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Fernando & Humberto Campana - Dolphins and Sharks Chair

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An important and extremely fine archaic bronze ritual Vessel (Gui)

An important and extremely fine archaic bronze ritual Vessel (Gui) early Western Zhou Dynasty, 11th Century BC of bombe form with a slight waist before the everted rim, finely cast in very crisp and high relief with a pair of confronting serpentine dragons with spiralled tails, their heads with high bossed 'eyes' and curled ferocious snouts borne between their claw feet and a horned taotie mask, divided by a central hooked flange of twin C-scrolls, with a further flange at the high pedestal foot dividing a band of confronting pairs of long-tailed birds against leiwen, all flanked by high loop handles issuing from bovine masks, their high horns formed by confronting curled 'tigers', and the bovine snout incised with a cicada, the curved loop and pendent flange cast with scrolled wings, claws and tail to complete the mythical bird-like handles, the interior cast with a three-column inscription, all beneath a silvery patina with rich green malachite encrustation 29.9 cm., 11 3/4 in Illustrated: Umehara Sueji, Nihon shucho Shina kodo seikwa/Selected Relics of Ancient Chinese Bronzes from Collections in Japan, vol.II, Tokyo, 1960, pl.CVI B. Hayashi Minao, In Shu jidai seidoki no kenkyu. In Shu seidoki soran, Tokyo, 1984, vol.I, p.96, no.125. Tang Funian, Xi Zhou qingtongqi mingwen fen daishi zhengqi jingji, Beijing, 1993, no.186. The inscription only: Noel Barnard and Cheung Kwong-Yue, Rubbings and Hand Copies of Bronze Inscriptions in Chinese, Japanese, European, American, and Australasian Collections, Taipei, 1978, vol.4, no.399. The inscription reads: Xiu Wang yi Xiao fu lu san yong zuo jue bao zun yi wu ba liu which can be translated: 'The King granted father Xiao three pieces of metal in order to make these precious vessels. Five eight six.' Inscriptions of this kind are found on various vessels of the early Western Zhou period. They indicate families who were loyal to the central government and on visiting the royal court were duly rewarded by the king. To commemorate the occasion they cast bronze vessels upon their return home. The two other Xiao fu gui, which were made on the same occasion together with the present piece and bear the same inscription, are recorded in Barnard and Cheung, ibid., nos.399a and 399b. One, apparently unpublished, is listed as being in a private Japanese collection; the other was included in various publications between 1839 and 1936, but its present whereabouts appear to be unknown. The three numerals at the end of the inscription, wu ba liu, form a trigram signature as they are found on bronzes of the early Zhou dynasty. Such groups of numerals were originally used in divination. For an extensive discussion of the meaning of these characters see an article by Zhang Zhenglang, 'An Interpretation of the Divinatory Inscriptions on Early Zhou Bronzes', Kaogu xuebao, 1980, no.4, pp.403-415. This gui relates to a number of vessels which are datable to the early Western Zhou period and were produced in the area of the Wei river valley, the original homeland of the Zhou dynasty rulers. During the early Western Zhou period gui appear to have been more popular than ony other ritual food vessel. The present piece reveals the stilistic diversity characteristic of the period, which retained traditional Shang features and modified these to Zhou taste. This can be seen, for example, in the extended pendants at the bottom of the handles, which strengthen the form of the gui, and the increased use of the bird motif in the decoration, here represented in the frieze around the foot and evoked by wings on the arc of the handles, tail and claws on the pendants, and claw feet on the dragons. While these elements are derived from the Shang repertoire, other motifs such as the coiled dragon itself, the large hooked flanges and the horned animal heads at the top of the handles, rather appear to be inspired by the more naturalistic sculptural styles of the provincial workshops in the South. This cross-fertilization of the different bronze making centres is a characteristic of the Zhou period. Gui of this type, with confronted pairs of coiled dragons against a leiwen ground, are very rarely found with such fine and detailed casting in softly rounded relief and with such ornate handles. This gui moreover displays small horned taotie filling up the space between the dragon heads and the everted rim, as well as horns in form of curled dragons on the animal heads of the handles - two highly unusual features that none of the related examples listed below seem to have. A gui of similar form and design, but with a frieze of snakes replacing the birds around the foot, with animal heads with hooked horns on the handles, and with other minor variations, excavated from an early Western Zhou tomb at Gaojiabao, Jingyang county, Shaanxi province, is illustrated in Shaanxi chutu Shang Zhou qingtongqi, Beijing, 1984, vol.4, pl.143. Compare also three gui of similar design but of the more common type, with animal heads with pointed ears and no horns on the handles: one with a similar frieze of birds around the foot, illustrated in Regina Krahl, Collection Julius Eberhardt. Early Chinese Art, Hong Kong, n.d. (1999), pl.40; the other two with a frieze of dragons at the foot, both excavated in Shaanxi province, one at Zhuyuangou near Baoji, the other at Wangjiazui, Qishan county, and both illustrated in 'Five Thousand Years of Chinese Art' Series: Shang Chou Dynasty Bronze VII: Kuei Vessels, Taipei, 1990, pls.55 and 56, and figs.115 and 116. A pedestalled gui with similar decoration and similarly shaped handles is illustrated in Jessica Rawson, Western Zhou Ritual Bronzes from the Arthur M. Sackler Collections, Washington, D.C., 1990, vol.IIA, fig.35; and one of closely related form but decorated with taotie masks on a plain ground, ibid., vol.IIB, pl.36. An accompanying report, Conservation & Technical Services Ltd., Birkbeck College, no.91064, attests to the exemplary condition of this lot. Quantity: 1

  • GBRUnited Kingdom
  • 2000-11-14
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A pair of gilt-bronze mounted mottled brown marble lidded urns louis

Each with acanthus and berried finials, with female masks united by swags of vine, the bases with wreaths of berried laurel on square plinths The present vases which are of an exceptionally large scale are beautifully conceived and epitomise French taste of around 1775. The form of the vase itself strongly shows the neo classical influences prevalent at that time. The finely chiselled and gilded mounts, are supremely elegant and can be attributed to Pierre Gouthière and  dated to around 1775, the era during which he was working for members of the Royal family of France, including Marie-Antoinette and producing some of his finest work. Gilt-bronze mounted marble vases became increasingly popular in the second half the 18th century. Much of the popularity was due to the marchands-merciers and also the workshops established by the Duc  d`Aumont in 1770 within the hotel des Menus- Plaisirs  which specialised in the turning, cutting and polishing of marbles and hardstones. Employed in these workshops were Francois-Joseph Bélanger (1744-1818) as a designer, Pierre Gouthiere ( 1732-1813) as ciseleur-doreur , Augustin Bocciardi ( recorded 1760-1790)  as sculptor and Guilleman for polishing and finishing hardstones. The quality of the present vases is such that it seems highly likely that they were produced by these workshops. Pierre  Gouthiere (1740-1806). The handles of the present vases are formed of a female classical mask head joined by garlands of foliage and are of exceptional quality, superbly cast, chased and gilded. The foliage joining the handles almost gives the impression of actual growing foliage climbing up and clasping the vases. The use of classical mask heads as mounts is a favourite motif of Pierre Gouthière.  A closely related mask head mount flanked by similar fruiting vines by Gouthière can be seen on a blue marble side table, originally made in 1781 for the Duchesse de Mazarin, the mounts made by Gouthiere and now in the Frick collection and illustrated in Theodore Dell, Furniture in the Frick Collection, French Furniture Eighteenth and Nineteenth Centuries (Part 2), 1992, Vol. 6, p.107, (see fig 1).   The present masks also relate to figures seen on a vase in the form of a cassolette, by Gouthière, now in the collection of the Louvre, formerly in the collection of the Duc d`Aumont and sold in his sale as lot 11, for 5000 livres. This and another example of his work also seen in the collection of the Louvre is illustrated in Daniel Alcouffe, Anne Dion-Tenenbaum and Gérard Mabille, Gilt Bronzes in the Louvres, 2004, pp. 241-244. For further comparison, see a pair of Chinese Aubergine porcelain ewers with mounts attributed to Gouthière, sold Christies London, 9th June 1994 and also a pair of Egyptian Alabaster vases also with mounts by Gouthière sold by Christie`s London, 11th June 1992, lot 60. The mounts in the present vases can therefore be confidently attributed to Pierre Gouthière (1740-1806) . Received maître doreur in 1758, he was to become one of the most  famous ciseleur-doreurs of the Louis XVI period. He originally began working for the gilder Francois Thomas German, one of the most celebrated doreurs of his era. On 7th November 1767 he was appointed Doreur ordinaire des menus plaisirs. In this role he worked with Bélanger for the Dauphine Marie-Antoinette from 1770. He also undertook a considerable amount of work for Madame du Barry especially for her Pavilion de Louveciennes. Among his other patrons were of course the Duc d` Aumont and his daughter, the duchesse du Mazarin and also the Comte d`Artois, later King Charles X for whom he made the chimney mounts for the Chateau de Bagatelle. He was subsequently employed by Les Batiments du Roi, in 1777 for the boudoir turc of the young queen Marie-Antoinette at Fontainebleau. By 1770s Gouthière was in effect bronzier to the Queen who shared his passion for gilt-bronze mounted marbles a fact  further emphasised by the fact that she purchased pieces mounted by him at the legendary sale of the Duc d`Aumont`s collection in 1782.  The Queen's purchase of five lots was from her own privy purse and included the celebrated brûle parfum of red jasper in the Wallace Collection (P. Hughes, The Wallace Collection. Catalogue of Furniture, vol III, London, 1996, pp.1340-1345). The present vases can be also compared with vases forming part of the d` Aumont  sale  because unusually for the period, many were illustrated with line drawings in the sale catalogue. Lots 13 and 21 are of a very similar form although of much smaller proportions but both also share the same gadrooned ornament to the lower part of the vase.  Louis-Marie-Augustin, succeeded as 5th Duc d`Aumont in 1723 and in the same year took up his family`s hereditary position as premier gentilhomme de la chamber to the King. This position included the supervision of the Menus-Plaisirs who were responsible for commissioning Royal gifts and for supplying articles for the royal wardrobe.  The Duc d`Aumont  thus responsible for appointing of artists and craftsmen to the Menus-Plaisirs appointed Francois-Joseph Bélanger ( 1744-1818) and Pierre Gouthière. Together they were both to be involved with the creation of many important pieces which included the famous jewel cabinet , now lost, but completed in 1769, to contain Marie Antoinette`s wedding present. The Duc d`Aumont `s interest  in ancient and precious marbles had been formed initially when he purchased from the marechal de Richelieu two antique porphyry vases from Italy. This was to be the start of an extraordinary collection including many magnificent gilt-bronze mounted marbles which was eventually to be dispersed following his death in 1782 . Jaime Ortiz-Patiño (1930-2013) Jaime Ortiz-Patiño belonged to a dynasty of extraordinary collectors. The origins of the collection lie with Jaime Ortiz-Patiño’s grandfather - Simon Iturri Patiño (1860-1947) – a mythical figure and mining pioneer dubbed the Rey del Estaño (King of Tin), who discovered the most important tin mine in Bolivia. The family art collection was expanded under his son, Antenor Patiño (1894-1982), who was a connoisseur of the French ‘Grand Siècle’ in his own right and major donor to Versailles. Sotheby’s have had the privilege of offering Patiño property in the past, notably the sensational collection of French 18th century furniture sold in New York in 1986 and an exceptional group of Paul de Lamerie silver which Sotheby’s sold in New York in 1998 and achieved record prices.

  • GBRUnited Kingdom
  • 2014-07-09
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A Meissen documentary armorial chocolate, coffee and tea-service

A Meissen documentary armorial chocolate, coffee and tea-service Circa 1742, blue crossed swords marks, gilder's 33. to all pieces and covers, various impressed and incised marks to some pieces, blue exhibition label attached to base of milk-jug, teacaddy, sugar-bowl, spoon-tray and some saucers Finely painted by B.G. Hauer, each piece with an ombrierte achievement with the accollée arms of the Mocenigo and Cornaro families in oval shields against scale ornament and divided by a puce cord suspending a brown and gilt shell, the achievement edged with brown and gilt scrolls and green foliage scrolls, with fronds of palm to the sides and surmounted by a jewelled coronet, above continuous land and naval battle scenes above double concentric iron-red circles and gilt band footrims, with borders of gilt interlocking scrolls divided by panels of Gitterwerk below gilt line rims, the interiors of the teabowls with purpurmalerei vignettes of landscapes, quaysides and estuaries with figures at various pursuits within double concentric circle cartouches, each beaker-shaped cup with a richly gilt double-scroll handle, the undersides of the saucers with three Kakiemon flower-sprays, comprising: A baluster coffee-pot and cover A bullet-shaped teapot and cover A cylindrical hot chocolate-pot and cover An ogival quatrefoil spoontray A baluster hot milk-jug and cover A rectangular teacaddy and a later silver-gilt cover A circular sugar-bowl and cover A slop-bowl A documentary teabowl Ten teabowls and saucers Eleven beaker-shaped cups and saucers

  • GBRUnited Kingdom
  • 2002-07-08
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Chess piece (Knight riding a Monster)

This unusual marine ivory chess piece represents a knight in armour riding a monster, flanked by a court jester and a foot soldier. The iconography appears to be unprecedented, though stylistically the chess piece compares closely with 13th-century Scandinavian examples. A particularly compelling comparison is found in a 13th-century Danish walrus ivory chess piece with a queen mounted on a horse in the Nationalmuseum, Copenhagen (inv. no. D.7891). Note the similar conical helmets, the large almond shaped eyes, the attendants’ staffs and their upturned shoes. Another chess piece in Copenhagen shows a knight riding a lion with a similar snarling face to the present monster; this example is dated to the middle of the 14th century (inv. no. D.2427). The addition of attendants signifies that the present chess piece represents a knight. However, this is no ordinary knight, for he rides a monster and is accompanied by a jester. These attributes underline the courtly nature of chess in the middle ages, whilst also conveying a sense of playfulness, which may have become a convivial talking point for participants in a game. The presence of a jester and an inventive monster, which recalls creatures in medieval bestiaries, marks the present ivory out as one of the most appealing and idiosyncratic of surviving medieval chessmen. Such attendants are likely to have been initially incorporated into the form of the more important equestrian pieces (kings, queens and knights) to strengthen their bases, whilst concurrently lending themselves for appropriate adornment. Chess pieces with this characteristic ultimately belong to a distinctive group which is exemplified by a figure of a king with assemblies of attendants in the Victoria and Albert Museum, said to be of Danish origin and date to circa 1400 (inv. no. A.22-1912). The game of chess originated in India, where its predecessor chaturanga was played for several millennia before it started evolving into the present game around the 6th century AD. This reached Europe through the Muslim world and Spain a few centuries later and was firmly rooted here by the Middle Ages. Its association with strategy and intelligence established it as 'the Royal game'. Such was the popularity of chess that it was frequently used by the clergy to illustrate their moral lessons, thus prompting further reverence for the game. RELATED LITERATURE H. Wichmann and S. Wichmann, Chess. The Story of Chesspieces from Antiquity to Modern Times, London, 1964, no. 56 P. Williamson and G. Davies, Medieval Ivory Carvings 1200-1550. Part II, cat. Victoria and Albert Museum, London, 2014, pp. 717-727

  • GBRUnited Kingdom
  • 2015-07-09
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A gilt-bronze-mounted fruitwood, sycamore, amaranth, marquetry and

The shaped top with a three–quarter Greek key frieze gallery depicting a chinoiserie scene with a couple flanked by a desk and a chair with a Chinese pavilion, pagoda and building in the background within a cartouche with floral sprays and flanked by a reserve with flowering branches and a trelliswork border sliding with the fitted frieze drawer opening to reveal a leather inset reading stand, flanked by tambour lidded recess with removable compartments with later silk linings, the frieze inlaid with shaped panels of flowers and a townscape set against further panels of flowerhead trellis, one side with a swing drawer with gilt-brass receptacles for ink-pot and sander on cabriole legs, the sides and back decorated with cartouches of floral sprays Comparative Literature: Geoffrey de Bellaigue, The James A. de Rothschild Collection at Waddesdon Manor, Vol. II, Fribourg, 1974, pp. 466-471. Daniel Alcouffe and others, Furniture Collections in the Louvre, Vol I, Dijon, 1993, pp. 178-179 and 180-181. This rare and supremely elegant mechanical table combines an innovative design with superlative quality marquetry executed by one of the leading Parisian 18th century ébénistes, Léonard Boudin. It was the height of fashion with its mechanical features and chinoiserie marquetry, as the taste for the exotic and chinoiseries reached their apogee by the middle of the 18th century. There is another reading/writing table almost certainly a table à transformation also stamped L. Boudin, with a sliding top revealing a writing slide and tambour fronted recesses sold from the Estate of Mrs. Charles Allen Jr., Sotheby’s, New York, 1st  November 1997, lot 85 ($280,000). It has an identical chinoiserie marquetry panel on the top within a stylised Greek key gallery and almost exactly follows the outline of the offered piece. The top of each table slides back whilst the frieze drawer advances, both of which are fitted with rising reading stands flanked by lidded compartments. Furthermore, they are also both of similar dimensions. Where the tables differ is in the knee and feet mounts and the marquetry on the sides and back, as the table sold in New York has a central cartouche enclosing a monkey dressed in hunting clothes flanked by dogs and panels of cube parquetry, after engravings of designs by Christophe Huet (d. 1759) and the cartouches on the top with trophies seem to derive from engravings by Gilles Demarteau (1722-1776). Another related table which is unsigned with a variation in the marquetry on the top depicting monkeys dressed as musicians is at Waddesdon Manor, Hertfordshire and illustrated by de Bellaigue op. cit.  p. 466-471. The top is of similar outline to the offered table and is centred by a cartouche flanked by a further cartouche with trophies. Furthermore, a table similar to the offered example stamped by Pierre Roussel, was in the Sydney J. Lamon collection, sold at Christies, London, 29th November 1973, lot 95, sold again 2nd December 1998, lot 150. It is worthwhile mentioning that there is a mechanical table by Jean-François Oeben, who is credited with inventing this type of mechanical table, of similar outline, the top with a central cartouche flanked by further reserves and with floral trails and very similar reserves of  trellis and dot parquetry, now in the Louvre, illustrated by Alcouffe, op,. cit., pp. 177-178. The top slides back and the drawer forward as on the offered example revealing two compartments and a stand raised by a ratchet.  The Louvre table contained mahogany and it was just beginning to be used. There is another mechanical table in the Louvre not stamped but attributed to Oeben of similar outline and trelliswork and flowerhead cartouches with sprays of flowers and fish-scale motifs (the latter also used by Boudin), A writing table stamped Boudin of similar form to the offered table, the top divided into three cartouches depicting a village scene and trophies, was sold  Christie’s, New York, 26th April 1994, lot 243. Léonard Boudin (1735-1807) received master in 1761. Boudin had his workshop in the Rue Travestière where he carried out commissions for the marchand-ébéniste Pierre III Migeon. Pieces by Boudin were highly regarded for their elaborate and innovative marquetry and he soon supplied important clients. In 1775 Boudin became a marchand-ébéniste in his own right which enabled him to give commissions to a number of important craftsmen such as Foullet and Topino.

  • GBRUnited Kingdom
  • 2015-04-28
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An important irish george ii mahogany side table circa 1755

The rectangular mahogany top with rounded corners and molded edge above a conforming plain frieze, the out-curved apron carved with a diaper ground and centered by a portrait medallion of a 'Roman Worth' flanked by foliate-carved conjoined C-scrolls and a pair of large fruiting oakleaf swags each centered by a flower head, the acanthus-carved cabriole legs squared and paneled at the center with an acanthus collar and continuing to squared hairy paw feet with acanthus-carved ankles. The richly detailed carving seen on this table represents the skill and the artistry of the craftsmen working in Ireland in the mid-18th century. Below the plain top, eminently suitable for the display of plate, the apron is centered by a portrait medallion of a ‘Roman Worthy’.  Often Irish tables are carved with a lion's head, which is probably one of the most recognizable features of Irish carving at this period. As noted by The Knight of Glin and James Peill in Irish Furniture - Woodwork and Carving in Ireland from the Earliest Times to the Act of the Union, Yale University Press, 2007, this image was possibly originally inspired by the architect Edward Lovett (c. 1699-1733), who 'was responsible for the introduction of the Kentian plaster tabernacle frame in the style of William Kent and the compartmented ceilings to the Irish interior' (Knight of Glin and James Peill, op. cit.). He was responsible for the interior decoration of 9 Henrietta Place, Dublin. The wooden chimneypiece and over-mantel, which is illustrated by The Knight of Glin and James Peill, (ibid, fig 68), 'is thoroughly Kentian in inspiration and the lion mask and the frieze was almost immediately reproduced in furniture'.   The inclusion of the ‘Roman Worthy’ profile medallion is a rarity in Irish furniture and can be seen on few examples such as on a pair of tables one of which is at Temple Newsam House and the other one is in a private collection.  (illustrated C. Gilbert, Furniture at Temple Newsam House and Lotherton Hall, Leeds, 1978, vol. II, p. 358, fig. 449 and Glin and Peill, p. 74, fig. 89).  The portrait medallion is associated with the carver John Houghton who was responsible for a number of documented pieces with similar carving.  Houghton was used to working in the Kentian aesthetic having carved the magnificent overmantel relief of Marcus Aurelius, which was originally part of the decoration of the old Presence Chamber in Dublin Castle. (Glin and Peill, pp. 70-79, figs. 85, 88, 89, 90)  The overall design of the present table is nearly identical to one now in a private collection formerly at Cabinteely House, Co. Dublin until sold at Christie’s, November 5-6, 1984, lot 99.  Each table has a nearly identical portrait medallion and very similar swags. (Glin and Peill, pp. 220, 233, no. 119)  The cabriole legs which are squared at the bottom are very similar to a number of tables including a table supplied to Harvey Morres, first Viscount Morres of his new Palladian house, Castele Morres, Col. Kilkenny (Glin and Peill, p. 223, no. 17) and a table supplied to Sir Edward O’Brien, second B. (d. 1765) for Dromoland Castle, Co. Clare (Glin and Peill, pp. 226-227, no. 89). The heavy swags of oak leaves and acorn, sacred to Jupiter, together with the scallop shells, the attribute of Venus who was born of the sea, similarly represent Kent's style, examples of which were included in Some Designs of Mr. Inigo Jones and Mr. Wm. Kent, published by John Vardy in 1744. A number of similarly designed and carved tables are recorded, many with similar attributes and with framing panels of cross hatching, and the feet similarly carved with paws with foliate scrolled ankles. This almost certainly indicates a small and close-knit group of carvers, working both with architects and builders, and with local cabinetmakers, frame-makers and gilders, the relatively small group of local patrons presumably demanding similar fashionable furniture.  Although a considerable  number of these tables are recorded by The Knight of Glin and James Peill, (op. cit,) few appear to have remained in the houses for which they were originally commissioned; the lack of precise documentation other than lists of cabinetmakers makes identification of the original maker of these and the present table virtually impossible.

  • USAUSA
  • 2014-12-11
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A fine and rare george ii giltwood picture frame in the manner of

The rectangular mirror plate surmounted by a scroll cresting centering a globe flanked by chimera, the sides with draftsmen and musical trophies, the lower portion with mythical beasts centering a mask. The present picture frame relates most closely to a design for a picture frame by Thomas Chippendale in his Director, 3rd ed. 1762, plate CLXXXVI. Its winged dragons to the top corners and large trophies on either side of the frame are nearly identical. The C-scrolled base is also similar to the present frame.  Unlike Chippendale’s design, the trophies on the present frame represent the sciences and music and the cresting is centered by a globe.  It is possible that these were attributes of the sitter who could have been a man of science, music and geography.  The recumbent lions to base of the mirror as well as the dragons may have related to the heraldry of the sitter. This frame also relates to the work of the carver and gilder Paul Petit who supplied frames for Frederick, Prince of Wales, son of George II.  Two frames with the portraits of The Prince and Princess of Wales are now at Warwick Castle and another portrait of the Prince of Wales by Thomas Hudson is at Trinity College, Dublin.  Petit is listed in the Prince of Wales’s accounts from 1732 and continued to supply frames until the Prince’s death in 1751.  These frames include trophies and attributes which are specific to the sitter such as heraldic devices and allegorical trophies and objects.  (See D. Buttery, ‘The Picture Frames of Paul Petit, and Frederick, Prince of Wales’, Apollo, July 1987).  Another frame attributed to Paul Petit sold at Christie’s, Ven House Sale, June 21-22, 1999, lot 468.

  • USAUSA
  • 2013-10-23
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A Queen Anne scarlet and gold japanned bureau cabinet circa 1710 the

A Queen Anne scarlet and gold japanned bureau cabinet circa 1710 the double arched moulded cornice surmounted by three spherical finials and above two arched mirrored doors enclosing an arrangement of drawers, pigeon-holes and adjustable shelves, the lower section with a fall-front revealing concave-faced drawers, pigeon-holes and a well, below are two short and two long drawers, on bun feet, decorated throughout with Oriental figures, pagodas, flowering plants and trelliswork 219 cm. high, 110 cm. wide, 58 cm. deep; 7 ft. 2 1/4 in., 3 ft. 7 1/4 in., 1 ft. 10 3/4 in. Provenance: Frank Partridge & Sons, Ltd., invoice 28th February 1939, £1062 10s The taste in England for all things Indian, that is, Chinese, became firmly established after the restoration of the monarchy in the 1660's, and was initially supplied by Portuguese traders who held a virtual monopoly of trade with China until the end of the 17th century. The Dutch traders were a little more successful than the English in circumventing by nefarious means this monopoly, both countries trading with Chinese merchants in Formosa and at Bantam in Java. In 1699 the Emperor K'ang Hsi finally opened the port of Canton to the English East India Company. However, the supercargo of the ship Macclesfield reported soon afterwards that 'Ye many troubles & vexations we have met with from these subtiloe (sic) Chinese - whose principalls allow them to cheat, and their dayly practise therein have made them dextrus at it,' indicating that trading would still be difficult. Similarly, direct trade with Japan was also impossible, the Portuguese having been evicted in 1638, the Dutch being allowed a small and difficult trading post on the island of Deshima close to Nagasaki. The East India Company did attempt to open trade with Japan, but reported that 'since our King (Charles II) was married with the daughter of Portugal, their enemy, they could not admit us to have any trade, and for no other reason.' The principle articles of the luxury trade were silks, porcelains and lacquered ware that included cabinets, coffers and screens. In July 1682 the diarist John Evelyn recorded a visit to his 'good neighbour Mr Bohun, whose whole house is a cabinet of all elegancies, Especially Indian; in the hall are all contrivances of Japan screens instead of wainscot......The landskips of these screens represent the manner of living, and Country of the Chinese.' The cabinet work of many of these pieces was considered to be inferior in quality. captain William Dampier, who had himself seen Japanese craftsmen at work in 1688, remarked that 'The joyners in this Country may not compare with that which Europeans make....in laying on the Lack upon good or fine joynned work, they frequently spoil the joynts, edges or corners of Drawers of Cabinets...and for this reason Captain Pool, in his second voyage to the Country, brought an ingenious Joyner with him, to make fashionable Commodities to be lackered here, as also Deal boards.' On 16 September 1684 the factor of the East India Company in Tonkin, Indo China, reported that a shipment had been sent from London including a quantity of 'Joiner was to be lacquered there...some plain black, but most to be adorned with birds, flowers or imagery.' Although the London joyners profited from this, a thriving trade also arose in England with wares that were decorated to simulate oriental lacquer. The main ingredient used in the orient for lacquer was gum lacca, a form of tree sap, applied in several layers, each of which was allowed to harden before being polished. These 'layers' produced an extremely durable surface with a high shine and great depth of colour, this being either black or a deep brown. This was then ornamented with gold leaf, the main details of which were frequently raised. The English jappanners, as their craft came to be known, were unable to obtain sufficient quantities of gum lacca to support their trade, and frequently resorted to using cheaper materials which lacked the superior qualities of the original material. Indeed the trade in this was controlled by the East India Company who was naturally anxious to preserve their seeming monopoly. Towards the end of the 17th century many 'Indian' shops had been established, the total of the shipments of lacquered wares imported by the East India Company's ships 'Sarah', 'Martha', and 'Dorothy' totaling L150000. Although William Whitewood stated in 1683 that 'english varnished cabinets might vie with the oriental', the intense competition between the importers and the English craftsmen became so intense that the joyners submitted a petition to Parliament stating that '....Artificers, Members have been bred up in the said Art or Mystery of making Cabinets, Scrutoirs, Tables, Chests......have arrived at so great a Perfection as exceeds all Europe. But...Merchants...Trading to the East Indies have procured and sent over to the East Indies Patterns and Models of all sorts of Cabinet Goods; and have returned from there such Quantities of Cabinet Wares, manufactured there after the english fashion by our Models, that the said Trade in England is in great danger of being utterly ruined'. They claimed that the lacquerware imported included, amongst other items, 244 cabinets, 6582 tea tables, 428 chests, 52 screens and 589 looking glass screens. The jappanners, who had established themselves 'Patentees for lacquering after the manner of Japan', submitted in 1700 a similar petition. The methods used by the English proponents of this art were fully explained in a book published in 1688 by John Stalker and George Parker entitled A Treatise of Japanning and Varnishing Being a compleat Discovery of those Arts with the best way of making all sorts of Varnish for Japan Wood...The Method of Gilding, Burnishing, and Lackering....'. The volume also included 'Above an Hundred distinct Patterns for Japan-work in Imitation of the Indians, for Tables, Stands, Frames, Cabinets,Boxes,&c.' The origins of Stalker and Parker are unclear, although the former's address at the 'Golden Ball in St James's Market, London',indicates that he was a tradesman. The publication is obviously directed to both the professional and the amateur, the 'recipes' being extremely clear in their direction, although the fascinating series of plates illustrating Oriental scenes, pursuits, flowers, trees, birds, animals and butterflies are very similar to the decoration on contemporary cabinet-work, but strangely no direct copies have ever been found. The differences between Oriental, both Chinese and Japanese, and English work is seen in these designs. The decoration of the former is well mannered, in scale, and with reasonable perspective. English work is far more exuberant and 'colourful' in style - birds and butterflies become larger than people and buildings, and flowering trees and plants from the effect of a fantasy jungle,again totally out of scale with any other elements of the design. The present cabinet, with its lavishly decorated surfaces ornamented with Oriental scenes and figures in gold on a rich red ground continues in this tradition, although it is dated some twenty years after Stalker and Parker's publication. They give specific directions 'To make Red-Japan', stating that there are three varieties, '1. The common usual Red; 2.The deep, dark,; and lastly, the light, pale Red.' Owing to the natural fading of the original pigments, it is probable that the original colour was one of the first two. A number of leading English cabinet-makers of the late 17th and early 18th century are recorded as supplying cabinet pieces decorated with japanning, which remained fashionable in various guises throughout the 18th century. Amongst these were Gerrit Jensen (1680-d. 1715), who was possibly of Dutch or Flemish origin. He was appointed Cabinet Maker in ordinary to William and Mary in 1689 and had a number of important aristocratic clients connected to the Court. These included the 1st Duke of Devonshire at Chatsworth, for whom he supplied 'glass for the door of the great chamber and for japanning the closet', the latter being incised or bantam work, and the 5th Earl of Salisbury, Hatfield House, to whom he supplied a mirror in a Japan frame 'with a folding table underneath which is also in Japan'. Other makers recorded include Elizabeth Harrison of London who supplied a 'Japan Cabinet & a black carved fraime' costing L52.in 1695 for Petworth House, and in 1704 a 'Jappan scrutoire' for Lord Bristol at a cost of L50; James Moore (c. 1670-d. 1726) whose account for 'Works done for her Grace ye Dutches of Buccllough' includes 'a Buro made of Japan & Locks', and John Gumley (1691-1727) who supplied Paul Foley in 1726 with amongst other items 'A neet Swinging Glass in a blue Japand frame L1.4s'. Slightly later makers include John Belchier (1717-d. 1753) whose label appears on a red japanned cabinet with a more architectural profile than the present piece, and Giles Grendey (1693-1780), who had a thriving export trade to the Iberian peninsular in the 1730's and 1740's of red japanned furniture, including chairs and cabinet pieces. At this period this style of decoration had temporarily fallen out of favour in England. Unfortunately, although there are a number of surviving cabinets of the present form, there are no provenanced examples which could possibly point to a particular maker. Quantity: 1

  • GBRUnited Kingdom
  • 2000-11-22
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Presentation from h.r.h. the prince regent to general thomas garth

Oval, on four formal panel supports, the wide cast and pierced border decorated with bacchanal figures, putti and panthers below grape-laden vines, entwined snake handles, the centre engraved with the Prince Regent's cypher within an inscription, the underside engraved with the recipient's initials in monogram (TG) above the date: '2nd. MAY, 1816,' further stamped: 'RUNDELL BRIDGE ET RUNDELL ARIFICES REGIS ET PRINCIPIS WALLIÆ REGENTIS BRITANNIAS,' and scratch engraved: '4219'; in original tooled leather case, the green baize lining with affixed printed paper label: 'RUNDELL, BRIDGE, / & RUNDELL / Goldsmiths Jewellers / Watch Makers &c /To their Majesties / Their Royal Highesses the / Prince Regent Duke of York / and ROYAL FAMILY,/ Ludgate Hill / LONDON' General Thomas Garth was born in 1744, one of the sons of John Garth (1701-1764), sometime Recorder and MP for Devizes, by his wife, Rebecca, daughter of John Brompton and granddaughter of Sir Richard Raynsford, Lord Chief Justice of the King’s Bench. He entered the army in 1762 as a cornet in the 1stDragoons and, following a distinguished career, was eventually awarded the rank of General on 4 June 1814. Meanwhile, in 1795, he was appointed an equerry to George III. He was also a friend of the King and he often welcomed the royal family to Ilsington House (The Old Manor), a William and Mary mansion at Puddletown near Weymouth, Dorset, which he rented from 1780 until his death. The diarist Charles Greville described Garth, who was small of stature and afflicted with a claret-coloured facial birthmark, as ‘a hideous old devil.’ In compensation, however, according to Flora Fraser, ‘contemporaries speak highly of his wit and, indeed, of his stories of his own soldering adventures in the West Indies.’1 Apart from his military career, General Garth is chiefly remembered for two other reasons, both of which are intimately connected with the royal family. The first concerns a young man, Thomas (‘Tommy’) Garth of the 15th Hussars (1800-1873), whom he acknowledged as his son and whose mother is generally accepted to have been Princess Sophia (1777-1848), George III and Queen Caroline’s fifth daughter.2 The second is General Garth’s nomination by the Prince Regent as guardian to his daughter, Princess Charlotte Augusta of Wales during the months prior to her marriage to Prince Leopold of Saxe-Coburg-Saalfeld (later King of the Belgians). It was for this service that Garth was presented with this tray or, as it was originally described, salver. Charlotte’s wedding took place on 2 May 1816 (the date engraved on the tray) in the Crimson Drawing Room at Carlton House, Pall Mall, London. A copy of Garth’s letter conveying his thanks to the Prince Regent survives: ‘Sir! Her Majesty [Queen Caroline] having Graciously delivered The Prince Regents flattering message, I feel it my Duty from Attachment to His Majesty and The Royal Family, to accept of the Situation which His Royal Highness The Prince Regent has thought proper to place me in for a time; understanding that I am only answerable to His Royal Highness for my Conduct, and trust that I shall be able to prove my Attachment by my honesty and integrity, which I have ever piqued Myself upon: But I humbly entreat for fear of any Mistake that His Royal Highness will Graciously please to give me His Instructions in Writing Signed by Himself. ‘Your Royal Highnesss devoted Servant Thos. Garth’3 The only published reference to this otherwise unrecorded royal gift is in Anna Eliza Bray’s biography of the artist, Thomas Stothard (1755-1834). Mrs Bray recounts in some detail Stothard’s work for the Wellington Shield, which was commissioned in 1814 through Green, Ward & Green, goldsmiths of Ludgate Street, and made in Benjamin Smith’s Camberwell factory. She then writes, ‘Before I entirely quit the subject of works in silver, I may as well state another thing not generally known respecting this great painter [Stothard], that he made many designs for chased plate that were of extraordinary beauty. The principal was for the border for an oval salver, that was executed for King George the Fourth [i.e. The Prince Regent]. It was composed of a most admirable group of Bacchanalian figures.’4 Although no working drawing or finished design for this piece appear to have survived, two of Stothard’s sketches for the bacchanalian figures, arranged for the border of an oval salver or tray, (one of which is clearly furnished with two handles), are known.5 A much more detailed pen and wash drawing by Stothard for the border of an oval tray, with similar but not identical bacchanalian figures, but which appears not to have been made, is in the Department of Prints and Drawings at the Victoria and Albert Museum.6 Unlike the figures on the Garth tray, however, some of those in the pen and wash drawing feature in designs after Stothard for two wine coolers.7 The immediate fate of General Garth’s tray following his death on 18 November 1829 is not entirely clear; there can be no doubt, however, that it has remained in his family until the present. By his will, signed on 12 September 1829 and proved on 10 December that year, he bequeathed his house, 32 Grosvenor Place, Mayfair, with its plate, household furniture and personal effects, together with his effects in and about Ilsington House, to ‘Tommy’ Garth. He named his residuary legatee as his nephew, Captain Thomas Garth RN (1781-1841) of Haines Hill, Berkshire, the son of his older brother, Charles.8  In the event, the tray came into the possession, not of the General’s son but of his nephew, a fact verified by the latter’s will, signed on 5 June 1839 and proved on 13 December 1841, in which he wrote: ‘I give and bequeath unto the said William Townsend [executor] the oval silver salver formerly belonging to my late Uncle General Thomas Garth upon trust to permit and suffer the same to go and be held used and enjoyed by the person or persons who for the time being shall be entitled in possession to my said Mansion House and Premises at Haines Hill by virtue of the limitations aforesaid as or by way of an heir loom to be preserved and kept in good plight and condition . . .’9 ‘Tommy’ Garth, who outlived his cousin by nearly 35 years, was a notoriously intemperate; he so depleted his assets that within a year of General Garth’s death he was committed in October 1830 for debt to the King’s Bench Prison, Southwark. Even before then, however, he was the subject of widespread gossip and the butt of satirists following his elopement in 1826 with Georgiana Caroline (b. 1796), wife of Sir Jacob Astley (1797-1859).10 The unhappy lady shared young Garth’s disgrace, living with him in debtors’ prison until her death there from scarlet fever on 29 June 1835. The most serious of ‘Tommy’ Garth’s escapades occurred during 1829, when he attempted to blackmail the royal family over his parentage, hoping for a lump sum and an annual pension of £3,000.11 His ploy failed and the Press’s opinion of him being ‘a silly youngster,’ ‘the reckless one who has violated private friendship’ and ‘the most contemptible of human beings’ seems to have been widely shared.12 In view of ‘Tommy’ Garth’s precarious financial situation, it seems likely that General Garth’s tray found its way soon after his death into the possession of his nephew, Captain Thomas Garth. This may have been through some arrangement between the cousins. Whatever the details, as we have seen, the tray was certainly in the General’s nephew, Captain Thomas Garth’s possession when he wrote his will in 1839. With regard to the manufacture of General Garth’s tray, specifically the translation of Stothard’s designs for it into silver, it is not without interest to find that in 1815/16 the artist was living at 28 Newman Street, Oxford Street. His next door neighbour, at no. 29, was Philip Cornman13 (1754?-1822), the working goldsmith, jeweller and modeller, &c. who at this period shared the premises with his son, Henry (1779?-1830). Both father and son entered maker’s marks (respectively in 1793 and 1813) and both were modellers in wax who, described as sculptors, exhibited various busts, portraits and models at the Royal Academy: Philip between 1788 and 1792 and Henry between 1799 and 1821. Moreover, as Hilary Young has shown, there was a well-established connection between the Cornmans and Rundell, Bridge & Rundell which lasted from 1803 until about 1821/22.14 Not only was the Cornman business making silver centrepieces for Rundell’s,15 could it also have been executing silversmiths’ models and patterns for Rundell’s chief manufacturing subsidiary, the makers of General Garth’s tray, Paul Storr & Co? Notes 1. The Six Daughters of George III, London, 2012 2. The most thorough account of this affair is to be found in Anthony Camp, Royal Mistresses and Bustards, Fact and Fiction, 1714-1936, London, 2007, pp. 313-323. 3. This copy is preserved in the Godsal family archives. 4. Life of Thomas Stothard, London, 1851, p. 161. The Wellington Shield, which is now at Apsley House, Hyde Park Corner, London, was presented on behalf of the Merchants and Bankers of the City of London, to the Duke of Wellington at Green, Ward & Green’s shop on Saturday, 16 February 1822. 5. Tate Gallery, London, purchased as pair of the Oppé Collection with assistance from the National Lottery through the Heritage Lottery Fund, 1996, reference nos. T09975 and T09987. 6. This drawing is reproduced in Charles Oman, ‘A Problem of Artistic Responsibility: The Firm of Rundell, Bridge & Rundell,’ Apollo, London, March 1966, p. 174, fig. 1. 7. These two drawings are included in the album, Designs for plate by John Flaxman etc., which was formerly in the collection of John Roland Abbey (1894-1969), Museum no. E.70-124-1964 (E.86-1964 and E.110-1964 [pp. 14 and 35]). 8. National Archives, PROB 11/1764/122 9. National Archives, PROB 11/1955/17 10. The incident formed the subject of at least two satirical prints, ‘A Change of performance at Astley’s, or a pollution of Jacob’s Ladder’ and ‘Scene for a New Peice [sic] at Astley’s Theatre,’ published in London respectively in August and September 1826. For a report of the ensuing court case (19 February 1827), in which Sir Jacob sued Garth for criminal conversation with his wife, see The Morning Chronicle, London, Tuesday, 20 February 1827, pp. 2-3. The punning allusion to Astley’s Theatre refers to Astley’s Amphitheatre on the Westminster Bridge Road, Lambeth, famous 11. The story has been recounted many times, recently by John Van de Kiste, George III’s Children, Stroud, 1999, p. 152. 12. The World of Fashion and Continental Feuilleutons, London, 1829, p. 75 13. Westminster Land Tax Records, St. Marylebone, 1815 and 1816, respectively pp. 12 and 37. 14. Hilary Young, ‘Philip Cornman: a biographical note,’ The Silver Society Journal, no. 8, London, Autumn 1996, pp. 481-486 15. See, for example, the silver centrepiece made for the Earl of Balcarres, maker’s mark of Philip Cornman, London, 1803, retailed by Rundell’s, sold at Sotheby’s, London, 5 February 1987, lot 152

  • GBRUnited Kingdom
  • 2014-07-09
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A george ii mahogany breakfront bookcase circa 1740, possibly to a

The fluted cornice with broken triangular pediment above three doors, the centre one with an oval mullion and fluted carved pilasters, headed by corbels, the lower part with a scroll moulding above divided doors, flanked by two banks of four drawers, the rear sections of the sides, cornice, waist moulding and plinth extended in the 19th century following removal from original alcove This bookcase appears to have formed part of the original interior of Stanwick Park, Yorkshire. Commissioned by Sir Hugh Smithson who rebuilt the original house in the neo-Palladian style circa 1739-40, just prior to his marriage to Lady Elizabeth Seymour, daughter of 7th Duke of Somerset and heir to the Northumberland estates. Stanwick was designed in the fashionable taste of the 1730s as promoted by Lord Burlington, William Kent and their circle. As Tim Knox notes in his recent essay for the current William Kent exhibition, ‘Stanwick…had a strange trio of Burlingtonian open pediments on the west front, and a dining room with a ceiling copied from Chiswick House’ (see S. Weber, ed. , William Kent, Designing Georgian Britain, Yale, 2013, p. 593), suggesting that Sir Hugh was closely connected to this enlightened circle. It would seem probable that this bookcase was supplied with the commode, also offered in this sale as lot XXX, as both appear to have been recorded in the 1773 inventory of Stanwick Park in ‘Your Lordships Room up Stairs’, a fact further substantiated by Lady Elizabeth Smithson, later the 1st Duchess of Northumberland in a letter to her mother Lady Hertford (later Duchess of Somerset) which is dated August 8th, 1740, in which she notes ‘between the windows (in Sir Hugh Smithson's dressing room at Stanwick) stands covered with a marble a 'French' set of drawers in mahogany much ornamented with brass gilt’. The architectural form of this bookcase, and that is what was originally conceived as part of the fittings of the room, is in accordance with the new concept of the use of bookcases to enhance the architectural decoration of a room which emerged in the mid-1730s. Typical of William Kent’s interiors and his schemes where he is evident as the complete architect. Prior to this date bookcases would have been considered secondary to the room scheme and purely pragmatic. Indeed, the library created for Queen Caroline at St. James's Palace circa 1735, if one agrees with the date on the design in the Soane Museum, now demolished but recorded by W.H. Pyne in his watercolours of The Royal Residences in 1819 and retained in the British Library, shows a rather drab room, with plain, unadorned bookcases projecting, perpendicular to the walls, into the room. Kent, having travelled in Rome with Lord Leicester and admired the vaulted ceilings they discovered on their travels, created library schemes in grand, cove-ceilinged rooms with projecting ‘free-standing bookcases’, carved with architectural details to match their surroundings and painted in the colours of the walls, the carved decorative motifs enhanced with parcel-gilding to match the architectural mouldings of the room. This is evident in Kent’s design for the Library at Holkham Hall, Norfolk, ( fig.2), for 1st Earl Leicester which shows similarly proportioned bookcases to the current lot, fitted as part of the overall scheme of the room, see J. Cornforth, Early Georgian Interiors, Yale, 2004, pp. 313-316. The Library designed by Kent for the 3rd Duke of Devonshire at Devonshire House, Piccadilly, was formed almost simultaneously with that at Holkham and again incorporated a range of bookcases similarly proportioned to the current lot, but again painted, and not in mahogany, a number of which were sold Chatsworth: The Attic Sale, Sotheby’s house sale,  5-7 October 2010, lots 105-107. That the current bookcase was conceived in mahogany unlike the full library schemes, suggests that this was for a more intimate setting and would have conformed with the commode in the same room. In considering an attribution to a maker of this bookcase, the most likely candidates would appear to be those cabinet-makers most closely associated with the Burlington-Kent circle, namely John Boson and Benjamin Goodison. The lives and work of Goodison and Boson were undoubtedly interlinked. They both shared many patrons and were working at precisely the same time. Goodison most probably succeeded into Royal service upon the death of James Moore circa 1727, having been Moore's apprentice since 1719. Boson first appears in records working as a carver on St. George's Bloomsbury in the 1720s, undertaking his first domestic work at 4 St. James's Square in 1725. While Goodison's name is most closely linked to much 'Kentian' furniture, it is probably due to John Boson's premature death in 1743 that the latter has not received the credit he perhaps deserves. Both men were associated with the Royal Household and are noted as having received payments from the Royal Wardrobe, along with William Kent and others, in the late 1730s for work undertaken for Frederick, Prince of Wales at both Hampton Court and Kew Palace. Boson is closely associated with the furniture supplied to 3rd Duke of Devonshire for Devonshire House and Lord Burlington whilst there are recorded payments to Goodison from Lord Leicester. To differentiate between the work of these two cabinet-makers without firm records of their work is difficult but it is most probable that William Kent, as architect and designer, remains the significant core figure and responsible for many of the designs.

  • GBRUnited Kingdom
  • 2014-07-09
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Withdrawal

Mirror

This remarkable amber and ivory mirror is a rare example of the virtuoso craftsmanship for which Danzig (modern day Gdansk) was celebrated during the late 17th and early 18th centuries. Its high quality and impressive scale indicate that it was made by a master amber carver, whilst its style and conception date it to the last decades of the 17th century. Amber, known at the time as ‘Baltic gold,’ was a valuable commodity with a limited supply during the Baroque period. It was consequently used only for expensive luxury objects, which were the preserve of the wealthiest European princes and nobles. Given the fragility of this fossilized organic material, very few such objects survive. Worked ambers were frequently exchanged as diplomatic gifts, the most notable example being the the famous Amber Room, gifted to Peter the Great, Tsar of Russia, by the Prussian King, Frederick William I, and tragically lost during World War Two. The present mirror is an unusual example of an amber object probably being commissioned as a wedding gift. The marriage scene on the reverse is likely to be a double portrait, and appears to commemorate the union of two wealthy individuals. The Northumberland Mirror: Style and Technique The Northumberland Mirror finds no clear precedent or parallel. The only comparable Danzig mirror of this scale is dated a little earlier, to the middle years of the 17th century (Laue, op. cit., no. 40). It is similar in overall form, but, unlike the present object, has a handle and so is clearly intended to be a hand mirror. Moreover, it is interesting to note that amber takes a dominent role over the decorative ivory reliefs, whereas in the present mirror ivory is equally as important in achieving the overall aesthetic effect. Like the present object, however, this earlier mirror incorporates ivory panels with intricate openwork foliate decoration, a hallmark of Danzig amber work from the period. Very similar intricate panels with flowing Baroque foliate decoration are seen in the extraordinary Weld Blundell Cabinet in the Walker Art Gallery, Liverpool, which dates to between circa 1700 and 1720 (Laue, 2001, op. cit., no. 6). With their prominent open flowers, these are very close to the two foliate panels flanking the mirrored glass in the present object. Note also the faceted amber orbs surmounting the cabinet, which are similar to those forming the stem of the present mirror, and are found on other late 17th- and early 18th-century ambers. In both objects, all of this amber and ivory decoration is built up around a wood core. This approach was one of the key innovations made by Danzig carvers, distinguishing their work from earlier Königsberg ambers which often lacked such a structure. One of the more unusual characteristics of the decoration governing the Northumberland Mirror are the isolated open flowers (analagous in form to the Tudor Rose) surrounding the glass panel. Near-identical flowers, but of white amber rather than ivory, are a feature of a Danzig or Copenhagen casket dating to circa 1690 in Rosenborg Castle, Copenhagen (Bencard, op. cit., p. 23, fig. 4). The caryatids with their serpentine tails are reminiscent of the scaly beasts, which appear in the work of Christoph Maucher (1642-1706). Operating in Danzig for much of his early career, Maucher went on to become one of the leading German ivory and amber carvers of the 17th century. Compare, for example, with his equestrian sea creatures adorning the base of his amber casket in the Schlossmuseum, Malbork, dating to around 1690 (Ehmer, op. cit., pp. 101-103, no. B II 9). Note also the borders with flame-like finials, which are close to that surmounting the stem of the Northumberland Mirror. The figures in the marriage scene adorning the reverse of the mirror are stylistically close to representations of people in contemporary dress by other members of the Maucher family. Compare with the hunter wearing an analagous frock-coat, stockings and healed shoes in an ivory relief by Michael Maucher on a rifle in the Bayerisches Nationalmuseum (inv. no. W 631). In terms of the overall conception of the present mirror, the design is similar to those of amber house altars, which were made in Danzig from the middle of the 17th century onwards. What is essentially an octagonal framing composition (for the mirror itself) is reminiscent of the elaborate 17th-century Danzig amber altar acquired by the Medici and now in the Museo degli Argenti, Florence (inv. no. Bg. 1917 no. 91). Note also the similar openwork ivory reliefs with vegetal motifs flanking the central devotional image, and the octagonal amber base, which is close to the present mirror with its decagon foot. However, the most important comparison is with an amber reliquary from the workshop of Michel Redin, dating to around 1680, in the Schlossmuseum, Malbork. Note the similarly conceived octagonal foot, supported by little reclining amber lions, which recall their ivory equivalents adorning the Northumberland mirror. One final observation should be made about the ivory figure of Orpheus, who surmounts the mirror, playing the lyre and flanked by hunting dogs. He is reminiscent of groups by Jacob Dobbermann adorning an ivory cabinet made in collaboration with Gottfried Turau in Danzig around 1716, today in a private collection (Laue, 2001, op. cit., no. 3). The central figure of Diana, who is likewise turned in profile, serves a similar function as Orpheus, whilst her hounds are similarly presented in differing poses, with angled heads. The present figure of Orpheus, in its gentle classicising idealisation, is close to carvings by Dobbermann and his followers: see the relief with Adonis from the Reiner Winkler collection thought by Theuerkauff to originate from Dobbermann's circle (Theuerkauff, op. cit., pp. 36-37, no. 11). Jacob Dobbermann, who was born in Danzig, probably came from a family of amber carvers; he went on to become one of the foremost German ivory sculptors in the first half of the 18th century. Gottfried Turau, who was likewise a native of Danzig, is renowned for his work on the Amber Room. The stylistic similarities between the ivories adorning the present mirror and Dobberman and Turau's work, might possibly indicate therefore that it was made close to the turn of the 18th century. It is also interesting to note that there are two ivories by Dobbermann in the Northumberland collection, which may have been acquired from the same source. The History of Amber in Europe Amber has, throughout history, been considered a precious material. The 1st-century poet Ovid, in his epic poem, Metamorphoses, tells of the story of Phaethon, son of Helios, the sun-god (often conflated with Apollo), who persuades his father to permit him to drive his chariot across the skies as a test of his paternity. Inexperienced and therefore unable to control the powerful chariot, he releases the reigns, is shot down by Jupiter’s thunderbolt and falls in flames to his death in the River Eridanus. His sisters, the Heliades, metamorphosed into poplars as they wept, their tears turning into drops of amber. The importance of amber in Western culture is evident even before Ovid’s poetic description of its genesis. One of the earliest recorded references to the material is made by Homer, who describes the Palace of Menelaus as ‘flashing with gold and amber’ (Williamson, op. cit. pp. 26-7); a reference that underscores the status of amber as a luxury material from earliest times. During the Medieval period, as trade opened up, the lands around modern day Königsberg and Gdansk (or Danzig) established themselves as the principal exporters of amber in Europe; though still rare, the material was periodically washed up in small quantities on beaches, and a rich seam was later discovered in the earth. From the 13th to the 15th centuries the supply of amber from the Baltic was strictly controlled by the ruling Teutonic Order. The Order, who coveted their monopoly, exported amber to Lübeck and Bruges, where it was used principally in the production of rosaries. When, in 1525, the Grand Master of the Order, Albrecht of Hohenzollern, converted to Lutheranism and became Duke of Prussia, the art of amber working flourished as demand for secular courtly objects increased. Königsberg, the seat of the Prussian Court, became the leading centre for the production of amber works of art, until it was overtaken by Danzig towards the middle of the 17th century. The final flourishing of amber production came with Peter the Great’s lost Amber Room, created and remodelled in the first decades of the 18th century. Objects composed of amber were particularly prized by 17th- and 18th-century nobles for the rarity of their material and its natural properties. Finely worked amber caskets, games boards, cups and other objets d’arts were exchanged as diplomatic gifts and could be found in the Kunstkammern of the wealthiest and most learned rulers and merchants in Europe, including those of the Holy Roman Emperor Rudolf II and Frederick II, King of Denmark. The Provenance It is unsurprising that an important amber such as the present mirror entered the collections of the Dukes of Northumberland. The precise date it was acquired, however, remains unknown. What is clear is that it was probably in Northumberland House by 1786, given the reference (transcribed above) to an amber and ivory object in the 1786 inventory. Given the likely date and origin of the object, it is possible that the mirror was acquired by Charles Seymour, 6th Duke of Somerset (1662-1748), or, more likely, his son Algernon, 7th Duke of Somerset (1684-1750), who travelled extensively throughout Europe during the War of the Spanish Succession, in which Britain was allied with the German states of Prussia, Hanover and Austria. As with amber objects throughout history, the present mirror may have been given as a gift, potentially a diplomatic one. The mirror would certainly have been of great interest to the 1st Duchess of Northumberland, who amassed a matchless collection of natural and artificial curiosities and housed them in her 'Museum Room' at Northumberland House. Indeed it appears that the present amber object was displayed in this very room at the time of the 1786 Northumberland House inventory discussed above. The Northumberland Mirror is one of the rarest amber objects to have come onto the market in recent years. Distinguished by its noble provenance, it finds no clear parallel. In terms of style, technique and quality, it should arguably be viewed against the backdrop of the Amber Room, the most celebrated amber ensemble to have been produced by Danzig craftsmen around 1700. RELATED LITERATURE G. C. Williamson, The Book of Amber, London, 1932, pp. 26-44; C. Theuerkauff, Elfenbein. Sammlung Reiner Winkler, Munich, 1984, pp. 36 and 37, no. 11; M. Trusted, Catalogue of European Ambers in the Victoria and Albert Museum London, 1985; M. Bencard, 'Märchenhafte Steine aus den Meer: Die Bernsteinsammlung der Kunstkammer in Schloss Rosenborg, Kopenhagen, Kunst & Antiquitäten, VI/1987, pp. 23, fig. 4; A. Ehmer, Die Macher. Eine Kunsthandwerkerfamilie des 17. Jahrhunderts aus Schwäbisch Gmünd, Schwäbisch Gmünd, 1992, pp. 101-103, no. B119; G. Laue, Der Bernsteinschrank. The Amber Casket, Munich, 2001, pp. 25-37, nos. 3, 6 and 26; W. Seipel, Bernstein für Thron und Altar. Das Gold des Meeres in fürstlichen Kunst- und Schatzkammern, exhib. cat. Kunsthistorisches Museum, Vienna, 2005; G. Laue, Bernstein. Kostbarkeiten Europäischer Kunstkammern. Amber. Treasuries for European Kunstkammer, Munich, 2006, pp. 166-167, no. 40

  • GBRUnited Kingdom
  • 2014-07-09
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Relief with Diana the Huntress

The present relief is part of a group of terracottas which record Artus Quellinus’ great sculptural programme for the Amsterdam Town Hall, once referred to as the eighth wonder of the world and now known as the Royal Palace on the Dam. Over the course of fifteen years starting in 1650, Artus Quellinus I worked alongside Jacob van Campen on the Town Hall, creating one of the grandest buildings in Europe. The central hall, the most beautiful room in the Netherlands, and its adjacent corridors, were decorated with an iconographical scheme that reflected the force and intellectual prowess of the City of Amsterdam. Alongside Van Campen and Quellinus, painters like Rembrandt and Ferdinand Bol provided decorations for the space, deliberately creating a room in which the arts were unified. The series of marble reliefs of classical gods, in which the present composition also features, is amongst the most beautiful parts of the sceme. In addition to Quellinus' marble in the Amsterdam Town Hall there seem to be three terracotta versions of the present relief: one in the Rijksmuseum and illustrated by Leeuwenberg (op.cit., no. 290), one from a private collection, which was exhibited in Beeldhouwkunst in de Eeuw van Rubens (op.cit., no. 106) and later sold by Nystad Antiquairs, and the present relief, which was also acquired from Nystad. The three versions differ in details. The Leonhardt relief is larger than the other two terracottas and therefore more closely approaches the size of the marble. The inside of the frame of the present relief is close to the other Nystad version, being more elaborate than the Rijksmuseum terracotta. The figure is placed further back on the base in both the marble and the other Nystad relief. The deer's antler, in turn, is identical to the Rijksmuseum relief, but less branched than the other two. The differences between the reliefs suggest that they were part of the artistic process of designing the marbles, or were alternatively perhaps practice pieces or commissioned mementos from the workshop of Quellinus. The relief of Mars, which was exhibited alongside one of the other Dianas in Beeldhouwkunst in de Eeuw van Rubens (no. 107) has similar dimensions as the Leonhardt relief. RELATED LITERATURE J. Leeuwenberg and W. Halsema-Kubes, Beeldhouwkunst in het Rijksmuseum, cat. Rijksmuseum Amsterdam, The Hague, 1973, pp. 223-224, no. 290; R. de Roo and Ph. Roberts-Jones (eds.), Beeldhouwkunst in de Eeuw van Rubens, exh. cat. Museum voor Oude Kunst, Brussels, 1977, pp. 144-146, nos. 106-107; F. Scholten, Artus Quellinus. Sculptor of Amsterdam, Amsterdam, 2010

  • GBRUnited Kingdom
  • 2014-04-29
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A pair of meissen figures of bitterns circa 1750

Modelled by J. J. Kändler, each standing with head turned facing to the left or right, their plumage finely detailed in tones of brown and black, standing before reeds on a grassy mound base, crossed swords marks in underglaze-blue (some restoration) In March 1735, Kändler created a figure of a bittern for the Japanese Palace as follows : '11. Ein Balläis (Japanisches Palais) Stück den Vogel Rohr Tummel (Rohrdommel) genannt ist in seiner größe dem Fisch Reiher gleich, und Wegen seines starck befederten Halßes und andern an sich habenden Eigen schafften wunderlich anzusehen, Ist vorgestellet Wie er im Schilffe Rohr, Binsen und Graß Wie es in Teigen zu Wachsen pfleget sitzet.' [A Japanese Palace piece called a bittern, as big as a heron, and because of its heavily plumed neck and other intrinsic characteristics, it is a marvel to behold, the bittern is presented set in the bulrushes, reeds and grasses, as cultivated to grow in the wetland.]. For an example of this pair, see den Blaauwen (2000), fig. 299.  The present examples, however, are smaller than the above-mentioned model and have considerable variations in the appearance of the birds and the reeds on the base. No records have been found as yet, but Carl Albiker dates this model around 1753 on the basis of the model number 2015; see Albiker (1959), p.15 and plate 90. Abraham den Blaauwen illustrates the pair of the Rijksmuseum and notes that this argument is "highly unreliable because their sequence is by no means always chronological. Yet a date in the middle of the 18th century seems plausible in view of their greater elegance when compared with the early birds" ; see den Blaauwen (2000), fig. 302. The author also lists the other examples known which number around eleven, including the present example, a pair sold in the Rockefeller sale, Sotheby's New York, 2005, lot 200, and a single model sold in the Safra sale, Sotheby's New York, 2011, lot 762. In addition, single examples are in the museum collections at Dresden, Frankfurt, New York (Metropolitan Museum of Art) and a pair mounted in ormolu are in the Huntington Library, San Marino.

  • GBRUnited Kingdom
  • 2013-05-01
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A south german brass- and pewter-inlaid ebony-veneered converted games

Previously converted into a table top, the hinges removed, on additional support; together with two sets of German ivory figural draughtsmen, the black knight lacking, and two sets of Nuremberg stained and ebonized wood draughtsmen, late 17th century, several of the wood gamespieces with the initials P.H.M. and all impressed with subjects by Philip Heinrich Muller (1650-1718); together with Selenus, Gustavus [i.e. Augustus II, Duke of Brunswick-Luneburg]. Das Schach-oder König-Spiel. Leipzig: Lorentz Kober, 1616-1617. Small folio (11 x 7 3/8 in; 280 x 187 mm). Engraved title border, 5 engraved section titles, folding table, 3 engraved folding plates, 81 text engravings (some full-page); lower outer third of engraved title torn away, some browning and dampstaining throughout. Contemporary vellum with two elaborate brass bosses  of two putti supporting a crown added at a later date; upper cover detached, backstrip loose, one boss detached. The design of the board is typical of that found on inlaid cabinet pieces from Paris, Munich and Vienna made in the latter part of the 17th and early 18th centuries. The circular wood gamespieces were made after designs by Philipp Heinrich Müller (1650-1718) of Nuremberg around 1700-1720. The ivory chessmen are also probably South German and were carved in the18th century. See Seipel (op. cit.) for related gamespieces. The accompanying book is the first edition of a classic illustrated book on chess. Duke August of Brunswick-Luneburg, founder of the great library at Wolfenbüttel, was a noted chess player and the game became very popular with European noblemen. The book includes pages (pasted to the inside of the covers) from the 1866 offering of the gamesboard in which a lengthy, noble provenance is suggested.

  • USAUSA
  • 2012-10-26
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A micromosaic and marble topped, gilt-bronze and patinated-bronze

The circular top centred by a rectangular tablet tesseraed in piccolo and depicting the Rape of Europa, upon a white ground with foliate arabesques urns to each side emblematic of the Four Seasons within an ivy and entwined ribbon border and a gilt-bronze frieze above a gilt-bronze and patinated-bronze base of anthenienne form with caryatids and stylized acanthus united by a concave collar above a triform base centred by a foliate rosette Comparative Literature: Charles Truman, The Gilbert Collection of Gold Boxes, Los Angeles, 1991, pp. 126 and 127. Alvar Gonzales-Palacios, The Art of Mosaics', Los Angeles, 1982, nos. 37 and 38. Giuseppe Antonio Guattani, Memoriae Enciclopediche sule antichita e belle arti di Roma, 1806, Vol. IV, P.157. Baron Charles Dupin, Exposition Universelle de 1851: Travaux de la Commission francaise sur l'industrie des nations, 1854, p. 187. Françoise de Bernardy, Stéphanie de Beauharnais, fille adoptive de Napoléon et grande-duchesse de Bade, Paris 1977. Exhibition Catalogue, Stephanie Napoleon. Großherzogin von Baden. 1789-1860, Badisches Landesmuseum Karlsruhe, Karlsruhe 1989, pp. 132, 149, 151-154. The micromosaic top This extremely well preserved and inventive mosaic top can firmly be attributed to Antonio Aguatti, one of the most celebrated Roman mosaicists, who signed a related mosaic tablet with Cupid-driven chariot that was later set into a Parisian snuff-box circa 1810 (See Truman, op. cit., pp. 126 and 127). Aguatti also signed a table top displaying a Cupid-driven chariot, which is now in the Hermitage (See Gonzales-Palacios, op. cit., nos. 37 and 38). A table with a virtually identical micromosaic top also attributed to Antonio Aguatti although on a less elaborate and later base, was sold Christie's London, 21st March 2002, lot 265. Another table with the same micromosaic top also attributed to Aguatti, but featuring Fidelity's triumph to its center and on a less complex wooden base, was sold Christie's, London, 11 June 1998, lot 60. The central mosaic on the present table top, featuring the rape of Europe, as well as the central panel on the Hermitage table top, featuring a Cupid-driven chariot, are taken from the gouache paintings of the eighteenth century Italian artist Michelangelo Maestri. (d. 1812). Maestri credits his images to Giulio Romano's (1499-1546) Renaissance frescoes after the antique, originally in the Salon of Villa Lante and now in the Palazzo Zuccari. A gouache by Maestri, (sold at Sotheby's New York, 18 April 2008, lot 224) is a match for the central image on the table currently offered (see fig. 1). Antonio Aguatti (d. 1846) A member of the dynasty of highly successful mosaicists, Antonio Aguatti (or Aquatti) was noted as being one of the most distinguished micromosaic artists of his era. The first historical mention of him is a citation of 1806 which lists his atelier among only fourteen others in Rome specializing in "mosaico in piccolo". He was laready a master at this date, and had been working in the field of mosaics since the late 18th century, see Guattani, op. cit., p.157). A brilliant artisan, Aguatti's genius was further manifested at an early date by the development of technical innovations which transformed the art of micromosaics. He invented shaped and curved tesserae, refinements that enabled him to reproduce natural textures such as hair, fur, grass and foliage; he made significant improvements in coloration by developing individual tesserae combining multiple hues. These new techniques and materials are all found in the present mosaic, and represent a transition from the neoclassicism of the 18th century to the emerging romanticism of the 19th century. Aguatti is believed to have received his training in the workshop of Cesare Aguatti, one of the most distinguished mosaicists of the second half of the eighteenth century. Antonio Aguatti's skill at depicting animals may have evolved from Cesare Aguatti's mosaics of colorful creatures, such as those of 1784-1785 in the Borghese Palace. Aguatti's studio was located at 96 Piazza di Spagna, an area where mosaic workshops were to proliferate as the nineteenth century progressed and a growing tourist class created a demand for micromosaic souvenirs. His atelier produced a broad spectrum of micromosaic objects. Baron Charles Dupin, President of the French Jury sent to London's 1851 Exhibition of the Works of Industry of All Nations, wrote in his report: "From 1810 there were already in Rome twenty mosaicists in miniature: Antonio Aguatti was the most celebrated; he was the master of all the mosaicists engaged in the same industry today." (See Baron Charles Dupin, op. cit., p. 187.) In 1810, during the French occupation of Rome under Napoleon I, A guatti was awarded a price for miniature mosaics at the first Capitoline Exhibition of 'Roman Works of Art and Industry', held at the Campidoglio. After decades of success, Aguatti entered the employment of the Papal Treasury in 1829, and, from 1832 until his death in 1846 he was professor of miniature mosaics at the Vatican Mosaic Workshop. Today, Aguatti's micromosaics can be found in museums worldwide including the Museo Napoleonico in Rome, the Gilbert Collection at the Victoria and Albert Museum, the British Museum and the Hermitage Museum. Despite his prolific output, relatively few signed pieces by Aguatti are known. Sometimes he signed in tesserae on the lower border, other times he signed only one plaque on the back. Napoleon and Roman micromosaics Napoleon and his wife Josephine were avid collectors of micromosaic works of art. It was Pope Pius VII who presented Napoleon with a pair of vases with micromosaic frieze along with a micromosaic-decorated clock as gifts on the occasion of his coronation in Paris in 1804. They were later in Empress Josephine's collection at the Chateau de Malmaison near Paris and are today part of the Gilbert in the Victoria & Albert Museum, London. Following the Napoleonic occupation of Rome in 1808 – 1814, the Vatican Workshops were removed from the jurisdiction of the "Fabbrica di S Pietro" and became directly responsible to the Imperial Crown as the "Studio Imperiale del Mosaico" and were commissioned to furnish Napoleon's apartments at the Palazzo Quirinale in Rome. It is known that the emperor gave micromosaics as presentation gifts to heads of state, as well as to family members and other notable figures. The bronze base by Alexander Guerin The design combined with the superb and beautifully chased quality of the present guéridon base compare best to the features of Alexander Guerin's manufacture in St. Petersburg from 1805 to 1840. He produced various commissions for the Tsar's Court. Together with I. Dinper and Andrei Schreiber, they were the three most prominent gilt-bronze makers in St. Petersburg at the time. Guerin's early works were very much based upon French models, but quickly he established his own style. It is interesting to note that Guerin supplied Maximilian de Beauharnais, 3rd Duke of Leuchtenberg (1817-1852) with bronze works for his appartment in the Winter Palace in St. Petersburg. Maximilian was the son of Eugène de Beauharnais (1781-1824) and thus the grandson of Empress Joséphine (1763-1814). The Duke most likely received the present micromosaic top as a gift himself and subsequently commissioned Guerin to mount it on this exquisite base, before he presented it to his aunt Stéphanie de Beauharnais, Grand Duchess of Baden. Stéphanie de Beauharnais, Grand-Duchess of Baden (1784-1860) - Napoleon's adopted daughter The offered guéridon together with following four monumental candelabra (lot 38) almost certainly belonged originally to Stéphanie de Beauharnais, Grand Duchess of Baden and have remained with her descendants ever since. Stéphanie-Louise-Adrienne de Beauharnais was a distant niece of Empress Josephine's first (guillotined) husband. As his prominence and wealth continued to rise, Napoléon found himself being de facto patron to both the Bonaparte and the de Beauharnais families. As a prominent member of the new Imperial Family, Stéphanie held residence in the Tuileries Palace. Her new status allowed her to live a rather luxurious life. Stéphanie would soon  play a crucial role in Napoleon's effort to secure an alliance with the Prince-elector of Baden. The alliance was to be secured through a marriage between the descendants of the two sovereigns, connecting the two dynasties. The Prince-Elector was to be represented by his grandson, Hereditary Prince Charles of Baden. Napoleon on the other hand lacked legitimate descendants of his own. When he therefore planned to marry off Stéphanie to Charles, the Margravine of Baden complained 'If at least she was of your blood'. Napoléon famously replied "Eh bien, je l'adopte!" and instantly adopted Stéphanie in order to satisfy the future mother-in-law. Thus Stéphanie de Beauharnais became a Princesse française with the qualification of Imperial Highness. The marriage took place in Paris on April 8, 1806. On July 25, 1806 her new grandfather-in-law was named Karl Friedrich, Grand Duke of Baden. He would serve as head to the Confederation of the Rhine. Charles and Stéphanie had a dreary marriage. The prince was a dull man who could not be lured away from the debauchery of his youth by an unwanted wife, and she found life in Baden unspeakably boring after her experience in the imperial household. She knew Percier and Fontaine's dernier cri at Malmaison and the Tuileries and found nothing comparable in Karlsruhe. Stéphanie was able to return to Paris several times, and she traveled to see Napoléon and Josephine whenever they passed through Germany. After the death of the old Grand Duke in 1811, Charles and Stéphanie became Grande Duke and Grand Duchess. Stéphanie subsequently instructed the court architects Friedrich Weinbrenner (1766-1826) and Jakob Friedrich Dyckerhoff (1774-1845) to re-decorate the palaces of Karlsruhe and Mannheim in the Empire style. Dyckerhoff even went on a study trip to Paris in order to familiarize himself with the new style. Many furnishings and especially gilt-bronze works such as candelabra and clocks were ordered directly in Paris. The Grand Duke died on December 8, 1818. Stephanie remained a widow for the rest of her long life. She was reportedly a devoted mother to her three daughters and her residence in Mannheim became a popular Salon for artists and intellectuals. Stephanie died in Nice, France at the age of 71, in 1860, 41 years after her husband.

  • GBRUnited Kingdom
  • 2012-07-04
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An italian gilt-bronze-mounted pietre dure and ebony frame, galleria

The ebony frame centred on all four sides by gilt-bronze foliage interspersed with hardstones, the corners with gilt-bronze 'C' scrolls and foliage; now mounted as a mirror Text by Alvar González-Palacios: There are only two other known frames with pietre dure ornament from the Galleria dei Lavori in Florence. One is in the Museo Civico in Turin and contains an older pietre dure plaque of a landscape. The second was made for the wedding of Giangastone de' Medici in 1697 and is in the Palazzo Pitti in Florence  Frames of this kind were clearly rarely made given the challenge of combining the subject matter of a picture with such elaborate multi-coloured embellishment. The large frame made for Giangastone, which is a masterpiece of the grand-ducal workshops, features some of the same decorative solutions as those used for the frame illustrated here, including the scrolls that define the corners and the compositions of fruit and leaves tethered by cloth bands, see fig. 1. These ornamental motifs are entirely characteristic of the style of Giovanni Battista Foggini who was the head of the Grand Duke's workshops at this time.  Similar ideas can be found in other designs by him, where two large scrolls flank the figure of a 'Y' or a stylised tuft.  Many objects made by the Galleria dei Lavori under Foggini's directorship, feature the decorative solutions devised by him, amongst them the supports for the three famous reliquaries in the Basilica of San Lorenzo (those of Santa Maria Egiziaca, San Sebastiano and the patronal saint of the Basilica, San Lorenzo).  Even the decorative ornament on the famous Elector's Cabinet at Palazzo Pitti includes two large scrolls pinched together in the lower part of the cabinet.  The same motif is more in evidence, this time embellished with pietre dure and bronze, in the Electress Palatine's prie dieu of 1706, see fig. 2.  Even in the inlaid doors at Palazzo Pitti, made by the French ébéniste Riccardo Bruni, but designed by Foggini, a similar composition appears. The two leafy scrolls on the frame shown here provide the most important gilt-bronze ornament on the object. The dominant style in Florence in this period, as expressed in the works made in the Galleria dei Lavori, is characterised by the sinuous movement of the scrolling, foliage and flowers of its ornament, in which the  darkness of the ebony, the glitter of the gilt-bronze and the many colours of the pietre dure are the constant elements. It is a style that does not appear to change very much between the late seventeenth century and the last years of Grand Duke Giangastone who died in 1737. The frame shown here is wonderfully representative of this stylistic thread which appears distilled to its essentials at this smaller scale, thereby achieving a restrained elegance.

  • GBRUnited Kingdom
  • 2012-07-04
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An Important George I Burr and Figured Walnut Desk-and-Bookcase, circa 1725

An Important George I Burr and Figured Walnut Desk-and-Bookcase Circa 1725, In three parts, and finely veneered overall in richly figured burr walnut with fine line inlays, the upper section with molded arched cornice centered by a lozenge-shaped molding enclosing a beveled mirror plate above two arched doors with beveled mirror plates opening to an interior fitted with two small arched fall-front cupboards above two shallow cavetto-fronted drawers over arched pigeon holes flanking drawers with niches mounted with carved giltwood allegorical figures of Justice and Mars and further flanked by deep drawers above a pair of concave doors enclosing a cupboard with double-arched secret drawer and a shelf, flanked by two spring-loaded document drawers with sliding panels and concealed within engaged half-round pilasters headed by Corinthian capitals and with small drawers and folio slides above a further arrangement of ogee-arched pigeon holes above a concave drawer and flanked by small and long drawers, all over two candle slides, the middle section with a fall fitted with a book rest and opening to an interior fitted an arrangement of twelve long and short small drawers centering concealed leather book spine-fronted document drawers and a small cupboard above a sliding panel and a leather-lined writing surface, the bottom section fitted with two short and two long graduated drawers, raised on bracket feet.  Restored, one drawer with illegible chalk inscription. Walnut Height 8 ft. 10 in.; width 41 1/2 in.; depth 23 3/4 in. 269.2 cm; 105.4 cm; 60.3 cm

  • USAUSA
  • 2010-06-08
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Cabinet, 1905

Executed by the Wiener Werkstätte and silversmith Eugen Pflaumer, Viennapainted beech, silver, lapis lazuli Stamped WW / head of Diana / rosemark / silversmith's and designer's monograms KM / EPkey and lock stamped with the rosemark Josef Hoffmann and Koloman Moser were commissioned by Karl Wittgenstein to furnish various interiors for his daughter’s new Berlin residence on the occasion of her marriage to Dr Jerome Stonborough in 1882. All works for the home were completed by April of 1905.  Single door cupboards with silver inlay were designed for the bedroom of Jerome and Margaret Stonborough, as well as the guest room.  Additionally, this model cabinet was incorporated in the scheme for the Purkersdorf Sanatorium, but in these examples the cabinet contained a variation on the silver panel motif as well as ball feet with integrated castors.  The form is wonderfully modern in design and precise in construction.  Stressing a vertical, elongated form, the cabinet is distinguished by four lacquered posts which radiate the full length of the piece, disguising any obvious signs of corner joinery or supports.  This verticality is further enhanced with the rectangular silver panel, which draws the eye upward and is further embellished with patterning on the female figure's garment and smaller rectangular lapis lazuli inlay.  Chamfered side panels add an additional, yet subtle element of creativity and elegance to the design.

  • USAUSA
  • 2016-02-24
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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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