Pierre Reymond (1513-1584), French, Limoges, Tazza with profiles of men and women. photo Sotheby's.

monogrammed and dated: P.R. 1561 on the underside, partially gilt painted enamel en grisaille on copper, 23.5cm., 9¼in. high21.5cm., 8½in. diameter. Estimate 30,000-50,000 GBP - Lot Sold: 49,250 GBP

PROVENANCE: Archibald Philip Primrose, 5th Earl of Rosebery, former Prime Minister of the United Kingdom;

By descent to Albert Edward Harry Meyer Archibald Primrose, 6th Earl of Rosebery and 2nd Earl of Midlothian;

His sale, Sotheby's, Mentmore House, vol. II, lot 1124;

Private collection, the Netherlands

LITERATURE: Mentmore, Edinburgh, 1884, vol. II, p. 124, no. 61

NOTE: This covered tazza is a superb example of the painted grisaille enamel objects being produced by Pierre Reymond in Limoges from the 1540's. Reymond's painted grisaille enamel plates and vessels became highly fashionable from the mid-16th century onwards and helped to establish his reputation as one of the foremost Limoges enamellers. The  present tazza is contemporary with Reymond's most celebrated commission, a group of painted grisaille enamel covered cups, tazzas, ewers and plates made between 1558-1562 for the wealthy Nuremberg Merchant Linhard I Tucher (1487-1568).

The raised portait medallions adorning the lid and body of the present tazza can be found on a number of Reymond's works and appear on two lids from covered cups in the Musée du Louvre [inv. OA 974; inv. MR 4960]. The classicising portrait busts with playful mannerist attributes, such as masked helmets and Phrygian caps, follow general types found elsewhere in Reymond's oeuvre. In particular, the woman with a tiara on the outside of the lid is almost identical to a figure adorning one of the lids from the Louvre [inv. MR 4960], whilst the wreathed youth on the inside of the lid compares closely with a figure on a salt cellar in the Walters Art Gallery, Baltimore [inv. 44.348]. The present figures have been painted with exceptional skill and combine strong outlines with the application of a light red wash to suggest subtle differences in skin tone. The small scale oval grisaille vignettes on the lid and stem are further testament to the virtuoso skill of the enameller, and can also found on the first of the Louvre lids, dated 1544. Vessels such as the present tazza are recorded in the inventories of some of the most prominent members of the later Valois courts, including Catherine de' Medici and Anne de Montmorency. It is likely that the present tazza would also have been owned by a high ranking member of the French aristocracy.

RELATED LITERATURE: S. Baratte, Les émaux peints de Limoges, cat. Musée du Louvre, Paris, 2000, pp. 187-8, 193-4, 196; P. Verdier, Catalogue of the Painted Enamels of the Renaissance, cat. The Walters Art Gallery, Baltimore, 1967, nos. 131-132, 139-140, pp. 217-218, 235-243.

Sotheby's. Old Master Sculpture and Works of Art. 88 july 2011, London www.sothebys.com