A pair of Louis XVI ormolu and patinated-bronze three-branch candelabra , circa 1780, attributed to François Rémond, almost certainly supplied by Dominique Daguerre, , the bronzes after the model by Etienne Maurice Falconet. Estimate $80,000 - $120,000. photo Image 2009 Christie's Ltd
NEW YORK, NY.- Christie’s announced the sale of 500 Years: Decorative Arts Europe on November 24, which will include over 450 treasures from the 16th to the 19th centuries. With a range of estimates, the sale offers superb private and institutional collections such as carpets from the Corcoran Gallery of Art and one-of-a-kind examples of European and English furniture, ceramics, and decorative works of art showcasing the variety and the range of styles from the scholarly to the exotic.
Carpets from the Corcoran Gallery of Art
Prominently featured in the sale is the largest group of classical Isfahan carpets to emerge on the auction market in recent history. An outstanding collection of 15 carpets from the Corcoran Gallery of Art, as bequeathed by Senator William Andrews Clark of Montana (1839-1925) includes some of the most intricate and luxurious pieces that fully encompass the highest quality of Persian carpet weaving. Throughout the late 19th and early 20th centuries, Senator Clark assembled a great collection of oriental rugs of Safavid weaving. These finely crafted and well-preserved carpets adorned his legendary 5th Avenue mansion, and are widely published and exhibited for their historical importance. The collection includes a group that illustrates the pinnacle of Safavid carpet weaving during the reign of Shah Abbas from 1587-1629, such as a 17th century Isfahan carpet from Central Persia (estimate: $80,000-120,000) as well as ornate carpets, including one rare Polonaise rug, circa 1600 (estimate: $15,000-25,000).
An Isfahan carpet, Central Persia, 17th Century. photo Image 2009 Christie's Ltd
Approximately 22 ft. 5 in. (683 cm.) x 9 ft. 8 in. (295 cm.) Est. $80,000 - $120,000
Property from the Corcoran Gallery of Art to Benefit the Acquisition Fund
Provenance: William A. Clark, New York.
Literature: Illustrated Handbook of The W.A. Clark Collection, Washington, D.C., 1928, p. 77.
'Carpets for the Great Shah', The Corcoran Gallery of Art Bulletin, Vol 2, No. 1, October 1948, p. 15, no. P14., ill. V.
Notes: The bracket leaf border of this lot is beautifully executed on a deep emerald ground. The large scale and spaciousness of the border seems to contain the energy exerted by the intricate field. The colors and field here are closely related to those of lots 129 and 205 all having similar formats and design elements such as the multitude of blossoms, dual colored arched leaves, dark vinery, and occasional cloud band. Given their similar fields and that they all employ variations of bracket leaf borders it is likely that they were produced in the same workshop.
This carpet occupied the Long Gallery on the first floor of the Clark residence in New York City.
A silk polonaise rug, Isfahan, Central Persia, Circa 1600. photo Image 2009 Christie's Ltd
Approximately 6 ft. 7 in. (201 cm.) x 4 ft. 9 in. (145 cm.) Est. $15,000 - $25,000
Property from the Corcoran Gallery of Art to Benefit the Acquisition Fund
Provenance: Madame L. Camille Delong, Paris.
Brayton C. Ives, New York.
William A. Clark, New York.
Literature: W.R. Valentiner, Exhibition catalogue, Loan Exhibition of Early Oriental Rugs, New York, The Metropolitan Museum of Art, 1910, p. 43, no. 34.
Illustrated Handbook of The W.A. Clark Collection, Washington, D.C., 1928, p. 77.
'Carpets for the Great Shah', The Corcoran Gallery of Art Bulletin, Vol 2, No. 1, October 1948, p. 23, no. P34.
F.K. Spuhler, Seidene Repräsentationsteppiche der Mittleren bis Späten Safawidenzeit, Berlin, 1968, p. 200, no. 102.
R. Ettinghausen, 'Oriental Carpets in the Clark Collection', The William A. Clark Collection, Washington, D.C., 1978, p. 85.
Exhibited: New York, The Metropolitan Museum of Art, Loan Exhibition of Early Oriental Rugs, November 1910-January 1911, no. 34.
Washington D.C., The Corcoran Gallery of Art, Carpets for the Great Shah, 3 October-16 November, 1948, no. P34.
Notes: Carpets belonging to the 'Polonaise' group generally exhibit light and soft field colors woven in silk and sometimes with gold and silver metal thread highlights. They acquired the name 'Polonaise' as the first identified group were found in the collection of Count Czartoryski of Poland and their prevalence in his collection, as well as the presence of his family's coat of arms on the rugs, led some scholars to believe they were Polish, rather than Persian. In fact, Polonaise rugs are found throughout Europe not because they were woven there, but because they were presented by Shah Abbas and his court to foreign nobility as diplomatic gifts. Although it is now accepted as fact that these rugs were woven in Persia, the term 'Polonaise' is still used. This example demonstrates an intricacy in design and color that can only be achieved through the use of silk threads.
Further highlights from other collections include a Mohtasham Kashan carpet, Central Persia, late 19th century (estimate: $80,000-120,000), an excellent example of design and color from the Mohtasham family workshops; a Kazak rug, South Caucasus, dated 1833 (estimate: $30,000-50,000), with a rare border example of a part panel format enclosing a beetle or shield device; and a Kurdish rug, Northwest Persia, 18th century (estimate: $3,000-5,000), having a unique variation of floral elements including beautifully executed multicolored pin-wheel rosettes and split-leaves.
A Mohtasham Kashan carpet, Central Persia, late 19th century. photo Image 2009 Christie's Ltd
Approximately 15 ft. 9 in. (480 cm.) x 10 ft. 3 in. (312 cm.) Est. $80,000 - $120,000
Notes: The city of Kashan in central Persia has been an important and prolific artistic center for over 400 years. According to carpet lore, the Mohtasham family workshops produced the finest carpets in the city of Kashan during the late 19th and early 20th centuries. The excellent condition of this lot with its full pile enhances the balance of design and color, lustrous wool and finesse of weave that epitomize the high quality of Mohtasham Kashan carpets.
A kazak rug, South Caucasus, Probably dated 1833. photo Image 2009 Christie's Ltd
Approximately 9 ft. 1 in. (277 cm.) x 4 ft. 11 in. (150 cm.) Est. $30,000 - $50,000
Property From a Private West Coast Collection
Provenance: Collection of Rosalie and Mitchell Rudnick.
Literature: J. Bailey and M. Hopkins, Through the Collector's Eye: Oriental Carpets from New England Private Collections, Providence, 1991, p. 66, no. 20.
Notes: The few rugs that encompass this rare group of Kazaks all feature Memling guls flanking a Fachralo-style medallion. They all employ rich, saturated colors such as the aubergine, peacock green and canary yellow of the present lot. However, the major border differs from most other known examples. Rather than displaying a crab or S-hook device motif, this border maintains a part panel format enclosing a beetle or shield-type device. For further examples from this group of Kazak rugs, please see:
Anonymous sale; Sotheby's New York, 1 October 1998, lot 177
Anonymous sale; Sotheby's New York, 22 September 1993, lot 87
Anonymous sale; Christie's London, 29 April 1993, lot 357
E. Herrmann, Seltene Orientteppiche IV, Munich, 1982, p. 152, no. 46.
I. Bennett, Oriental Rugs: Volume 1, Caucasian. London, 1981, p. 79, no. 66.
The European furniture section of the sale includes examples of French, German and Italian craftsmanship of exceptional quality, and is led by a bronze group of Saturn devouring a male child, after Pietro Francavilla, French, circa 1680-1700, previously in the collection of Queen Marie of Romania (estimate: $250,000-350,000). Equally gorgeous and menacing, the figure is a magnificent example of late-Baroque sculpture. Particularly fascinating is a Chinese export black and gilt lacquer bureau-cabinet, circa 1730-1740 (estimate: $150,000-250,000). This superb bureau cabinet is an excellent example of the Chinese export trade creating a piece of furniture for a specific Western market, in this case Denmark. The decoration combines elaborate rococo motifs that are Chinese-inspired with an unusual scene depicted on the fall-front of hunting figures in European costume. Also, a stunning Empire ormolu-mounted mahogany and specimen marble gueridon, circa 1810 (estimate: $70,000-100,000) is an example of the Grand Tour taste, with its specimen marble top bought abroad and fashioned into a table by Parisian cabinetmakers. Recently, it was in the collection of the legendary fashion designer Gianni Versace.
A bronze group of Saturn devouring a male child, after Pietro Francavilla (1546/47-1615), French, circa 1680-1700. photo Image 2009 Christie's Ltd
Depicted standing, his right leg raised and holding the child in his left arm, standing alongside a vine-covered tree-trunk, a goat at his feet, on a later mahogany stand - 18¾ in. (48 cm.) high; 21½ in. (54.5 cm.) high (overall) Est. $250,000 - $350,000
Provenance: Queen Marie of Romania.
Prince Nicholas of Romania.
with Cyril Humphris, London, 24 November 1965.
Literature: C. Humphris, Renaissance Sculpture from the Collection of Prince Nicholas of Rumania, exhibition catalogue, London, no. 2.
J. Montague, 'Renaissance Sculpture form the Collection of Prince Nicholas of Romania', The Connoisseur, April 1965, p. 264.
A. Radcliffe and N. Penny, The Robert H. Smith Collection: The Art of the Renaissance Bronze, 1500-1650, exhibition catalogue, The National Gallery of Art, Washington, D.C., 2004, p. 152.
J. Pope-Hennessy, 'Italian Bronze Statuettes: II', The Burlington Magazine, February 1963, p. 62, no. 29.
R. de Francqueville, Pierre de Francqueville: sculpteur de Medicis et du roi Henri IV, Paris, 1968.
Giambologna 1529-1628: Sculptor to the Medici, exhiibition catalogue, Royal Scottish Museum, Edinburgh, 1978, no. 37.
M. Leithe-Jasper, Renaissance Master Bronzes from the Kunsthistorisches Museum, Vienna, exhibition catalogue, The National Gallery of Art, Washington, D.C., et al., 1986, pp. 232-33, no. 60.
C. Avery, Giambologna: The Complete Sculpture, Oxford, 1987, pp. 225-27.
Les bronzes de la couronne, exhibition catalogue, Musée du Louvre, Paris, 1999, p. 163, no. 284.
R. Wenley, 'French Royal Bronzes in Great Britain', Apollo, September 1999, p. 8, no. 13.
Saturn Devouring One of His Sons is a magnificent example of late-Baroque sculpture -- in all its gorgeous and terrible glory. The eye is immediately engaged today, as it would have been by connoisseurs in the seventeenth and eighteenth century, by the contrapposto stance and the juxtapositioning of multiple limbs and profiles, presenting many possible viewing angles, each as dazzling as the others. The sophisticated and seductive modeling of the musculature and hair further charms the viewer and, combined with the emotionally-charged subject matter of a family drama, provoke rich and complex reactions to this bronze. However, despite its alarming subject -- invoking both cannibalism and infanticide -- as Penny notes, it is not intended as a narrative but rather as an embodiment of winter, the season of destruction and renewal, and the inclusion of the goat and urn at the feet of Saturn further allude to the zodiacal signs of the winter months, Capricorn and Aquarius (A. Radcliffe and N. Penny, op. cit., p. 148). And, as was so often the case with sculptural representations of the seasons, it would most likely have formed part of an original group of four -- which would have made for a more complete and, perhaps less alarming, viewing.
THE SATURN MODELS
Besides the Truesdell Saturn, there are three other known versions of this rare composition:
-- one in the Robert H. Smith Collection, Washington, D.C., which was originally in André Le Nôtre's collection, and by whom given in May 1693 to King Louis XIV of France, subsequently bought by Sir Julius Wernher, 1st Bt. and eventually sold from Luton Hoo by order of the Wernher Trustees, Christie's, London, 5 July, 2000, lot 63.
-- one in the Victorian and Albert Museum, London, where it is described as a French bronze of the late seventeenth century which may record a lost marble by Francavilla and which was given by Dr. Walter L. Hildburgh, the American benefactor who settled in London in 1912 (R. Wenley, op. cit., p. 8 and p. 12 note 88 citing A. Radcliffe)
-- one now in a private collection, formerly in the collection of Russell B. Aitken at Champ Soleil, Newport, Rhode Island, was sold Christie's New York, 25 November, 2003, lot 79.
And while these are nearly identical versions, the Truesdell Saturn, having been out of the public eye since the mid-1960's, has rarely been compared directly with any of them. Only J. Montague remarked on some of the differences when the present model was first introduced to the public at Cyril Humphris' exhibition in 1965. There are clear differences between the other three and the Truesdell Saturn. The Truesdell Saturn has a much more frontal gaze, engaging the viewer directly, rather than turning away and showing his head in profile, as he does in the other versions. The body of his son is also angled slightly differently, and consequently, the son's left leg is being consumed straight into Saturn's mouth while the right leg remains completely free from Saturn's beard. The effect is still incredibly discreet given the emotional and physical violence of this act, however, here with nearly half the left leg down Saturn's throat and the right leg dramatically free and lightly resting on Saturn's shoulder -- there can be no question as to what Saturn is doing to his son.
As J. Montague notes of the Truesdell Saturn: 'It is a more pleasing cast than that in the Victoria and Albert Museum, which differs markedly in the pose of the figures and the modeling of the anatomy, as well as the over-all punching of the flesh and cannot have been made by the same hand.' Additionally, the Victoria and Albert version has a far darker, matt finish, probably made inevitable by the more pitted surface. Both the Smith Saturn and Truesdell Saturn, with their highly polished surfaces and attention to the detailed chasing, are very different. In the Humphris exhibition the Truesdell Saturn was described as Roman and late sixteenth century and attributed to Camillo Mariani by J. Pope-Hennessy (J. Pope-Hennessy, op. cit. and C. Humphris, op. cit.) and Montague notes that neither this Pope-Hennessy attribution was 'convincing', nor was the previous attribution to Gerhard (J. Montague, op. cit., p. 264). And while the Smith Saturn with its more highly chiseled surface detail and royal French provenance could be considered the benchmark version, the Truesdell Saturn compares extremely well.
PIETRO FRANCAVILLA AND THE SATURN MODELS
Born at Cambrai of a noble family in the year 1546, Pierre Francqueville (or Pietro Francavilla, as he was later to be known) was discouraged from becoming a sculptor by his father, who considered it to be an inappropriate career for his son. Eventually overcoming his father's objections, Francavilla travelled to Paris and then Innsbruck, where he is thought to have worked on the tomb of the Holy Roman Emperor Maximilian I in the Hofkirche. The path of Francavilla's career was really determined, however, when he was given a letter of introduction to the Florentine sculptor Giambologna by Archduke Ferdinand of Austria. Francavilla travelled to Italy around the year 1572, and would eventually become one of Giambologna's most important assistants, as well as a successful independent sculptor.
The present bronze group is characteristic of a number of documented works from Francavilla's oeuvre, although there are no contemporary references to confirm the attribution. The pose is ultimately derived from a composition attributed to Francavilla's master, Giambologna, the so-called Apollino. That bronze, an example of which is in the Bargello, has long been considered to be a pre-cursor for the much larger Apollo which was designed for the studiolo of Francesco I de' Medici, and installed in 1576 (Edinburgh, loc. cit.). That the pose of the Saturn relates so closely to Giambologna's bronze is not surprising; as Charles Avery notes, the entire Renaissance workshop system was based upon the premise that one imitated the style of one's master as closely as possible (Avery, op. cit., p. 225). In its proportions and facture, however, the bronze group of Saturn is far removed from the Apollino, which has all the hallmarks of a bozzetto cast into bronze. A more relevant comparison is with Francavilla's Four Slaves, executed to go around the base of the equestrian statue of King Henri IV.
The monument to Henri IV, destined to adorn the Pont Neuf in Paris, was an ambitious project that appears to have been instigated by the Queen, Marie de' Medici. In 1604, Francavilla left Italy for France to oversee the installation of the statue, and he was himself responsible for modeling four figures of slaves to be placed at the four corners of the pedestal. Ultimately, the bronze figures were cast from Francavilla's models by his son-in-law, Francesco Bordoni, and installed in 1618, after Francavilla's death in 1615. The parallels between these slaves and the present figure of Saturn are compelling. Both exhibit the same exaggerated contrapposto poses, the luxuriantly rendered hair and the somewhat stylised muscularity. Significantly, when the Smith Saturn was listed in the French Royal Inventory of 1707, it was one of the few entries that actually gave the name of the artist, where it was described as 'une figure de Saturne de Francville'. The attribution of the Smith version to Francavilla is further strengthened by comparison with a signed and dated marble of Janus, executed in 1585 for Luca Grimaldi at Genoa (illustrated in Francqueville, op. cit., pl. VIII), which employs the identical motif of the capricorn figure and overturned urn.
A precise dating for the present bronze is still difficult to determine, despite the recent research on this group. Stylistically, the original model must have been executed close to the time that Francavilla was creating the Four Slaves, that is, around 1610-15. And indeed the Smith Saturn has now been firmly attributed to Francavilla and the cast dated to circa 1615 in Paris from a model made in Florence or Genoa of circa 1585 (A. Radcliffe and N. Penny, op. cit., p. 148). It has been suggested (Wenley, op. cit., pp. 8 and 12, note 88) that neither the Smith Saturn nor the example in the Victoria and Albert Museum exhibit a typical Florentine facture, and that they may be French bronzes of the later seventeenth century. A French origin is, of course, entirely consistent if one agrees that the model dates from the latter part of Francavilla's life, when he was living and working in Paris. Like the Slaves, it is possible that the Smith Saturn was cast after Francavilla's death. Indeed, it is known that Bordoni, who cast the Slaves in 1618, succeeded to Francavilla's lodgings in the Tuileries. If the model remained in these lodgings, it could easily have been cast by Bordoni at any time up to his own death in 1654.
The Truesdell Saturn most likely falls into this same, slightly later, category. Especially since the composition is different from the Smith and Victoria and Albert casts. The original model may simply have been adapted slightly to form the present version. However, another possibility is that the Smith Saturn inspired the Truesdell version in the later seventeenth century. The first recorded appearance of the Smith Saturn is when it was listed among the bronzes given by the garden designer, André Le Nôtre, to King Louis XIV in May 1693, at the time of Le Nôtre's retirement from court life. And this ensuing publicity, as the King was extremely proud of his new acquisitions, might have inspired another version - and maybe the only one - the Truesdell Saturn.
A Chinese export black and gilt lacquer bureau-cabinet, circa 1730-1740, made for the danish market. photo Image 2009 Christie's Ltd
The interior of the upper section with a drawer and three shelves, the fall front enclosing a fitted interior with drawers, compartments and central verre eglomisé prospect door, decorated overall with scenes of European courtly life with embossed metal escutcheons, mirror plate to central door replaced, some limited areas of refreshment to decoration - 96 in. (244 cm.) high, 38 in. (96.5 cm.) wide, 20½ in. (52 cm.) deep - Est. $150,000 - $250,000
Notes: This superb bureau cabinet is a fascinating example of the Chinese export trade creating a piece of furniture for a specific Western market, in this case Denmark. Its distinctive form, with a single mirrored door to the upper section with elaborately shaped cornice, and base with two drawers on a carved base with short cabriole legs, closely relates it to the work of the Danish cabinet-maker Mathias Ortmann. A bureau cabinet signed by Ortmann of closely related overall form is in the Royal Castle of Hirscholm (illustrated in M. Gelfer-Jorgensen, Dansk Kunsthandwerk 1730-1850, Copenhagen, 1973, p. 33). Records of Ortmann's stock in 1751 and 1752 reveal a number of pieces imported from China, suggesting that Ortmann himself may have commissioned this cabinet in China for export to Denmark.
The decoration is particularly fascinating, as it combines elaborate rococo cartouches enclosing dream-like visions of exotic potentates, while the scene depicted on the fall-front of hunting figures in European costume, is clearly inspired by Western print sources, such as the 16th centry German engraver Virgil Solis, many of whose prints depicted hunt scenes strikingly similar to those on this cabinet.
An important trade existed between Denmark and the Far East, beginning with the establishment of the Danish East India Company in 1616 by King Christian IV. King Christian VI subsequently revived this lucrative trade, establishing in 1732 the Royal Danish Asiatic Company. A number of pieces of Chinese lacquer furniture were brought back by the captains of the Asiatic Company in the 1730's and sold to King Christian VI, including a pair of lacquer bureau cabinets, originally supplied to the Royal Palace in Copenhagen in 1738 and now in Fredensborg Castle (see T. Clemmenson, 'Some Furniture Made in China in the English Style, Exported from Canton to Denmark 1735, 1737 and 1738', Furniture History, 1985, pp. 174-177).
Related Chinese export lacquer bureau cabinets were sold in Le Goût Steinitz I, Christie's, New York, 19 October 2007, lot 30 ($250,000 excluding premium); from the Thyssen-Bornemisza Collection, sold Christie's, London, 14 December 2000, lot 340 (£ 120,000 exc. premium); and another formerly in the collection of Lord Plender, sold Sotheby's, London, 7 November 1997, lot 22 (£100,500 inc. premium).
A stunning Empire ormolu-mounted mahogany and specimen marble gueridon, circa 1810 photo Image 2009 Christie's Ltd
The top inlaid with radiating panels of volcanic marbles, the ormolu sphinx mounts added later in the 19th century, the wooden feet consequentially altered, one wing with cast-in number to reverse '1850', marked '872' in pencil to interior of table stem - 29¼ in. (74.5 cm.) high, 32 in. (81.5 cm.) diameter - Est. $70,000 - $100,000
Provenance: Gianni Versace; Sotheby's New York, 5-7 April 2001, lot 225.
Acquired from Kugel, Paris.
Notes: This table top is a dazzling example of hardstone inlay. Made in Italy, usually of stones that were more varied and colorful than most of the stones found in Northern Europe -- these table tops were bought by Grand Tourists, shipped home and then provided with bases made by local craftsmen, such as is the case with this French Empire-period support.
The first great pietre dure table tops made by Roman and then Florentine craftsmen of the late 16th and early 17th century were of strong geometric design -- in contrast to the representational inlay that was fully developed in the high Baroque and 18th century--but, as the present table illustrates, there was a continuous tradition of geometric design. Besides their aesthetic merits, these tables had an almost didactic function, and often served as visual dictionaries of stones -- illustrating as many varieties as possible. Another 19th century Italian table top, of similar date and concept, is illustrated in I marmi colorati della Roma imperiale, M. De Nuccio, ed., Naples, 2002, no. 348.
Many of the specimens of the present table are apparently of volcanic origin. These unusual stones have long been of interest to collectors and were often to be found in the areas surrounding Naples and the island of Sicily. An intriguing example of these volcanic stones was a panel presented to Sir William Hamilton, the English envoy to Naples and celebrated collector of Antiquities, in 1781, and sold Christie's, New York, 20 October 2004, lot 516. It was a gift from the Sicilian Count Joseph Giveni of Catania, who Hamilton had hired to prepare studies of Mount Etna. Additionally, some objects from Hamilton's collection were sold at Christie's, London, 8 June 1809. They included, as lot 103, a larger slab of volcanic specimens described as 'A fine slab, composed of various specimens of lava, inlaid, on a stand' (J. Thackaray et al., exh. cat., Vases & Volcanoes, London, 1996).
Property of the Fine Arts Museums of San Francisco, sold to benefit the acquisitions fund, consists of 19 works of furniture and works of art. This group is led by a set of 4 exquisite French ormolu five-branch wall-lights, 19th century (sold as two pairs: $12,000-18,000 and $6,000-$10,000), which are based on models circa 1785 attributed to Pierre-François Feuchère, a pair of Régence oak boiserie panels incorporating 19th century marble plaques (estimate: $10,000-15,000), and also includes a Spanish Iron-Mounted Walnut Vargueño from the collection of William Randolph Hearst (estimate: $5,000 – 7,000).
A pair of French ormolu five-branch wall-lights, 19th century. photo Image 2009 Christie's Ltd
With mask and lyre-form backplate, five scrolling foliate candle arms, wired for electricity, the backs with black-painted French & Company inventory number '50379', lacking one foliate drip pan - 37 in. (94 cm.) high (2) Est. $12,000 - $18,000
Provenance: Possibly the Collection of Thomas P. Thorne, New York (one pair)
Possibly the Collection of the late Mrs. F. Gray Griswold, Parke Bernet, New York, 15 February 1941, lot 34 (one pair)
Mrs. I. Dee Kelley (the set of four)
with French and Company, New York, from whom they were purchased by the Museum of Fine Arts, San Francisco.
Notes: These wall-lights, and the following lot, are after a group of well known wall-lights attributed to Pierre-François Feuchère of circa 1785. These, in turn, are similar to, and probably inspired by, the designs for a group of wall-lights sketched by Jean-Demosthène Dugourc, also of circa 1785, and now in the Cooper-Hewitt Museum, New York (H. Ottomeyer and P. Pröschel, Vergoldete Bronzen, Munich, 1986, p. 289). And although the San Fransisco wall-lights are cited in Ottomeyer and Pröschel, they were possibly only catalogued from photographs and never examined in person before their publication.
The French & Company inventory records list a set of four wall lights purchased from Mrs. I. Dee Kelley in 1949 with the additional provenance that one pair was purchased in the Parke Bernet sale of 1941.
A pair of Régence oak boiserie panels circa 1720 xith later additions. photo Image 2009 Christie's Ltd
Each with an ormolu portrait medallion within rouge griotte and ver de mer marble veneered ground and surrounded by shells, strapwork and scrolling foliage above a mirror plate, the marble and ormolu roundels outerframes and lower section added, probably circa 1900 - 91½ in. (232.5 cm.) high, 37 in. (94 cm.) wide (2 - Est. $10,000 - $15,000
Notes: The upper sections of these carved oak wall panels are reminiscent of the most refined and inventive boiserie carved panels of the 1720's. All of the carved elements, including the arabesque framing elements, trailing vegetation and carved shell motives are close to many hôtel particuliers of the early 1720's -- but the carved dragon heads on the trellis background are nearly identical to the trumeau de glace of the cabinet of the hôtel Peyrenc de Moras, originally 23 Place Vendôme and now in the Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York, and which was built between 1720 and 1725 (B. Pons, De Paris A Versailles: 1699-1736: Les sculpteurs ornemanistes parisiens et l'art décoratif des Bâtiments du roi, Strasbourg, 1986, p. 230.
The sale also includes a spectacular pair of empire ormolu-mounted patinated bronze ewers, attributed to Claude Galle, circa 1805 (estimate: $80,000-120,000). Galle was the foremost bronzier of the empire period and the ewers are a richly example of early Empire taste decorated with animals, flaming torcheres, and foliate motifs; a late Louis XV parquetry table à écrire, stamped ‘RVLC’, circa 1770 (estimate: $60,000-90,000) by Roger Vandercruse, one of the most celebrated furniture makers of the mid-18th century; an impressive set of four late Louis XV ormolu three-branch wall-lights, circa 1765, ornamented with lion masks and attributed to Jean-Joseph Saint Germain (estimate: $60,000-90,000); and two charming German beadwork, ebonized and parcel-gilt tables, circa 1760 (each estimate: $4,000-6,000).
A pair of empire ormolu-mounted patinated bronze ewers, attributed to Claude Galle, circa 1805. photo Image 2009 Christie's Ltd
Each with a blind spout with a central mask and scrolled handle above a upper frieze of dragons and a lower frieze of garland-draped torcheres and butterflies on a plinth base - 23¾ in. (60.5 cm.) high, 6 in. (15 cm.) width and depth of base (2) Est. $80,000 - $120,000
Provenance: Acquired from Arianne Dandois, Paris.
Literature: Ariane Dandois: 25 Ans, Paris, 1998, no. 52.
J. Thurman, 'Chicago Symphony,' Architectural Digest, November, 2009, p. 135.
Notes: These spectacular ewers have all the hallmarks of the celebrated bronzier Claude Galle (1759-1815). Their severe forms conform to the early Empire taste for Antique vessels and their restrained coloration of only the dark patination with gilt-bronze highlights further emphasizes this sobriety. However, with the gilt-bronze mounts, all pretense of restraint are abandoned. And it is both their dazzling quality and extreme originality link these pieces so closely to the oeuvre of Galle.
There is such a rich profusion of Empire ornament, ranging from the flaming torcheres, harps and other vegetal motifs to the bestiary of animal ornament including dragons, lions, butterflies and the grotesque masks on the spouts. Some of these elements show up on the group of ewers and vases, all attributed to Galle, illustrated in H. Ottomeyer and P. Pröschel, Vergoldete Bronzen: Die Bronzearbeiten des Spätbarock und Klassizismus, Munich, 1986, pp. 363-365.
Galle's pieces were bought in great number by the Russian Imperial family and aristocratic followers while on visits to Paris, and this accounts for the large group still in the many state palace museums of St. Petersburg. And his designs also influenced a generation of Russian craftsman who, while taking their cues from Galle's prototypes, created their own, and uniquely Russian, works of art. An important pair of candelabra that would have appealed to both French and Russian buyers, with Galle's trademark diverse decorative elements, is in a private collection and illustrated in A. Gaydamak, Russian Empire: Architecture, Decorative and Applied Arts, Interior Decoration 1800-1830, Moscow, 2000, p. 177.
Another pair of ewers, in the manner of Galle and made for the Russian market, were sold Christie's, New York, 20 May 2008, lot 345 ($145,000 incl. premium).
A late Louis XV ormolu-mounted tulipwood, amaranth, sycamore and parquetry table à écrire, stamped ‘RVLC’, circa 1770. photo Image 2009 Christie's Ltd
The pierced three-quarter gallery above a tooled writing surface inscribed 'BERTHOUT' and a fitted drawer on slight cabriole legs joined by a shelf-stretcher, inscribed in red paint 'H-7', stamped to underside of top at back, the pierced galleries and sabots probably replaced - 29½ in. (75 cm.) high, 17¼ in. (44 cm.) wide, 12¾ in. (32.5 cm.) Est. $60,000 - $90,000
Literature: P. Kjellberg, Le Mobilier Français du XVIIIe Siècle, Paris, 1989, p. 753, ill. D.
Notes: Although achieving his maîtrise at a relatively early date, RVLC, who was related by marriage both to Jean-Franois Oeben and to Jean-Henri Riesener, is best known for his elegant products in the Transitional style of the 1760's and 1770's.
He worked in the early years of his career both with Oeben and with Gilles Joubert, often on commissions for the Garde Meuble Royal, and also worked extensively with the marchand-mercier Simon-Philippe Poirier.
He perfected the type of useful elegant occasional table typified by the example offered here (perhaps as a result of his frequent collaborations with Poirier), and the distinctive parquetry on this table, with a trellis of contrasting woods enclosing flowerheads, was a particular leitmotif. The oval shape, double-curved cabriole legs, spiral acanthus reserves, and the angle mounts, are also recurring motifs on small tables by RVLC.
A number of examples of this model are known, with minor variants, including:
-one in the British Royal Collection at Windsor Castle, purchased by George IV in 1829
-one at Waddesdon Manor, ilustrated in G. de Bellaigue, The James A. de Rothschild Collection at Waddesdon Manor: Furniture, Clocks and Gilt Bronzes, London, 1974, vol. II, cat. 98
-one formerly in the collection of Mrs. Henry Walters, illustrated in C. Packer, Paris Furniture by the Master Ebénistes, Newport, 1956, fig. 120
-two in the collection of Djahanguir Riahi (one formerly in the collection of Mr. and Mrs. Deane Johnson, sold Sotheby's, New York, 9 December 1972, lot 112, one formerly in the collection Mme Henry Farman, sold Palais Galliéra, Paris, 15 March 1973, lot 117)
-one with the unusual feature of spring-loaded drawers to the side, sold from the collection of André Meyer, Christie's, New York, 26 October 2001, lot 40
-one from the Keck collection, La Lanterne, Bel Air, sold Sotheby's, New York, 5-6 December 1991 lot 258
-one from the collection of Franco Cesari, sold Sotheby's Paris, 29 June 2004, lot 81
-one sold from a European collection, Sotheby's, Paris, 14 June 2006, lot 138.
A set of four late Louis xv ormolu three-branch wall-lights, circa 1765, possibly by Jean-Joseph Saint Germain, minor variations to chasing and casting, indicating that they were probably originally two separate pairs, but from the same workshop. photo Image 2009 Christie's Ltd
Each with fluted tapering backplate with central lion's mask surmounted by flaming urn hung with laurel swags issuing acanthus-wrapped scrolling arms, with leaf-cast drip pans and nozzles, one stamped '1', one stamped '2' and a third stamped '3'. 19 in. (48 cm.) high, 50 in. (127 cm.) wide (4) Est. $60,000 - $90,000
Notes: These impressive wall lights, with their central à l'antique lion masks, laurel-draped arms and flaming urn finials, display the sober neo-classical vocabulary of the 'goût grec' style of the 1760's.
They are closely related to a pair of wall lights with lion masks attributed to Jean-Joseph de Saint Germain, illustrated in J-D. Augarde, 'Jean-Joseph de Saint-Germain Bronzier (1719-1791)', L'Estampille/L'Objet d'Art, December, 1996, p. 78, fig. 23. Jean-Joseph de Saint-Germain, elected maître fondeur en terre et en sable in 1748, is perhaps best known for his clock cases, particularly the bases for clocks supported by exotic animals such as elephants and rhinoceroses.
However, later in his career he discovered the new neo-classical style of the goût grec. This was perhaps as a result of a collaboration with his cousin Jean-Louis Prieur (c.1725- c.1785), whose boldly neo-classical designs for bronzes d'ameublement for King Stanislaus II August of Poland for the royal palace in Warsaw were enormously influential in promoting the new taste for antiquity.
Many of the same features, but without the lion masks, appear on two pairs of wall lights at the Palace of Pavlovsk, St. Petersburg, one in the library of Grand Duke Pavel Petrovovich, which have been linked to the designs of the equally influential ornemaniste Jean-Charles Delafosse (1734-1791), illustrated in E. Ducamp, ed., Pavlovsk The Collections, Paris, 1993, p. 178 and p. 194, figs. 51 and 53.
This auction will offer approximately 75 lots of furniture and works of art presenting the finest examples of British technique and design. Furniture produced by the pre-eminent cabinetmakers Gillows of Lancaster and London lead the sale. Prized for their well chosen timbers and fine quality of craftsmanship, highlights by the firm include a Regency mahogany ‘Imperial’ extending dining table, circa 1815 (estimate: $40,000-60,000); a signed Regency mahogany reading library armchair, circa 1815 (estimate: $10,000-15,000); and a variety of tables and cabinets.
A Regency mahogany ‘Imperial’ extending dining table by Gillows, circa 1815. photo Image 2009 Christie's Ltd
Extends with telescopic action, with five leaves, the caps stamped 'B S & P PATENT', the clips stamped 'COPE' or 'COPE & COLLINSON'; together with a pine storage box for leaves - 29 in. (73.6 cm.) high, 162 in. (411.5 cm.) long, fully extended, 54 in. (137 cm.) deep - Est. $40,000 - $60,000
Provenance: The Mumford family, Sugwas Court, Herefordshire.
The Contents of Sugwas Court, Herefordshire; Mellors & Kirk, Nottingham, 28-29 February 2008, lot 899.
Notes: In 1813, Gillows supplied a similar table for Stephen Tempest of Broughton Hall, Yorkshire described as 'an excellent set of mahogany Imperial dining tables on stout twined reeded legs and brass socket castors - 50 gns' (see S.E. Stuart, Gillows of Lancaster and London 1730-1840, 2008, vol. II, p. 243, pl. 241). The first drawing of a Gillow patent extending table, with telescopic action, reeded legs (or as Gillows called 'cabling') and a box to hold the leaves dates to 1801 (op. cit., p. 240, pl. 234). The 'imperial' table (invented in 1804) was a refinement to the patent table, without revolving tops. In all related designs, the legs are set back to accommodate the sitters' knees. The imperial table was so popular it was almost exclusively the only dining table the firm sold through the 1820's and onward.
Other comparable tables include one supplied by Gillows to 2nd Baron Bolton for the Breakfast Room at Hackwood Park in 1813 ('a breakfast table 4 ft. wide to accommodate 14 persons') and by descent at the house until sold Hackwood, Christie's House Sale, 20-22 April 1998, lot 161.
The house at Sugwas Court was built in 1792 incorporating elements from the original manor house. In 1813, the Bishop of Hereford sold the house to Philip Jones, who embarked on a renovation. It was later sold by his heirs to James Taylor Ingham in 1860. Sugwas Court was leased in 1929 by Captain Walter Mumford, a member of the Irish Guards, and his wife Sibell (of the Morgan family), and descended to their daughters, one of whom conducted the sale. The table may have descended in the Morgan, Bevan or Mumford families as property from all three came together at Sugwas. Equally, it is possible that Philip Jones may have turned to Gillows as part of his renovation in 1813 and the contents of the house passed along with the sale of the estate. Other items at Sugwas feature a level of design and craftsmanship that may indicate a possible Gillow commission for one of the families.
A Regency mahogany reading library armchair by Gillows, circa 1815. photo Image 2009 Christie's Ltd
The hinged bookrest on swinging brass handle, with red leather squab cushions, stamped 'GILLOWS.LANCASTER' to top of front rail, the hinges to bookrests stamped '2891', the caps stamped 'COPE & COLLINSON PATENT STRONG' - Est. $10,000 - $15,000
Provenance: By repute, the Price family, Tibberton Court, Gloucestershire.
Notes: Messrs. Gillow, in their Estimate Sketch Books for 1803 and 1807, variously refer to this form of bergere as 'Ashburnham' and 'Uxbridge', after one supplied to Henry Bayly, 1st Earl of Uxbridge. This bergere is unique in that it retains its reading arm. A pair, virtually identical, bearing the same stamp, was supplied to Jonas Langford-Brooke for Mere Hall, Cheshire in around 1815 (property of a Gentleman, Christie's, London, 4 July 2002, lot 153) while others similar at Broughton Hall were invoiced by Gillows in 1811-13 (see C. Hussey, English Country Houses: Late Georgian, Glasgow, 1958, p. 95, fig. 166). The Broughton examples have reading arms although the arms are not specified in the original invoices.
The manor of Tibberton passed through many owners through the 18th and 19th centuries. The bergere may have been commissioned by Richard Donovan who purchased the manor and estate in 1808, or his daughter Caroline Ann and her husband Captain (later Admiral) James Scott, who inherited the estate in 1816. The estate then passed on to Thomas Wallis (1822) and the merchant William Price (1837), of the Gloucestershire Banking Company, at which time the chair could have been acquired with the estate. Another possibility is that the chair may have entered the Price family through John Chadborn, the father-in-law to William Philip Price (d. 1891), and a wealthy Gloucester solicitor who commissioned a handsome neoclassical villa, Sherborne House, in 1825. Neither Chadborn nor any of Tibberton's owners are known to have patronized Gillows making it difficult to trace a potential commission. However, Gillows did supply for Stoneleigh, another Gloucestershire house.
Other English furniture highlights from various private collections include a George III satinwood, marquetry, cream-painted and parcel-gilt side table, circa 1775 (estimate: $30,000-50,000), a pair of George II giltwood console tables, circa 1740 (estimate: $40,000-60,000); a magnificent pair of George I gilt-gesso two-light girandole mirrors, circa 1725 (estimate: $50,000-80,000); and a set of ten George III mahogany dining-chairs with finely-carved shield-form backs, circa 1785 (estimate: $25,000-40,000). An amusing George II tea caddy features a bust of Shakespeare and was reputed to have been carved from the mulberry tree in Shakespeare’s own garden in Stratfordon-Avon. The caddy is signed by the local maker George Cooper and dated 1759 (estimate: $6,000 – 8,000).
A George III satinwood, marquetry, cream-painted and parcel-gilt side table, circa 1775. photo Image 2009 Christie's Ltd
The top with inlaid bellflower and acanthus leaves above an anthemion-carved frieze with griffon-carved tablet on leaf-carved tapering reeded legs, inscribed in paint 'A9430', the frieze previously gilt - 33 in. (84 cm.) high, 59½ in. (151 cm.) wide, 29¾ in. (73 cm.) deep - Est. $30,000 - $50,000
Notes: The table, intended as a window-pier companion for a candelabra-reflecting mirror, is designed in the Roman fashion popularized by George III's Rome-trained court architect Robert Adam; and serves to evoke the Mount Parnassus poetic triumph of the light-deity Apollo. Grecian palms crown its elliptic and Etruscan pearl-wreathed frieze and ribbon-tie its bas-relief tablet, which is labelled by a sacred urn guarded by the deitys chimerical griffin as featured in The Works in Architecture of Robert and James Adam (2nd ed., 1779). Its golden satinwood top is inlaid with an altar issuing from poetic laurel-festooned scrolls of Roman acanthus in the fashion popularized by fashionable cabinet-makers such as Messrs Mayhew and Ince.
A pair of George II giltwood console tables, circa 1740. photo Image 2009 Christie's Ltd
Each with serpentine Portor marble top above incurved legs carved with foliate and C-scroll decoration on paw feet, with later ebonized plinths one inscribed in black pencil 'L Side', the other 'R. Hand' to top of frieze under marble, slight variations to carving, regilt possibly in the 19th century and with evidence of an 18th century gilding scheme, the central foliate spray to apron apparently re-shaped - 31¼in. (79.5cm.) high, 36½in. (93cm.) wide, 18 7/8in. (48cm.) deep (2) - Est. $40,000 - $60,000
Provenance: Acquired from D.M. Collins, London, 1971.
Notes: The pier-tables are conceived in George II Roman fashion as sideboard-tables with Portor black marble slabs flecked in gold, and this is echoed by their plinths' bronze-black japanning. Roman-truss brackets support the golden frames which, like the slabs, are scalloped in cupid-bows with columnar corners. Beneath a foliated cornice, their friezes are wreathed by bas-relief ribbons bearing pelta tablets formed of confronted Vitruvian or Ionic wave-scrolls; while reed borders, enriched by flowered ribbon-guilloches, tie their water-bubbled lambrequins. The frames are supported by Roman foliage issuing from the bifurcating volutes of the Pan-reeded trusses, and these are raised by garlanded and hollow-scrolled pilasters that are wrapped by water-leaves and terminate in inward scrolled volutes. Their plinths of addorsed reed-scrolls terminate in bacchic lion-feet.
The tables' design evolved from Marble Table patterns issued in B. Langley's, City and Country Builders and Workmans Treasury of Designs, 1740; but their elegant picturesque form relates to patterns issued in Gaetano Brunetti's, Sixty Different Sorts of ornaments very useful to painters, sculptors, stone-carvers, wood-carvers, silversmiths etc., 1736-7. The latter inspired a related marble-topped table designed for Cusworth Hall, Yorkshire by the celebrated mid-18th century architect James Paine (d.1784), author of Plans, Elevations and Sections of the Mansion House of Doncaster (1751) and close collaborator with the St. Martins Lane cabinet-maker Thomas Chippendale (d.1779) (see G. Smith, Cusworth Hall, 1990, fig. 20).
A magnificent pair of George I gilt-gesso two-light girandole mirrors, circa 1725. photo Image 2009 Christie's Ltd
Each earred frame around later rectangular mirror plate, flanked by pendant acorn and oak-leaf garlands, the two later brass candlearms with turned nozzles and drip pans, the apron centered by scrolled acanthus, regilt, one overgilt with 18th century water gilding - 67 in. (170 cm.) high, 38 in. (96.5cm.) wide (2) Est. $50,000 - $80,000
Notes: These magnificent mirrors, which would have been designed to accompany matching pier-tables, exhibit a bold design and decorative details that recall the work of cabinet-maker James Moore the Elder (d. 1726) and his pupil Benjamin Goodison (d. 1767), who succeeded him at the Royal court. Moore supplied 'glass piers & sconces' as early as 1710 for the Earl of Bristol and later, 'Glass frame(s)...finely done with carved and gilt work' to Hampton Court in 1714-1715 in partnership with the glass-manufacturer John Gumley. The floral and strapwork pattern to the frame appears in nearly identical form on a chest supplied by Moore to the 1st Duke of Montagu and now at Boughton House (see R. Edwards and M. Jourdain, Georgian Cabinet-makers, London, 1955, pl. 23) while berried jasmine tendrils feature on the stands (signed 'Moore') at Hampton Court Palace (op. cit., pl. 26); similar berried branches are on the side tables now at Buckingham Palace (T. Murdoch, 'The king's cabinet-maker: the giltwood furniture of James Moore the Elder', The Burlington Magazine, June 2003, p. 409, fig. 5). The impressive acanthus base similarly features on tables that form part of the celebrated suite supplied for Stowe, Buckinghamshire and attributed to Benjamin Goodison. The tables were sold by a descendent of the 2nd Viscount Bearsted, M.C., Christie's, London, 9 July 2008, lot 100.
A set of ten George III mahogany dining-chairs with finely-carved shield-form backs, circa 1785. photo Image 2009 Christie's Ltd
Comprising two open armchairs and eight side chairs, each shield-form back carved with tendrils and foliage, the serpentine padded seat on straight legs, some sun-fading (10) Est. $25,000 - $40,000
Provenance: The Estate of Frederick McLean Bugher; Christie's, New York, 24 October 1984, lot 203.
Notes: A related design in the Gillows Journeyman's Price Agreement of 1785 is described as 'Camel Back Stay Rail, 5 splat escutcheon or shield', reproduced in S. Stuart, Gillows of London and Lancaster 1730-1840, Woodbridge, 2008, vol. I, pl. 123, p. 165. A similar example with finely carved details and radiating sunflower is illustrated as op.cit. pl. 124, p. 165.
Proudly featured in the sale are intricate 19th century French ceramics of in the style of Bernard Palissy. These ornamental wares by workshops centered in Paris, Tours, and deeper in southern France and into Portugal are inspired by the work of one of the finest ceramists of the French Renaissance. Palissy and the 19th century Palissy ware workshops whimsically bring to life fish, reptiles, insects, and other aquatic life in his colorful tabletop grottoes. One of the most intricate pieces of the collection is a French Palissy style faience wall cistern, cover and basin (estimate: $4,000–6,000) by Félix Tardieu, a celebrated Menton atelier. Fashioned circa 1880, it features a milieu of snails, snakes and frogs on a mossy frit background above a white-metal bird head spigot with a shell-molded valve. Equally elaborate is a large French Palissy style faience trompe l’oeil oval dish (estimate: $5,000–7,000). Molded in 1880, it is applied with a central alligator flanked with small fish and the rim is enclosed with high reliefs of a frogs, snakes and life-sized beetles.
A French Palissy style faience wall cistern, cover and basin, circa 1880-90, the basin impressed Tardieu Felix Menton. photo Image 2009 Christie's Ltd
Applied allover with snails, snakes and frogs on a mossy frit ground, the cistern with a fruiting branch of cassis, above a white-metal gaping bird head spigot and shell-molded valve - 13 in. (33 cm.) high, the cistern; 10½ in. (26.5 cm.) diameter, the basin (3) Est. $4,000 - $6,000
Notes: For a similar example see Katz, op. cit, cover illustration; and Katz & Lehr, op. cit., p. 145, fig. 189.
A French Palissy style faience trompe l’oeil oval dish, circa 1880, School of Paris. photo Image 2009 Christie's Ltd
Molded and applied with a central alligator flanked by small fish, the rim with a large snake, a frog, a beetle and a lizard above a mossy frit band, among shells and leafy fronds in high relief - 17 in. (43.2 cm.) wide. Est. $5,000 - $7,000
Notes: See the note to the preceding lot. Inspired by nature and products of his region, Félix Tardieu is a celebrated artisan of the French Riviera.
19th Century Furniture, Sculpture, Works of Art and Ceramics
Highlighting the 19th century furniture and sculpture section is a pair of large Italian gilt and patinated bronze and verde antico marble jardinières, second half of 19th century (estimate: $50,000-80,000). Impressive in both their scale and execution, the decorative jardinières are deeply rooted in Baroque furnishings of the 17th and 18th centuries.
A pair of large Italian gilt and patinated bronze and verde antico marble jardinières, second half of 19th century. photo Image 2009 Christie's Ltd
Each gadrooned basin with overflowing water-cast rim and mounted with trailing foliage, supported by three Herculean figures draped in lion pelts, on a tripartite base with paw feet - 52¾ in. (134 cm.) high; 36 in. (91.5 cm.) diameter, the basins (2) Est. $50,000 - $80,000
Notes: While characteristic in scale and execution of decorations in the 19th century, the decorative vocabulary on this pair of impressive jardinières is deeply rooted in Baroque furnishings of the 17th and 18th centuries. Of particular note are the figural bronze bases, which incorporate profuse C-scrolls and hairy-paw feet prevalent on bronze and giltwood stands preserved in both Italian private collections and the Capitoline Museum, Rome (see Il Mobile Barocco In Italia, Milan, 2000, pp 108-109).
Upon closer inspection of the bases, traces of gilding are immediately apparent on both the bases and trailing foliage of the basins, speculating that the pair were perhaps intended for interior use within a palazzo style setting. Though now attractively oxidized from outdoor exposure, it is very likely the Herculean figures were originally patinated, whilst the scrolling decoration and paw feet were brightly gilt.
Among the important examples of porcelain are pieces from the Chateaubriand Service, a Sèvres porcelain part dessert service, of 1820-1823 (estimate: $70,000-90,000). Given by order of King Louis XVIII to Vicomte de Chateaubriand, each plate and bowl is finely painted with beautiful garden flowers and was fully documented in the manufactory’s archive. The sale also features an exotic pair of ormolu-mounted Paris porcelain slateblue ground dragon-handled vases and fixed covers, mid 19th century, (estimate: $50,000-80,000) a superb pair of Paris goldground porcelain vases, circa 1820 (estimate: $30,000-50,000), once owned by Joseph Bonaparte, brother of Napoleon I, who lived in Bordentown, NJ from 1815 to 1832; and a selection of porcelain snuff-boxes with estimates ranging from $3,000 to $12,000.
A Sèvres porcelain part dessert service from the 'Chateaubriand Service' (Service fond bleu lapis corbeille de fleurs). photo Image 2009 Christie's Ltd
1820-1823, various factory and decoration marks, including painter's mark for Weydinger and gilder's mark for Ganeau fils. Each finely painted with luxuriant garden flowers including roses, tulips, narcissi, lilac and hibiscus, on brown and gilt striped grounds simulating baskets, the 'lapis' blue borders with gilt striations within gilt rims, comprising: Two footed circular bowls (jatte à fruits 'Hémisphérique')
An oval sugar-bowl and cover on fixed stand (sucrier 'Coupe') Fourteen plates (assiete uni) 8½ in. (21.5 cm.) diameter, the footed bowls (18) Est. $70,000 - $90,000
Property from The Jean And Graham Williford Charitable Trust
THE CHATEAUBRIAND SERVICE
The present part service and the following lot of twelve plates are from a full service given by order of The Minister of the King's Household on behalf of King Louis XVIII to the Vicomte de Chateaubriand, then France's Minister for Foreign Affairs. Common with large services, it was delivered piecemeal in four installments - 15 April 1822, 2 May 1822, December 1822 and 21 August 1823.
The Chateaubriand Service is fully documented in the manufactory's archive. Indeed, few services can be more completely documented, the Archives recording every stage of the decoration of each piece. Records are so detailed that ledgers show which pieces of the service were packed in which box for shipment. The painter's register documents which pieces were painted by which artist.
FRANÇOIS DE CHATEAUBRIAND (1768-1848)
François de Chateaubriand, 1768-1848, was a distinguished man of letters and diplomacy. Born in Brittany, he began his career in 1791 with a visit to America, subsequently traveling widely to Berlin, Prague, Vienna and Jerusalem. He was in London from 1792 to 1800 and again as Ambassador to the Court of St. James in 1822. He also held ambassadorial posts in Berlin and Rome.
Chateaubriand was extravagant by nature as well as an acute observer of the people and events of his day and included Madame de Récamier among his mistresses. His name is perhaps most widely known for the special filet-steak cut invented by his chef Montmiriel.
PAINTERS AND GILDERS
SS. in red is the mark of Jacques Nicolas Sinsson père, recorded at Sèvres as having been paid several times in 1823 for the "painting and retouching" of plates in this pattern, 7 francs per plate.
W. in red is the mark of Joseph-Léopold Weydinger, younger son of Léopold Weydinger, patriarch of a family of gilders and painters active at Sèvres from 1757 through 1829. Joseph-Léopold worked intermittently between 1775 and 1829, primarily as a gilder. However, he is recorded as having been paid for flower painting on plates from this service.
gn is the mark of Jean Baptiste Pierre Louis Ganeau fils. He is recorded throughout 1823 as being paid 60 centimes per plate for touching in the gilding on the faux-lapis borders and 7 francs per plate for gilding the basket staves.
Vd. is the mark of Charles Vandé, noted in the payment records as having been paid to add the gilt bands to plates in this pattern.
ROVENANCE S.E.M. le Vicomte de Chateaubriand, delivered 1822-1823.
With Nicolier, Paris.
Anonymous sale; Christie's, London, 1 July 1985, lot 1 (part).
EXHIBITED: New York, The Bard Graduate Center for Studies in the Decorative Arts, The Sèvres Porcelain Manufactory: Alexandre Brogniart and the Triumph of Art and Industry, 1800-1847, 17 October 1997-1 February 1998.
LITERATURE: Tamara Préaud, et al., The Sèvres Porcelain Manufactory: Alexandre Brogniart and the Triumph of Art and Industry, 1800-1847, New Haven, 1997, pp. 363-366, cat nos. 146 a-h.
A pair of ormolu-mounted Paris porcelain slateblue ground dragon-handled vases and fixed covers, mid 19th century, iron-red script M.Raingo/M. Mafelotte ^0372 marks. photo Image 2009 Christie's Ltd
Each of shield shape with flattened domed cover and knop finial centering a rosette, the spiral-fluted neck rising from a shoulder band of stylized confronting scrolls, the handles as winged dragons, the lower body as acanthus, on fluted socle and further square base, the porcelain body finely painted in colors with a terrace of wildflowers and butterflies - 29 in. (73.6 cm.) high (4) Est. $50,000 - $80,000
Provenance: Princess Windischgrätz, Vienna, circa 1915.
Private Collection, Vienna.
By direct descent to a private collector, California.
Private Collection; Christie's East, 28-29 April 1999, lot 11.
A pair of Paris goldground porcelain vases, circa 1820. photo Image 2009 Christie's Ltd
Each oviform with everted mouth, the handles as winged herms issuing from a ribbon-laced quiver, the front painted in colors with scenes of the aftermath of battle named below, one titled LA CHARITE of a nun washing the feet of a soldier, the other titled L'AUMONE of a young mother giving alms to a beggar as her young son looks on, the reverse gilt with a Napoleonic eagle amidst soft clouds - 16 3/8 in. (41.6 cm.) high (2) Est. $30,000 - $50,000
Provenance: Joseph Bonaparte, comte de Survilliers (1768-1844), 'Point Breeze', Bordentown, NJ; Thomas Birch Jr. auction, 17-18 September 1845, lot 84 ($50 to Parker).
Acquired by Elizabeth Harrington, documented as in her possession by 30 November 1936 as per a notarized letter of that date.
By descent to her son, Willis F. Harrington Jr.
By descent to his wife, Janet Harrington (1916-2008).
Notes: Lawyer, soldier, politician, diplomat and older brother of Napoleon Bonaparte, Joseph Bonaparte served France in a variety of diplomatic and political posts. His first major political posting was to the Kingdom of Naples and the two Sicilies where he served as military commander and then king for two years from 1806-1808. From there, his brother moved him to Spain, replacing him in Naples with his brother-in-law, Joachim Murat. As the King of Spain from 1808-1813, Joseph Bonaparte never gained the full support of the population. On his watch, the English won the Peninsular Wars and Bonaparte abdicated the throne.
In 1815, after his Napoleon's defeat at Waterloo and exile to St Helena, Joseph Bonaparte moved to America, building an estate called Point Breeze in Bordentown, NJ. He lived there until 1832, his home the focal point of emigré society. Above the front door was carved his motto - Non ignara mali, miseris succurere which translates from the Latin as Not unaware of misfortune, I know to help the unfortunate. The decoration on the present vases - poignant scenes relating to War and to charitable works on one side and a gilt Napoleonic eagle on the other, its wings outspread in a manner associated more with an American eagle than with a French Imperial eagle, have a direct relation to Joseph Bonaparte's own life that supports the history of their ownership.
The last eight years of his life were lived in Europe, and he died in Florence in 1844. After his death, the New Jersey estate was sold off and the contents of the home dispersed at auction held on the grounds of the mansion by a Mr. Thomas Birch Jr. An annotated copy of the auction catalogue notes the sale of lot 84, pair China Vases, to someone called Parker for $50 - a considerable sum at the time. This is the only reference to porcelain in the catalogue. In a sworn statement dated 30 November 1936, Elizabeth Harrington certifies that "One pair of Sevres urns (sic) purchased by Elizabeth L. Harrington were formerly owned by Joseph Napoleon Bonaparte (Ex-King of Spain) and bear his crest, purchased in 1845 at Bordentown, New Jersey". As only 61 years had elapsed since the estate sale, it is very possible that she purchased the vases either from Parker or from someone who had acquired them from Parker. They descended through her family until their acquisition by the present owners.