An Italian pietre dure inlaid table top, Florentine, first half 17th century. Estimate £80,000 — 120,000 / €111,576 — 167,364. Lot Sold £106,250. Photo Sotheby's
LONDON.- On 9th June 2015, Sotheby’s will present a sale combining two outstanding private collections. Dresden and Venice have long been hubs of creativity inspiring craftsmen, painters, architects, writers, and artisans, and will now meet in the galleries of Sotheby’s London. This sale offers an insight into two collectors' personal affinity to the decorative arts and embodies the essence of each city. From Dresden we find superlative porcelain which allows us to experience the frivolous imagination and ingenuity of Meissen, and the leading ceramic manufactories of 18th century Europe. From Venice, a colourful and exemplary mix of eighteenth century Italian pieces, paired with 20th century works accented by Murano glassware.
Dresden was the heart of the 18th century world of porcelain collecting where this elusive material was considered to be as valuable as gold and other precious objects. Augustus II, the Strong, Elector of Saxony, born in Dresden, developed the city as a cultural epicentre of the Arts, and it is under his influence that the importance and allure of porcelain flourished. This collection illustrates the long-standing desire to own the most magnificent ceramic forms.
When one thinks of 18th century porcelain the mind usually jumps straight to the superb forms of the 300 year old famous manufacturer Meissen. This German private collection comprising exquisite Meissen examples allows us to see fully the true breadth of imagination of the chief decorator Johann Gregorius Höroldt. The viewer is taken into a world of curious unknown landscapes, amusing oriental figures in vibrant costumes, luscious exotic flora, mysterious lurking creatures, birds and insects; such as an extremely rare coffee pot decorated with a mystical harbour landscape estimated at £40,000-50,000 (lot 15, €56,00070,000).
A very rare Meissen coffee pot and cover, circa 1732-34. Estimate £40,000-50,000/€56,00070,000. Photo Sotheby's
of spreading cylindrical form with scroll handle, painted possibly by J.G. Heintze, with scenes of figures in a harbour landscape within a quatrefoil cartouche filled with Böttger lustre picked out in gilding, embellished with scroll work in iron-red and purple, the ground painted with indianische Blumen, between gilt Laub-und-Bandelwerk borders, the domed cover painted with two further harbour landscape panels, crossed swords mark in underglaze-blue, Quantity: 2 - 24cm., 9 1/2 in. high
Provenance: Christie's London, 7th July 1969, lot 197;
Christie's London, 6th October 1980, lot 189
Literature: Ulrich Pietsch, Preziosen, einer süddeutschen Kunstsammlung, 2001, p. 36
Note: Thought to derive from a pewter original, another example of this rare form is illustrated by Dieter Hoffmeister, Meissener Porzellan des 18.Jahrhunderts: Katalog der Sammlung Hoffmeister, 1999, vol. I, no. 209; and subsequently sold by Bonhams, London, 25th November, 2009, lot 56
This collection has fine examples of pieces with royal provenance. Meissen pieces are known for their prestigious quality so were perfect for diplomatic gifts to neighbouring states, and the much coveted secret recipe of ‘true’ porcelain and all its associated riches was the envy of much of Europe. This sale will present a beaker and saucer from the service for Queen Ulrika Eleonora of Sweden, circa 1732 (lot 9, est. £12,00018,000/ €16,800-25,200), and a plate decorated with elegant figures on horseback from the service presented to King Frederick V of Denmark when he came to the throne (lot 20, est. £3,500-4,500/ €4,900-6,300).
A Meissen armorial double handled beaker and saucer from the service for Queen Ulrika Eleonora of Sweden, circa 1732. Estimate £12,000-18,000/ €16,800-25,200. Photo Sotheby's
each piece painted in enamels with her arms on a Böttger lustre, gilt and black enamel bracket, embellished with scrollwork in iron-red and hanging garlands of flowers in purple, the reverse of the cup with a Kauffahrteishipping scene, within gilt foliate borders, crossed swords marks in underglaze-blue, (the beaker's mark within two concentric circles in underglaze-blue) the saucer with impressed Dreher's mark of two dots for Johann Martin Kittel (Rückert 1996, pl. 6, no. 16), Quantity: 2 - the saucer, 13cm., 5 1/8 in. diam., the beaker, 7cm., 2 3/4 in. high
Provenance: Ordered by Augustus the Strong in 1732;
Given by his son Augustus III of Poland and Saxony to Queen Ulrika Eleonora of Sweden in May 1734;
Transferred to the Royal Wardrobe after Queen Ulrika Eleonora's death in 1741;
Anon. sale, Auktionsverket Stockholm, 20th May 1992, lot 4827
Literature: Ulrich Pietsch, Preziosen, einer süddeutschen Kunstsammlung, 2001, p. 52
Comparative Literature: Rainer Rückert, Alchemistische Symbolzeichen als Meißener Masse-, Former-, Bossirer-, und Drehermarken im vierten Jahrzehnt des 18. Jahrhunderts, Keramos 151, January 1996, pl. 6, no. 16;
Ulrich Pietsch, Kristian Jakobsen, eds. Frühes Meissener Porzellan, 1997, p. 43, no. 19;
Dieter Hoffmeister, Meissner Porzellan des 18. Jahrhunderts - Katalog der Sammlung Hoffmeister, 1999, vol. II, pp. 490-493, no. 313-314;
Lars Ljungström, Sweden, Hesse-Cassel, and Meissen, The Fragile Peace, Fragile Diplomacy, Meissen Porcelain for European Courts ca. 1710-63, 2007, pp. 257-273, n. 24;
Notes: Ulrika Eleonora was born in 1688 and was the youngest child of King Charles XI and his wife Ulrika Eleonora of Denmark. Following the death of her brother, King Charles XII, she became Queen Regnant of Sweden for a short time from 5 December 1718 to 29 February 1720. She abdicated in 1720 in favour of her husband, Landgrave Frederick I of Hesse-Kassel.
David von Krafft, Portrait of Queen Ulrika Eleonora (1688-1741)
A beaker and saucer from this service was sold in these rooms, Anon. sale (A European Private Collection), 17th June 1997, lot 52, acquired by the Hoffmeisters and subsequently sold in the Hoffmeister collection, Part 1, Bonhams London, 25th November 2009, lot 80. A second example from the Hoffmeister collection was sold at Bonhams, 24th November 2010, lot 65. Two further examples are illustrated by Pietsch, Jakobson, op. cit., p.43.
A Meissen Plate from the service presented to King Frederik V of Denmark, circa 1746-50. Estimate £3,500-4,500/ €4,900-6,300. Photo Sotheby's
painted in the manner of Christian Friedrich Herold, the centre with two figures on horseback before ruins, buildings and mountains in the distance, within a quatrefoil cartouche with gilt diaper panels and edged with iron-red and puce foliate scrolls, the well painted with four sprays of indianische Blumen between four cartouches painted with figures in a landscape or by a quayside, crossed swords mark in underglaze-blue, impressed Dreher's mark + for Johann Christoph Pietzsch, 23cm., 9in. diam.
Provenance: Given in 1751 by Augustus III of Saxony and Poland to King Frederik V of Denmark;
Christiansborg Palace Court Pantry;
The Dr. Albert Weitnauer Collection, Bern, sold Christie's Geneva, 11th November 1985, lot 364
Literature: Ulrich Pietsch, Preziosen, einer süddeutschen Kunstsammlung, 2001, p. 49
Comparative Literature: Dieter Hoffmeister, Meissner Porzellan des 18. Jahrhunderts - Katalog der Sammlung Hoffmeister, 1999, vol. I, pp. 172-173, no. 88;
Jørgan Hein and Mogens Bencard, Denmark and Saxony, Family Ties and Meissen Porcelain, Fragile Diplomacy, Meissen Porcelain for European Courts ca. 1710-63, 2007, pp. 175-194
Notes: For a detailed discussion of this service see Hein and Bencard, op. cit., pp. 185-188. From the surviving correspondence between Ulrich von Spenner, the Saxon Ambassador to Denmark from 1744-56, and the Saxon-Polish court, as early as 1744 Spenner describes the high quality of the porcelain produced at Meissen. From the Meissen work records it appears that production orders began for the Danish court around the same time.
Carl Gustav Pilo, Portrait of King Frederik V of Denmark, Photo © Erik Cornelius, Nationalmuseum, Stockholm
When Frederik V became King in 1746, diplomatic gifts were exchanged between the two Kingdoms, however the service would not be delivered to Copenhagen until 1751. The King's reaction to seeing the porcelain is recorded in a letter from Spenner to Count Brühl, 'Hardly had the king seen me before he came to tell me, that yesterday he had seen the magnificent and beautiful porcelain, that my king had sent him. He asked me to relay his satisfaction and to what extent this present had given him pleasure'.
The oldest surviving inventory of the service is the 1781 listing of the Royal Pantry at Christiansborg Palace. Many pieces from the service remain in the Danish Royal Collections at Rosenborg Castle, Copenhagen.
NYMPHENBURG PORCELAIN AND BUSTELLI
A highlight in the collection are two important coloured figures modelled by Franz Anton Bustelli in crica 1760 of Lalage and Pierrot from the Commedia dell’Arte, fully encompassing the spirit of the time where young lovers became the centre of a vivid plot. Bustelli was one of the most important creators of porcelain in Germany, creating approximately 150 groups and figures which rarely come up for auction today as most are to be found in museums and collections. The sale presents two figures, part of a group of sixteen, which are deemed to be the most important work of the artist. These figures come from the Nymphenburg porcelain manufactory which was the first of its kind in Bavaria, established in 1747, and both have an estimate of £80,000-120,000 (lots 29, 30, €112,000-168,000).
An Important Nymphenburg figure of Lalage from the Commedia dell'arte, circa 1759-65. Estimate £80,000 -120,000/ €112,000-168,000. Photo Sotheby's
modelled by Franz Anton Bustelli, wearing a tightly fitted corset with a rhombic pattern in blue, red, black and yellow, her billowing skirt decorated with a broad hem of half-arcs with blossoms, her neck adorned with a black blow, a yellow hat sits on her light-gray hair, holding a plate in her left hand with her right hand raised holding a spoon to feed the baby monkey on Mezzetino's arm, upon on a scroll edged picked out in gilding,impressed shield mark to underside of base, 20.5cm., 8 in. high
Literature: Alfred Ziffer, Bustelli, Nymphenburger Porzellanfiguren des Rokoko, 2005, p. 479;
Ulrich Pietsch, Preziosen, einer süddeutschen Kunstsammlung, 2001, pp. 86-87;
Guido Gregorietti, Anton Franz Bustelli, il creatore delle più belle figurine in porcellana, in 3 Mostra Nazionale dell'Antiquario, Roma, Palazzo Braschi, 7 Maggio-29 Maggio 1966, front cover, p. 72;
Rainer Rückert, Bustelli, 1963, no. 213
Notes: In the literature, this figure was shown with a Mezzetino in 1966, which is now in the collection of the Gardiner Museum, Toronto, inv. no. G83.1.0954; however, the colouring of the pattern shows that he was not her original partner. A much better match is the model of Mezzetino from the Vagliano collection which was sold at Christie's London, 14th July 1955, lot 31.
An almost identical figure is in the Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York, acc. no. 1974.356.524, The Lesley and Emma Sheafer Collection, bequest of Emma A. Sheafer, 1973, previously in the collection of Catalina von Pannwitz (by descent); Walter von Pannwitz, Berlin; a second very similarly decorated figure is in the Kunstgewerbemuseum, Berlin, Inv.-Nr. HF535a, formerly in the Hermine Feist Collection (published by Rainer Rückert, Franz Anton Bustelli, 1963, no. 43, cover, and Otto von Falke, Deutsche Porzellanfiguren, 1919, pl. 18)
An example painted with a garland of flowers at the hem of her dress, along with her companion Harlequin with a baby monkey are in the Museum für Kunst und Gewerbe Museum, Hamburg, Inv.-Nr. B.49, previously in The Blohm collection, Sotheby's London, 10th October 1961, lot 669, The Feist Collection, later in the Berlin Schlossmuseum, sold in Munich at the sale of the 'Kunstwerke aus dem Besitz der Staatlichen Museen', Berlin 1937, nos. 552 and 533 (published in the Blohm collection catalogue by Robert Schmidt, 1953, no. 276, pl. 73, Reinhard Jansen, Commedia dell'Arte, Fest der Komödianten, 2001, p. 195 no. 202); Another pair is in the Kocher collection, Inventar Nrs. 27845 and 27846, previously in the collection of the Hofmarschal Baron zu Rhein (published by Robert L. Wyss, Porzellan Sammlung Kocher, 1965, p. 191 and 192)
An unusual example with her skirt painted with a band of seated Chinamen is in the Bavarian National Museum, Inv.-Nr.77/45, acquired from The Maurice de Rothschild Collection, Christie's London, 28th March 1977, lot 157, previously in the Baroness Van Zuylen Van Nyevelt collection, Christie's London, 25th November 1954, lot 1 and 2; an example from the R. Thornton Wilson collection was gifted to the Metropolitan Museum of Art in 1943, acc. no. 43.100.56.
An Important Nymphenburg figure of Pierrot from the Commedia dell’arte, circa 1759-65. Estimate £80,000 -120,000/ €112,000-168,000. Photo Sotheby's
modelled by Franz Anton Bustelli, about to take a step, holding a gilded lantern in his right hand and gesturing 'indico' with his left, wearing a tightly fitted costume with a yellow belt and a gold buckle with shaped ruffles picked out in blue, the jacket finished with a pleated white ruff and gold buttons, impressed shield mark edged in gilding to front of pierced scroll support, impressed 2 F.B mark to underside of base, 20.2cm., 8 in. high
Literature: Alfred Ziffer, Bustelli, Nymphenburger Porzellanfiguren des Rokoko, 2005, p. 479;
Ulrich Pietsch, Preziosen, einer süddeutschen Kunstsammlung, 2001, pp. 86-87;
Guido Gregorietti, Anton Franz Bustelli, il creatore delle più belle figurine in porcellana, in 3 Mostra Nazionale dell'Antiquario, Roma, Palazzo Braschi, 7 Maggio-29 Maggio 1966, p. 73
Notes: The broad undulating edging, the edge of the hat and the edges of the shoes are in monochrome blue and, together with the white of the porcelain, show Bavaria's signature colours white-and-blue. The mark "F·B" proves that this copy is the first version completed by Bustelli. Until today, only 25 figurines with the F·B mark have been identified worldwide. It is certain that they were not intended for sale originally, but only as samples. The stocks were presumably mixed after relocation of the manufactory from Neudeck to Nymphenburg in 1761 and the original pieces were initially sold in white and as painted copies later.
There are currently only four other known examples of this model with enamel decoration. One is in the Bavarian National Museum, Munich, inv. no. Ker 4095 (published by Friedrich Hofmann, Das europäische Porzellan des Bayerischen Nationalmuseums, 1908, no. 515; Rainer Rückert, Franz Anton Bustelli, 1963, no. 39; Reinhard Jansen, Commedia dell'Arte, Fest der Komödianten, 2001, no. 206); a second from The Maurice de Rothschild Collection, was sold in his (anon.) sale, Christie's London, 28th March 1977, lot 161, previously in The Baroness Van Zuylen Van Nyevelt collection, Christie's London, 25th November 1954, lot 9; a third is in The Lucy Truman Aldrich collection, Rhode Island, Museum of Art (published in the collection catalogue, 1965, pl. 7, fig. 46) and the fourth is in the Chicago Art Institute, Inv.-Nr. 1958.409.
An example left in the white, from the Dr Karl Lanz collection, Manheim, was sold by Hugo Helbing, Munich 1930, and subsequently sold at Christie's London, 2nd-3rd July 1956, lot 70.
From a charming Venetian Palazzo overlooking the Grand Canal comes a collection which spans over two centuries of European art history through unique textures, mediums, forms, colour and motifs providing a fascinating visual language. This collection demonstrates the discerning eye of a decorative arts collector with an array of carved giltwood mirrors and console tables, Venetian Rococo dining chairs with fantasy chinoiserie, walnut commodes, Oriental and European ceramics, tapestries and carpets, appropriately incorporating that essential Venetian component - kaleidoscopic Murano glass.
This sale is punctuated by pieces of Murano glass, spearheaded by a magnificent late 19th century mirror (lot 141, est. £15,000-20,000/ €21,000-34,900) decorated with profuse swags of polychrome flowers which is extremely rare to find, as this type of virtuosity is typically found on chandeliers. The collection additionally presents a stunning set of 1940s Murano stemware estimated at £2,000-3,000. (lot 144, €2,789-4,184)
An Italian polychrome and engraved glass mirror, Venetian, Murano, Late 19th-early 20th century, possibly by S.A.L.I.R. Estimate £15,000-20,000/ €21,000-34,900. Photo Sotheby's
with a stylised scallopshell cresting above an engraved panel depicting Venus and Cupid above a rectangular plate with mirrored borders with an acanthus clasp at each corner above a shaped apron, the whole applied with ribbon-tied floral garlands and trails of flowers and leaves - 201cm. high, 127cm. wide; 6ft. 7in., 4ft. 2in.
Provenance: Carlton Hobbs, London.
A set of Murano glass stemware Italian, circa 1940. Estimate £2,000-3,000/ €2,789-4,184. Photo Sotheby's
Twenty six pieces, each unique. Talles:t 26cm. (10 1/4in.) high
GRAND TOUR SOUVENIRS
A highlight of the sale is a wonderful 17th century Florentine pietre dure table top estimated at £80,000-120,000 (lot 135). Hardstone table tops became highly prized sophisticated collectors, courts and Grand Tourists throughout Europe and this example depicts an elaborate composition of fruiting swags, flowers and birds of fruiting branches, inspired by the naturalistic designs of Medici court painter Jacopo Ligozzi (c.1547-1627).
Lot 135. An Italian pietre dure inlaid table top, Florentine, first half 17th century; 49cm high, 97cm wide, 81cm deep. the top 78high, 93 deep; 1ft. 7¼in., 3ft. 2¼in., 2ft. 8in., 2ft. 6¾in., 3ft. 1in. Estimate £80,000 — 120,000 / €111,576 — 167,364. Lot Sold £106,250. Photo Sotheby's
centred with a ribbon-tied central panel depicting flowers within a rectangular panel with exotic birds, and foliage, the border with fruiting vines, the whole with butterflies, dragonflies, fruit and flowers enclosed in a geometric and verde antico border, the whole inlaid with a variety of hardstones including lapis lazuli, jaspers, agates, chalcedonies, giallo antico, breccia coralline and rosso antico, on a later Baroque style carved giltwood base with a gadrooned edge on scrolled legs joined by stretchers,
Provenance: Galleria Franco di Castro, Rome
Notes: This pietre dure table top represents a very fine example of 17th Century Florentine craftsmanship, when hardstones table tops depicting elaborate compositions of fruiting swags, butterflies, flowers and birds on fruiting branches became highly prized by sophisticated collectors and courts throughout Europe. Florentine tops depicting complex arrangements of fruit and flowers with birds took inspiration from the naturalistic designs of Jacopo Ligozzi (c.1547-1627), who was Medici court painter and director of the Galleria del Lavori in Florence.
The present mosaic is certainly by the same designer, and probably hand, of one belonging to the Royal Castle of Rosenborg, in Copenhagen, here illustrated. The Rosenborg mosaic is recorded as being from Christian IV's Oratory in the Chapel of Frederiksborg Palace and it is fitted on a stand with Frederik III's monogram and motto, circa 1660. The same is illustrated by Giusti, Le Marqueterie des Pierres Dures, p. 84, plate 66 - reproduced here in fig. 1, where it has been dated to the first quarter of the 17th century.
Pietre dure table top, 1st half 18th century, Florence, Courtesy Rosenborg Castle, Copenhagen.
The Rosenborg example and the present lot share an identical border using the distinctive fruiting vine garland, emanating from similarly ribbon-tied corners. This mosaic also presents similarly blue and white bellflowers, motifs that can also be seen in a top with a more complex composition made for the Earl of Yarnmouth (Sotheby’s London, 5th July 2006, lot 6). These two examples present birds finely inlaid with particularly vibrant stones, as in the accomplished birds of the current lot.
The visual language and textures of the collections are further enriched by some wonderful tapestries including a Flemish 16th century Oudenaarde Large Leaf Wild Park tapestry (Lot 123, est. £50,000-80,000/ €70,000-112,000), and a 16th century Flemish Wild Leaf ‘Feuilles-des Choux’ (Lot 136, est. £50,000-70,000/ €70,000-98,000) and an Italian Allegorical Tapestry from the Barberini Workshop, Rome, circa 1650-1660 (Lot 158, est. £30,000 - 40,000/ €41,900-56,000).
A Flemish large leaf wild park tapestry, probably Oudenaarde, circa 1560-1600. Estimate £50,000-80,000/ €70,000-112,000. Photo Sotheby's
woven with a lion, lioness, monkey and horse within exuberant large leaf plants within a landscape setting, within a four-sided fruiting and foliate border with allegorical figures in the lower corners of the border, with a narrow outer double scrolling border, with blue outer selvedge, approximately 340cm high, 520cm wide; 11ft. 2in., 17ft.
Literature: Guy Delmarcel, Flemish Tapestries, London, 1999, pp.188-194, for discussion of Oudenaarde tapestries, including Wild Park weavings.
Ingrid de Meuter, Tapisseries d’Audenarde du XVI au XVIII Siècle, 1999, Relevé des Thèmes iconographiques, pp.131- 147, for comprehensive illustration and discussion of Wild Park and Game Park tapestries.
Edwige Six, Les Routes de la Tapisserie en Val de Loire, Paris, 1996, pp.12-20, for an interesting set of eight Wild Park tapestries, in Château Serrant, depicting combat of wild animals, including an elephant and a dragon and lion and a horse, probably Brussels weavings, second half sixteenth century.
Notes: Wild Park Tapestries are very evocative of Flemish weaving manufacture, especially from the city of Oudenaarde, dating from the mid 16th century through to 1600. They are often wide weavings which are an extension of the landscapes beyond the walls on which they were hanging, only they often included very exotic animals within the more familiar acanthus plants and oak tree woodland glades. Amongst this genre of tapestries, there were some that incorporated distinctive architectural surrounds and columns within the design, and some became Game Park Tapestries, when there were figures included.
For a particularly wonderful Wild Park Tapestry, circa 1560, Oudenaarde, notable for the inclusion amongst the animals of the Rhinoceros after Dürer, see Sotheby’s, London, The Vigo-Sternberg Collection of European Tapestries, 29th February 1996, lot 14. Having been woven around 1560, tapestries woven in the next four decades followed the theme of extraordinary animals and birds within more recognisable forest settings.
Another similar piece is a Flemish Wild Park Tapestry, with the Battle of Lapythites and Centaurs (Ovid’s Metamorphoses), Oudenaarde, circa 1600, (approximately 310cm. high, 520cm. wide), Sotheby’s, London, 1st November 2005, lot 64, which is similar in format and design, with forest in the foreground and distant hills in the background, and also similar in concept using trees to break the frame. This tapestry has the same distinctive wide, fruiting and foliate border and narrow outer border, although the present tapestry has the additional allegorical figures in the corners.
For other comparable auction pieces, within different border types, see two similar tapestries which were sold at Sotheby's, London, 20th May 1994. Lot 12, was a very distinctive and important Wild Park Tapestry, Oudeanaarde, circa 1550, by Jacob Benne, with the Oudenaarde town mark and weaver’s mark, (approximately 295cm. high, 505cm. wide) and is similar in size, concept and design, although it included more architectural motifs and figures within the main design, and was in a border with more allegorical figures. Lot 17, A Game Park, Oudenaarde, circa 1600, has the characteristic foreground of wild animals, which in this weaving is centred by a lion attacking a stag, and the background reveals a river and boat, and is flanked by equestrian figures and hounds to one side and further equestrian figures, and two lions, one of which is attacking a centaur with sword and shield, the border type however being of a different style with compartments and more figures.
For a very similar tapestry in concept and design, circa 1550-1570, of narrower dimensions (approximately 348cm. high, 260cm. wide), woven with a deer and stag in the foreground and similar style of landscape with further prancing deer in the background, and with the same border type including the unusual pair of allegorical figures in the lower corners, see I. De Meuter, Tapisseries d’Audenarde du XVI au XVIII Siècle, 1999, Relevé des Thèmes iconographiques, p.131, from the Collection French & Company, New York, courtesy of the Getty Research Institute Photo Study Collection, Los Angeles (French & Co Archive).
A Flemish large-leaf (Feuilles-des-Choux) tapestry, Enghien or Grammont, third quarter 16th century. Estimate £50,000-70,000/ €70,000-98,000. Photo Sotheby's
woven with an exuberant ground of large-leaves interspersed with small insects and birds, with a balustrade across the foreground supporting large birds and two small figures holding fruit and a small shield respectively, with a large central foreground plant, and two similar in each corner of the four-sided border, woven with vases, fruit and flowers, against a tobacco and saffron ground, with blue outer selvedge, approximately 344cm. high, 395cm. wide; 11ft. 3in., 12ft. 11in.
Literature: Anna Bennett, Five Centuries of Tapestry, The Fine Art Museums of San Francisco, 1992, pp.134-135, cat.no.34, for a Large-Leaf Verdure, Flemish, possibly Grammont, 1550-1560.
Adolph Cavallo, Medieval Tapestries in the Metropolitan Museum of Art, 1993, pp.600-607, No.52, a&b, for two Thickets with large-leaves, flowers, animals, and architectural enframements, and comprehensive discussion and comparables including the inspiration of the design of the thicket.
Guy Delmarcel, Flemish Tapestries, London, 1999, pp.191-194, for discussion of Oudenaarde tapestries including large leaf verdures, & p.191, for the similar large leaf from The Art Institute of Chicago.
Guy Delmcarcel, Tapisseries Anciennes d’Enghien, Mons, 1980, pp.26-49, including verdures with birds, of finer weave, with the Enghien mark.
Ebeltje Hartkamp-Jonxis and Hillie Smith, European Tapestries in the Rijksmuseum, Amsterdam, 2004, pp.83-84, cat.23, for a Giant-Leaf Verdure with birds and snails, Southern Netherlands, circa 1550-1575.
Ingrid de Meuter, Tapisseries d’Audenarde du XVI au XVIII Siècle, 1999, Relevé des Thèmes iconographiques, p.126, figs.2&3, for comparable tapestries.
Notes: Large-Leaf Tapestries, with the distinctive ground of exuberant acanthus leaves, interspersed with delicate trails and incorporating various birds, were woven around the last quarter of the sixteenth century, in several weaving centres, including Grammont (Geraardsbergen), Bruges, Enghien and Oudenaarde. They varied in size, and balustrades are a frequent motif along with the very distinctive border type with vases and fabulous fruit and gourds.
For a comparable tapestry at auction, Grammont or Oudenaarde, circa 1550-1560, with a similar balustrade curving from the front foreground up to the sides and supporting a bird and the unusual two small figures, flanking the same central plant, see Sotheby’s, Monaco, 16th June 1990, lot 956. The difference is that it has a small fountain in the centre, and the border has four unusual points of golden decoration which extend into the large-leaf ground. Another similar tapestry, of only the right hand side, with half the central plant visible on the left side of the composition, see Sotheby's, New York, 12th December 1993, lot 252. For another similar tapestry, without the balustrade, but with two small figures supported by golden supports, see Drouot-Richelieu, Piasa, Paris, 15th December 2004, lot 147.
An Italian allegorical tapestry portiere, Rome, Barberini workshop, with the insignia of the Barberini family, probably from cartoons by Giovanni Francesco Romanelli, after an engraving by Agostino Veneziano, circa 1650-1660. Estimate £30,000 - 40,000/ €41,900-56,000. Photo Sotheby's
with the impresa 'Diversa per aequora', within a cartouche with small putto on a little boat, within a floral surround with strapwork with laurel sprigs centred by the Barberini family insignia of the bee, all within a frame surround and an outer four-sided border with ribbon bound double scroll entwined with a laurel leaf trail with wreaths and interspersed with the bee motif, against a blue surround, with an outer terracotta selvedge, approximately 301cm high, 219cm wide; 9ft. 10in., 7ft. 2in.
Exhibited: Dipinti, sculture, arredi dai Palazzi di Roma, Exhibition, Palazzo Sacchetti, Rome, 15 May – 30 June 1991
Literature: Adam Bartsch, Le Peinture Graveur, XIV, Lipsia 1813, p.179,n.219., and p.188,n.234.
Pascal-François Bertrand, Les tapisseries des Barberini et la décortion d’intérieur dans la Rome baroque’,Turnhout, 2005, pp.55, 289, fig.43., for comprehensive discussion of the Barberini patronage and tapestry manufacture.
Thomas Campbell, Tapestry in the Baroque, Threads of Splendour, Metropolitan Museum of Art Exhibition, New York, October 17, 2007-January 6, 2008; and at the Palacio Real, Madrid, March 6-June 1, 2007, Yale University Press, 2002, James, G. Harper, Tapestry Production in Seventeenth-Century Rome: The Barberini Manufactory, pp.293-303.
Edited by Guy Delmarcel, Flemish Weavers Abroad: Emigration and the Founding of Manufactories in Europe, Proceedings of International Conference, Mechelen, 2nd-3rd October 2000, Leuven University Press, 2002, Lucia Meoni, Flemish Tapestry Weavers in Italy in the 17th and 18th centuries, pp.163-183, and pp.177-183, for discussion of the importance of the foundation of the tapestry works of Cardinal Francesco Barberini, and the tapestries woven.
Fausto Romano, Dipinti, sculture, arredi dai Palazzi di Roma, Exhibition Palazzo Sacchetti, 15 May – 30 June 1991, pp.211-212, fig.172, for entry for this tapestry.
Notes: The foundation of the tapestry works of Cardinal Francesco Barberini, nephew of Pope Urban VIII in 1627 in Rome, was and important event in the history of tapestry weaving in Italy. Giovanni Francesco Romanelli collaborated with the Barberini workshop on the most important tapestry series by them.
The present tapestry is from an engraving by Agostino Veneziano (1490-1540), which was in turn after an engraving of the subject for preparatory drawings for the Story of Psyche, by Marco Dente da Ravenna (1493-1527), both Renaissance engravers, who worked in the workshop of Marcantonio Raimondi. The drawings were preparatory for the decorative scheme for the Farnesina, in Rome. The subject is taken from the Latin epic poem of The Aeneid: Story of Dido and Aeneas and Troy, a tapestry series of which was woven by Wauters, after cartoons by Romanelli. This overdoor panel depicts a distinctive garland which was incorporated in designs for the papal canopy executed by him in 1637. The putti is also comparable with that used in the series by Romanelli of The Triumph of Galatea, for Palazzo Altemps, which shows the same putto, on a dolphin.
The workshop used the distinctive family motif of the `bee', which is clearly used in the present tapestry. Liasing with Pietro da Cortona, the workshop and the weavers, initially from Flanders, were able to interpret progressive styles at the time with the patronage of the popes and princely families. A distinctive set of tapestry portieres from a series of the famous Castles of Europe, was the first series made in the Barberini workshop between 1627 - 1631, and was woven with the Barberini arms and a sole survivor from the series and the view of Palestrina, is recorded in a private Collection. It bears the weaver's mark of Giacomo della Riviera (Flemish weaver who Italianised his name), after a cartoon by Francesco Mingucci. It is interesting, stylistically to compare these with some other slightly later tapestries (horizontal hangings) from the Baldicchino with the Nativity, with the Arms of Urban VIII and the Barberini motif of the bee, and flanked by putti, 1635-1636, by Michele ‘fiammingo’ (Michiel Wauters), probably from cartoons by Giovanni Francesco Romanelli. There is also an interesting set of tapestries woven for the Vatican, of Giochi di putti, depicting playful putti, 1637-1642, woven initially under direction of Giacomo della Riviera, designed by Romanelli, and following the style of the Tommaso Vincidor’s early 16th century series of the same subject.