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The Blind Orion Guided by Cedalion

Long hidden among a group of Grand Tour bronzes displayed in the Duke’s Study at Syon House, despite its incandescent patina and luxurious Boulle base, the present statuette has emerged as a new addition to the oeuvre of famous French Mannerist bronze maker Barthélemy Prieur. The model was included as one of the touchstones of French bronze sculpture in the ground-breaking exhibition Cast in bronze: French sculpture from Renaissance to Revolution that toured Paris, New York, and Los Angeles in 2009 (op.cit.). It is a wonderfully executed study of the male ideal current in France in the 16th century and a scholarly exercise in illustrating lesser known classical myths. The finesse and technique of the cast suggests that the present bronze is the third version of this rare model that can be attributed to Prieur’s own hand. The other two prime versions are in the Huntington Library Art Collection and the Württembergisches Landesmuseum. The Musée du Louvre and the Metropolitan Museum of Art possess later casts. The base of the present bronze indicates a French provenance and therefore it is tempting to associate it with the missing cast mentioned in the inventory of Louis XIV’s famous landscape architect, André Le Nôtre, completed following his death in 1700. (Guiffrey, op.cit.) Barthélemy Prieur’s exploration of the indirect lost wax casting technique and his introduction of fresh subject-matter to Mannerist bronzes are key contributions to the history of European sculpture. Indirect casting enabled the Frenchman to preserve his wax models so that further casts were more easily produced. He could thereby disseminate his work widely and spread his Italianate Mannerist style north of the Alps. Being a Protestant, he endeavoured to translate into bronze imagery which was acceptable to Calvinist Europeans. Perhaps most recognisable are the genre bronzes of milkmaids, peasants and farm animals which on occasion earned Prieur a mundane reputation in recent publications. Contemporaries, however, praised Prieur’s learnedness and surviving drawings indicate a thorough understanding of classical antiquity. (Cast in bronze, op.cit., p. 103) His genre bronzes should therefore be seen in the light of moralising humanist publications and influential engravings such as Lucas van Leyden’s Milkmaid (illustrated in Raupp, op.cit., no. 2.2). His bronzes often reference statues from Antiquity but rather than merely copying ancient statues Prieur adapted the models, representing subjects discussed in contemporary scholarly circles (Cast in Bronze, op.cit., p. 135). The only indication of Barthélemy Prieur's education as a sculptor was given by art historian Giovanni Battista Armenini in a 1587 treatise on painting. It mentions that in the early 1550s, Prieur and another great French sculptor, Ponce Jacquiot, visited Rome before enjoying great fame in their country of birth. (Cast in bronze, op.cit., p. 103, n.2) The youthful Frenchmen had hired Armenini at that time to go round with them and produce drawings of the foremost antiquities and buildings. It seems that Prieur found work as a stuccoist and may have worked in the studios of Daniele da Volterra and Guglielmo della Porta in that capacity. Under the latter's guidance it is likely that Prieur gained experience with producing small bronzes. Sojourns in the circle of Leone Leoni in Milan and as the court sculptor of Duke Emanuel-Philibert of Savoy in Turin in the 1560s cemented his skills as a bronze maker and an international reputation. Upon his return to France in the middle of 1571 he immediately started work on noble and royal commissions incorporating major bronzes such as Virtues for the funerary monument to Anne de Montmorency (Musée du Louvre, inv. no. MR 1681) and personifications of the French provinces to adorn the monument encasing the heart of King Henri II. In 1583 an inventory was made of Prieur’s assets which mentions a large number of small bronzes too, several of which, including Neptune with three Hippocamps in Melun (inv. no. 802), can be identified with existing casts today. Prieur's ascent in Paris halted abruptly with the issue of the Edict of Nemours in 1585, which curbed religious freedom and therefore forced the Protestant sculptor to flee to Sedan. After nine years in exile Prieur's work was noticed by King Henri IV, for whom the sculptor produced bronzes for the rest of his career. Henri IV as Jupiter and Marie de Médicis as Juno (Musée du Louvre, inv. no. OA 11054 and 55) are typical works of this last flourish and a testament to his highly skilled casting and finishing of bronzes. Originally thought to be Netherlandish, The Blind Orion guided by Cedalion was first attributed to the French school by Jestaz on the basis of the inventory made upon the death of Andre Le Notre, which lists a bronze of the same description (op.cit.). In her note on the model in the Cast in bronze catalogue, Seelig-Teeuwen definitively attributes the bronze to Prieur and dates the model to the period prior to the sculptor's exile. (op. cit., p. 135) The tense musculature and elongated anatomy of Orion compares well to the two Funerary Geniuses from the tomb of Christophe de Thou begun in 1583 (Musée du Louvre, inv. no. MR 1684-85). The fine attention to detail such as in the rendering of the taut back muscles of the right Genius and the crumpled up piece of drapery in his hand is equally evident both in the Huntington Library cast that was exhibited (inv. no. 17.8; Cast in bronze, op.cit., no. 27C) and in the present bronze. It is worth noting the similarities with the later Henry IV as Jupiter too. Both are expertly finished and Orion and the King have similar sympathetic and expectant expression due to the wonderfully modelled furrowed brow. The confident stride forward, slight twist at the stomach, and the way the tight muscles are laid over the rib cage prove that Prieur could have equally created the present bronze after 1585. In addition to the present bronze and the cast exhibited in 2009, a third version of the Blind Orion cast by Prieur himself was in the ducal collections of Württemberg and is now in the Landesmuseum, Stuttgart. These three are distinguished from casts made by another founder of which one formerly in the collection of Louis XIV is in the Musée du Louvre, one in the Metropolitan Museum of Art, one sold at Sotheby's New York on 23 November 1987 (lot 86, $300,000) is now in the Fondation Bemberg, and one appeared on the art market in 2004. These latter versions seem to lack the finesse of the surface and therefore miss the striking details that give the present bronze its character, including the nicely rendered drapery in the hand, the drooping moustache of Orion and the subtle curls of Cedalion. According to the 2009 exhibition catalogue, which also featured the Paris and New York casts, the Huntington Library bronze is partially hollow and has a wax joint between Orion and Cedalion that is distinguishable in the facture while the lesser casts proved to be solid and have no such joints. (op.cit., p. 135) What sets the present bronze apart from all others is the downward direction of Orion's face, which means a significant alteration of the interpretation of the story. The myth of Orion features in some of the earliest known Greek texts. Homer let Odysseus encounter Orion in the underworld and Hesiod's discussion of the constellation named after the giant hunter equally contains the story. In most versions of his myth Orion is blinded by the King of Chios after raping his daughter and wanders the globe until he encounters Haephaestus, the smith god. Feeling compassion, Haephaestus instructs his servant Cedalion to guide Orion East where the rays of Helios, the sun, could heal him. 2000 years later, in Renaissance Europe, the story was admired for its association with rebirth, redemption, and even architecture and meteorology. Boccaccio was one of the first to give the story an allegorical interpretation. Prieur may have based his model on a passage by the 2nd-century Greek author Lucian of Samosata (De Domo, 27-29): "[Orion] is blind, and on his shoulder carries Cedalion, who directs the sightless eyes towards the East. The rising Sun heals his infirmity; and there stands Hephaestus on Lemnos, watching the cure." The fact that Orion's gaze is directed forward here as opposed to towards Cedalion in the other bronzes suggests a more literal interpretation of the story in this variant. Unlike most of the lots in the collection, the present bronze was formerly in the central London residence of the Duke of Northumberland on 2 Grosvenor Place. This house was acquired in the late 19th century after the forced demolition of Northumberland House on the Strand and furnished with many of the treasures from the latter. The magnificent Northumberland House was built around 1605 and stood at the far West end of The Strand bordering what is now Trafalgar Square, with gardens stretching to the Thames. It was the last of the stately homes to remain standing while the area was modernised in the 19th century, but after a devastating fire in 1866, the Duke finally sold the land to the Metropolitan Board of Works for redevelopment in 1874. RELATED LITERATURE J. Guiffrey, 'Testament et inventaire après décès de André le Nostre', Bulletin de la Societé de L'Histoire de L'Art français, 1911, p. 254; H. Weihrauch, Europäische Bronzestatuetten, 15.-18. Jahrhundert, Brunswick, 1967, pp. 365-366; B. Jestaz, ‘Travaux recents sur les bronzes, II, Renaissance septentrionale et Baroque’, Revue de l’art 9, 1970, pp. 78-79; P. Cros, Fondation Bemberg. Bronzes de la Renaissance italienne, Toulouse/ Paris, 1996, p. 124; Les bronzes de la Couronne, exh. cat. Musée du Louvre, Paris, 1999, p. 139, no. 205; European Sculpture, exh. cat. Daniel Katz Ltd., New York/ London, 2004, pp. 44-47, no. 12; G. Bresc-Bautier, G. Scherf and J.D. Draper (eds.), Cast in bronze. French sculpture from Renaissance to revolution, exh. cat. Musée du Louvre, Paris, The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York, and The J. Paul Getty Museum, Los Angeles, Paris, 2009, pp. 102-147

  • GBRUnited Kingdom
  • 2014-07-09
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An imperial porcelain vase, imperial porcelain manufactory, st petersburg

Of bandeau form with flared neck and foot, the front painted after Shepherdess Milking a Goat (c. 1648) by Nicolaes Pieterszoon Berchem (Dutch, 1620-1683), signed in Cyrillic lower left V. Shchetinin and dated 1839, within a frame of ciselé gilt leaf tips, above applied flourishes forming acanthus anthemia, the sides and back ciselé with an elaborate frieze of acanthus scrolls and rosettes, the reeded handles with moulded foliate brackets and scroll terminals, gilt-bronze plinth, the inside of the neck with blue Imperial cypher of Nicholas I The three decades of Emperor Nicholas I’s reign are regarded as the peak of porcelain production in Russia.  He was an enthusiastic patron of the Imperial manufactory and was, apart from Catherine the Great, the Russian monarch most interested in the arts.  Foremost among the porcelain wares made during this period are the vases on which the central panels serve as ‘canvases’ for reproducing two-dimensional works of art.  Old Master paintings were favoured, though contemporary works, both Russian and European, if in keeping with the Emperor’s taste, were also copied.  Paintings were either brought to the factory for copying, or the painter-decorators worked in a room at the Hermitage specially reserved for the purpose.  Such vases were often produced for the Emperor himself, presented at New Year or Easter, or for a member of the Imperial Family, sometimes as part of a dowry, or as diplomatic gifts to foreigners.  Given the inscribed date of 1839, it is highly possible that the present vase was made for the dowry of Grand Duchess Maria Nikolaevna (1819-1876), who married Maximilian, Duke of Leuchtenberg on 2 July of that year. While the present lot is typical in that an Old Master picture is copied, it is somewhat unusual in that it seems to have been copied from an engraving.  The original painting by Berchem (see illustration below) has been in the Louvre since 1817, having been acquired on the London-Paris art market as part of the collection of Alexis Quatresols de la Hante (see V. Pomarède, ed., The Louvre: All the Paintings, 2011, p. 358).  Berchem was an especially prolific master of the Dutch Italianate style whose work was in great demand.  His popularity continued into the 19th century, and his paintings were frequently engraved.  Shepherdess Milking a Goat was engraved in the 19th century by the German draughtsman Johann Martin Friedrich Geissler (1778-1853), who is known to have worked in Paris until at least 1814 (see illustration below).  The Imperial Porcelain Manufactory had its own extensive collection of prints for use as sources, despite access to Imperial collections rife with great paintings from which to choose.  Working from a monochromatic engraving, Shchetinin was free to interpret the view with his own palette, rather brighter than Berchem’s original. Not a great deal is known about the porcelain painter V. Shchetinin except that he is certainly a member of the well-known family of painter-decorators employed at the Imperial Porcelain Manufactory which included Ilya, who died in 1864, and Petr, born in 1806.  Given these dates and that all three were active in the 1830s and 1840s, it is likely that V. Shchetinin was a brother of Ilya and Petr.  Petr Shchetinin also copied works by Berchem; he reproduced two Berchem pictures on a pair of vases presented to the Emperor in 1835; today these vases are on display in the Field Marshal’s Hall at the Winter Palace (illustrated, T. Kudriavtseva, Russian Imperial Porcelain, 2003, p. 161; and N. von Wolf, ed. V. Znamenov, Imperatorskii farforovyi zavod, 1744-1904, 2008, p. 317).  If the Emperor had a predilection for Berchem’s work – and certainly it is of a style he favoured – it is possible that the present vase was made for him, if not for his daughter’s dowry; at the least it is likely that he chose the subject to be reproduced on it. Other known works by V. Shchetinin include two vases at Hillwood Museum, Washington D.C., one painted with scenes from Ovid’s Metamorphoses, and a larger vase painted after Henrik van Steenwyck II’s Interior of a Gothic Church (c. 1604), a painting still in the collection of the Hermitage (see A. Odom, “Paintings on Porcelain Vases at Hillwood”, Antiques, March 2003, pp. 132-139).  A pair of vases, similar in scale to the present lot and currently at Peterhof Palace, is painted with harbour views, one by V. Shchetinin and the other by his colleague S. Daladugin.  A military plate painted by V. Shchetinin and dated 1830 sold, Sotheby’s New York, 16 April 2007, lot 126, and is similar to another military plate by him (illustrated, A La Vieille Russie, An Imperial Fascination: Porcelain, 1991, no. 124).

  • GBRUnited Kingdom
  • 2013-07-03
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Saint Barbara

The striking inventiveness and technical ambition which distinguish this large wood carving of Saint Barbara firmly associate it with Northern Mannerism, a movement that came to the fore in the Netherlands, France, and Germany in the first decades of the 16th century. The lavish dress, the incorporation of stylistic traits that derive both from Renaissance and late Gothic art, and the engaging expression of the female saint are all typical of the style. The idealised beauty and extraordinary quality that the sculptor attained here are only approached by a small number of Lower Rhenish wood carvings, chiefly a pair of angels in the Schnütgen Museum in Cologne dated to circa 1530. Otherwise Saint Barbara’s artistic equivalents are the paintings of great Northern Mannerist painters such as Lucas Cranach, Jan Gossaert, and Lucas van Leyden. Even though early sixteenth-century Mannerism is mainly associated with Antwerp, other centres in the North of France, Germany, and the Netherlands were important for the dissemination of the style. Encouraged by rich trade and extensive cultural contacts, numerous cities in the region saw an extraordinary number of artists organised in guilds, establish large workshops, and feed an expanding market for the production and export of art. The demand for a recognisable product stimulated painters and sculptors to develop a stock of figural motifs, compositions, and themes. Defining traits of Northern Mannerism include lavish costumes, vivid coloristic effects, imaginative architecture, and displays of technical virtuosity regardless of the subject matter. The personal form of religious expression that Protestants encouraged allowed these fashionable features to be flaunted by those artists who could render them. Elaborate drapery, headdresses and jewellery distinguish many of Northern Mannerism’s most striking female figures. The extraordinary variety of elements attained in the dress of Saint Barbara is echoed in the religious scenes such as Jan de Beer’s Birth of the Virgin in the Museo de Arte Thyssen-Bornemisza in Madrid or Jan Gossaert’s  Holy Family with Saints Catherine and Barbara in the Museu Nacional de Arte Antiga in Lisbon (inv. no. 1479). Among the most virtuoso passages of carving are the slashes on the sleeves of Saint Barbara. Similar sleeves with puffs of fabric pulled through the slashes and hanging from the cuff can be seen in Gossaert’s Mary Magdalen in the Museum Mayer van den Bergh, whilst the extraordinary heavy gold link necklaces and gem-set collar often characterises Lucas Cranach’s women, including Judith with the Head of Holofernes in the Staatsgalerie Stuttgart. In sculpture, Northern Mannerist female figures of the scale of Saint Barbara appear chiefly in Picardy in France, the Mosan and Lower Rhenish parts of the Netherlands and Germany, and Utrecht. In Utrecht the Master of the Utrecht Female Stone Heads carved similarly lavish saints with comparable dress but, as is the case in the Southern Netherlands too, the mannerisms are extended to the facial features (see, for example, Saint Ursula in the Catherijneconvent, inv. no. ABM bh252). Female saints carved in the Netherlandish province of Limburg around the 1530s do possess the idealised beauty of the present saint. Note, for example, the works associated with the Master of Oostham, Jan van Steffenswert or the Meester of the Fize-le-Marsal Calvary. Note specifically the attitude and the extraordinary crown of Saint Lucia of Syracuse by the latter master and irregular drapery schemes of the Master of Oostham both illustrated by Gerits et al. (op. cit., nos. 227 and 466). That being said, few extant statues from the Eastern Netherlands have the fluidity of the detailing of the present figure. It is therefore possible that Saint Barbara was carved outside of the Netherlands. One pair of angels in the Schnütgen Museum and which are thought to have been carved in Cologne around 1530 combines the variety of decoration, extraordinary interplay of fabrics, and beautiful facial features that also characterise this figure (see Karrenbrock, op.cit., nos. 73-74). The typically Gothic triangular folds that cascade down from the waist are equally playfully diffused while the lighter fabric of the undergarment is minutely crumpled. The bead decoration and Gothic canopies visible on Barbara’s hat and tower respectively are repeated along the hem of the angel’s chasubles. The fingers of all three figures are similarly articulated and arranged in a conspicuous manner; a trait which is again reminiscent of contemporary painting. One technical feature also compares well: the statues in the Schnütgen Museum are flattened on the reverse as opposed to hollowed out. The only departure from Cologne wood sculpture at this time is that other carvings are made of limewood whilst the present figure is carved from walnut. RELATED LITERATURE J. Gerits et al., Laat-gotische beeldsnijkunst uit Limburg en grensland, exh. cat. Provinciaal Museum vor Religieuze Kunst, Sint-Truiden, 1990, pp. III. 21, 24, 26, 48, 92, 133-134, nos. 227, 165, and 466; R. Karrenbrock, Die Holzskulpturen des Mittelalters 1400 bis 1540. Teil 1: Köln, Westfalen, Norddeutschland, Cologne, 2001, pp. 364-370, nos. 73-74; D. Preising and M. Rief, Mittelalterliche Bildwerke aus Utrecht 1430-1530, exh. cat. Museum Catharijneconvent, Utrecht and Suermondt-Ludwig-Museum, Aachen, 2013, pp. 286-287, no. 56

  • GBRUnited Kingdom
  • 2015-07-09
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Relief with the Crucifixion

This is an exceptionally rare example of a large scale German Renaissance relief in the fine grained limestone known as Rotmarmor. Details such as the rearing horse and its rider, the swooning Virgin, and the seated child alongside the gallant male figure are rendered with extraordinary sensitivity, illustrating the often overlooked achievements of South German post-Reformation sculptors. The relief is heavily influenced by the most important sculptor of the epoch, Hans Daucher, combining numerous elements of his work and other major sculptors of his generation into a wonderfully delineated and lucidly arranged whole. Surprisingly, the Crucifixion came into the possession of a prominent Portuguese nobleman in the early 19th century, the 6th Marquis of Marialva, whose descendants have looked after it for seven generations. German Sculpture of the later Renaissance South German sixteenth-century sculpture that post-dates the careers of Albrecht Dürer, Veit Stoss, and Tilman Riemenschneider has long been frowned upon by art historians and collectors alike. As outlined by Georg Dehio in his thunderous 1914 essay ‘The crisis in German art in the sixteenth century’, it was believed that the onset of the Reformation destroyed the progress of the distinctly German style that had peaked between 1490 and 1520 and halted the production of anything of importance after 1530 (op. cit.; see Chipps Smith, op. cit., p. 5). It is true that the reformers dismantled and destroyed numerous major altarpieces in bouts of iconoclastic fury and put a halt to the explosion of Catholic commissions that had fed the development of Late Gothic sculpture in previous decades. This fragmented Germany’s artistic patrimony and forced a great number of sculptors that had relied on assignments from the Church out of business. As such, the sculptural output shrank considerably and was far less triumphant than the great altarpieces of Stoss and Riemenschneider. On the other hand, the sculptors that did manage to cling on developed a fresh language of sculpture: the Italian High Renaissance was absorbed, secular subjects and portraits took a flight, the ever-changing Protestant attitude to religious images yielded complex programmes of decoration in private chapels and churches alike, and pockets of wealthy Catholics feverishly commissioned new sculpture to underline their religion’s pre-eminence. Major achievements include Albrecht von Brandburg’s Neue Stift at Halle, the chapel that several South German artists erected for Johann Friedrich, Elector of Saxony, at Schloss Hartenfeld in Torgau in the early 1540s, the cenotaph of Maximilian I in Innsbruck that took most of the century to complete, the fountains cast by the Wurzelbauer and Labenwolf workshops between 1540 and 1590, the astonishing portraits by Johann Gregor van der Schardt, and the sophisticated school of relief sculpture that worked in rare, fine-grained local stones from which this extraordinarily large and beautifully composed carving stems. The beginnings of relief sculpture in sixteenth-century Germany Reliefs are predominant in German post-Reformation sculpture. In essence the interest in strong outlines and exquisite details that characterise these reliefs was developed in Late Gothic woodcuts by Dürer and Altdorfer and, to a lesser extent, wood sculpture. Hans Daucher (1485-1538) was among the first to inventively translate this style into small stone reliefs. Daucher worked in Augsburg and decided to work independently from his father Adolf at the time of the Imperial diet of 1518, which led to an enormous influx of commissions from visiting and local aristocrats. In the decade following the diet, Daucher revolutionised and commoditised high-end portrait sculpture with his half-length portrait roundels of Philipp and Ottheinrich, Counts Palatine, and two reliefs of Emperor Charles V on horseback, all in Solnhofen stone (fig. 1; Schlossmuseum, Berchtesgaden; Landesmuseum Ferdinandeum, Innsbruck; and Musée du Louvre, Paris, respectively). For religious and mythological scenes he used the prints of Albrecht Dürer and Hans Burgkmair and often modernised them by placing the figures in architectural settings decorated with North Italian Renaissance motifs. The small reliefs are of such technical virtuosity that they are likely to have served as conversation pieces for collectors instead of having a purely religious or commemorative function. Despite his success in the early 1520s Daucher barely made it past the height of the Reformation, which was chaotic and often extremely absolute in Augsburg. In 1528, his wife Susanna was arrested together with 100 other Anabaptists and seems to have been deported in the following year. Daucher is recorded as a sculptor afterwards, but this event appears to have scuppered the rest of his career. Instead, the baton passed to Victor Kayser (1502-1552/1553), who was active in Augsburg around 1525-1540 but whose life is poorly documented otherwise. Kayser experimented with more cramped spaces and introduced anguished figures with angular facial features and drapery. Only about ten works by Kayser survive of which only Susanna and the Elders and Abraham and Melchisedek are documented works (both Skulpturengalerie, Berlin, inv. no. 2004). The small production and relative obscurity of Kayser may be illustrative of the uncertain climate in Augsburg at the time. Elsewhere, life for sculptors was better. In Eichstätt, for example, Loy Hering (1485-1554) and his sons Martin (1515-1560) and Thomas (1510-1549) profited from the successive patronage of three bishops who successfully protected the city against the Protestants for the entire first half of the sixteenth century. As such, Hering's workshop could confidently solicit the patronage of clerics and nobility from all over Germany and Austria, resulting in at least 133 stone altars, tabernacles, epitaphs and tombs produced by the workshop in Loy's time alone (Chipps Smith, op. cit., p. 57). Interestingly, this security seems to have stopped Loy Hering from being as innovative as Daucher or Kayser. Faced with Protestant reforms elsewhere, his Catholic patrons possibly sought to protect the Catholic tradition. His son Thomas pushed the envelope slightly further: his mythological decorations of the Italian Hall in the residence of the Dukes of Bavaria in Landshut from the 1540s are both more original and more dynamic than his father's work. Nuremberg provided a different kind of stable environment in the sixteenth century. As opposed to Augsburg, the response to the Reformation there was swift and without exception. All Catholic churches and monasteries were suppressed upon the adoption of Lutheranism as the city’s faith in 1525 and the city council managed to prevent theft and destruction of Catholic property by allowing these institutions to sell their buildings and objects (Chipps Smith, op.cit., pp. 37-38). Sculptors in Nuremberg had to adapt to this situation, limiting themselves to Protestant patronage and secular decorations. Peter Vischer's (1460-1529) thriving metalwork business was ideally suited to this type of market. It remained successful as it passed to his descendants, among which were his sons Peter the Younger (1487-1528), Hans (1489-1550), and his grandson Jörg (1522-1592). The variety of their output - which included not only reliefs but also candelabra, grates, and Germany's earliest bronze statuettes - and Nuremberg's staunch protection of its Rotmetal industry ensured a steady stream of work. The relief sculpture of Peter the Younger and Hans consists mainly of large bronze epitaphs populated by a strictly organised, small numbers of figures and in which depth of field is attained by imposing, but seldom elaborately decorated, foreshortened architecture. This scheme is repeated in Hans Vischer's overdoor relief of Christ and the Canaanite Woman made in 1543 for entrance to the Schlosskapelle at Neuburg and der Donau. This relief, now in the Bayerisches Nationalmuseum in Munich (inv. no. R555), shows how religious imagery could be appropriated by the Protestants. The story of the Canaanite woman, whose daughter is exorcised by Christ because of her unwavering faith, stresses the importance of persevering in one's faith, a major theme in Luther's lectures. The image therefore served as a moralising reminder for those entering and exiting the chapel rather than an idol (fig. 3). Important sculptors from the same generation as Daucher, Kayser, and the Hering and Vischer families include Hans Ässlinger (active 1535-1567), Peter Flötner (circa 1485-1546), Hans Kels (1480-1559) and his son Hans Kels the Younger (circa 1508-1565), Hans Schwarz (1492- late 1520s), and Christoph Walther I (active 1518-1546). The success of Netherlandish and Italian immigrants such as Alexander Colin (circa 1526-1612) from Malines in the second half of the sixteenth century illustrates the international character of German sculpture during that period. The Marialva Crucifixion and its influences The influence of Hans Daucher and the rest of the generation of sculptors active in South Germany prior to the Reformation on the Crucifixion is unmistakable. The use of Renaissance architecture to provide a stage and lend depth of field to the scene was pioneered by Daucher in Germany in such reliefs as the Virgin and Child with angels now in the Maximilianmuseum in Augsburg (illustrated in Chipps Smith, op.cit., fig. 235). The fantasy architecture in the background, which is simultaneously a brilliant exploration of linear perspective in relief sculpture, is a regular feature in reliefs of Solnhofen stone. Note, for example, the row of buildings preceded by an unfinished arch in Victor Kayser's Holy Family in the Louvre (inv. no. M.R.1730). Looking at the details from left to right, the influence of the earlier generation of relief sculptors becomes clearer: the figure calmly controlling his rearing horse on the left is clearly taken from Daucher's famous portrait of Charles V on horseback in the Landesmuseum Ferdinandeum, Innsbruck (fig. 1). Victor Kayser's linear treatment of veils and the foreshortening of the angular facial features of the mourning female figures as seen on the left hand side of Christ taking leave of his Mother in the Bayerisches Nationalmuseum (inv. no. 28/271) are repeated in the swooning Virgin and her attendants in the centre of the Crucifixion. Frolicking children such as the one on the lower right are omnipresent in the foreground of both secular and religious reliefs by Daucher and his contemporaries. The somewhat bored-looking child on the lower right was probably inspired by the unruly child on the lower right side of Hans Leinberger's Crucifixion from 1516 in the Bayerisches Nationalmuseum (inv. no. R171). Interestingly, the motif of a difficult child was more often recycled by following generations: Peter Dell the Elder included one in his Crucifixion in the Skulpturengalerie in Berlin from circa 1525-1530 (see Chipps Smith, op.cit., fig. 41). The pose of the child, in turn, is taken from one of the putti generally given to Daucher on the choir screen in the Fugger Chapel, Augsburg (fig. 2). Lastly, it is important to note the resemblance of the men to the right of the scene to contemporary medals. Many sixteenth-century sculptors, including Hans Daucher, relied on medals to produce likenesses of noblemen in relief sculpture (Chipps Smith, op. cit., p. 338), whilst other sculptors, such as Hans Schwartz, worked in both media. The face of the male figure that wraps a cloak around his fine armour in the foreground could have been inspired by a portrait such as that of Emperor Charles V on the reverse of Hans Reinhardt's 1537 portrait medal. There are, however, also clear differences between the Crucifixion and the work of Daucher, Kaiser, and other relief sculptors of the generation that came to the fore prior to the Reformation. The older generation's compositions tend to be less formal and more crowded. Drapery schemes are less classical, relying instead on the elaborate examples disseminated by Albrecht Dürer and Martin Schongauer. The extensive output of the Hering family from Eichstätt illustrates this evolution: despite some flourishes of Gothic drapery, the 1528 Epitaph of Erich I and his two wives in Rotmarmor by Loy Hering in the St. Blasius Church in Hannoversch Münden uses very similar unadorned architecture to frame a neatly organised group of figures (see Chipps Smith, op.cit., fig. 101). The Judgment of Paris by Loy's son Thomas from circa 1535 also shows the same clean spatial arrangement as the present relief despite retaining the ornamentation and body types of Dürer's stylistic language (Chipps Smith, op.cit., fig. 226). The Hering dynasty must have been of some influence to the sculptor of the Crucifixion though: the elaborate mane of a horse in Thomas Hering’s Judgement of Paris is close to the two horses here. Note also the resemblance between the previously discussed noble figure on the lower right and the marshal in the Epitaph of Konrad von Thüngen by Loy Hering from circa 1540 (Chipps Smith, op. cit., fig. 118). The clothing of the figures in the present Crucifixion is rendered by an interchange of large plains under which the shape of the body of the figures is visible, with sharply delineated and calmly undulating folds and hems. These folds lend a weight to the drapery that is far removed of the tour-de-force passages of drapery of Dürer and his generation. This treatment of the clothing is approached on several occasions in the reliefs of Hans Vischer of Nuremberg. The figures in the aforementioned large bronze relief of Christ and the Canaanite woman from 1543 are not only similarly draped; the faces, attitudes of the agonising women, the hemispherical curls that make up the beards of the men, and the single bearded figure staring straight out at the onlooker all compare well to the Crucifixion (fig. 3). Vischer's relief too is of a simple symmetrical design and framed in a single Renaissance arch with two putti in the spandrels above. Foreshortened architecture in the background adds monumentality and depth to the scene. The geographical proximity of the sculptors responsible for the comparisons outlined above firmly places the Crucifixion in Northern Bavaria, with the remarkable resemblance to Hans Vischer's work pointing to Nuremberg. The use of Rotmarmor is not common, but the Hering workshop from nearby Eichstätt used it at times, including for the Epitaph of Erich I cited above, whilst the Nuremberg-based sculptor Ludwig Krug (1488-1529) used the material for a relief of Adam and Eve after Dürer in the Bayerisches Nationalmuseum (see Chipps Smith, op.cit., fig. 248). The original location of the Marialva Crucifixion Despite the resemblance between portable reliefs, epitaphs, and markers such as Hans Vischer’s Christ and the Canaanite Woman, it is likely that the Crucifixion stems from a different ensemble. Even though Calvin and Karlstadt rejected the use of the Crucifix altogether, Crucifixion scenes were not only tolerated by Martin Luther and his followers but used as important didactic images, often juxtaposed with the Old Testament story of Moses and the Brazen Serpent (Chipps Smith, op.cit., p. 85). As at any point in Christian art history, reliefs of the Crucifixion were therefore at the centre of altarpieces, including that by Martin Hering in the Palace Chapel at Neuberg an der Donau (1540-1542) or the Chapel at Schloss Hartenfels by a Netherlandish artist (circa 1540-1544). The reliefs were generally set in classicising Renaissance architecture with a protruding frame and columns on either side further assisting the onlooker in submerging into the scene. More unusually shaped altarpieces, such as Hans Daucher’s magnificent altarpiece for the Catholic Fugger Chapel in Augsburg, include similarly proportioned stone reliefs with scenes from the Life of Christ placed alongside each other to form an antependium. Another object which regularly featured reliefs of the Crucifixion, were the pulpits. Given the emphasis on the spoken word in the Protestant Church, pulpits had special significance. Several grand examples were therefore erected in the 16th century, particularly in the third quarter. The pulpit installed around 1555 and 1560 in Schleswig cathedral, the sandstone pulpit in the chapel of Celle Palace of 1565 by an unknown artist, and Hanns Ruprecht Hoffmann’s (1543-1616) pulpit for Trier Cathedral that dates between 1569 and 1572 are all decorated with reliefs of the Crucifixion of a size comparable to our Crucifixion (Chipps Smith, op.cit., figs. 71, 72, and 79). The present relief could have been removed from its original setting on numerous occasions before it appeared in the collection of the 6th Marquis of Marialva in 1817, but chances are that it was taken shortly after being made. The Reformation kept the interiors of many churches and chapels in a constant state of upheaval throughout the sixteenth century. Dismembered Catholic altarpieces were sold from Nuremberg as late as 1543 (Chipps-Smith, op.cit., p.38) whilst in Augsburg, churches converted to Protestantism between 1534 and 1537 reverted to Catholic use from 1548 onwards, when a restitution edict was agreed between the city and the cardinal-bishop.  Despite the refitting of numerous churches the prince-cardinal himself ensured that any objects that could be considered idols were removed from Augsburg afterwards (Chipps-Smith, op.cit., pp. 40-41). The Peace of Augsburg in 1555 and the conclusion of the Council of Trent ten years later each caused further renovations of the churches of Germany. The Crucifixion in Portugal By family tradition the present relief was a given by Pope Pius VII to Dom Pedro José Vito de Menezes , the 6th Marquis of Marialva, in 1817, for services rendered during his time as the Portuguese Ambassador in France. The Marquis often defended the interests of the Pope and the Holy See during his time at the courts of Napoleon and Louis XVIII and was therefore held in high regard by the Catholic community (fig. 4; Bordallo Pinheiro, op.cit.). Significantly, the Marquis was also Ambassador Extraordinary to the Court in Vienna in 1817, where he charged with the preparations of the celebrations of the marriage Prince Pedro of Portugal and Leopoldina, the Archduchess of Austria. The 6th Marquis of Marialva came from one of the three foremost noble families in Portugal.  According to Beckford the family was granted a special status during the Marquis de Pombal’s persecution of the Portuguese high nobility. The King told Pombal: ‘Act as you judge wisest with my nobility but beware how you interfere with the Marquis of Marialva’ (quoted in Delaforce, op.cit., p. 331). Another of Beckford’s accounts paints an exotic picture of the palace of the 5th Marquis de Marialva: ’swarms of musicians, poets, bull-fighters, grooms, monks, dwarfs, and children of both sexes, fantastically dressed’ (ibid., p. 331). The family collection contained an extraordinary number of paintings including ‘many capital works by Rubens and the first Masters’ (ibid., p. 332). Descriptions of further properties owned by the family speak of extraordinary chinoiserie decorations by Pillement and a grand arch built to impress the Prince and Princess of Brazil in 1802 among other marvels. The 6th Marquis is remembered as a patron of contemporary artists and for the impressive collection he gathered in Paris. His broad collection included a Raphael acquired in Vienna and works by Rembrandt, Van Ruysdael, Greuze, and Vernet. Marialva intended to bring the collection back to Portugal for the education of its people, but most of the group was auctioned in Paris upon the Marquis’ death in 1824 (ibid., p. 332). The Crucifixion was thankfully not dispersed and passed to Dom Nuno de Mendoça de Moura Barreto, the 1st Duke of Loulé (1804-1875) and his wife, the daughter of King Dom João VI. The Duke was an important statesman, serving as prime-minister under Kings Dom Pedro V and Dom Luis I. His interest in the arts is mainly illustrated by his induction in the Royal Association of Portuguese Architects and Archeologists as its first amateur member in 1864. Four years later he lent the present relief to this institution for display in its museum in the medieval Carmo Convent, now known as the Museu Arqueológico do Carmo, and it was returned to the Loulé family in June 1927.   RELATED LITERATURE G. Dehio, ‘Die Krisis der deutschen Kunst im Sechzehnten Jahrhundert’, Archiv für Kulturgeschichte 12, 1914, pp. 1-16; E.F. Bange, La piccola scultura in legno e pietra del Rinascimento tedesco, Milan, 1936, pls. 4, 5 ,8, 9, 22, 23, 51, and 109; T. Müller, Die Bildwerke in Holz, Ton und Stein von der Mitte des XVI. Jahrhunderts, cat. Bayerischen Nationalmuseums, Munich, 1959, no. 286; Die Renaissance im deutschen Südwesten zwischen Reformation und Dreissigjährigem Krieg, exh. cat. Badisches Landesmuseum Karlsruhe, 1986, vol. II, pp. 549-552, and p. 593, no. K50; J. Chipps Smith, German sculpture of the later Renaissance c. 1520-1580. Art in an age of uncertainty, Princeton, 1994; A. Delaforce, Art and patronage in eighteenth-century Portugal, Cambridge, 2002

  • GBRUnited Kingdom
  • 2015-07-08
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An important George III mahogany library breakfront bookcase, centered below by a pedestal library writing table

An important George III mahogany library breakfront bookcase, centered below by a pedestal library writing table circa 1770, With a conforming molded stepped fretted arcade ornamented cornice supporting four mahogany urns, the base carved with stiff leaves above turned socles, the frieze with fluted decoration and carved with patera, the four glazed below with geometric glazed panels with molded astragals, enclosing adjustable shelves, the lower central shelf fitted with false leather-bound book spines concealing fitted apothecaries cabinets with small drawers and shelves, some lined with baize, and fitted with numerous drug jars with manuscript labels, with a central turned stand with pulley supports, possibly for a scale, and a separate brass and steel scale with small sovereign and drug weights, the projecting lower half with fluted molding at the waist, with a door at each side with fielded panels veneered with highly figured mahogany, the re-entrant corners with carved paterae, each enclosing four drawers with gilt-brass handles on plinth supports, flanking an opening fitted with a free-standing pedestal library writing table, with a leather-lined top fitted with a rising flap at the back, above a long drawer opening to a baize-lined writing slide inset with a rising book support on a ratchet, and sliding back to reveal several small open compartments, drawers and concealed drawers, above a kneehole with an arched apron ornamented with carved swags of husks and paterae, the flanking pedestals each fitted with two drawers and supported on molded plinths, the sides with foliate cast carrying handles, the back paneled. Height 8ft. 10in.; length 8ft. 7in.; depth 26in. 81.9cm; 128.9cm; 66cm

  • USAUSA
  • 2006-04-05
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DESC-An extremely rare blue and white 'ducks' Bowl mark and period

DESC-An extremely rare blue and white 'ducks' Bowl mark and period of Chenghua the finely potted rounded sides painted with a frieze of a lotus pond with three pairs of mandarin ducks, some captured in mid-flight, others swimming across the gently rippled water amid clumps of lotus, frilly-edged pads and millet stands, between a band of five scaly dragons pacing amid clouds below the flaring rim and a border of breaking waves circling the tapered footring, all divided by double-lines, the interior centred with a matching medallion of two ducks in flight, a narrow collar of lanAa characters at the rim 16.7 cm., 6 1/2 in., condition report available No Chenghua bowl of this design appears to have been published and the design is as yet unrecorded even among the sherds discovered at the site of the Ming imperial kilns at Jingdezhen. The design is based on a Xuande original, where the duck pond is, however, executed in polychrome enamels (wucai); it continued to be used in various wucai ('five colour') versions on dishes and bowls of the interregnum and Chenghua periods, and was revived again in the Qing dynasty in the doucai colour scheme. Although no other Chenghua example appears to have survived, other versions of the duck pond design are known from the Chenghua stratum of the Ming imperial kiln site at Jingdezhen, without dragons, both with and without lanca characters. In the Qing dynasty, the design still seems to have been considered a Chenghua pattern, since Qing examples exist with a spurious Chenghua mark. A unique example of the polychrome Xuande prototype has recently been discovered at the Saka Temple in Tibet, and is illustrated in Yeh Pei-Lang, Beauty of Ceramics, vol.7: Gems of the Wucai Porcelain, Taipei, 1996, pl. 60, and again in Chugoku no t_oji, vol.9, Tokyo, 1996, pl.6, together with a fragmentary wucai dish of Xuande mark and period, pl.7, recovered from the waste heaps of the Jingdezhen kilns, which is decorated with a duck pond both inside and out and has a lanca inscription around the rim. An unfinished wucai duck-pond bowl which was never enamelled, recovered from the Jingdezhen site was included in the exhibitions Imperial Porcelain: Recent Discoveries of Jingdezhen Ware, Museum of Oriental Ceramics, Osaka, 1995, no.82, and Yuan's and Ming's Imperial Porcelains Unearthed from Jingdezhen, Yan-Huang Art Museum, Beijing, 1999, no.278, where it is attributed to the Zhengtong period of the interregnum; and a finished wucai bowl of this type, also unmarked, is published in Geng Baochang, Ming Qing ciqi jianding, Beijing, 1993, col.pl.42, who attributes it to the Chenghua reign. This version of the design, however, is much simpler, showing neither dragons nor the lanca script, and having a lotus petal border above a plain foot with line borders. From the Chenghua stratum of the imperial kiln site we also know two types of wucai dishes of Chenghua mark and period, painted with ducks in a lotus pond; see the exhibitions A Legacy of Chenghua, The Tsui Museum of Art, Hong Kong, 1993, cat.nos.A3 and A4; and The Emperor's broken china: Reconstructing Chenghua porcelain, Sotheby's, London, 1995, cat.nos.143 and 144. One of these dishes repeats the Xuande pattern, the other, without lanca, matches that of the unmarked Zhengtong/Chenghua bowls. The full version of this design, with dragons above a lotus pond with ducks, and a line of lanca characters on the inside, was revived again in the Qing dynasty, and is known from bowls of wide U-shaped form with Qianlong, Jiaqing and Daoguang reign marks, as well as a spurious Chenghua mark. The Chenghua exhibition at the National Palace Museum, Taiwan, included one example of each; see Ming Chenghua ciqi tezhan, Taipei, 1976, cat.nos.84-87. Quantity: 1

  • HKGHong Kong SAR China
  • 2001-05-01
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An important and rare pair of george iii satinwood, harewood and mahogany

Each of D-outline, the top with a central half-patera in green-stained and other fruitwoods on a satinwood ground, surrounded by garlands of husks, with a wide border of flowerhead-entwined wreathes with a gilt-metal leaftip-molded edge, the frieze with an arrangement of conjoined marquetry anthemia, above a case containing two deep central drawers veneered sans traverse with a marquetry roundel, and at each side two similar drawers with satinwood patera ovals, all with circular gilt-metal handles, the whole raised on short, square, tapered legs.  The reverse of one bearing a paper label printed: PROPERTY OF ELEANOR SCHLESINGER / Bought at Leverhulme Sale / Paid for by Union Trust Check / to Frank Partridge - February / 16, 1926 These magnificent commodes which are profusely inlaid with neoclassical marquetry share numerous similarities to documented features of the work of the London cabinet makers, John Mayhew and William Ince, whose partnership is described in The Dictionary of English Furniture Makers 1660-1840 as 'one of the most significant, probably the longest lived but, as far as identified furniture is concerned, the least well documented of any of the major London cabinetmakers of the 18th century'. Mayhew was originally apprenticed to William Bradshaw, the upholsterer, of Soho Square, and Ince apprenticed to John West of Covent Garden from 1752 until West's death in 1758.  In November of that year West's premises were taken over by Samuel Norman, James Whittle and John Mayhew. However, in December of 1758 a partnership solely between Mayhew and Ince was formed, the two purchasing the business and stock of Charles Smith of Carnaby Street.  Initially describing themselves as 'cabinet makers, carvers and upholders', this was variously amended over the term of the partnership to include such terms as 'dealers in plate glass', the categories of 'cabinet maker' and 'upholsterer', however, remaining constant. As Beard and Gilbert remark in The Dictionary of Furniture Makers 1660-1840, 'These revisions no doubt reflect the change in taste from carved to veneered and inlaid furniture characteristic of the period 1760-1780', as seen in the present commodes; this change is also indicated by the relative failure of their Universal System of Household Furniture,which only appeared in one edition in 1762, its rococo designs becoming somewhat old-fashioned.  Beard and Gilbert (op. cit)further note that the partnership was in particular 'highly proficient and adventurous'... in... 'the use of marquetry, distinguished by a variety of techniques and pointing to a significant number of specialist marqueteurs in the firm's employ'. The firm is also noted for their use of ormolu mounts on their more important cabinet-work, many of which were presumably obtained from brass-founders in Soho, their relationship with Boulton and Fothergill being documented, such as their joint involvement over the commission of the Duchess of Manchester's cabinet.  The size of their extensive business by 1768 is indicated by an advertisement in the Public Advertiser, the partnership appealing for 'upwards of 100 Men, Cabinet-makers, Chair-makers, and some very good Joyners who will be immediately employed on the best Work' and for 'Some Men who can do Inlaid Work in Woods &c and engrave and work in brass'. The firm is recorded as working with the architect Robert Adam on several notable commissions, including Coventry House, Piccadilly and, Croome Court for the 6th Earl of Coventry, Sherbourne Castle, Audley End and Derby House and Shelburne Castle.  Adam's influence is seen in 'their ability to produce very early on furniture in the most startling advanced Neo-classical taste is beyond doubt...and certainly owed much to their early collaboration with the country's leading Neo-classical architects'. (Beard and Gilbert, op. cit.) Elements of the marquetry of the present commodes are similar to the marquetry of a commode  designed by Robert Adam dated October 21, 1774 for Edward Stanley, 11th Earl of Derby for Derby House, and supplied by Mayhew and Ince November 3, 1775. For example, the composition of the central panel of the Derby Commode is a central painted roundel flanked by four circular roundels to the corners which is the same composition used in the present commode.  The only difference between the two is that the roundels to the spandrels are handles rather than inlaid roundels.  Adam was responsible for the entire design of Derby House at No 23, later 26, Grosvenor Square, rebuilt in the classical style from 1773-74. The commode was intended for the Countess’ Etruscan dressing room. When Adam published his work in 1779, he stated he had not previously thought to apply Etruscan taste to the decoration of an apartment indicating the original commode then was one of the earliest examples of the Etruscan style in 18th century Britain. Another commode attributed to Mayhew and Ince on its similarity to the Derby Commode, now in the Ladly Lever Art Gallery, (op. cit. cat. No. 23) is very similar to the present commodes.  The tops have a an almost identical fan to the back edge surrounded by husk swags held together with ribbons. Another aspect of the marquetry which is similar is the crenelated banding which surrounds the fan and can be seen on a number of commodes including on a commode which Mayhew and Ince supplied to Viscount Palmerston at Broadlands in the 1780s (Wood, p. 214, fig. 202) and to another commode similar to the Broadlands pair which sold at Sotheby’s, London, December 4, 2013, lot 493. See: Lucy Wood, Catalogue of Commodes, London, 1994, pp. 207-208, plates 196-200 Eileen Harris, The Furniture of Robert Adam, New York, 1973, plate 47

  • USAUSA
  • 2014-12-11
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Rape of a Sabine Woman

This extraordinary bronze is a reduction of the most celebrated model by the great Florentine Mannerist sculptor, Giambologna. Depicting a moment from the legendary Rape of the Sabines, the original version in marble proved an instant success upon its installation on the Loggia dei Lanzi in Florence in 1583. Its technical innovation and breathtaking virtuosity inspired poetry and provoked an international demand for reductions of the sculptor’s models in bronze. Casts were soon owned by the major courts of Europe and continued to be highly prized by discerning collectors in and outside Italy. The refined quality of the present cast indicates an origin from the circle of the direct successors of Giambologna’s workshop, Gianfrancesco Susini and Ferdinando Tacca. The model “La gloria dell'intera arte divina Espressa nel triforme simulacro Idea, e norma a tutti i grandi artisti È, Gian Bologna mio la tua Sabina.” “The glory of all divine art embodied in a triform statue, an ideal and paradigm for all great artists, my Giambologna, is your Sabine.” – Bernardo Davanzati, 1583 (Sermartelli, op. cit., p. 7) Such was the poetic praise bestowed upon the sculptor to the Florentine Medici court following the unveiling of his phenomenal feat in marble, the three-figure group representing The Rape of a Sabine. Completed at the height of his career, the statue would not only prove Giambologna’s most successful composition, but also set a precedent for a novel way of conceiving sculpture in the round. By the 1570s the Fleming’s coolly elegant interpretation of the Mannerist style had established him as the principal sculptor in Florence. Giambologna enjoyed the patronage of the city’s most illustrious noblemen, above all the Medici Grand Dukes of Tuscany, who held an almost exclusive sway over his activity. In 1579 Giambologna completed a bronze for Ottavio Farnese, Duke of Parma, showing the struggle of a young woman being seized and suspended in mid-air by a virile abductor (now in the Museo Nazionale di Capodimonte, Naples). The finely balanced group served as a study for the artist’s desire to create a complex composition which experimented with the intertwining of bodies in an upwards motion. By the following year, Francesco I de’Medici’s demand for a monumental public sculpture had motivated the sculptor to adapt the composition for the medium of marble. Due to the necessity of supporting the group in stone, a third figure was added, that of the crouching older man at the bottom of the group. By balancing the three figures in a balletic upwards spiral, Giambologna ingeniously achieved what his great predecessor, Michelangelo, had merely preached: that sculpture should be “pyramidal, serpentine, or flame-like” (Avery, op. cit., p. 109). Giambologna had created the first sculptural group in Western art that had no dominant viewpoint but, instead, invited the viewer to observe the full extent of the action by circling it from all angles. Upon its completion the marble was given pride of place in the prestigious Loggia dei Lanzi on the Florentine Piazza della Signoria, replacing Donatello’s Judith, and was finally unveiled on 14 January 1583. The reception of the work was rapturous and raised Giambologna’s reputation to new heights. It is said that the group had been conceived with no particular subject in mind but simply as an opportunity for the sculptor to experiment with the combination of figures while demonstrating his exceptional skills as a marble carver. It was not until after its completion that the subject of the marble came to be determined. Tantalisingly left without a title, perhaps to inspire humanist debate, the group was soon associated with the classical legend of the Rape of the Sabine Women. Recounted by Livy in his History of Rome, the episode tells of the scarcity of women in the newly-founded Eternal City. After failed negotiations with neighbouring tribes, Rome’s founders invited the Sabine people to a festival, during which they violently seized their maidens and claimed them as wives. The women are said to have pleaded with their families not to reclaim them through battle in a bid to avoid unnecessary bloodshed, bringing about eventual peace. Renaissance Florence held a fascination with classical antiquity, and the legend’s connotations of power and diplomacy would no doubt have appealed to the rulers of the city. It appears that identifying the group with a well-known subject also heightened its emotional intensity. Remarkably, the ‘Ritratto della Sabina’ inspired the first collection of laudatory poems for a sculpture, published by Bartolomeo Sermartelli in October 1583 – only a few months after its unveiling. As well as exalting the sculptor’s technical excellence, many of the distinguished contributors to this publication explored the poignancy of a young woman being snatched from her helpless father by a man in the prime of his life. Visually, Giambologna conveyed this emotional drama through the anguished facial expressions of father and daughter, as well as his masterful characterisation in stone of three contrasting human conditions: weak old age, rugged youth, and female delicacy. The innovative feature of carving naturalistic dimples where the Roman’s fingers dig into his victim’s yielding flesh proved so successful in this regard that it was appropriated in the work of later sculptors, notably Bernini’s Rape of Proserpina. Visitors to the Tuscan capital continued to marvel at Giambologna’s tour de force of Mannerist sculpture well into the 17th century. A prominent admirer was John Evelyn, whose Diary records it as the “most stupendious” of compositions in marble (Avery, op. cit., p. 114). Its princely owners The universal acclaim for Giambologna’s revolutionary model was not confined to its first incarnation in marble but extended to the numerous reductions in bronze that were produced during and after the master’s lifetime. It has been observed that the marble’s position in the Loggia dei Lanzi is rather unsuited to the work, as its spatial constraints and visual obstructions discourage the viewer from walking around the statue and absorbing all its views. By contrast, being particularly apt for private study and handling, small bronze casts of the model enabled collectors to contemplate the composition from every possible angle. The Medici family recognised the appeal of Giambologna’s models in bronze and regularly sent the finest examples as diplomatic gifts to courts throughout Europe. Important recipients included the Holy Roman Emperors in Vienna and Prague, the Elector Christian I of Saxony in Dresden, and the King of France (see Avery, op. cit., p. 235). From the 1580s, Giambologna delegated the official production of his bronzes to his principal assistant, Antonio Susini, whose family continued to cast after his models until the 1660s. Giambologna’s own workshop passed into the hands of Pietro Tacca and later his son Ferdinando, who still used Giambologna’s moulds by the second half of the 17th century and produced casts on behalf of the Florentine sovereign (see Zikos, op. cit., p. 89). The Medici were thus able to meet demand for more or less ‘autograph’ Giambologna bronzes even after the master’s death in 1608. Although Giambologna’s grand-ducal patrons appear to have held a possessive claim over models produced specifically for their court, and 16th-century casts of The Rape of a Sabine are consequently rare if not non-existent, a number of bronze versions are recorded in the inventories of early modern European royalty. As early as the beginning of the 17th century, between 1607 and 1611, the three-figure group appears in the inventory of the Holy Roman Emperor, Rudolf II. The Habsburg ruler, who had moved his court from Vienna to Prague, was among the greatest collectors and patrons of the arts Europe had ever seen, and as such clearly did not miss the opportunity to inspect Giambologna’s artistic master stroke at first hand. By 1626 another cast belonged to King Vladislaus IV of Poland, while an inventory from 1658 records the same model in the collection of Prince Karl Eusebius of Liechtenstein. Even more than 100 years after the original statue’s completion, The Rape of a Sabine appears to have been an invaluable asset to a monarch’s collection; a cast was recorded in King Louis XIV’s Versailles in 1693 (see Hill Collection, op. cit., p. 148). An anecdote elucidating the reception of Giambologna bronzes as diplomatic gifts is provided by the well-documented marriage negotiations between Henry Prince of Wales, son of King James I, and Caterina de’ Medici. Cosimo II de’Medici was intensely keen to bring about the alliance, prompting him to promise the Prince a collection of his favourite models by the Florentine court sculptor in bronze. The Prince was flattered when offered the gift by the Florentine ambassador in 1609 and, testifying to the international fame the model had achieved, demanded above all a reduction of The Rape of a Sabine. When at least some of the models he had requested finally arrived in 1612, Henry is said to have been enchanted by their appearance: “He handled each one repeatedly, studying, admiring and praising every part, every detail” (Watson and Avery, op. cit., p. 501). Accounts such as this illustrate the vital role these bronze reductions played in the dissemination of enthusiasm for Giambologna’s work outside Italy. This existed not only among the nobility but pertained to all intellectual and connoisseurial circles. The prominent appearance of The Rape of a Sabine alongside other models by Giambologna in an allegorical painting by Jan Brueghel the Younger gives an unmistakeable impression of the European veneration for the sculptor. The Sabine, his most successful model, continued to be copied widely in bronze and other media until the 19th century. Evidence for its enduring appeal to the princely courts of Europe is the acquisition of a prime cast of the group in 1980 by Prince Franz Josef I von und zu Liechtenstein. It was considered a replacement for the cast recorded in 1658, which had been sold in the early 20th century (Liechtenstein, op. cit., p. 177). The cast The present cast of The Rape of a Sabine may be counted among the rare examples of exceptional quality that are likely to originate from Giambologna’s immediate artistic following. The cast is distinguished from lesser versions through the high level of detail in the anatomy of the figures. Note the veins showing clearly in the men’s arms and hands, the naturalistically modelled recesses in the ribcages, back musculature, and sinews of the legs, and the finely cast feet and fingers, including those digging into the Sabine’s flesh. Like all bronze reductions of the model, the present version differs in some aspects from the marble prototype. The marble is composed in a narrower upwards stream, the older man’s knee is bent at a higher angle, and his and the woman’s bodies are more erect than in the present bronze, making the arrangement of the figures appear more vertical. While the emotional facial expressions of Giambologna’s original figures are largely retained, the woman’s hair accessory has been changed from a simple fillet to a coronet. The latter is a common feature of the bronze versions thought to have been cast by Antonio Susini, and therefore either during Giambologna’s lifetime or soon after the master’s death. One such cast is in the Hill Collection (Wengraf, op. cit., pp. 148-157), which is not far removed from ours with regard to the appearance of the figures’ anatomy and the carefully stippled base in the form of a rock. However, differences such as the sharply incised pupils and the highly refined chasing of the hair, which is characteristic of Antonio Susini’s work, indicate a later facture for the present bronze. Another variation is found in the positioning of the figures; although the Roman stands higher on the base, the overall height of the present group is shorter by around 4 centimetres due to its more horizontal structure. The height of the present bronze does, however, correspond to that of two casts of The Rape of a Sabine that have been attributed respectively to Antonio’s son, Gianfrancesco Susini (Richmond, Virginia Museum of Fine Arts, inv. no. 97.126) and Ferdinando Tacca (formerly collection of Yves Saint Laurent and Pierre Bergé, sold Christie’s Paris, 25 February 2009, lot 567). Both casts also parallel the present version’s more horizontal arrangement of the figures. A possible authorship by either of these 17th-century inheritors of Giambologna’s models is therefore worth exploring. A punched base similar to that of our group is present in many of Gianfrancesco Susini’s works, including a bronze variant of Giambologna’s Hercules Slaying the Centaur group in the Quentin Collection (Leithe-Jasper, op. cit., no. 15). Another bronze by Gianfrancesco that may be compared to the present cast is The Abduction of Helen in the J. Paul Getty Museum, Los Angeles (inv. no. 90.SB.32). Note, in particular, Helen’s hairstyle which, like that of the present Sabine, covers her ears, and the closely comparable treatment of the hair of the woman at the bottom of Susini’s group. However, a contrast is found in the incised pupils and the shape of the base which, as in most of Gianfrancesco’s bronzes, is wavy rather than rocky in shape. Even more exciting but similarly inconclusive comparisons may be made with casts by Ferdinando Tacca, the second successor of Giambologna’s own studio. Like those in the present cast, Ferdinando’s figures tend to have unincised pupils, which is also the case with the above-mentioned Sabine cast attributed to him. The sharp but comparatively summary treatment of the hair and the woman’s softly rounded facial features in that version compare well to the present cast, in addition to the closely similar arrangement of the figures that has already been noted. The facial type of the Roman, with his prominent but rather short nose, too, is typical of Ferdinando’s figures, such as those attributed to the artist by Anthony Radcliffe (see Radcliffe, op. cit.). However, a feature which these bronzes and Tacca’s Sabine cast have in common is a very fine wavy pattern in the stippling of the naturalistic bases, which differs from the broader and more angular pattern on the present base. The generally soft and wavy hair of most of Tacca’s figures is another indication that the present bronze is unlikely to be an autograph work by this master. Although the present cast of The Rape of a Sabine cannot be attributed with certainty to a member of the Susini or Tacca family, it displays striking similarities with the works discussed above, and the unusually high quality of its casting is characteristic of these direct successors of Giambologna’s workshop. It is therefore possible to associate the present cast with their immediate milieu in mid-17th-century Florence, which continued to venerate the Flemish master’s work as the epitome of sculptural ideals. As we have seen, reductions of this quality were produced for the most discerning of collectors, and the genius of Giambologna’s most iconic model is conveyed to full effect in this remarkable cast. RELATED LITERATURE B. Sermartelli, Alcune Composizioni di diversi autori in lode del ritratto della Sabina, Florence, 1583; K. Watson and C. Avery, ‘Medici and Stuart: a Grand Ducal Gift of ‘Giovanni Bologna’ Bronzes for Henry, Prince of Wales (1612)’, The Burlington Magazine, 115, 1973, pp. 493-507; A. Radcliffe, ‘Ferdinando Tacca, The Missing Link in Florentine Baroque Bronzes’, Kunst des Barock in der Toskana, Munich, 1976, pp. 14-23; Die Bronzen der Fürstlichen Sammlung Liechtenstein, exh. cat. Museum Alter Plastik, Frankfurt, 1986, pp. 176f., no. 16; C. Avery, Giambologna. The Complete Sculpture, Oxford, 1987; M. Leithe-Jasper and P. Wengraf (eds.), European Bronzes from the Quentin Collection, exh. cat. Frick Collection, New York, 2004, pp. 166-173; W. Seipel (ed.), Giambologna. Triumph des Körpers, exh. cat. Kunsthistorisches Museum, Vienna, 2006, pp. 120f., pp. 273-275; D. Zikos, ‘Die Dresdner Giambolognas. Apologie ihrer Eigenhändigkeit’, Giambologna in Dresden. Die Geschenke der Medici, exh. cat. Grünes Gewölbe, Dresden, Munich, 2006, pp. 89-94; P. Wengraf (ed.), Renaissance and Baroque Bronzes from the Hill Collection, London, 2014, pp. 148-155, pp. 194-199

  • GBRUnited Kingdom
  • 2015-07-08
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Joseph-émmanuel zwiener fl. circa 1875-1900 an important gilt-bronze

Hamburg, the art-case designed by Joseph-Émmanuel Zwiener with serial number 108641, made circa 1902-1904, the bronze mounts attributed to designs by Léon Messagé or Otto Rohloff, the Steinway musical instrument with serial number 15410, made in 1911the hinged serpentine gilt-bronze molded top decorated on the border with an elaborate marquetry foliate and flowering garland, the case with gilt-bronze mounts, including a musical trophy centered by a violin to the back and each side with two identical cartouches, one with the cloud-borne Apollo playing the harp and flanked by seated musical nymphs, the other with musical putti at play, above an overflowing vase allegorical of the Source, all within foliate and berried encadrements, one chute bearing the signature F. Linke Joseph-Émmanuel Zwiener was born in Heidau, Germany on December 1, 1849 and was recorded as working in Paris at 2, rue de la Roquette in the heart of Faubourg Saint-Antoine between 1882 and 1895.  The exceptional quality of Zwiener's craftsmanship and his extensive usage of fine gilt bronze is comparable to the work of famed ébéniste François Linke (1855-1946).  Working in several styles which were fashionable in Paris at the time, Zwiener copied mainly Louis XV pieces from public collections, adapting them in his own extravagant interpretation of the Rococo. At the Exposition Universelle in Paris in 1889, he was awarded the prestigious Médaille d'or for an exceptional Sèrre-Bijoux which brought high praise from the jurists: 'dès ses débuts d'une Exposition universelle, [il] s'est mis au premier rang par la richesse, la hardiesse et le fini de ses meubles incrustés de bronzes et fort habilement marquetés.' The Sèrre-Bijoux sold, Christie's, London, March 17, 2011, lot 409 for £623,650. The companion long-case clock to the Sèrre-Bijoux was sold most recently in these rooms, October 26, 2010, lot 147 for $722,500.  In 1896, Zwiener was summoned to Berlin at the request of Kaiser Wilhelm II of Prussia (1859-1941) at Schloss Neues Palais, Sans Souci, Potsdam for whom he supplied a series of furnishings circa 1898-1900.  He had previously produced a copy of the Bureau du Roi for Ludwig II in 1884, another version of which was exhibited at the Exposition Universelle in Paris in 1889. Many of these royal commissions for the German royal palaces were later brought to Huis Doorn in Utrecht, Netherlands, in 1918, where the Kaiser lived until his death in 1941.  Zwiener was recorded as an exhibitor for the German Pavillion at the 1900 Exposition Universelle, exhibiting a Rococo bedroom set, under his former German name Julius Zwiener.  This set was formerly made for the Kaiser and was sold in these rooms June 29, 1989, lot 270-5 to the Stately Castles and Gardens in Berlin. The date of manufacture of the present art-case piano fits within the period in which Joseph-Emmanuel (Julius) Zwiener regained his independence from the Kaiser and worked at 75, Lidenstrasse, Berlin. It is not surprising that the renowned company Steinway & Sons, based in Hamburg, called upon the gifted cabinet maker to work on the design of the present art-case piano.  A series of art-case creations was first promoted during the tenure of William Steinway (1876-1896) (Ratcliffe, op.cit p. 149). It is difficult to attribute the design of the gilt-bronze mounts to either Messagé or Rohloff as both gifted sculptors worked with Zwiener on numerous commissions. Otto Rohloff (1863-1919) was a sculptor and chaser from Berlin.  He studied at the Academy of Applied Arts in his hometown.  From1896 he was a teacher at the Royal Applied Arts Museum.  He recieved various commissions from the German Imperial House. (See, exh. cat. Kaiserliches Gold und Silber, Schätze der Hohenzollern aus dem Schloss Huis Doorn, Berlin, 1985, pp. 100, 120-123.)  Collaborations between Zwiener and Rohloff can be found aforementioned bedroom suite exhibited at the Paris Exposition Universelle in 1900. Léon Messagé was a gifted Parisian sculptor designing bronze mounts for Zwiener in the 1880s and for François Linke, circa 1895. His Croquis & Dessins, Style Louis XV, Bronzes, Orfêvrerie, Décoration, Meubles was first published by the sculptor himself, from his Paris address of 40, rue Sedaine. There were five sections with an elaborate title page surmounted by the sculptor's cipher or talisman of a wing, a play on his own name as the messenger to the Gods, a feature he incorporated many times on the mounts he designed for his patron.  The interesting connection between the three masters, Léon Messagé, Joseph-Emanuel Zwiener and François Linke can be seen in a photograph of Messagé's workplace, illustrated Christopher Payne, François Linke, 1855-1946 - The Belle Epoque of French Furniture, Woodbridge, 2003, p. 74, pl. 72, which shows the impressive model of the large Linke régulateur, index number 551, together with a photograph of Zwiener's cabinet that won the gold medal in 1889. The collaboration between Zwiener and Messagé can also be found on another piano à queue sold in these rooms on April 15, 2011 for $1,112,500. Other known examples include a piano of comparable form with the same floral marquetry design to the lid in a private European collection.  A similar piano is featured in the 1956 George Sidney movie The Eddy Duchin Story.

  • USAUSA
  • 2012-10-24
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English School, circa 1605 portrait of a young lady Half length, standing

English School, circa 1605 portrait of a young lady Half length, standing between open curtains, wearing a wide black skirt embroidered with red, a pearl-encrusted red and silver bodice, finely wrought needlepoint lace collar and cuffs, her auburn hair topped with a black hat adorned with a feather cockade and jewelled band, her left arm entwined by a blue favour, partly resting on a velvet-covered table. Oil on panel, in its contemporary needlework case, the linen ground worked in silver tent stitch with silk embroidered strapwork enclosing wild strawberries, honeysuckles, gilly flowers and periwinkles, the reverse with cartouche of a tree laden with fruit, edged with metal braid, the needlework in need of cleaning, faint stain to the embroidery on the reverse Picture: 28 by 23 cm., 11 by 9 ins. Frame: 34.5 by 29 cm., 12 I by 11 1/2 ins. This beautifully preserved portrait probably represents a London citizen's young wife. She is dressed in the height of early Jacobean fashion with the jewel encircled black hat, a fantastically wrought dress augmented by pearl jewellery, the luxury of the velvet curtains and table covering. The fashion for highlighting veins is apparent in her forehead, hands and especially in her bosom. The unusually fine state of preservation is in part due to the rare case with its pair of doors that open to reveal the image. Embroidered cases of this kind were usually worked for travelling mirrors and it is rare to find one with an original portrait. A similar example enclosing a mirror formed part of the Richmond Collection cf. 'The Connoisseur', May 1935, no 1 p.282, A.F. Kendrick. Another example can be found in the collection of the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York. It is tempting to suppose that the sitter of the portrait may have actually embroidered the case, possibly intending it as a love token. The honeysuckle symbolised affection and faithfulness, the fruits - fertility. Provenance: Frank Partridge & Sons Ltd, invoice 1st January 1939 'An oil painting of an unknown woman...in contemporary needlework case £500' Quantity: 1

  • GBRUnited Kingdom
  • 2000-11-22
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A flemish renaissance tapestry, `david receives bathsheba and the

Woven in silk and wool, with narrative groups of figures in contemporary fashion, representing personages from The Story of David, including King David, Bathsheba and Uriah (Samuel 2, 11-12), with repeat unidentified lettering incorporated within the hem of a robe, and initials `M.A.' on the red collar of the greyhound, within a four-sided  with alternating sections of floral and fruiting grape vine trails against a dark blue ground, within narrow golden bands: the reverse with a section from the original lining bearing the printed stamp of the Castro-Serna family; designs in manner of Jan van Roome, unidentified cartoonist and weaver Without town or weaver's marks. It was only as a result of the ordinance of 16th May 1528, that each tapestry larger tan three ells was required to have the Brussels town mark and the weaver's mark, or reference to whoever had commissioned the tapestry.  Then in 1546 with the Imperial Edict of 1544, other weaving centres were obliged to abide to this legislation. The provenance of the tapestry is known from the mid 19th century onwards. The reverse of the tapestry retains a section of original lining with the original ink printed stamp of the Marquis of Castro. A family whose collection included fabrics of extraordinary quality, such as the pontifical canopy, a tapestry panel depicting The Vision of Ezekiel, commissioned by Pope Leo X in 1520, woven in the Brussels workshop of Pierre van Aelst (1450-1533), from cartoons by Rafael and Tomasso Vincidor (now in the Museum of Decorative Arts in Madrid).  It was acquired in around 1830 for the Castro-Serna Collection, with another tapestry from the same suite (now in The Vatican, Rome). Interestingly another object with a prior Castro-Serna provenance, a gilt-bronze mounted Sèvres fond violet porcelain vase, Louis XVI, circa 1768, was sold Sotheby's, London, Treasures: Princely Taste, 6th July 2011, lot 1. Margaret of Austria and Tapestry weaving in Brussels in the Sixteenth Century At the transition of the 15th/16th century, and a move into the Renaissance, the two different styles coexisted in harmony in using the pictorial tradition, the graphic developments and the influences of the Italian fifteenth century and later. Italian Raphael school designs revolutionised high quality tapestry production, but they were not used in isolation, but taken up by Brussels designers and combined with traditional Netherlandish devices, such as multiple narratives, extensive patterning and attention to landscapes. In Flanders this period coincides with the Regency of Margaret of Austria (b.1480, d.1530) as her father Emperor Maximilian named her governor of the Habsburg Netherlands between 1507-1515, and 1517-1530) as guardian of her young nephew Charles (the future Charles V, Holy Roman Emperor). Margaret was a great patron of the arts, with painters in her Mechelen based court, and a library which included the famous illuminated manuscripts of Très Riches Heures du duc de Berry.  Margaret exercised important influence over the development of the Netherlandish tapestry industry during a crucial phase in its transition.  She was a conscientious guardian to her inherited historic tapestry collection and added to it, with Brussels benefitting from particular attention. Workshops recorded to have produced tapestries for Margaret of Austria, included those of the Brussels weaver Pieter de Pannemaker between 1518-1522, and Pieter van Aelst (whose name has been found woven within tapestry panels), and the court painter Bernard van Orley is documented to have been involved in the designs. The weaver's considered for the recorded Roome series, The Story of David and Bathsheba (Château d'Ecouen), are Pierre d'Enghien and Pierre Van Aelst in collaboration with Pierre de Pannemaker. Moralising and didactic allegorical series were woven in Brussels, including The Twelve Ages of Man, circa 1515 (Metropolitan Museum of Art) which included a portrait of Margaret within the figural groupings. Another portrait of Margaret appears in a tapestry depicting The Legend of Notre-Dame du Sablon¸woven in Brussels, circa 1516-1518 (Musée Royaux d'Art et d'Histoire de Bruxelles). Certain details are reminiscent of the ceremonial proceedings at the court of the Dukes of Burgundy, whereby the initials M. A. on the collar of a greyhound in the lower right corner, could allude to the initials of Margaret of Austria /Maison d'Autriche, which also appear on the trappings on the horses in a panel from the series of The Story of David and Bathsheba at the Château d'Ecouen. The Flemish style in the tapestries of the early 16th century is still dominant, and compositions show groups of contemplative figures, dressed in elaborate robes and accessories. Series of large and small tapestries were produced in Brussels. The Brussels weaving (approx. 327 by 364cm) of the Justice of Trajan (Museum of Fine Arts, Boston), previously attributed to Philipp van Orley in collaboration with Jan van Roome by Göbel, was taken from a Medieval source of a moralising poem. Interestingly it has a similar compositional balance to the present tapestry, in addition to similar figural types, and inclusion of a grey hound with collar in the foreground, and a similar border, albeit on a lighter ground. Without inscriptions and attributes woven within the tapestries, the subjects are not always easily identified. For example, incorporated in this tapestry there are letters within the lower band of the robe of a turbaned figure in the lower right corner (repeated in the top right corner), and on a the belt of the young man holding the urn, far centre right of the composition, which need further research. Bernard van Orley's designs were inspired by Albrecht Durer (1471-1528) who on spending time in 1520-1528 in the Low Countries, left many sets of his prints behind as gifts. For an example of this influence combined with a new sense of space there is a tapestry panel of the Last Supper (Museo d'arte Sacra, Camaiore) from the series of The Passion, documented in 1520 as woven in Brussels by Pieter de Pannemaker for Margaret of Austria. It is within a virtually identical border style and with inclusion of a textile baldacchino of voided velvet. Jan van Roome and collaborators A tapestry which is considered to be a reference for this new style is the Miraculous Communion of Herkinbald, Brussels, workshop of Lyon (de Smedt), after designs by Jan van Roome, circa 1513, (Museés Royaux d'art de d'Histoire, Brussels).  It was commissioned by the Fraternity of the Blessed Sacrament in St. Peter's Church in Louvain, and in 1513, Rhine guilders were paid to `master Jan van Brussel' for the petit patrón, `Philip the painter' for the full-size cartoon interpretation, and `Lyon, the tapestry worker in Brussels' for the weaving. Jan van Roome, was a Flemish painter who worked mainly drawing models for various art forms, including retables, sculptures and stained glass windows (for window drawing see E. Dhanens, Gazette des Beaux-Arts, April 1959, 215-224), and produced plans for the enclosure around the Baliënhof in front of the Ducal Place in Brussels. Van Roome designed the windows, choir-stalls, and statues, in Flamboyant Gothic style, for Margaret's funerary church in Brou, which was completed in 1532. The Story of David Along with tapestry series of the subject depicting the Passion of Christ, and The Story of Esther, the Biblical Story of David and Bathsheba was very popular and King David served as an influential figure for the Renaissance Prince, as King David was anointed by the prophet Samuel, had the gift of prophecy and repented after he has sinned, was warrior, ruler and statesman. He was important in Christian art through the Book of Matthew, for not being a prefiguration of Christ, but being a direct ancestor.  The subject of The Story of David was one of the most popular series woven in Brussels in the first half 16th century, having been a subject used from the 14th century. Other comparable tapestries are a group in the Royal Collection, Madrid, originally owned by King Manuel I of Portugal (recorded in 1505), another set for King Henry VIII of England, and another hung in Toledo Cathedral by Cardinal Quiroga in 1580, of which all that remains today is the first panel, the Entry of the Ark of the Covenant into Jerusalem. An important and comprehensive Renaissance series of ten tapestries, From the Story of David, has been attributed to Jan van Roome and collaborators, possibly woven through collaboration of Brussels weavers, including Pierre d'Enhien and Pierre van Aelst and Pierre de Pannemaker. The attribution to Jan van Roome designs is as a result of the inclusion of the balustrade from the Baliënhof designs being used in the tapestry panel entitled  David summons Bathsheba to his palace, circa 1510-1516 (Musée National de la Renaissance, Ecouen). It has similar compositional motifs albeit smaller figures in reliefs across the foreground and background, within a virtually identical border to the present panel. The attributed identical drawing (40 by 64.8cm) used for this tapestry panel, without the border design, is in the Corcorcan Gallery of Art, Washington (Acc.No.26.192 – W.A.Clarke Collection). The composition of the panel offered shows direct similarities to a tapestry, from the Story of David and Bathsheba, described as David receives Bathsheba and the departure of Uriah, (albeit not the same overall composition), woven in silk and wool, recorded as after designs by Jan van Roome (act. 1498-1521), from La Seo Cathedral in Zaragoza (Fig. 1). The figural groups which are the same are the standing figures of David and Bathsheba in the left corner foreground of the present tapestry and the standing figures between them, and the building has a similar balcony and two figures looking outward, and the prow of the ship in the background is similar. There are three tapestries from The Story of David, in the Spanish Royal Collection, including a panel depicting David receives Bathsheba in his palace, Brussels, with metal-threads, which shows similar conception of groupings and balcony figures to the present tapestry, and includes the initials De Moer (which probably relate to subject matter rather than designer, cartoonist or weaver) and the subject is identified within the banderole in the top border (Palacio Real, Madrid). Attributions Based on the documentary evidence that The Miraculous communion of Herkinbald which is considered to have been designed by van Roome, many pre-Renaissance style tapestries have been attributed to van Roome, although the designs reflect largely the cartoons of `Master Philip', with cartoonists working in a generic manner that characterised the work of many Brussels designs at this time The transitional – Pre-Renaissance period in the tapestry industry designed compositions that used a large number of figures in relief across the tapestry, set within open landscape and architectural settings, with emphasis on the costume, visual richness of details and there was a somewhat limited sense of movement and creation of illusion in subtle rhetoric gestures. It was a formula that suited the sophistication of requirements, the scale and nature of the medium.  Crowding figures allowed cartoonists to adapt and re-use figures which was an advantage to meet the fashion and demands of the time, and the costs of production, with interpretations varying in the different qualities of the series woven. It was a formula used amongst the cartoonists and weavers, and resulted in the style continuing during the first two decades of the 16th century.  The crowding of figures allowed for adaption of figures from one tapestry design to the other and one subject to another, with all dressed in contemporary fashion, whether mythological, allegorical, Biblical, classical or historical subjects. Very little is known of the artists and cartoonist involved in the production.  With the lack of documentary evidence, clear names either for the subject, the patron, or for those involved in the production, factors for consideration  are the varied design influences, the involvement of painters as designer, interpretations by cartoonists and then weaver's, and often the collaboration of the artists within the towns and workshops. These factors along with the adaption of design elements, especially from the well known series, results in treating undocumented attributions with caution. There are works by the recorded designers and cartoonists which have not resulted in attributions of specific tapestry series, due to the sharing of the aforementioned formal motifs by the industry. An example of an exception is a tapestry by Lenaart Knoest the elder (fl.1501-1517), who produced numerous cartoons, and can be firmly attributed to the production of one tapestry of The Discovery of the True Cross (Musée Royaux d'Art et d'Histoire de Bruxelles), as his name was woven within the design.  Another designer considered at this time is Colyn de Coter (ca.1455-1525), although his numerous paintings and designs particularly for figures and anatomy which appear in tapestries, are without documentary evidence, and therefore it would be unwise to attribute him to the cartoons. Jan van Roome was an important and influential designer during the first twenty years of the 16th century. Although this tapestry cannot be attributed with certainty to a designer, cartoonist or workshop, this does not detract from the importance of this tapestry, it's fine weave, balanced composition and colouring and it's survival. Auction Comparables, (with similar compositional balance and the same narrow floral border on blue ground) The Story of Oedipus, An important late Gothic mythological narrative tapestry, circa 1500-1512, (approx. 340 by 405cm), in the manner of Jan van Roome, Sotheby's, London, 11th July 2001, lot 30 A late Gothic tapestry, South Netherlands, probably Brussels, circa 1525, (approx. 345 by 270cm) within the same narrow floral border on blue ground, Sotheby's, London, 8th December 1995, lot 23, From the Collection of Baroness Gabrielle Bentinck-Thyssen, perhaps from workshop of Pieter van Aelst, after a follower of Jan van Roome Two late Gothic tapestries, from The Story of Perseus, Brussels, perhaps from workshop of Gabriel van der Tommen, circa 1525, (approx. 358 by 415cm, and 350 by 397cm), Sotheby's, London, 26th October 1993, lots 2 and 3, From the Raoul Heibronner Collection, Sold Paris 1921 A Gothic tapestry of a court scene, possibly Solomon and Queen of Sheba, Brussels, circa 1520, (approx. 315 by 310cm), Sotheby's, London, 28th September 1987, lot 87 The Marriage of Oedipus, A Gothic tapestry,  circa 1510, (approx. 335 by 411cm), Sotheby's, London, 11th December 1970, lot 3

  • GBRUnited Kingdom
  • 2012-07-04
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AN AUGSBURG MOTHER-OF-PEARL, HORN AND BRASS-INLAID, TORTOISESHELL, PORCELAIN, SILVER AND ORMOLU-MOUNTED ORGAN PRUNKUHR

AN AUGSBURG MOTHER-OF-PEARL, HORN AND BRASS-INLAID, TORTOISESHELL, PORCELAIN, SILVER AND ORMOLU-MOUNTED ORGAN PRUNKUHR CIRCA 1725-1730, THE PORCELAIN PROBABLY MEISSEN AND DECORATED IN THE AUFFENWERTH WORKSHOP (AUGSBURG) The case modelled in three tiers, the upper tier surmounted by a winged and sword-bearing angel finial above a painted porcelain plaque depicting an abbess, framed above by a coronet by winged putti to the sides, above an architectural niche backed with silvered mirror panels and flanked by mother-of-pearl pilasters, with penwork flooring and centred by an ormolu figure of Mars with Cupid (associated, probably 17th Century), with two painted porcelain columns decorated with Chinoiserie designs to each side, each with ormolu composite capital; the middle tier with conforming columns and pilasters and with inlaid coloured mother-of-pearl portrait roundels to the sides, flanking a brass dial pierced beneath its silver trellis-work spandrels, silvered Roman and Arabic chapter ring, matted centre with mock pendulum aperture, signed on its back plate Melchior Balthazar, the arch with mother-of-pearl roundel of a gentleman, the associated clock movement with rectangular plates joined by five back-pinned pillars, converted to anchor escapement with Brocot suspension and with outside calibrated countwheel strike on later bell; the lower tier inlaid on its upper surface with Chinoiserie figures in coloured mother-of-pearl and with profile portraits of Europeans to the sides and front angles, the front apron panel inlaid with figures in stylised exotic costume and flanked by silver male mounts emblematic of Peace and War, on four hairy paw feet, this section housing the organ movement with single fusee and barrel driving a wooden barrel for bellows sounding on nine (formerly ten) small lead pipes 31½ x 19¾ x 10¼ ins. (80 x 50 x 26 cms.)

  • GBRUnited Kingdom
  • 2007-07-05
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A german parcel-gilt silver display vase, nicolas ostertag, augsburg, 1689-1692

Fitted with embossed female personifications of Autumn and Winter, siren and shell handles,  enclosed by embossed and chased acanthus interrupting appliques of fruit and flowers, detachable cover, marked on cover, body, stem, foot and handles, also with post 1893 French import marks and  Museum für Angewandt Kunst (MAK) painted red painted inventory reference GO 1946 (foot) and GO 1964 (sic) 36034 (body) As a display of power, the use of large items of silver furniture such as this vase was an indispensable part of European court ceremonial at the end of the 17th century. Other vases by Nicolas Ostertag are recorded such as three made for the Duke of Anhalt Dessau. The most complete surviving group, seven vases, representing The Four classical Elements were made in Augsburg by Albrecht Biller, to decorate a chimney mantlepiece for Landgrave Charles of Hesse-Cassel  around 1700.  (Museumslandschaft Hessen Kassel B II.1-7). It is possible that the current vase and its pair were commissioned by Louis William Margrave of Baden (1655-1707) Turkenlouis, commander-in-chief of the imperial army, for his new palace,  Schloss Rastatt, although they subsequently spent many years in a church. The vase now offerred for sale, together with its pair were included in the 1881 Karlsruhe exhibition - organised in honour of the silver wedding of Grand duke Friedrich I. (1826-1907) and Grand duchess Luise (1838-1923) of Baden and including numerous loans from private and public collections – as no. 1665 in cabinet XXIII, can be traced back with certainty to 22 October 1813. They appear in records at this moment as part of the disposable stock of liturgical equipment for churches in Baden, with the request that they be made available for the just-completed neo-classical Catholic parish church of St Stephan in Karlsruhe, built by Friedrich Weinbrenner from 1808 and inaugurated in 1814 1. Carl Friedrich of Baden (1728-1811) who had united the two margravates of Baden-Durlach and Baden-Baden, was a generous benefactor to the catholic parish of Karlsruhe and had given it a number of important items. In 1808 for example on the laying of the cornerstone of St Stephan he presented the church with a gold and enamel chalice made exactly 200 years earlier, given then to the treasure of the dome in Speyer by dean Adolf von Wolff-Metternich.  The so called Wolff-Metternich chalice was also exhibited at the exhibition in 1881 and later also became the property of Mayer Carl Rothschild and is now a treasure of the Metropolitan museum, New York (acc. no. 17.190.371).  Carl Friedrich had acquired the chalice and many other items of church property as part of the dissolution of clerical states and cloisters which occurred in 1803 and 1806 as a result of the French Revolution and subsequent wars. The vases remained at St. Stephan from 1813-1881 when the written records of communication between various church authorities show that there was interest in selling them. The church needed money and an antique dealer  called Falk, (also probably wrongly referred to as as Frank)  Der Antiquar Frank zum russischen Hofe in Frankfurt who had seen them before the exhibition had offered 20,000 Marks for the pair. They are referred to by the church authority with their exhibition and cabinet number, so there is no doubt as to their identity. The painter Georg Gimbel in Baden-Baden, whose own collection was acquired by the Grand duke for the public museums, after his death, advised that the price was very good and they should take it. None the less the Church tried to get more from the dealer, who sent an agent to Karlsruhe to explain that this was his final offer. On 11th October 1881 the Katholischer Oberstiftungsrath sent a report to the Erzbischöfliches Capitels-Vicariat Freiburg pressing for permission to sell the vases, because Falk/Frank was pushing to take delivery by 17th October. They repeated the existing argument of excellent price and need, but revealed new reasons why they should be allowed to sell. The new argument was that the vases were not religious and had previously stood in a palace.   They are described disparagingly as having mythological figures, and formerly stood in the palace of Rastatt .  Dieselben scheinen ursprünglich keine kirchliche Bestimmung gehabt zu haben, sind mit mythologischen Figuren ausgestattet u. sollen früher im Schlosse zu Rastatt gestanden haben.   This argument won over the Erzbischöfliches Capitels-Vicariat who recommended selling on 13 October for reasons which included the profane character of the vases. Surprisingly, soon after this, the church in Karlsruhe did sell a church treasure, the Wolff-Metternich gold and enamel chalice already mentioned. The vases though which were finally sold on 19th October 1881 did not, for some reason go to Falk/Frank. They were bought by the Frankfurt dealer J & S Goldschmidt for the same amount 20,000 Marks that had already been offerred2.  J & S. Goldsmith were undoubtedly agents for Mayer Carl Rothschild whose estate they helped divide after his death in 1886 . There is no definite proof that the vases stood in the Palace of Rastatt as the church authorities in Karlsruhe stated, but there is some evidence that is was so. Firstly it is clear that they were not originally intended for church use.  Secondly the margravate of Baden Baden which included Rastatt, and Baden Durlach where Karlsruhe lies, were united in 1771 under the Margrave of Baden Durlach, with his court in Karlsruhe. Records made in 1772, but referring back, have revealed a pair of vases in the Rastatt palace church Zum Heiligen Kreuz that correspond with the current vase.  The weight of these 2 grosse silbern zier vergoldte orne, which regularly appear in the inventories with six other vases, tally with the current example quite accurately. It appears also that the Rastatt silver treasury was sending vases to the palace church, perhaps when they became unfashionable, as two are recorded added to the group of vases already in the church in 1768, so aus der Silber Camer gegeben worden sind. 3 At Karlsruhe in 1881, this vase was exhibited with its pair. Together they represent the Four Seasons (not the Continents as they have been described). After purchase by Mayer Carl, they were separated by family division, on his death in 1886. One vase was left to Mayer Carl’s eldest daughter Adèle-Hannah (1843-1922), the other to his third daughter Laura-Therèse (1847-1931). They are clearly identifiable, but not distinguishable, as no. 131a in the Ersten Theiles and no. 133a in the Dritten Theiles,  two of the five catalogues dividing  Mayer Carl’s works of art,  of well over 500 mostly German silver pieces, at Gunthersburg (the Frankfurt country house) into equal portions amongst five of his daughters. They are described by the committee which created the portions and included the distinguished academic Ferdinand Luthmer and Julius Goldschmidt founder of the Frankfurt dealership, J & S Goldschmidt as: 131a Grosse Vase, Silb. theilw. Verg., mit aufgelegten Ornamenten, und 2 ovalen Medaillons mit alleg.  Darstellungen, beide Henkel Sirenen, Schalen tragend, Durchm. 45cm., Höhe 61cm. 133a Grosse Vase, silb.theilw.verg., mit aufgelegtem Ornament, 2 ovale Medallions mit alleg. Darstellungen, 2 Henkel Sirenen mit kl. Schalen. Durchm. 45cm., Höhe 61cm  It appears that the portions laid down in the catalogues were not strictly adhered to by Mayer Carl’s daughters.  Initially the Frankfurt property remained in situ until the death of Mayer Carl’s wife Louise (1820-1894), when a degree of rearranging occurred by agreement amongst the sisters (including division of the portion left to Hannah-Louisa , 1850-1892 who had died before her mother).  It is not altogether surprising therefore to find a group of about 15 items from the portion left to Adèle-Hannah appearing at auction in Paris in 1911 amongst the property of her sister Bertha Clara, Princess de Wagram (1862-1903), which occurred following the death of her husband the prince (1836-1911). Although Emma Budge was buying at the time and subsequently owned three items from the 1911 sale, Adele-Hannah’s vase does not appear to have been included.4 Similarly a group of at least ten items which had been left to Laura Therese (1847-1931) became the property of  Emma-Louise (1844-1935) and are recorded following her death  in a document made for estate duty purposes of the property in  her London house at 148 Picadilly5.  Amongst these `A large vase’ is recognisable as one of the pair by its description and reference `No. 133A’ the same reference used in the Gunthersburg division intended for Laura Therese. This vase was sold at Sothebys on 27th April 1937, The Celebrated Collection….removed  from 148 Picadilly, W.I, ..by order of Victor Rothschild, lot 184 `A Great Cup..’,  to Theodore Fischer of Galerie Fischer Luzerne, for £105.  The same vase now recognisable as the Spring/Summer example was advertised for sale by J. Kugel, Paris, in Weltkunst 61, number 19, October 1991, p. 2753. It is not known when Emma Budge acquired Autumn/Winter, although three items from the 1911 Paris auction already mentioned, which like the vase had been left to Adele-Hannah appeared in the Emma Budge sale in Berlin in 1937 . 1Ref. Erzbischöfliches Archiv Freiburg (EAF) B22/12265 1804-1833 and B22/12266 1844-1955 2Amtsbezirk Karlsruhe. Dekanat Ettlingen. Pfarrei: Karlsruhe. Rubrik Kirchen- und Stiftungsverwaltung. Betreff. Die Vermögensverhältnisse des Kath. Kirchenfonds St. Stephan, Archiv St. Stephan, Karlsruhe. 3Ref. Erzbischöfliches Archiv Freiburg (EAF) B22/22439; Inventarium über die Schloss-Kirche und dazu gehörigen Capellen 1772. Generallandesarchiv Karlsruhe (GLA) 46/4464/25;  Acta die gestiftete Einkünfte in der HofKreuzKirch zu Rastadt, und dazu gehöriger Ornamenten und aller kirchlichen Erfordernissen und derselben Anschaffung und Unterhaltung betr.  Confer. Acta des Collegii Patrum piar. Scholar. Fundation, Einrichtungen p.p. betr.  De Ao 1736 bis 1777 1788, 1806 (GLA 220/696);  Inventar über den zu der Schloßkirche zu Rastadt gehörigen Kirchenornat  von 1768 (GLA 220/697) 4 Orfèvrerie Allemande, Flamande, Espagnole, Italienne, Pierres Dures Montées, Ivoires et Bois sculptés, Des XVe, XVIe, XVIIe et XVIIIe, Provenant de l’ancienne collection de feu M. le Baron Carl Mayer (sic) de Rothschild (De Francfort),  Galerie Georges Petit, 12 and 13 June 1911. Lots 16, 84 and 87 in this 1911 sale, (given to Adele Hannah in 1886 and recorded in the 1886 catalogue of her portion as nos. 211, 136b and 91a) were lots 251, 213 and 200 in the Budge sale of 1937.  Lot 251 from the Budge sale a large early 17th century French salt with medieval enamel appliques is in the Ashmolean Museum, from the Michael Welby bequest. Lot 200, a shell on Turkish prisoner supports, is in the Augsburg Museum, following restitution to the Budge estate and lot 213, a large cup is location unknown. 5A copy of this document is kept at the Rothschild Achive in The City of London. In the Estate of the late Emma Louise Lady Rothschild; An inventory and Valuation of the Works of Art, Jewellery, Furniture and Pictures etc. at 148 Piccadilly W.I, made for the purposes of Estate Duty. Sothebys gratefully thank the staff at the Rothschild archive for their kind help with the cataloguing of this lot.

  • GBRUnited Kingdom
  • 2014-07-09
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Withdrawal

A george i gilt-gesso bureau-cabinet circa 1720, attributed to james moore

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 rosewood 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;  the mirror plates later and fifteen of the desk drawers re-veneered. This extraordinary bureau can be ranked among the finest examples of 18thcentury English furniture. Made as one of a pair of gilt-gesso bureau bookcases, it was certainly produced for the Portuguese market and has been traditionally associated with the patronage King Dom João V, who reigned from 1709-1750. Anglo-Portuguese relations became closer after the 1703 Treaty of Methuen between the two allied countries. 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 pieces from Paris, Rome and London. The London commissions are not very well documented but some are known through articles in period newspapers between 1723 and 1730, showing his interest in English goods. They mention globes, iron rails and gates for the Palácio de Mafra, a model of the British Crown and even a “curious Silver Vessel”, by Paul Crespin, which was taken to Kensington Palace to be shown to King George I. Although not recorded in these newspapers, the present lot falls into an interesting London made group of two pairs of bureau-bookcases that are historically linked to the King of Portugal. The current bureau appeared on the Portuguese market in the 1960’s 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. Nonetheless, we know more about the latter, as it is reputed to have belonged to the Portuguese Royal Collections, namely to Queen Carlota Joaquina (1775-1830), wife of Dom João VI and then to their grand-daughter Queen Dona Maria II (1819-1853), who had given it to her lady-in-waiting, Duquesa de Ficalho (1784-1859). The bureau was gifted by the Marquês de Ficalho to the Condessa de Geraz do Lima (1832-1891), and then by descent until sold in 1994 at Soares & Mendonça, to a private collector, who then sold it with Christie’s (4 July 2002, lot 100) when purchased by Mallett. The London dealers removed the later additions to match the state of the present lot and sold it to a private collector. The second pair of bureaux, 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 affectionate to Madre Paula, as she was known, providing her with a lavish life in the monastery. An eighteenth century manuscript existing in the Biblioteca Nacional in Lisbon recorded the interiors of Madre Paula’s lavish private apartments. The accounts mentions “two bureaux with mirror in the doors, ornamented with gilt reliefs“ which seem to match the pair first published by R.W.Symonds in 1940 (‘A Royal Scrutoire’, Connoisseur, June 1940). According to Symonds, 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 house-museum in Lisbon, though almost unrecognisable after falling into the sea, when all the gesso decoration was lost (Malheiro Dias, Cartas de Lisboa, 1905, p.109). It is now red japanned but it keeps the superb yew veneered interior. In these 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 in this technique and attributed with a degree of certainty to the workshops of the royal cabinet-maker James Moore (c.1670-d. 1726). With its pair, it is the only surviving bureau known to have been fully decorated in gilt-gesso, usually seen in small 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, strongly suggest the involvement of James Moore and if this was a royal commission, it would be natural to assume that the King’s agent in London would enlist the talents of the royal cabinet-maker. James Moore, of Nottingham Court, Short’s Gardens, St. Giles-in-the-Fields, London, had an exceptional career working for a group of vanguard 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. This bureau attributed to James Moore supports 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
  • 2013-12-04
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AN IMPORTANT PAIR OF MARQUETRY-INLAID SATINWOOD, HAREWOOD AND EBONY DEMI-LUNE COMMODES ATTRIBUTED TO MAYHEW AND INCE

AN IMPORTANT PAIR OF MARQUETRY-INLAID SATINWOOD, HAREWOOD AND EBONY DEMI-LUNE COMMODES ATTRIBUTED TO MAYHEW AND INCE circa 1780, Each of demi-lune form, the tops veneered in figured satinwood, the back edge plainly banded to support a pier mirror, and with a fan shaped patera inlaid with amaranth fluting and issuing colored and engraved 'feathers ' from a pearl beaded inlaid border, the cross-cut  satinwood molded outer edge with ebony and colored stringing and kingwood cross-banding and bordered with berries and husks, the conforming frieze with a central drawer flanked by pivoting hinged drawers and inlaid with 'bats wing' half- patera centered by flower heads below arched foliate sprays, all on a sycamore ground, the four graduated drawers below with ebony cock-beading and alternately inlaid with swags of husks and drapery and with pendant husks, the original gilt-metal ring  handles cast with husks and with flower-head back-plates, each curved door at the side inlaid at the center with a flower head within a bats' wing oval patera within a foliate scrolls, on a figured sycamore ground banded with tulip wood and with colored stringing, opening to shelves, the base with an ebonized molded edge, the square tapered legs veneered with harewood panels edged with boxwood and colored stringing and with ebony moldings. Although of identical construction and decoration, the difference in the width of these commodes indicate that they were originally commissioned at the same time for a room with different overall proportions. Height 33 3/4 in.; width of the first 44 1/2 in.; width of the second 46 1/2 in.; depth 22 1/4 in. 85.7 cm; 113 cm; 118.1 cm; 56.5 cm

  • USAUSA
  • 2008-10-16
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A MEISSEN COMPOSITE TRAVELLING (K.P.M.) CHINOISERIE TEA AND COFFEE SERVICE with contemporary Augsburg silver-gilt mounts, painted in the manner of J.G

A MEISSEN COMPOSITE TRAVELLING (K.P.M.) CHINOISERIE TEA AND COFFEE SERVICE with contemporary Augsburg silver-gilt mounts, painted in the manner of J.G. Höroldt with chinoiserie figures at various pursuits within quatrefoil cartouches with Böttger lustre panels and gilt and iron-red Laub-und-Bandelwerk, the ground with scattered indianische Blumen and insects and the borders with interlocking gilt scrolls and flowerheads within gilt line rims, comprising: (a) A pear-shaped coffee-pot and stepped domed cover with silver-gilt mounts, tapering spout and scroll handle with a figure watering flowers and a negro bringing fruit to a man seated beside a rabbit, the cover with gilt knob finial (slight hair crack beside spout) (b) A K.P.M. squat baluster teapot and cover with silver-gilt mounts, mask head spout, with a man bowing to two dignatories and figures seated beside a table, vases and a peacock displaying to one side (finial broken and a restored replacement, slight chip to footrim), blue K.P.M. mark (c) A K.P.M. octagonal sugar-box and cover with silver-gilt mounts, the box with two cats and two partridges with their chicks, the cover with a figure before a steaming pot and another before a vase (minute chip to footrim), blue K.P.M. mark (d) A hexagonal ribbed tea-caddy and cover, three panels with full length dignatories and three with pagodas on rocky outcrops (minute chip to footrim and rim of cover) (e) A bowl, one side with two figures before a steaming brazier, the other with a seated dignatory and a man holding a fan and a parrot on a hoop, the interior painted in iron-red with an Oriental beside a flowering plant Four teabowls with (f) a seated man smoking, (g) another beside a knife-grinder, (h) another gardening and (i) a negress before a table (the last with a minute rim chip), Dreher's to footrims Six saucers with (j) a huntsman riding a plumed horse followed by a dog, (k) a man leading a donkey carrying a monkey and birds, (l) another carrying three fish and a parrot on a pole, (m) another taking tea at discussion with a standing man, (n) a lady carrying chickens and a cockerel following her, and (o) a lady and child before a fence (the third with a small restored rim chip) (some slight rubbing to gilding), the mounts with EA marks for Elias Adam, Augsburg and stamped pineapple town marks for 1722-26, in a rectangular travelling case with chamfered corners, covered with leather, lined with green velvet edged with gilt braid, with gilt metal handles, hinges and fastenings (worm holes to box, some leather lacking, some relining to interior of cover and part of front fastening lacking), 1722-26 Two teabowls en suite with European half-figures as huntsmen in landscapes within oval cartouches (one cracked and with associated chip, the other with gilding rubbed), Dreher's /, circa 1723 the case 52.5cm. wide

  • CHESwitzerland
  • 1994-05-16
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La danse au parc

This is an unusually fine composition by Pater, and like much of his work, is indebted to the example of his teacher Watteau. Though he may have lacked Watteau's poetry and distinctive air of melancholy, Pater was a very accomplished colourist and draughtsman in his own right. A similar but even larger work, entitled La Danse, formerly in the collection of Baron Gustave de Rothschild, in which the figures of the seated musicians and those of the elegant seated ladies are paralleled, is in the Worcester Art Museum, Worcester, Mass. Both works are likely to date from around 1730 or later. Pater frequently re-used his figure groups in his paintings; the dancing couple in the centre of this painting recurs, for example, in the Danse au pavilion today in Neues Palais in Potsdam.1 The collection of paintings inherited by A.E.H. Digby, chiefly works of the French 18th century and Dutch 17th century schools, boasted a remarkable pedigree. Their family provenance reaches back on his step grandmother's side to Charles de Flahaut, Comte d'Angivillier (1730-1810) and also through his great-grandparents to Abel-François Poisson de Vandières, Marquis de Marigny (1727-1781), both appointed Directeur des Batiments et Jardins de France. Among the other significant French works from his collection sold in these Rooms in June 1951 were Louis Michel van Loo’s Portrait of the Marquis de Marigny and his wife Marie-Francoise Filleul today in the Louvre in Paris, Francois Boucher’s the Muse Erato, sold New York, Sotheby’s, 29 January 2015, lot 19, and another canvas by Pater, the La Balançoire now in the Fitzwilliam Museum in Cambridge.2 The reference in the early provenance is probably to Lord Henry Seymour (1805-1859), the second son of Francis, 3rd Marquess of Hertford. The scion of a great collecting dynasty, including his father, and brother Richard the 4th Marquess, both passionate collectors of French art, Lord Seymour was a devoted Francophile, a founder of the French Jockey Club, and is said never to have set foot in England. 1. Ingersoll-Smouse, 1928, p. 55,  nos. 234, 241, reproduced figs. 56 and 822. 2. Inv. Pd. 22-1977. Canvas, 46.3 by 56.5 cm. Ingersoll-Smousse 1928, no. 277.

  • GBRUnited Kingdom
  • 2015-04-28
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DESC-An unusual blue and white 'lotus pond' Dish mark and period of

DESC-An unusual blue and white 'lotus pond' Dish mark and period of Chenghua with rounded sides curving to an everted rim, painted in cobalt-blue of vivid purplish colour on the inside with two carp slipping amongst gently undulating fronds and lotus flowers in full bloom and bud interspersed by watergrasses, on a ground of paler blue waves, within a double-circle repeated at the rim, the exterior with a matching frieze of four fish captured in various poses, all between line borders also circling the tapered footring 15 cm., 5 7/8 in., condition report available No other dish of this design appears to have survived, although the design is recorded among the fragments recovered from the waste heaps of the Ming imperial kilns at Zhushan in Jingdezhen, Jiangxi province, and a dish reconstructed from these sherds has been included in the exhibitions A Legacy of Chenghua, The Tsui Museum of Art, Hong Kong, 1993, cat.no.B 31; and The Emperor's broken china. Reconstructing Chenghua porcelain, Sotheby's, London, 1995, cat.no.97. This dish has been attributed by the Chinese archaeologists to the mid-Chenghua period, that is, the period from 1468 to 1481. A similar lotus pond design is also known from two quite different Chenghua dishes, where the underglaze-blue wave ground is replaced by a low-fired turquoise enamel and the transparent glaze covers only the areas painted in cobalt-blue; one such dish from the Ardebil Shrine in Iran is illustrated in Sotheby's exhibition catalogue, op.cit., p.114, fig.3; the other is in the Shanghai Museum and illustrated in Wang Qingzheng, Underglaze Blue and Red, Hong Kong, 1993, pl.105. These dishes appear to be plain on the inside. The present dish is particularly well drawn and varied in its use of the cobalt pigment, which includes lines scratched through areas of blue down to the white ground, a feature not seen on the excavated dish in Jingdezhen, but on the present piece used to render the veins of the lotus leaves. This design of four different fish, depicted in lively attitudes among lotus plants is based on a Xuande prototype. Xuande dishes lack, however, the ground of pale waves and have an additional wave border at the inner rim, see, for example, a piece in Taiwan, illustrated in the Catalogue of the Special Exhibition of Selected Hsuan-te Imperial Porcelains of the Ming Dynasty, National Palace Museum, Taipei, 1998, cat.no.180; and a reconstructed dish from the Jingdezhen waste heaps, included in the exhibition Yuan's and Ming's Imperial Porcelains Unearthed from Jingdezhen, Yan-Huang Art Museum, Beijing, 1999, cat.no.151, together with a reconstructed bowl showing a similar design with a wave ground, cat.no.135. The Chenghua version of this design was copied again during the Jiajing reign and a dish of this design of Jiajing mark and period was sold in these rooms, 14th November 1989, lot 30. Quantity: 1

  • HKGHong Kong SAR China
  • 2001-05-01
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* Note that the price doesn’t correlate with today’s value, but only relates to the actual end price at the time of the purchase.

Porcelain & Pottery

Items made of porcelain, earthenware, stoneware and faience from every country are found under the category Porcelain & Pottery. Plates, cups, antique vases, tableware, china figurines and Chinese serving dishes are just some of the items that can be found up for auction under this heading.

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