LONDON.- This spring will see the first sale at Sotheby’s for almost a decade exclusively dedicated to European Ceramics, Silver and Objects of Vertu. Entitled “From Earth to Fire”, the sale, to take place on 10 May, will focus on the creation of pieces born from the earth and transformed through the kiln into exquisite works. Testament to the ever-growing appetite of international collectors for unique pieces encapsulating the finest craftsmanship and materials of their time, the 265 lots in the sale are led by Dutch silver, ceramics and glass from the collection of the renowned Amsterdam antiques dealer Joseph M. Morpurgo. With estimates ranging from £2,000-70,000, the sale also includes sculptural Paul Storr silver, early Chelsea porcelain scent bottles and a private collection of French gold boxes.
Discussing the forthcoming sale, Alice Bleuzen, Sotheby’s Specialist in Silver and Vertu said: “This highly curated sale was put together in response to popular demand from the market. Ceramics, silver and objects of vertu have performed extremely well over the past several years and collectors from around the world are eager for more. We hope that the great quality and diversity in this sale will appeal to an even wider group of collectors and we look forward to presenting these magnificent works of art in London next month”.
Highlights in the sale include:
Lot 50. A pair of silver table centre dessert bowls Paul Storr for Storr & Mortimer, London, 1838. Estimate £50,000-70,000 (€64,000-89,500). Photo: Sotheby's.
the shaped oval marine bases cast and chased with shells, rockwork and spume and each supporting a crested clam pulled by a conch-blowing triton, the wood undersides each with four ivory ball and cartouche rollers and later printed Bulgari labels affixed; 35.5cm., 14cm. wide
Provenance: Bulgari Collection, Rome.
Lot 3. A German parcel-gilt silver Musician’s cup (Musikbecher) and cover, maker's mark a house mark probably that of Christoph Gretzinger, Reutlingen, circa 1625. Estimate £20,000-30,000 (€25,600-38,400). Photo: Sotheby's.
engraved with twenty-two armorial roundels with initials and names, one dated 1625, musician and tree trunk stem, King David playing his harp finial, the body inscribed in verse MIT. MEINER. HARPFEN. UND. MIT. MEINER. ZUNGEN. HAB. ICH. MEIM. GOTT. VIL. PSALMEN. GSUNGEN. DIS. THUN. AUCH./NOCH. VIL. CHRISTEN. MEHR. DA. KOMPT. DER. MUSIK. BECHER. HER, marked on body and foot; 33cm., 13in. high, 405gr., 13oz.
Provenance: Emma Budge, née Lazarus, Hamburg (1852-1937)
The forced sale of her estate: Paul Graupe, Berlin, Die Sammlung Frau Emma Budge, 27, 28, and 29 September, 1937, lot 193
Berlin Schlossmuseum, then Kunstgewerbemuseum Berlin
Restituted to the heirs of Emma Budge 2015
Literature: R. Schmidt, `Der Musikbecher von Reutlingen’ in Beitrage zur Schwäbischen und bayerischen Kunstgeschichte. Hans Bucheit zum 60. Geburtstag. Münchener Jb. Bildenden Kunst. N.F. 1938/39, Vol. 13 pp. 138-141
Klaus Pechstein, Kataloge Des Kunstgewerbemuseums Berlin, Berlin 1971, vol. 5, no. 74
Note: The verse in rough translation reads: With my harp and with my tongue, I have sung many psalms to God. Many Christians still do so and this Music Cup therefore exists
Not long after this cup entered the Berlin Schlossmuseum following its sale at auction in 1937 an article was written by Robert Schmidt identifying the South German town where it was made and the goldsmith who made it. No published mark for Reutlingen, a single-headed eagle, common to numerous German cities, existed at the time and the identification was made from other information engraved on the cup. The city was identified via some of the engraved names, recorded Reutlingen citizens, one of whom, Johann Fitzion (1573?-1633) wrote a rhyming chronicle of the city and may have been responsible for the verse on the cup. The goldsmith’s mark (see detail) is ascribed to a recorded Reutlingen goldsmith Christoph Gretzinger (born 1573), as it is similar to the `armorial’ housemark in the engraved shield of David Gretzinger, his nephew (see detail). While there is no record of a Meistersinger’s guild in Reutlingen, where song and lyric poetry was taught to ancient disciplines, there is no doubt that music and poetry played a significant role in Reutlingen public life. This is captured by the verse on the cup and in the verse chronicle of Johann Fitzion which records the importance of a certain Christoph Ensslin (1573-1657) to the city and its music. Ensslin was a deacon in Reutlingen in 1609, Vicar in 1616 and chief preacher in 1628. He was equivalent to then mayor Matthaüs Beger, in the city’s clerical life. The musical King in the verse and finial can easily be seen as a flattering reference to Christoph Ensslin, who is described in Johan Fitzion’s verse chronicle as someone who: Welcher auch Reittlinger Statt/ Ein Music angerchtet hatt/ von Burger Unnd von Handwerksleitt/ Sie Underrichtet in der Zeitt/, Dz sich dran zu werwundern ist/ Seins fleiss Unnd Eiffers yeder fris/
Established a music school in Reutlingen town, which taught both bourgeoisie and craftsmen, in a time that leaves one to wonder at his assiduousness and industry without end.
The Zeitt referred to in the verse probably refers to the Thirty Years War (1618-1648), a hard time, which saw Reutlingen as an Imperial Free City having to help pay for the imperial army by melting the silver, held in its societies and guilds. As a result when the article of 1938/39 was written only one other piece of early Reutlingen silver was known; a cup of 1594 given to the town of Tubingen in thanks for assistance during the fire of 8 December 1593.
Lot 21. The Dodding Tankard: A Charles II silver tankard, maker's mark IH, a fleur de lys between two pellets below (Jackson's, p. 136, line 14), London, 1671. Estimate £15,000-20,000 (€19,200-25,600). Photo: Sotheby's.
the cylindrical body and domed hinged cover flat-chased with Chinoiserie figures within a fanciful landscape, on three cast eagle supports, similar thumbpiece, cast handle; 20cm., 8in. high, 1004gr., 32oz. 5dwt.
Provenance: William Dodding (1668-1685), to his cousin
Robert Mawdsley (fl. 1720)
The Rev. Thomas Mawdsley (d. circa 1737)
Christie's, London, 27 May 1908, lot 100 (purchased by Harding)
Crichton Brothers, London
Sir John Noble of Ardkinglas, Bt. (1865-1938)
Sir Andrew Noble of Ardkinglas, Bt. (1904-1987), Christie's, London, 24 November 1943, lot 47
Sotheby's, London, 9 July 1964, lot 98 (purchased by S.J. Shrubsole)
Christie's, New York, 20 April 2000, lot 279
Exhibited: 'Age of Walnut' Loan Exhibition, 25 Park Lane, London, 1932
Wine Trade Loan Exhibition, Vintners' Hall, London, June 1933
'One Hundred Years of English Silver, 1660-1760,' University of Art Museum, University of Texas, Austin, 1969, ex. cat.
Literature: Sir Charles James Jackson, Silver and Gold Marks, London, 1905, p. 130, line 10
Michael Clayton, The Collector's Dictionary of Silver and Gold, London, 1971, p. 398, fig. 602
Note: The Latin inscription reads: ‘Ex dono/ Guli: Dodding de / Conishead armḡ: de= / =funct 23 . Jun: Anno 1685 / Charissimo : suo . Consobrino / Rob: Mawdsley de: Mawd= / sley Armg: haredibusq / suis in p.petuã ejus / memoriam’
A translation of the inscription reads: ‘The gift of William Dodding of Conishead esquire died 23 June 1685 to his most dear cousin Robert Mawdsley of Mawdsley esquire and to his heirs in perpetuity in his memory’
At the time when this tankard was made (1671/72) and decorated (circa 1685) the Dodding and Mawdsley (otherwise Maudsley or Mawdseley) families of Lancashire lived respectively in Conishead, near Ulverston and Mawdsley Hall, Mawdsley, near Croston. The two locations were some 80 miles apart. Both prominent in their localities, they were related through the marriage at Ulverston on 8 April 1657 of Alexander Mawdsley and Elizabeth Dodding. She was a sister of Miles Dodding (1640/42-1683) whose only surviving son, William, died of smallpox at the age of 18 in 1685, leaving the Dodding tankard to his first cousin Robert, son of the aforementioned Alexander and Elizabeth.
Given the discrepancy between the date of the tankard and of its inscription and decoration, it is tempting to suggest that the piece originally belonged to William’s father, Miles Dodding. Although no items of plate are mentioned in the latter’s will, signed on 7 April 1683, this document indicates that he was a man of some wealth. In addition to his house at Conishead and land elsewhere in the north of England, he also owned property in London at Chancery Lane and Bell Yard, St. Dunstan’s in the West; and at Middle Row, Temple Bar, St. Clement Danes, in which parish his father George had died in 1650/51.
Miles Dodding furthermore left a guide to his hopes for the future of his then 15 year old son: ‘William Dodding shall have Competent maintenance & good Educa[t]ion who I Earnestly desire may bee carefully & virtuously brought upp with Learning until he bee fit for the university and then either to bee sent thither or otherwise committed to the Tuition of my Reverend & worthy friend Mr. Marseden of Walton who I hope will be careful to Instruct my sd. sonn in the principals and fundementalls of the true protestant Religion as it is now Settled and Established by Law as alsoe in sure learning as is proper & useful for a Gentleman & [. . .] Qualifie him to Serve his King and Countrey.’ (Barrow Archive and Local Studies Centre, ref. BD HJ 90/Bundle 20/2)
Sadly, son followed father to the grave just two years later. It is assumed that William Dodding left instructions for his silver tankard to be inscribed as a memorial gift to his cousin, and decorated in the newly fashionable flat-chased Chinoiserie style. He may also have suggested the inclusion on its lid of the unusual family group of two figures holding an infant as a reference to his wish, stated in the Latin inscription, that the tankard be passed eventually to his cousin Robert’s ‘heirs in perpetuity.’
Robert Mawdsley’s ultimate heir, the Rev. Thomas Mawdsley of Astley is said to have died in or before 1737 but by then the Mawdsley Hall estate was so encumbered with debts that it had to be sold by the executors under an order of the Court of Chancery. What happened to the Dodding tankard meanwhile is not known, although its very survival suggests that it may have been acquired and retained by members of the wider Mawdsley family. It made its reappearance nearly 200 years later when it was sold as ‘The Property of a Gentleman’ for £255 11s. 3d. at Christie’s on 27 May 1908 (lot 100).
Thomas West, The Antiquities of Furness, new edition, London, 1905, pp. 276-277
John Gough Nichols and Ponsonby A. Lyons, ‘Pedigree of Bradyll,’ An History of the Original Parish of Whalley, 4th edition, vol. II, London, 1876, p. 3
Victoria County History, A History of the County of Lancaster, vol. 6, London, 1911, pp. 96-100
Victoria County History, A History of the County of Lancaster, vol. 8, London, 1914, pp. 348-356
Remarkable features of this rare Charles II tankard are the cast auricular handle and the eagle feet and thumbpiece. While the former may be compared with other near-contemporary English silver inspired by certain European prototypes (see, for instance, the handle of the Drapers’ Company tankard, maker’s mark DR below a coronet, London, 1661, illustrated in Charles Oman, Caroline Silver, London, 1970, pl. 28B), the birds are identical as regards size and pattern to those on a number of other vessels of the period. The most arresting in this group are the pair of silver tankards, Thomas Jenkins, London, 1671, from the Foley-Grey Collection, now at Dunham Massey, which incidentally also have striking cast auricular handles (James Lomax and James Rothwell, Country House Silver from Dunham Massey, The National Trust, 2006, pp. 54 and 55, cat. 8). Judith Banister, writing of Jenkins and the ‘lions, eagles, dolphins, billets or grotesque handles’ which are a feature of his work,’ says that he cannot be assumed to be alone in his use of such decorative details. ‘They appear on tankards, porringers and cagework cups [see an example with eagle feet, probably Nicholas Woolaston, London, circa 1670, Christie’s, New York, 10 December 1986] by most of the leading silversmiths of this time. At least two very fine tankards by IH, a fleur-de-lys and two pellets below, 1671 and 1675 feature even more elaborately grotesque handles and eagle feet and thumbpiece, complete with Jenkins-style corded ribs around the barrel.’ (The Proceedings of the Society of Silver Collectors, London, vol. II, nos. 11/13, p. 187). These two pieces are, respectively, the present Dodding tankard and the example engraved with the arms of Long of Trowbridge, Wiltshire, impaling those of Bayly of Biddeford and Bristol, which first came to notice in 1922 (The Times, London, 17 February 1922, p. 8b; and Sotheby’s, London, 4 December 2012, lot 398).
The London maker’s mark IH, a fleur de lys between two pellets below has been recorded on a number of noteworthy examples of late 17th Century goldsmiths’ work. These include, a gold two-handled cup and cover, 1680 (Corporation of Oxford); and the following silver items: a pilgrim bottle, 1663 (Sotheby’s, London, 18 June 1981, lot 193); a spice box, 1672 (Sotheby’s, London, 20 February 1964, lot 93); a pair of silver-gilt vases and covers, 1675 (Christie’s, London, 14 December 1938, lot 73); a porringer and cover, 1679 (Sotheby’s, London, 23 April 1981, lot 225); a pair of vases, circa 1680 (Christie’s, London, 2 March 1994, lot 115); and a silver-gilt cup and cover, 1681 (Corporation of Nottingham).
Lot 22. An English opaque-white glass vase and a cover, circa 1760. Estimate £7,000-10,000 (€9,000-12,800). Photo: Sotheby's.
Related Literature: Robert Charleston, 'Le Verre Blanc Opaque Anglais' in Cahiers de la Céramique du Verre, no. 28, 1962;
Gilding the Lily, Delomosne & Son Ltd., exh. cat., London, 1978.
This exceptional vase seems to be unrecorded in the literature.
The particularly fine and imaginative chinoiserie figure painting can be compared to other known examples once considered to have been decorated by William Edkins of Bristol. However, considering the high similarity to painting which appears on early Worcester porcelain and on Staffordshire salt-glaze, an origin in Staffordshire or Birmingham is now thought more likely.
A glass flask decorated with a similar complex group of chinoiserie figures was sold in these rooms, 5th November 1962, lot 28.
Lot 102. A rare Dutch ‘Black Delft’ figure of Budai Heshang, circa 1700-1710. Estimate £12,000-18,000 (€ 15,400-23,100). Photo: Sotheby's.
modelled seated smoking a pipe in his left hand, his right hand resting on his raised knee, wearing a cloak painted in blue, green, iron-red and ochre with dragons spouting foliate scrolls, 12.7cm., 5in. high
Literature: Christine Lahaussois, Delft - Faïence, Paris, 2008, pp. 126-127, fig. 2;
Robert D. Aronson, Dutch Delftware, Sur la table, Amsterdam, 2016, pp. 36-69, mentioned.
Related literature: Jacob Stodel, The Splendour of Dutch Delftware, exh. cat., London, 1993, p. 36, no. 20 for a related model;
C. J. A. Jörg, Oosters porselein, Delfts aardewerk, Groningen, 1983, p. 143, no. 142, for a related model.
Note: Black Delft is amongst the rarest of Delftware to survive, with approximately less than seventy pieces recorded. The colour was extremely difficult to achieve and as such it is considered that many factories simply did not attempt to produce it, or were not successful.
The model is taken from a 17th century Dehua blanc de chine original, an example is in the Metropolitan museum of Art, New York, acc. no. 32.100.422. The closest comparables to the present lot are two 'black delft' figures picked out in colours illustrated by Aronson, op. cit., no. 15., one of which is marked iVP 160, which the author suggests could be connected to other marks used by the De Metaale Pot factory. Equally rare, models are known in blue and white; one illustrated by Jörg, op. cit, no. 142, differing slightly holding an orb rather than a pipe is marked 'VE', and another holding a pipe and teabowl and saucer is marked AK for Adriaensz Kocx of the De Grieksche A (The Greek A) factory, Stodel, op. cit., no. 20.
The model was also produced in European porcelain, a close comparable in Cozzi hard-paste is in the Metropolitan Museum, acc. no. 1974.28.120.
OBJECTS OF VERTU
Lot 6. An important agate cup and cover with jewelled and enamelled silver-gilt and gold mounts, Jean-Valentin Morel, Paris, circa 1836-40. Estimate £40,000-60,000 (€51,500-77,000). Photo: Sotheby's.
oval, the mottled plum, russet and tan agate bowl and cover carved in low relief with acanthus leaves, the handles formed as enamelled winged sirens with tortuously twisted fish tails, the finial formed as a Herculean putto crushing a baby dragon with a stone (now lacking), supported on a rectangular silver-gilt strapwork base applied with coloured gemstones, on enmelled masks and with enamelled turtles at the four corners, maker's mark and French post-1838 control; 33cm., 13in. wide
Provenance: Probably bought from Fossin by Baron Anthony de Rothschild in 1836;
anonymous sale, Sotheby's New York, 14th June 1999, lot 29
Literature: Isabelle Lucas, 'Jean-Valentin Morel and the revival of the lapidary's art', Apollo, January 2005, pp.48/9, illustrated
Note: Jean-Valentin Morel (1794-1860) had a long and tumultuous career in his native France and in London. Son of the Parisian lapidary Valentin Morel (1761-1834), who was of Piedmontese origin, he was apprenticed first to his father and later to the celebrated goldsmith, Adrien Vachette (1753-1839). He became independent in 1828, stating, 'I resolutely set about restoring to the profession of lapidary the importance it had acquired in the hands of the old masters.' After a brief partnership with Augustin Veyrat in 1834, until 1840 he was one of the leading craftsman in the workshop of Jules Fossin. In 1842, he entered a new partnership with Henri Duponchel. Although successful, -- their business is recorded as having employed 80 workmen -- the partnership was dissolved in a costly court case which resulted in near penury for Morel, who fled to London. He established himself at 7 New Burlington Street, trading as a goldsmith and jeweller. Former French clients, who had also emigrated to London following the 1848 Revolution, introduced him to the English aristocracy and eventually to Queen Victoria. He was appointed Goldsmith to the Crown in 1852. Yet, despite this and the considerable acclaim he garnered at the Great Exhibition of 1851, he again fell into financial difficulty and closed his business in 1852. He then returned to France, settling at Sèvres, where he made many of his best objects, including the well-known Hope Vase for which he won the Medal of Honour at the Paris Exhibition of 1855. He died in 1860, still in financial difficulty.
Lot 248. A gold and enamel Imperial portrait snuff box, Victoire Boizot (veuve Blerzy), Paris, circa 1809, retailed by Henry Gibert. The lid is decorated with an oval portrait of Empress Josephine in court dress and pearl parure. Estimate £15,000-20,000 (€19,200-25,600). Photo: Sotheby's.
Provenance: The Property of a Gentleman, Christie's Geneva, 14-15 November 1983, lot 642
Note: Josephine Tascher de la Pagerie, born in Martinique in 1763, was first married to Alexandre, vicomte de Beuaharnais, a Revolutionary general with whom she had two children, Eugène and Hortense. He was sentenced to the guillotine during the Terror and soon after his death, Josephine became the wife of Napoleon Bonaparte. At his coronation in 1804 she was crowned Empress but was divorced in 1810 in order that the Emperor could marry Archduchess Marie Louise of Austria. Josephine retired to Malmaison where she cultivated her famous rose garden and died in 1814.
The celebrated miniaturist Jean-Baptiste Isabey (1767-1855) had studied under David and worked frequently for the Imperial family. Josephine employed him as drawing master to Hortense and Eugène de Beauharnais as well as one of her official miniature painters with Saint and Augustin among others. Two further examples by Isabey of the present miniature (later also engraved) are in the collections of the Department of Drawings at the Louvre (RF2358 & RF3830). Interestingly Josephine is shown wearing her coronation robes but not the same jewels (crown or diadem and sapphire and diamond necklace) she is usually seen wearing in representations of the coronation. The pearl drop necklace shown in Isabey’s portrait is thought to have passed to her daughter-in-law, Princess Augusta Amalia of Bavaria (1788-1856) and then to her grand-daughter and namesake, Josephine de Beauharnais, later Queen of Sweden (necklace sold Sotheby’s, 12 November 2014).
The retailer, Louis-Armand and his son Henry Gibert, are known to have valued jewels for Napoleon and to have supplied him with presentation snuff boxes. A payment to Gibert of 31,000 francs on 16 brumaire, an XII (8 November 1803) is recorded for ‘fournitures et façon de divers objets de joaillerie, destinés en présents’ and on the same day payment of 5,500 francs was made to M. Isabey for ‘ses petits portraits de l’empereur, pour le service des présents’. The current box must come from a later series (since it is numbered: 26) commissioned by the service des présents or the Empress since it cannot have been created before 6 April 1808 when Victoire Boizot, widow of Etienne-Lucien Blerzy first entered her maker’s mark.