculptor, Léon Messagé, a Frenchman through and through it would seem likely that the original source would be from the plays of Pierre Beaumarchais (1732-1799). Beaumarchais was a colourful middle class Paris-born polymath who rose to become musical advisor to the French court under Louis XV and amongst his many talents he invented a more accurate escapement for the notoriously inaccurate pocket watches of the 1750s and became the court’s royal watchmaker. This precision and inventiveness alone may have been inspiration for Linke but it must be imagined that it was Messagé who would be more familiar with the culture of Beaumarchais as a playwright. Amongst others, Beaumarchais wrote Le Barbier de Séville which premiered in 1775 at the Comedie-Francaise at the Theatre des Tuieries and Le Marriage de Figaro first seen in 1781 until it was banned for its’ satire by Louis XVI until it was revised in 1785. Mozart composed an opera Le Nozze fi Figaro, the libretto by Lorenzo Da Ponte. The Baber of Seville was also performed as opera the most famous and long lasting being The Barber of Seville by Rossini, first performed in 1816. During Linke’s career in Paris the opera was performed at the Opera comique destroyed by fire in 1887. It was rebuilt and officially reopened by the French President, Félix Faure in December 1898 and by 1900 the Barber of Seville opera had already reached a staggering 276 performances. The timing of the reopening of the Opéra comique and Messagé’s knowledge of French culture may have been the impetus for the concept of the sculptural figures of Figaro and Rosine on the present lot. In part the opera can be seen to have inspiration from the 16th century Italian  commedia dell’arte. A nineteenth century engraving of a scene from the opera depicts Figaro dressed in the costume of Harlequin complete with mask. In a possible connection, Linke purchased the rights to edit a bronze standing figure of Harlequin after the model by Theodore Gauthier, bronze index number 08, retailing for 200 francs. The commedia dell’arte was a long established inspiration in French culture that inspired designs by Jean Berain (1637-1711), that in turn influenced the greatest of the ancien regime furniture makers André-Charles Boulle. Thus Linke was turning full circle in his reference to Figaro and Rosine and embracing the rococo revival both sculpturally in his specific mixture of Louis XV, and modernised rococo which was at the height of its popular revival by the late 1890s. Beaumarchais’s adventures over ten months in Madrid in 1764 Spain would have been familiar to the buyer of the present lot, the Spanish-born Madame d’Astoreca. Almost certainly his two plays were based in part on his time there and may well have helped him arrive at the two central characters on the present piano, Figaro and Rosine, later Countess Almaviva, who are present in both the marriage of Figaro and the Barber of Seville. The third figure is another Messagé model, originally taken from another item made for Linke’s 1900 exhibition, index number 559 and again on a vitrine and matching music cabinet, index numbers 712 and 713 exhibited at the Liege exhibition in 1905 (see Payne, Linke, p. 172, pl. 186). Entitled coquetterie the figure is cheekily exposing her breasts, repeated in a more modest version for his important London client Meyer in 1909. This figure makes an ideal triptych to the figures of Figaro and Rosine and is full of rococo frivolity. Details The Linke registre books are full of hand-written detail about the furniture made by the firm. In some cases there are chits handed in by the various craftsmen who worked on the individual piece, mainly time sheets on scraps of paper. Index 1400 for the piano has an scrap of paper with an estimate by the metalwork foreman, Goujon, for the costing of the present lot at 882 hours at a cost of 823 francs. The work for chasing was to be shared between Goujon and six others. An undated chit on a scrap of plain white paper from Maury, the gilder reads ‘Piano mercure 1400 – nitrate 700”. Written in pencil it shows that mercury gilding as for the present lot was twice as expensive as nitrate gilding. Linke clearly did not accept the estimate from the ‘Maison Carosi’ of 2,850 francs for ‘dorure mercure pierre’ at 2,850 francs or ‘nitrate mercure’ at 1,500 francs, even though Carosi had added ‘ En travail tres soigné’. A separate folder has an individual sheet of paper for the amount of wood used. The minutiae of the workbooks shows in fact that the gilding was by Picard, invoiced on 20th July 1910 at 1,500 francs. The wood for the present lot was costed out of Linke’s existing stock at 20 francs for the oak and 230 francs for the satiné. Due to the pressure on the Like workshop, the last piano of this model was started in 1921 and not actually finished until 1921. However the amount  of timber needed of course remained constant and would have cost 750 French francs in 1921. The project shows that the Erard movement by this time would be 5,400 francs, as opposed to the 2,100 francs for the present lot, the total cost of the piano to Linke adds up to 21,425 French francs. Linke’s list of retail prices shows the huge rate of inflation at the time from 48,000 French francs in 1921 to 90,000 by 1926 but the piano was never made again. In a rare and previously unpublished document the craftsman responsible for modelling the three figures subsequently used on the present piano, made after the initial macquettes by Messagé, Charles Rigallet, ceded all rights for his work to Linke in a 'Cession de Propriété' as recommended by the Congres des Arts Décoratifs in 1894. Linke had bought the intellectual rights to Messagé's work from his widow in 1901 and this was a further guarantee for Linke to use the models without any fear of repercussion. Footnote courtesy of Christopher Payne.

  • USAUSA
  • 2015-10-15
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Porcelain & Pottery

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