Spanning 14 auctions in total, remarkable lots with extraordinary provenance will be offered across mediums, periods and price points. © Christie’s Images Limited 2018
LONDON.- Christie’s Classic Week sales in July present a vibrant array works of art dating from antiquity to the 20th century. Spanning 14 auctions in total, remarkable lots with extraordinary provenance will be offered across mediums, periods and price points. Works range from a rich offering of paintings, drawings and watercolours across Old Masters, Victorian, Pre-Raphaelite, British Impressionist, 19th Century European and Orientalist Art, to important decorative arts including sculpture, furniture, portrait miniatures and gold boxes, to inspiring books, manuscripts, illustrations, prints, science and natural history. Highlights include a poignant work by Rubens, Thomas Chippendale furniture marking the 300th anniversary year of his birth, Pre-Raphaelite works, two bronzes from ‘the Court of the Sun King’ Louis XIV of France, illustrations by Quentin Blake and Ancient Greek pottery. Works will be on public view at Christie’s King Street from 30 June to 12 July.
Antiquities | 3 July
Comprising 116 lots, the Antiquities sale will be led by a Faliscan red-figured calyx-krater, finely decorated with an elaborate scene set in the Underworld (estimate £70,000-90,000). The work is one of only eight known vases attributed to the Nazzano Painter who is considered one of the masters of the Faliscan school. Another highlight is a Roman marble head of the young Commodus, estimated at £50,000-80,000. This extremely powerful and rare portrait successfully captures the youthful arrogance of the Crown Prince, here depicted as a teenager. The sale also features part of the prestigious Resandro Collection of Egyptian art (lot 1-18), including a large bronze of the lion-headed goddess Wadjet-Bast (estimate £50,000-70,000) and a faience shabti for the Royal Scribe Horkebi (estimate £10,000-15,000) previously in the collection of Captain Spencer-Churchill.
Lot 70. A Faliscan red-figured calyx-krater, attributed to the Nazzano Painter, circa 380-360 B.C.; 16 ½ in. (42.3 cm.) high. Estimate GBP 70,000 - GBP 100,000 (USD 92,820 - USD 132,600). Price realised GBP 106,250. © Christie's Images Ltd. 2018
Provenance: with Elie Borowski, Basel, 1967.
French private collection, acquired from the above.
Note: The Nazzano Painter is considered one of the best and most well-known painters of the Faliscan school. From the town of Falerii in Southern Etruria, he is named the Nazzano Painter after his finest work, a calyx-krater with Dionysos and Ariadne, from Nazzano. Faliscan vase painting began about 400 B.C. and is in general regarded as the closest in style to the Attic school, especially when comprared to other centres for vase production in Etruria.
The Nazzano painter is known for large vases depicting complicated mythological and epic scenes, with figures of varying sizes on different levels. There is only a small handful of other known calyx-kraters including: his name vase already mentioned; one in the British Museum (F479) with the infant Herakles strangling the snakes; one in Villa Giulia, Rome (1197) with a scene from the Sack of Troy; another in the Louvre (CA7426) with Athena's contest with Poseidon; another in The Museum of Fine Arts, Boston (1970.487) with a scene from Euripides' Telephos; another in the Museum of Fine Arts, Richmond, Virginia (inv. 82.137) with a battle of Satyrs and Amazons; and another in a private collection in Pavia with Zeus and Ganymede.
Attributed to the Nazzano Painter, Faliscan red-figured bowl for mixing wine (calyx-krater), circa 400 BC, British Museum (888,1015.13). © The Trustees of the British Museum.
Calyx krater with red-figure decoration, ca 360 BC. Musée du Louvre (CA7426) © 1996 RMN / Hervé Lewandowski
Calyx-Krater, Faliscan. Attributed to the Nazzano Painter (Cahn), about 380-360 B.C. Height: 49.1 cm (19 5/16 in.); diameter: 53.7 cm (21 1/8 in.), John H. and Ernestine A. Payne Fund, (1970.487). © 2018 Museum of Fine Arts, Boston
Red-Figure Kalyx-Krater (Mixing Bowl). Attributed to the Nazzano Painter, ca. 370 B.C.; Overall: 19 × 19 1/2 in. (48.26 × 49.53 cm). Museum of Fine Arts, Richmond, Virginia (inv. 82.137). © 1996–2016 Virginia Museum of Fine Arts, Richmond
The main scene is characteristic of his work with an elaborate array of figures, and seems to be unfolding in the Underworld. Sitting at the centre of the upper level is Hades, holding a trifoliate sceptre and a cornucopia. In front of him stands Adonis, holding flaming torches and dressed in oriental costume. On the right of Adonis sits Persephone, wife of Hades and mistress of Adonis and behind her sits a youth with an oinochoe at his feet. On the far right is Hermes wearing his traveller's hat and holding his caduceus, with Eros offering him wine. For a similar seated Hades holding a cornucopia from a Faliscan red-figured kylix, see Heidelberg University E49, in R. Lindner, "Hades/Aita, Calu," LIMC, IV, p. 397, no. 16, pl. 16.
On the lower left, Heracles is sitting on the lion skin, holding his club. On the right, bearded Odysseus wearing his pilos helmet, is addressing a seated youth holding a torch and a bakkhoi (branches of myrtle tied with lengths of white wool). A panther is running in the foreground. The seated youth may be Eubouleus, in his role as torchbearer, leading Odysseus back from the Underworld. The inclusion of the flaming torches, the bakkoi and Eubouleus would suggest a link with the Eleusinian Mysteries.
As with all the Nazzano Painter kraters, the reverse shows a Dionysian scene with satyr and maenads and a seated youth playing the lyre.
Lot 78. A Roman marble portrait head of the young Commodus, circa 175-177 A.D. Head, bust and socle: 21 7/8 in. (55.5 cm.) high. Head: 11 ¼ in. (29 cm.) high. Estimate GBP 50,000 - GBP 80,000 (USD 66,300 - USD 106,080). Price realised GBP 62,500. © Christie's Images Ltd. 2018
Provenance: Canal collection, Paris and Jussac, France, prior to 1967, and thence by descent.
Note: Aurelius Commodus Antoninus Augustus - more commonly known simply as Commodus, was the son of Marcus Aurelius and Faustina the Younger and the last member of the Antonine dynasty of Roman emperors. He assumed the Imperial throne at the age of eighteen following the death of his father in 180 A.D. and quickly developed a reputation for megalomania and sexual depravity. Towards the end of his reign he re-founded Rome and called it 'Colonia Commodiana', and had the months re-named after his various titles. After several attempts on his life, Commodus was finally strangled during a coup which was organised in 192 A.D. by members of the Praetorian Guard, the Imperial household, and his favourite concubine Marcia.
Despite receiving the damnatio memoriae, Commodus was celebrated post-mortem and received divine honours from his successor Septimius Severus. Thus, many statues of Commodus were made during Severus' rule (193-211), based on those created in Rome during the last five years of Commodus' life.
Official portraits of Commodus have been divided into five types. This portrait belongs to the first type and depicts him as Crown Prince and successor to his father Marcus Aurelius, at the age of fourteen to sixteen years old. The finest example of this type comes from the Villa of Antoninus Pius in Lanuvium and was made between 175-177 A.D., cf. D. E. E. Kleiner, Roman Sculpture, New Haven, 1992, pp. 273-275, fig. 241. According to Kleiner ‘the depiction of Commodus’ hair is a tour de force, as is the rest of the portrait, because the artist also succeeds in capturing the boy’s youthful arrogance in his expression’.
Lot 13. An Egyptian bronze of Wadjet-Bast, Late period, 26th dynasty, circa664-525 B.C.; 12 in. (30.5 cm.) high. Estimate GBP 50,000 - GBP 70,000 (USD 66,300 - USD 92,820). Price realised GBP 150,000. © Christie's Images Ltd. 2018
Provenance: French private collection, Burgundy, prior to 1983.
with Guy Ladrière, Paris.
Antiquities; Christie's, London, 11 December 1987, lot 128.
Resandro collection, acquired from the above sale.
Exhibited: Berlin, Ägyptisches Museum und Papyrussammlung; Berlin, Staatliche Museen zu Berlin; Munich, Staatliche Sammlung Ägyptischer Kunst Munchen; Hamburg, Museum für Kunst und Gewerbe Hamburg, Gott und Götter im Alten Ägypten, 1992-1993.
PUBLISHED: S. Schoske and D. Wildung, Gott und Götter im Alten Ägypten, Mainz am Rhein, 1993, pp. 62-64, no. 41.
I. Grimm-Stadelmann (ed.), Aesthetic Glimpses, Masterpieces of Ancient Egyptian Art, The Resandro Collection, Munich, 2012, p. 148, no. R-428.
Note: In this example, the deity presents the characteristics of two powerful goddesses of Lower Egypt. The lion aspect represents Bast, or Bastet, the protector of Lower Egypt, whereas the rearing cobra fronting the sun-disc is associated with Wadjet, the deity originally from the Nile Delta region. Like many of the other gods, the ancient Egyptians brought together multiple aspects into one entity.
The low-backed throne on which she sits on is engraved with a Horus falcon and scale motives which continue around both sides. The motive refers to the raising of the child Horus in the papyrus thicket in the Delta site of Khemnis; as Wadjet was also referred to as the nurse of the young god.
Lot 12. An Egyptian blue faience shabti for the royal scribe Horkhebi, Late period, 26th dynasty, circa 664-525 B.C.; 6 in. (15.4 cm.) high. Estimate GBP 10,000 - GBP 15,000 (USD 13,260 - USD 19,890). Price realised GBP 16,250. © Christie's Images Ltd. 2018
Provenance: Captain E.G. Spencer-Churchill (1876-1964), Northwick Park, Blockley, Gloucestershire.
Antiquities from the Northwick Park Collection, the property of the late Captain E.G. Spencer-Churchill; Christie's, London, 21-23 June 1965, lot 191.
PUBLISHED: J.-F. and L. Aubert, Statuettes Égyptiennes: Chaouabtis, Ouchebtis, Paris, 1974, p. 215.
I. Grimm-Stadelmann (ed.), Aesthetic Glimpses, Masterpieces of Ancient Egyptian Art, The Resandro Collection, Munich, 2012, p. 213, no. R-685.
Note: The shabtis for Horkhebi share characteristics from both the 25th and the 26th dynasty. In Statuettes Égyptiennes: Chaouabtis, Ouchebtis, 1974, Aubert mentions the present example (p. 215) and translates the first column of hieroglyphs: ‘Blessed with Osiris, Lord of Busiris, the royal scribe Horkhebi, born of Khaemkhons, born of Neferneith’. On the second frontal column, we find the traditional formula from Chapter 6 of the Book of the Dead, still in its second version instead of the third, which continues on the three columns on the back. Because of their finely modelled face and their wide body, Cooney believed that they dated to the 25th Dynasty, with similar looking figures in serpentine. J. Yoyotte later suggested that they should rather be dated to the 26th dynasty because of the name of his mother. Neferneith (‘Neith is Good’) contains the name of the main deity of Sais, Neith, whose influence only grew after the reign of Psamtek I.
It is not known where these statuettes were found. They are all blue, green or weathered to a brown patina, as with this example. Other shabtis for Horkhebi are known in some of the most prestigious institutions: four in Paris, but also Berlin, London and the Corning Museum, New York.
Old Master & British Drawings & Watercolours | 3 July
This sale presents a selection of Dutch, French, German, English and Italian drawings, comprising over 150 lots in total. The Italian section is led by an unpublished Architectural Capriccio by Canaletto (estimate: £150,000-200,000). In his capricci Canaletto depended on his study of real cities and landscapes to create pleasing imaginary views, some more fanciful than others. Among the highlights from the section of Northern Drawings, is a previously unknown sheet by Caspar David Friedrich, the towering figure of 19th Century German painting, A Gothic brick building and two studies of trees (estimate: £70,000-100,000), and a group of 20 Dutch 17th and 18th century landscape and topography drawings from the collection Dr. J.A.M. Smit, with estimates ranging from £2,000 to £12,000. Further highlights include The Faerie Queen Appears to Prince Arthur by Johann Heinrich Füssli, Henry Fuseli, R.A. (estimate: £150,000-250,000). Much of Fuseli’s greatest work took its subject matter from great writers such as William Shakespeare, John Milton, and Edmund Spenser. This drawing depicts the moment when the Faerie Queen, Gloriana, appears in a dream to the knight Arthur, who is the perfection of all virtues. Fuseli also made a large-scale drawing of this subject, now in the Kunstmuseum, Basel. It is an outstanding example of Fuseli’s virtuoso draughtsmanship and understanding of the pen and ink medium.
Lot 24. Giovanni Antonio Canal, called Il Canaletto (Venice 1697-1768), An architectural capriccio, traces of black chalk, pen and brown ink, brown and grey wash, 8¼ x 13¼ in. (21.1 x 33.8 cm). Estimate GBP 150,000 - GBP 200,000 (USD 198,900 - USD 265,200). Price realised GBP 162,500. © Christie's Images Ltd. 2018
Exhibited: Paris, Galerie Miromesnil, Venise au XVIIIe siècle, 1978.
Note: Canaletto’s mastery is equally evident in his topographical works, in which he recorded with accuracy – but never drily – the grandeur, beauty and liveliness of the sites he chose to depict, as it is in his capricci, for which he depended on his study of real cities and landscapes to create pleasing imaginary views, some more fanciful than others. The thick, curly lines and skillful use of wash seen in these latter works are typical of the artist’s later graphic style. The present, unpublished example seems to combine elements of the architecture of Venice and Padua, although none can be exactly identified. A closely related drawing is recorded in a New York private collection (see J. Bean, F. Stampfle, Drawings from New York Collections, III, The Eighteenth Century in Italy, exhib. cat., New York, The Metropolitan Museum of Art, 1971, no. 160, ill.).
Lot 85. Caspar David Friedrich (Greifswald 1774-1840 Dresden), A Gothic brick building and two studies of trees, inscribed ‘den 18t Aprill/ 1809/ Greifswald’ and ‘Breesen/ den 14t Juni/ 1809’ and ‘den 14t Juni’ and with number ’37.’ (recto) and with illegible trimmed inscription (verso), graphite, grey and brown wash, 12 1/8 x 9 7/8 in. (30.9 x 25.2 cm). Estimate GBP 70,000 - GBP 100,000 (USD 92,820 - USD 132,600). Price realised GBP 212,500. © Christie's Images Ltd. 2018
Provenance: Johan Christian Dahl (1788-1854) (with his inscription ‘Caspar David Friedrich/ + zu Dresden d 7 May 1840.’).
The estate sale of Karl Heinrich Beichling [date and place unknown], where apparently acquired by Dr. C. Jessen (according to Dr. Heinrich Becker's inventory).
Bethel Institution, Bethel (near Bielefeld) from whom acquired in 1936 by Dr. Heinrich Becker (1881-1972), (according to Dr. Heinrich Becker's inventory), and by descent to the present owners.
Note: The towering figure in 19th Century German painting, Friedrich was also a prolific draughtsman, by whom a very substantial number of sheets survive. Few important drawings remain in private hands, however, and the rediscovery of this unpublished example is a valuable addition to his œuvre. The drawing belongs to a group of nearly twenty studies on loose sheets (Loseblattsammlung), in which Friedrich focuses on trees and Gothic architecture in the surroundings of his birthplace Greifswald, in Northern Germany (C. Grummt, Caspar David Friedrich. Die Zeichnungen, Munich, 2011, II, nos. 579-595, ill.). All are dated between April and July 1809, when the artist visited his family, mainly to see his father, who had been ill for more than a year. As the artist’s own inscriptions indicate, the studies of trees were made on 14 June, the day of his father’s recovery, in Breesen, near Neubrandenburg, where (as a family letter informs us) his father had retired ‘to become healthy again by taking walks’ (ibid., p. 546). Nearly two months before, on 18 April, shortly after arriving at Greifswald, Friedrich made the study of a building in the upper half of the sheet, probably a house, characteristic for the region’s Gothic architecture. Drawing carefully from life, he subtly clarified its structure and materials by adding light brown washes, probably at home. (At upper right he had first tried out his brush after dipping it in the ink). The inscription at lower right is due to the great Norwegian painter Johan Christian Dahl, a friend of Friedrich who owned a large number of his works. Although not made as independent works of art, studies such as these, like Friedrich’s best pictures, show him both as an artist capable of close observation, and one finding a spiritual quality in the beauty of the world surrounding him.
Lot 100. Johann Heinrich Füssli, Henry Fuseli, R.A. (Zurich, Switzerland 1741-1825 Putney Hill, London), The Faerie Queene appears to Prince Arthur, from Edmund Spenser's 'The Faerie Queene' (recto); and A sketch for the Faerie Queene and Prince Arthur (verso), pen and black ink, black and grey wash, 15 ¼ x 20 in. (38.7 x 50.8 cm.). Estimate GBP 70,000 - GBP 100,000 (USD 92,820 - USD 132,600). Price realised GBP 728,750. © Christie's Images Ltd. 2018
Provenance: ?Susan, Countess of Guilford (d. 1837), and by descent to her daughter
?Susan, Baroness North (1797-1884).
Prof. Paul Ganz, Oberhofen, Bern (1872-1954), and by descent until 1975, when purchased by
the father of the present owners.
Literature: P. Ganz, The Drawings of Henry Fuseli, Bern, 1947, p. 9 and London, 1949, p. 62, no. 9.
F. Antal, Fuseli Studies, London, 1956, pp. 20 & 140.
G. Schiff, Johann Heinrich Füssli, Zurich, 1973, pp. 68, 97, 140, 220, 313, 325, 432, no. 337, ill.
N.L. Pressly, The Fuseli Circle in Rome: Early Romantic Art of the 1770s, New Haven, 1979, pp. 28-9.
Exhibited: Zurich, Kunsthaus, Johann Heinrich Füssli, 1926, no. 93.
Zurich, Kunsthaus, J. H. Füssli, 1969, no. 120.
Hamburg, Kunsthalle, Johann Heinrich Füssli, 1741-1825, 1974-5, number untraced.
London, Tate Gallery, Fuseli, 19 February - 31 March 1975, no. 149.
Paris, Petit Palais, Johann Heinrich Füssli, 21 April - 20 July 1975, no. 145.
Note: This large, magnificent drawing from Fuseli’s early years in England (from 1764-70) has been described by Nancy Pressly, together with its near companion The Cave of Despair (Schiff 338, fig. 1), as ‘perhaps Fuseli’s finest works from the 1760s'. However, she also tells us that a large number of works from this period were destroyed by a fire at the house of his friend the radical publisher and bookseller Joseph Johnson in January 1770 (Pressly, pp. 28-9). Moreover, although Fuseli had arrived in London in 1764 he had only become a fully professional artist some time later, in part encouraged by Joshua Reynolds, following a period when he had concentrated more on his translation of Winkelmann’s Reflections on the Paintings and Sculpture of the Greeks, published in 1765, and on his ownRemarks on the Writings and Conduct of J.J. Rousseau, 1767. He left for Italy in the spring of 1770, not returning to England, after a stay of a few months in Zurich, until 1778. Works of the later 1760s are exceedingly rare. Moreover, it is perhaps the earliest surviving demonstration of Fuseli’s abilities as a draughtsman and inventor of striking imagery.
The drawing illustrates the passage from Edmund Spenser’s (1552-1599) patriotic verse allegory The Faerie Queene, Book I, Canto IX, verse 13, in which Prince Arthur, the future King of that name, tells Una and the Red Cross Knight how, exhausted from hunting in the forest, he had dismounted and fallen asleep, only to dream of the Faerie Queene:
‘Forwearied with my sportes, I did alight
From loftie steed, and downe to sleepe me layd:
The verdant gras my couch did goodly dight,
And pillow was my helmett fayre displayd:
Whiles every sence the humour sweet embayd,
And slombring soft my hart did steale away,
Me seemed, by my side a royall mayd
Her daintie limbes full softly down did lay:
So fayre a creature yet saw never sunny day.’
After she had told him of her love and given him her name, she vanished and he awoke alone and bereft (verses 14-15):
‘Most goodly glee and lovely blandishment
She to me made, and badd me love her deare.
For dearly sure her love was to me bent,
As, when just time expired, should appeare.
But, whether dreames delude, or true it were,
Was never hart so ravisht with delight,
Ne living man like wordes did ever heare,
As she to me delivered all that night;
And at her parting said, she Queene of Faries hight.
When I awoke, and found her place devoyd,
And nought but pressed gras where she had lyen,
I sorrowed all so much, as earst I joy'd,
And washed all her place with watry eyen.
From that day forth I lov'd this face divyne;
From that day forth I cast in carefull mynd,
To seek her out with labor and long tyne,
And never vowd to rest till her I fynd:
Nyne monethes I seek in vain, yet ni'll that vow unbynd.’
Only the inclusion of the horse’s head, looming into the space of the drawing from the right, upsets the equilibrium of the scene, anticipating as it does the horse’s head in The Nightmare of 1781 (Schiff 757-9); surely Prince Arthur’s dream had not been a nightmare! However, at this early point in Fuseli’s developing imagery, it could perhaps reflect the more neutral significance of the lines about Queen Mab in Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet, Act I, Scene 4:
And in this state she gallops night by night
Through lovers’ brains, and then they dream of love.
(For the significance of horses and nightmares in Fuseli’s art see Christopher Frayling, 'Fuseli’s The Nightmare: Somewhere between the Sublime and the Ridiculous' in Martin Myrone, ed., exh. cat., Gothic Nightmares: Fuseli, Blake and the Romantic Imagination, London, Tate Britain, 15 February – 1 May 2006, pp. 9-20). The illuminated form behind the horse’s head is presumably Arthur’s spear, its presence a flash of light adding to the drama of the horse’s impact.
In addition Fuseli adds a whole troupe of fairy-like figures including the gnome on the left holding a whip with serrated tooth-like edges culminating in a cat-of-nine-tails ending in flowers. These anticipate Titania’s attendants in the great canvases illustrating A Midsummer Night’s Dream – painted for Boydell’s Shakespeare Gallery in the 1780s (Schiff 753-4).
Fuseli’s first illustrations to the world of English literature draw on elements from a wider circle than Spenser’s Elizabethan epic. Fuseli, despite his foreign background, was one of the pioneers in illustrating The Faerie Queene, a genre of literature coming into fashion in the later 18th Century at the same time as Ossian and the ‘Gothic’. The only important precedents were William Kent’s 32 engravings for the three-volume edition of Spenser’s text published in 1751 and four drawings by Mortimer dating to the mid-1760s, though not engraved and published by John Hall until 1777 (J. Sunderland, ‘John Hamilton Mortimer, his Life and Works’, Walpole Society, LII, 1986-8, pp. 180-1, nos. 132. 13-16, illustrated); his grand full-length painting of Sir Arthegal, the Knight of Justice, with Talus, the Iron Man at Tate Britain was not exhibited until 1778 (Sunderland, op.cit., p. 185, no. 136, illustrated). Alexander Runciman also illustrated four episodes in 1776 (Pressly, loc. cit.).
It was perhaps Fuseli’s Continental background that lead him to go back to further international sources in the story of the enchantress Armida and the crusader knight Rinaldo in Tasso’s Jerusalem Liberata and Van Dyck’s paintings of the same subject of 1627 in the Baltimore Museum and the Royal Collection (S.J. Barnes, N. de Poorter, O. Millar and H. Vey, Van Dyck: A Complete Catalogue of the Paintings, New Haven and London, 2004, pp. 296-7, illustrated; both paintings were in England in the 18th Century). These were part of a tradition derived in their turn from Antique sarcophagi of Semele and Endymion. (For this tradition see Schiff, p. 68).
Some twenty years after the present drawing Fuseli painted a later version of The Faerie Queene appearing to Prince Arthur in oils for the first volume of Thomas Macklin’s Poet's Gallery, 1780 (Schiff 721, Öffentliche Kunstsammlung, Basel, fig. 2); this was engraved by Peltro W. Tomkins (D.H. Weinglass, Prints and Engraved Illustrations by and after Henry Fuseli, Aldershot and Brookfield, VA, 1994, p. 88, no. 78, fig. 3). Whereas the painting measures 102.5 x 109 cm (40 ½ x 43 in.) the engraving is an upright, 42.5 x 35.4 cm. (17 ¾ x 13 7/8 in.); this was perhaps to make it conform to a standard book format, but in the event Macklin published his work as an oblong folio (H. Hammelmann with T.S.R. Boase, Book Illustration in Eighteenth-Century England, New Haven and London, 1975, pp. 34-5).
Both painting and engraving share a more disciplined, neo-classical composition. The two main figures are less subtle in their articulation, the Queene standing rather than tripping forward as in the present drawing. The dominating, enveloping form of the Queene’s veil is tamed. The much clearer, more semi-circular form of Arthur’s body is now balanced by the largest of the attendant fairies. The horse’s head is still shown, largely invisible save for the eyes in the now bituminous background of the picture (see Schiff, p. 140) and even in the engraving is nearly lost against the dark background; the eyes are seen more from the front, closer to The Nightmare than to the present drawing.
Weinglass points out that Fuseli’s undated letter of about 1800 suggests that verses 34 and 35 provide ‘soul, action, passion’ (Weinglass, ibid.), and quotes Laurel Bradley as suggesting that Fuseli is ironically deflating a lofty subject: the ‘powerful figure [of Gloriana, in Spenser equated with the Queene of the Faeries and Queen Elizabeth I] in a clinging garment and fashionable hat gestures imperiously towards the passive Knight and then becomes ‘a materialisation of Arthur’s erotic dreams rather than a spirit inspiring virtuous action’ (L. Bradley, ‘Eighteenth Century Paintings and Illustrations of Spenser’s Faerie Queene: A Study in Taste’ in Marsyas: Studies in the History of Art, XX, 1979-80, pp. 31-91).
Although the Zurich exhibition catalogue of 1969 gives the lender as anonymous, a label on the back of the drawing gives the source as Professor Paul Ganz (1872-1954). He was a distinguished Swiss art historian, specialising in Holbein and Fuseli, publishing books on the latter's drawings in 1948 and 1959. He was also closely involved in the Art Council exhibition of Fuseli’s works in 1950.
A pencilled inscription on the back of the frame reading ‘From the collection of Baroness North’ suggests a possible earlier provenance though this has not yet been proven. Susan, Baroness North was the daughter of Susan, Countess of Guilford, one of Fuseli’s most important patrons in his later years; he died in her house on Putney Hill, in the presence of the Countess and her daughter, who inherited her collection of works by the artist.
We are grateful to Martin Butlin, C.B.E. for his help in preparing this catalogue entry.
Quentin Blake: A Retrospective; Forty Years of Alternative Versions | 3 July to 12 July
This July, Christie’s will present Quentin Blake: A Retrospective; Forty Years of Alternative Versions, a series of illustrations offered directly from the personal collection of one of Britain's best-loved illustrators. As part of Christie’s Classic Week, a selection of 30 illustrations by Quentin Blake will be presented in the Valuable Books and Manuscripts auction on 11 July, alongside a dedicated online sale of 148 illustrations open for bidding from 3 to 12 July. The works from this sale are being sold to benefit House of Illustration, Roald Dahl's Marvellous Children's Charity and Survival International. Quentin Blake: A Retrospective; Forty Years of Alternative Versions will be on view and open to the public from 7 to 10 July at Christie’s London. Estimates range from £200 to £10,000.
Treasured Portraits from the Collection of Ernst Holzscheiter | 4 July
Ernst Holzscheiter was a Swiss industrialist who amassed a large collection of over 700 portrait miniatures. After his death in 1962 the majority of the collection was sold but the family decided to retain pieces which they considered to be superlative examples of an artist’s body of work, and those pieces they liked the most. This group, considered to be the treasures of the collection, are the portraits being offered for sale. The main highlight of the sale is an extremely rare signed and dated portrait of a young gentleman by the Swiss artist Jean-Etienne Liotard (£60,000-80,000). Dated 1749, it was painted during a visit to France, during which time he painted members of the French royal family and members of the French court. This unidentified sitter wears the badge of the Order of Malta. Further works by Continental artists include a signed and dated portrait of Napoleon by Jean-Baptiste Jacques Augustin (estimate: £8,000-12,000) and a signed and dated portrait of Simon Duvivier by François Dumont, who worked for Louis XI, Louis XVI, Napoleon and George Washington (estimate: £20,000-30,000). Among the works by English artists are two good examples of works by Nicholas Hilliard which are both signed and dated (lot75 and 76, estimate: £15,000-25,000 and £8,000-12,000, respectively).
Lot 88. Jean-Etienne Liotard (Swiss, 1702-1789), A young gentleman in blue coat, wearing the badge of the Order of Malta. Signed and dated on the counter-enamel ‘pt. liotard / 1749’. Enamel on copper. Oval, 49 mm. high, cartouche-shaped ormolu frame with tied ribbon surmount. Estimate GBP 60,000 - GBP 80,000 (USD 79,560 - USD 106,080). Price realised GBP 93,750. © Christie's Images Ltd. 2018
Provenance: Edouard Warneck (1834-1924) Collection, Paris, by 1911.
His son-in-law, Arthur Sambon (1867-1947), Paris by 1923/1924.
E. Warneck Collection, Paris; Part IV, Leo Schidlof’s Kunstauktionshaus, Vienna, 18 November 1926, lot 34.
Friedrich Neuburg Collection, Litomerice, Moravia; Part I, Hôtel Drouot, 27 March 1939, lot 77 (41,000 FF).
Ernst Holzscheiter Collection, Meilen (inv. nos. MD/0180 and 363).
Literature: Schidlof 1911, p. 381, pl. IV (as 'M. de Marigny').
Clouzot 1923, p. 57, illustrated p. 56.
Clouzot 1924, p. 130.
Clouzot 1928, p. 123, illustrated pl. VII.
Long 1929, p. 275.
Trivas 1940, illustrated.
von der Mühll 1947, p. 42, illustrated in colour p. 44, no. 11.
Schneeberger 1958, pp. 151, 153 footnote 257, illustrated figs. 53 and 54.
Schidlof 1964, I, p. 507, II, p. 999, illustrated IV, pl. 372, fig. 753 (as the Marquis de Marigny and described as ‘excellent’)
Foskett 1972, II, p. 64, illustrated pl. 212, fig. 535 (as 'Monsieur de Marigny').
Loche/Roethlisberger 1978, no. S2, illustrated p. 125 (the property title erroneous).
Roethlisberger/Loche 2008, I, p. 369, no. 165 (as a ‘jeune chevalier de l’ordre de Malte’), II, illustrated fig. 273.
Exhibited: Paris 1923, no. 237 (lent by Arthur Sambon).
Geneva 1956, no. 276, illustrated (as a presumed portrait of the Marquis de Marigny).
Zurich 1957-58 and 1961.
Note: In 1735, Jean-Etienne Liotard left his home town of Geneva for a long voyage. After highly successful sojourns in Italy, the Ottoman Empire, Austria, Germany and England, the self-styled peintre turc arrived in Paris between late 1747 / early 1748 where he remained until 1753. In Paris, Liotard was introduced at court by one his models, the Maréchal de Saxe and in 1749, the year the present enamel was made, he painted the French Royal Family.
Liotard, who excelled in pastels, oil painting, drawing, engraving and watercolour and gouache on paper, parchment and ivory, considered the enamel technique the most durable and the only technique worthy of royalty: ‘je le consacrerois à l’Immortalité en le peignant en Email en grand le seul genre durable et digne d’un Roi qui commence à regner avec tant de gloire.’ (from a letter to Lord Bute dated 4 March 1761, suggesting he immortalize the young King George III by painting him in enamel – Walker 1992, p. 260).
We are indebted to Prof. Marcel Roethlisberger and Michael Asvarishch, Curator of the Numismatic Department at the State Russian Museum, St Petersburg, for their help in the preparation of this catalogue entry.
Lot 47. Jean-Baptiste Jacques Augustin (French, 1759-1832), Napoléon Bonaparte (1769-1821), Emperor of France 1804-1814/15, in Petit Costume d’Empereur. Signed and dated ‘Augustin. 1809.’ (mid-right). On ivory. Oval, 50 mm. high, silver-gilt réverbère frame with blue enamel border. Estimate GBP 8,000 - GBP 12,000 (USD 10,608 - USD 15,912). Price realised GBP 68,750. © Christie's Images Ltd. 2018
Provenance: The Collection of the late Gertrude, Countess of Dudley (1879-1952), née Millar; Sotheby’s, London, 25 November 1952, lot 88.
With Leo R. Schidlof, from whom acquired by Ernst Holzscheiter in London, 11 February 1953 (inv. nos. MD/0605 and 37).
Literature: de Langle / Schlumberger 1957, p. 106.
Pappe 2015, p. 305, no. 653, illustrated.
Exhibited: Arenenberg 1954, no. 1, illustrated on the cover.
Geneva 1956, no. 15.
Zurich 1957-58 and 1961.
Lot 6. François Dumont (French, 1751-1831), Pierre Simon Benjamin Duvivier (1730-1819), engraver, making a medallion. Signed and dated ‘Dumont / f. l’an. 8.’ (mid-right). On ivory, 84 x 84 mm., gilt-metal frame, inscribed on the reverse ‘P.S.B. Duvivier peint par Franc. Dumont en 1799’. Estimate GBP 20,000 - GBP 30,000 (USD 26,520 - USD 39,780). Price realised GBP 93,750. © Christie's Images Ltd. 2018
Provenance: With Hans E. Backer, from whom acquired by Ernst Holzscheiter in London, 15 April 1951 (inv. nos. MD/0514 and 188).
Literature: Listed in the artist’s fee book for the year VIII of the French Revolutionary calendar, p. 29 as ‘Le C.[itoyen] Duvivier Graveur de medailles Payé’
Hofstetter 1994, I, p. 52, II, pp. 471, 494.
Lemoine-Bouchard 2008, p. 214.
Hofstetter 2018, p. 178.
Exhibited: Paris, Salon, 1800, no. 135 (part).
Geneva 1956, no. 136.
Zurich 1957-58 and 1961.
Note: The sitter was one of 17 children of Jean Duvivier and he came from a family of engravers from Liege, now Belgium. In 1762 he was appointed official engraver to King Louis XV and, on the ascension of Louis XVI to the throne in 1774, he became Engraver-General (chief engraver) of the Paris Mint. He was admitted to the Royal Academy of Painting and Sculpture in 1764. Through his engravings of medals he commemorated the private and public events in the lives of Louis XV and Louis XVI and in all likelihood the medals depicted in the present portrait are among his key works. In his left hand he holds a wax impression taken from the steel mould on the block in front of him. In the other hand he is perfecting the mould with a graving tool and in front of him on the bench are further graving tools. It is possible that the one on which he is shown working is that known as the ‘Washington before Boston Commemorative Medal’. Commissioned by Congress, the medal was first struck in 1790 in gold and issued in bronze in 1800. The image of Washington on the obverse of the medal was based on moulds taken by the sculptor Jean-Antoine Houdon from his original clay portrait bust of October 1785, which remains at Mount Vernon, the home of George Washington.
We are indebted to David Cawte for his generous help with our research on the present portrait.
Lot 75. Nicholas Hilliard (British, 1547-1619), A girl of the Elizabethan court, aged 6, in elaborate dress and lace ruff, inscribed and dated in the blue background ‘Ano Dni 1586 / ac ano AEtatis sue 6’; gold border. On vellum. Oval, 52 mm. high, gilt-metal frame with spiral cresting. Estimate GBP 15,000 - GBP 25,000 (USD 19,890 - USD 33,150). Price realised GBP 62,500. © Christie's Images Ltd. 2018
Provenance: Galerie Fischer, Lucerne and Zurich, 14 May 1936, lot 950.
Ernst Holzscheiter Collection, Meilen (inv. nos. MD/0165 and 291).
Literature: von der Mühll 1947, p. 42, illustrated in colour no. 17.
Foskett 1972, I, illustrated colour plate VII, fig. 23.
Exhibited: Zurich 1957-58 and 1961.
Edinburgh 1975, no. 9, illustrated.
Lot 76. Nicholas Hilliard (British, 1547-1619), A lady in gold dress with high standing ruff, inscribed and dated in the blue background ‘Ano Dni 1605 / Aetatis sua [ . ]’; gold border. On vellum. Oval, 51 mm. high, silver frame with spiral cresting. Estimate GBP 8,000 - GBP 12,000 (USD 10,608 - USD 15,912). Price realised GBP 50,000. © Christie's Images Ltd. 2018
Provenance: T. Whitcombe Greene Esq.; (†) Sotheby’s, London, 7 July 1932, lot 120.
With Leo R. Schidlof, from whom acquired by Ernst Holzscheiter in Paris, 21 May 1938 (inv. nos. MD/0163 and 290).
Literature: Foskett 1972, I, illustrated colour plate VII, fig. 22.
Exhibited: Geneva 1956, no. 210, illustrated.
Edinburgh 1975, no. 28.
Gold boxes| 4 July
The largest Gold Boxes sale at Christie’s to date, 106 lots will be offered on 4 July. Previously unrecorded, a Saxon hardstone and gold bonbonnière by Johann Christian Neuber, circa 1785, is an example of his small group of gold boxes that are set with numbered stones in a mosaic pattern between stripes of gold, a technique called Zellenmosaic, which is similar process to creating cloisonné enamel (estimate: £250,000-350,000). Having been in the same family for at least three generations it has not been seen in public before. Born in 1736, Neuber became a master of the goldsmith’s guild in Dresden in 1762 and Director of the Green Vaults in 1769. He was appointed Hofjuwelier to the court of Frederich Augustus III in 1775. Responding to an emerging interest in science and geology amongst the European aristocracy, he invented the Steinkabinettabatiere or a snuffbox forming a mineral cabinet, creating in his own words a small portable masterpiece that combined ‘luxury, taste and science’. The breadth of the sale is reflected by a Louis XV vari-colour gold-mounted lacquer snuff-box by Jean-François Breton, Paris, 1767/1768, which demonstrates how fashionable Japanese lacquer was at the 18th century French Court (estimate: £50,000-80,000), through to a German gold-mounted hardstone snuffbox in the design of a pug, Dresden, circa 1750 (estimate: £5,000-8,000).
Lot 206. A Saxon hardstone and gold bonbonnière by Johann Christian Neuber, Dresden, circa 1785; 2 3/8 in. (60 mm.) diam. Estimate GBP 250,000 - GBP 350,000 (USD 331,500 - USD 464,100). Price realised GBP 344,750. © Christie's Images Ltd. 2018
circular gold-lined 'Stein Cabinets Tabatière' inlaid with 64 numbered specimens of hardstones including a variety of dendritic and banded agates, carnelian, chalcedony, jasper, amethyst and quartz mounted within narrow peaked gold-bands, the cover centred by an oval brown quartz plaque applied with a carved relief of bloodstone and other hardstones depicting writing trophies set amidst foliage, inlaid with a concentrical circle of petal-shaped hardstone plaques within engraved gold mounts numbered from 1 to 12 and within a flat simulated pearl border on a polished gold band, the sides with two rows of various hardstone plaques numbered from 13 to 40, the base similarly inlaid with two concentrical circles of hardstone plaques within engraved gold mounts numbered from 41 to 64 around a central roundel inlaid with striated agate containing a central floral rosette with carnelian leaves and flat simulated pearl centre and framed by a polished gold band with flat simulated pearls.
Note: This bonbonnière by Neuber is a previously unrecorded example of his small group of gold boxes that are set with numbered stones set in a mosaic pattern between stripes of gold, called Zellenmosaic, a technique which is similar to creating cloisonné enamel. Neuber was born in Neuwunsdorf in 1736. He became a master of the goldsmith’s guild in Dresden in 1762 and Director of the Green Vaults in 1769. By 1775 he had been appointed Hofjuwelier to the court of Frederich Augustus III. Responding to an emerging interest in science and geology amongst the European aristocracy, he invented the Steinkabinettabatiere or a snuffbox forming a mineral cabinet, creating in his own words a small portable masterpiece that combined ‘luxury, taste and science’.
In an advertisement in the Journal der Moden of April 1786, Neuber praised his stock-in-trade which he sold 'at the cheapest prices', and the present box must have been of the category of 'oval and circular boxes for gentlemen and ladies, as stone-cabinets, mounted in gold and lined with gold, of all Saxon country-stones, such as carnelians, chalcedonies, amethysts, jaspers, agates and petrified wood, numbered, together with an inventory of the names, and where they can be found’. Neuber sometimes provided an accompanying handwritten specification booklet with his boxes which would list the stones used in the construction of the box and the geographical areas from where the stones had been collected. The engraved number above each panel would correspond to the number in the booklet. The friezes of imitation half-pearls that are a frequent and recurring element in Neuber’s work are composed of cylindrical pieces of rock crystal on which the underside has been hollowed out in a half-circle and then lined with powdered silver to create the illusion of a natural pearl.
A stylistically very close box with petal-shaped stones is in the Musée Cognacq-Jay, Paris (illustrated in C. Le Corbeiller, European and American Snuff Boxes 1730-1830, London, 1966, fig. 473), and very similar is the bonbonnière from the Dreesmann Collection, sold Christie's, London, 11 April 2002, lot 947. Three oval examples are also recorded (H. and S. Berry Hill, Antique Gold Boxes, London, New York, 1953, figs. 112 and 113, and A. K. Snowman, Eighteenth Century Gold Boxes of Europe, Woodbridge, 1990, figs. 692 and 692A and Christie's, Geneva, 14 November 1995, lot 51). Two further similar circular boxes were sold Christie's, Geneva, 14 November 1995, lots 92 and 112.
Lot 156. A Louis XV vari-colour gold-mounted lacquer snuff-box, by Jean-François Breton (Fl. 1737-1791), marked, Paris, 1767/1768, with the charge and decharge marks of Jean-Jacques Prevost 1762-1768, the contra-marks of Julien Alaterre 1768-1774 and Jean-Baptiste Fouache 1774-1780 and a post-1838 French guarantee mark for gold, struck with inventory number 12; 3¼ in. (83 mm.) wide. Estimate GBP 50,000 - GBP 80,000 (USD 66,300 - USD 106,080). Unsold. © Christie's Images Ltd. 2018
rectangular gold-lined box with canted corners, the cover, sides and base mounted en cage with panels of Japanese hiramaki-e gold lacquer on a nashiji ground depicting a riverside scene and mountainous landscapes with pine and prunus trees within chasedsablé gold foliate frames.
Note: It is interesting to see how fashionable Japanese lacquer was at the French Court as early as the 1730s. The techniques were developed in Japan in the 1680s and were apparently so popular in Europe as to be copied only fifty years later by Parisian lacquer craftsmen. One may conjecture that these French artists must have seen Japanese originals in the collection of one of the very few extremely wealthy French connoisseurs able to afford such highly prized, rare and exotic objects.
Thomas Chippendale 300 Years | 5 July
On 5 July, Christie’s landmark sale Thomas Chippendale 300 Years will celebrate the genius of Chippendale’s designs and the perfection of his execution, in the 300th anniversary year of his birth. The dedicated London auction will present 22 lots with estimates ranging from £5,000 to £5 million. Collectively, the sale encompasses some of the grandest pieces of 18th century furniture ever created, including Sir Rowland Winn’s Commode (estimate: £3-5million) and The Dundas Sofas (each sofa with an estimate of £2-3million). Remembered as ‘The Shakespeare of English Furniture makers’, Chippendale was the master of many mediums. This is highlighted by the breadth of works being offered, including his game-changing book which made his name The Gentleman and Cabinet-Maker’s Director, first published in 1754, which astutely promoted his designs to the most affluent potential clients of the day (the expanded 1762 3rd edition, estimate: £5,000-8,000) alongside works executed in giltwood, mahogany, marquetry and lacquer. The full pre-sale exhibition will be open to the public from 30 June to 5 July.
Lot 10. A George III mahogany and Indian ebony commode, by Thomas Chippendale, circa 1766-69; 35 in. (89 cm.) high; 62 ½ in. (158.5 cm.) wide; 23 in. (58.5 cm.) deep. Estimate GBP 3,000,000 - GBP 5,000,000 (USD 3,978,000 - USD 6,630,000). © Christie's Images Ltd. 2018
The eared concave-sided rectangular top with moulded edge above a pair of doors with ebony key-pattern frieze and each centred by a circular stiff-leaf bordered panel within ebony-inlaid geometric strapwork, flanked by acanthus-headed pilasters with paterae and husks, the central parting-bead carved with acanthus and pendant beaded long-leaves, the interior with two mahogany-lined short drawers with concave quarter fillets above two removable mahogany pigeon-hole sections, each with ten compartments with pidgeon wood 'Coccoloba' frieze inlaid with 'ivorine' letters A-Z, above a further four mahogany-lined short drawers, each with one concave quarter fillet to the outer side; in 1769, when the two pigeon-hole sections were supplied by Chippendale, it is not apparent what they replaced but the four lower short drawers have been converted from the original long drawers; the sides each with conforming frieze above re-entrant panels centred by a lacquered-brass foliate handle, each flanked by paterae and lion-mask-headed volutes with swags and beaded stiff-leaves, the lower edge with flower-filledentrelac above splayed key-pattern feet carved with conforming foliage and central pendant acanthus, with brass-castors, the lock stamped E. GASCOIGNE, later hasp, the door bolts original, the upper one moved, concave quarter fillets, chamfered drawer-stops, short grain kickers, the deal panelled back with red wash and then black wash.
Provenance: Supplied by Thomas Chippendale to Sir Rowland Winn, 5th Bt. (1739-85) of Nostell Priory, probably for his London house 11 St. James's Square, London, circa 1767,
Following his death it was included in the sale of the contents, Christie's, London, 9 and 11 April 1785, p. 9, lot 7 but was withdrawn from the sale (deleted from the auctioneer's book),
Sir Rowland Winn, 6th Bt (d. 1805), and subsequently moved to Nostell Priory, Wakefield, Yorkshire, 1785,
Sold from Nostell Priory anonymously, presumably following his death, Mr. H. Phillips, London, 6 May 1807, lot 283 (£6.5s).
With Morton Lee, circa 1952, from whom acquired by
Samuel Messer, 23 June 1952,
The Samuel Messer Collection of English Furniture, Clocks and Barometers, sold Christie's, London, 5 December 1991, lot 130, where acquired by the present owner.
Literature: C. Gilbert, 'A Supreme Piece of English Furniture', Christie's International Magazine, Spring, 1992, pp. 16-17.
L. Wood, Catalogue of Commodes, The Lady Lever Art Gallery, London, 1994, pp. 189-190, figs. 178-179.
C. Cator, H. Chislett and D. Linley, Star Pieces: The Enduring Beauty of Spectacular Furniture, London, 2009, p. 10.
K. Bristol, 'A Tale of Two Sales: Sir Rowland Winn and No. 11 St James's Square, London, 1766-1787', University of Leeds, 2016.
Note: Sir Rowland Winn’s commode is considered a masterpiece of English 18th century furniture, illustrating the confidence of design and craftsmanship for which Chippendale is renowned. It is the only documented example of a carved mahogany commode by Chippendale in the neo-classical style, and is one of his earliest pieces of furniture marking the transition from his Director phase to neo-classicism (1). It is undoubtedly one of Chippendale’s most prestigious and significant pieces of case furniture remaining in a private collection.
The commode has an illustrious history; it was supplied to Sir Rowland Winn, 5th Baronet (1739-85), probably for his London house at 11 St. James’s Square in circa 1767-68. On 14 February 1769, Chippendale invoiced Sir Rowland: ‘To a neat Nest of Mahogany drawers and pidgeon wood holes with an Ivory Alphabet made to fit into a Cupboard’ (2). In 1785, and following Sir Rowland’s demise, the house was sold and the contents included in a sale arranged by James Christie. However, this commode, almost certainly lot 7, ‘A large mahogany commode chest of drawers and leather cover’, was withdrawn. The commode was moved back to the family’s principal seat, Nostell Priory, Yorkshire where it remained until sold at auction on 6 May 1807, lot 283, by Mr. Phillips. In 1952, the commode was acquired by Samuel Messer (d. 1991), one of the most significant and discerning collectors of English furniture of the mid-late 20th century, whose collection was assembled with the assistance of the furniture connoisseur and writer, R.W. Symonds (d. 1958), and sold in Messer’s landmark sale from where it was acquired by the present owner.
SIR ROWLAND WINN, 11 ST. JAMES’S SQUARE AND CHIPPENDALE
Sir Rowland Winn purchased no. 11 St. James’s Square, London in May 1766 from the widowed Lady Macclesfield (3). The move to London from Yorkshire in 1763 was almost certainly prompted by Sir Rowland’s aspiring political ambitions and the opportunity for he and his wife, the Swiss-born Sabine, only daughter of Jacques-Philippe d’Herwart, governor of Vichy, to immerse themselves in the social round. This was particularly true of Sabine, who found English rural life difficult, and had a fractious relationship with her husband’s family. In December 1763, Ann Elizabeth Winn, Sir Rowland’s aunt, wrote disparagingly to her brother, the 4th Baronet: ‘She [Sabine] loves variety, & may truly be Cald Lady Restles’ (4).
Following Sir Rowland’s inheritance of the baronetcy in 1765, the architect-designer, Robert Adam (1728-92) was engaged to complete the interiors of the library, drawing room, saloon and top hall at Nostell, although he was not employed at 11 St. James’s Square until the near-completion of Nostell’s interiors in 1774, at which date he made a design to reface the house (5). However, he undoubtedly recommended Chippendale to Sir Rowland ‘as a cabinet maker who could be safely trusted to supply high quality furniture which harmonized sensitively with the refined décor’ (6). Adam continued to advise Sir Rowland on his choice of craftsmen: an aide-mémoire, dated 1772, in Sir Rowland’s hand, entitled ‘To Mention to Mr Adam’ includes the note: ‘Who to Employ for a Cabinet Maker and what Kind of Furniture to order for Drawing Room, Saloon’ (7). By the late 1760s, Chippendale was simultaneously working for Sir Rowland in London and in Yorkshire, but it seems likely, as Gilbert suggests, that the refurbishment of London came first.
The Nostell archive comprises correspondence (thirty-five letters and memoranda) between Chippendale and Sir Rowland, estimates and bills that span 1766-85, and is the most comprehensive account for Chippendale. There is a large bill for London and a later account has entries for 11 St. James’s Square combined with those for Nostell making it difficult to identify furniture for a particular mansion. However, almost all the items billed between June 1766 and June 1767 were probably for London, as were most of what was billed for June 1767 to February 1768. From the surviving accounts, Sir Rowland’s furniture at 11 St. James’s Square appears modest, especially when compared to Nostell, and it is surprising that he and Lady Winn, who undoubtedly followed the London social season, would have been content to settle with only unexceptional or second-hand furniture at their London address, which they retained for twenty years (8).
Only three pieces of significant furniture feature in the surviving ‘Town Account’, including: on 21 June 1766, ‘To a large bedstead with Mahogany feet posts fluted…’ that together with hangings and bedding came to over £50. The description of this bed corresponds exactly to one sold from the principal bedchamber in the Christie’s sale of the contents of 11 St. James’s Square, 9 and 11 April 1785, p. 9, lot 1. On 23 June 1766, ‘A very large mahogany bookcase with Glass doors and a pediment top £38’ is recorded in the accounts; this is possibly a bookcase listed in the 1785 sale, in room ‘No. XIV. The Study’, p. 10, lot 3, £24 3s, described as: ‘A mahogany library BOOK CASE with glass doors, 12 feet 3 wide by 9 feet high’. Finally, and again in the accounts, on 24 June 1766, ‘A Mahogany Lady secretary made of very fine wood, a bookcase at top, panelld doors with pidgeon holes and drawers in the uper case and a scrowl pediment £25’. Notably, there is no bill for ‘A large mahogany commode chest of drawers and leather cover’, p. 9, lot 7, in the 1785 sale, which was withdrawn, as noted in Christie’s auctioneer’s book.
THE DISCOVERY OF CHIPPENDALE’S BILL
The crucial link associating Sir Rowland Winn’s commode to Chippendale was the identification of a bill in the Nostell papers at the time the commode sold from the Messer collection in December 1991. On 14 February 1769, Chippendale invoiced Sir Rowland: ‘To a neat Nest of Mahogany drawers and pidgeon wood holes with an Ivory Alphabet made to fit into a Cupboard’ (9). As Christopher Gilbert noted in 1991: ‘This almost certainly refers to replacing one of the original drawers with a two-unit sliding letter-rack made of mahogany with a pigeon wood façade inlaid with an ivory alphabet [now 'ivorine']. It is implausible that Chippendale would have modified a piece of furniture made by one of his rivals’ (10). This adaptation of the commode evidently signifies a change of use, and is an invaluable insight into the status and use of the commode. The identification of the use of 'pidgeon wood' in the spandrels to the pigeon-holes is key to Chippendale because it so aptly describes the interior fittings of this commode including the identification of the two contrasting woods. Furthermore, several of Chippendale’s bills mention the use of pidgeon wood; in 1765, Chippendale invoiced Sir Lawrence Dundas (1710-81) for ‘a large 8 leg Mahogany table border’d with Pidgeon wood’, and a year later, Sir Rowland Winn was in receipt of two rosewood card-tables inlaid with pidgeon wood for Nostell (11).
Furthermore, the overwhelming evidence of the presence of this commode in the collection of Sir Rowland is a sale (no. 629) held by Mr. H. Phillips, 68 New Bond Street, on Wednesday 6 May 1807, lot 283, a copy of which is preserved in the Nostell archive: ‘A mahogany chest, inlaid with ivory, and ebony, and leather case’ that achieved £6 5s. A subsequent sale held on 20 May 1807 by the same auctioneer, sale no. 631, and also in the archive, is described as ‘the property of A NOBLEMAN removed from his mansion in Yorkshire’; the presence of both sale catalogues in the Nostell archive underlines that the contents of both sales were from Nostell.
This commode is closely related to a design by Chippendale, circa 1762, from the Chippendale Albums, no. 174, held at the Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York; another comparable design also in this collection, no. 173, was engraved for the 1762 edition of the Director LXVIII (12). This second design is described thus: ‘The Ornaments may be Brass; that on the Right hath two Doors, which represent Drawers, and a long Drawer above’.Chippendale was in turn perhaps inspired by a design by Jean Bérain (1638-1711), the artistic force in Louis XIV’s Royal office of the Menus-Plaisirs du Roi, who published a design for a commode with a closely comparable foot in L’Oeuvre Complet de Jean Bérain, Paris, n.d., pl. 88. Chippendale’s design was also probably influenced by a knowledge of Adam’s recent work; the commode’s ebony inlay reflecting the influence of Adam’s Etruscan style that became fashionable particularly for bedroom apartments in the late 1760s.
The commode is highly important in the history of English furniture-making because it signifies Chippendale’s transition from his Director phase to an early neo-classical style, which he was developing in the second half of the 1760s. This phase is fully illustrated in Chippendale’s commission for Nostell Priory from 1766, and reflects Sir Rowland’s preference for ‘richly styled, but not overtly opulent, furnishings’ (13). In spirit, Sir Rowland Winn’s commode echoes the more masculine furniture supplied to this patron for his library and dressing room at Nostell, which is fully documented; this notably includes the magnificent library table, invoiced in 1767, at Nostell, considered the pinnacle of Chippendale’s mahogany phase of the mid-1760s, a gentleman’s dressing table and a commode clothes press. The success of this commode lies in the quality of the mahogany, which together with the superb but subtle carving and mouldings and ebony inlaid borders in the gout grec manner allows the lustrous woods to govern the ornamentation.
THE MAHOGANY FORERUNNER
This commode is the prototype for a select group that includes: a pair of commodes, 1775-80, reputedly presented by Arthur Wellesley, 1st Duke of Wellington (1769-1852) to his campaign chaplain, the Rev. Thomas Cooke (1791-1874) (14). This tradition can be traced back to its sale by the collector Leonard Clow at Christie’s, London 10 June 1914; one of these commodes sold Christie’s, London, 6 July 1995, lot 152, the other is in the Lady Lever Art Gallery. The third commode from this group is the Harrington commode, circa 1770, from the collection of the Earls of Harrington, formerly at Elvaston Castle, Derbyshire (15). The association with Sir Rowland Winn’s commode to late Palladian furniture, the carved detailing and the ebony inlay treatment together with its close relationship to the Chippendale design in the Metropolitan Museum coupled with the existence of the bill indicates that this commode was the first of the group. These related commodes share attributes found in Chippendale’s other documented furniture. The distinctive rectilinear form with concave sides recurs in two celebrated commodes at Harewood House, Yorkshire: the Diana and Minerva commode and the 'Three Graces' commode (although these are break-fronted) and also the Panshanger cabinets, formerly in the collection of Lord Melbourne at Melbourne House, Piccadilly, and now at Firle, East Sussex. The carved lion’s head masks of Sir Rowland Winn’s commode are replaced by gilt-metal ram’s head mounts on the Wellington and Harrington commodes; a comparable but not identical mount is found on the library table from Harewood, now at Temple Newsam. Ram’s head masks also feature on the Panshanger cabinets. Both the Wellington commodes and Sir Rowland Winn’s commode bear near-identical feet although in this instance the mahogany is embellished with carved ‘Greek key’ mouldings. Another marquetry commode at Heaton Hall from the Manchester City Art Galleries is of similar form although with a different door and drawer configuration, and has similar gilt-metal ram’s head mounts to the Wellington commodes.
Interestingly, this commode and the Wellington pair still have the original brass locks stamped ‘E. GASCOIGNE’. Mrs. Elizabeth Gascoigne, a specialist metalsmith working in London in the mid-18th century, produced locks, mechanisms and other hardware for furniture made by several leading cabinet-makers at that time. Her locks are usually found on furniture by Chippendale and other makers of the highest quality. They feature on this commode, as well as on a jewel cabinet supplied to Queen Charlotte in 1762 by William Vile at a cost of £138 10s, and on locks and hinges of several doors supplied to Blenheim Palace, Oxfordshire by Mayhew & Ince in 1776-77 and 1787 (16).
In 1991, this commode was the highlight of Christie's extraordinary sale of the Samuel Messer Collection, brought together at his Regency-style home at Pelsham in Sussex. The Messer collection of furniture, clocks and barometers epitomized the Chippendale period of furniture-making. In one way the sale marked the end of a generation of great English furniture collections formed in the 20th century in Britain, while on the other hand it raised the appreciation for fine English furniture to new heights inspiring a new generation of collectors. Samuel Messer was a part of the very small, elite group of connoisseurs of Georgian furniture - including Percival Griffiths, Geoffrey Blackwell, J. S. Sykes, Fred Skull and James Thursby-Pelham - who formed the nucleus of their collections under the guidance of R. W. Symonds. Messer's superlative collection concentrated on the Chippendale period with particular attention being paid to untouched condition, original patination and fine quality of timber, combined with good proportions, an elegant line and a balanced use of crisply carved ornament, the touchstones of Symonds's influence.
(1) C. Gilbert, ‘A Supreme Piece of English Furniture’, Christie’s International Magazine, Spring, 1992, p. 16.
(2) C. Gilbert, The Life & Work of Thomas Chippendale, London, 1978, vol. I, p. 188.
(3) K.A.C. Bristol, ‘A Tale of Two Sales: Sir Rowland Winn and No. 11 St. James’s Square, London, 1766-1787’, History of Retailing and Consumption, May 2016, p. 6.
(4) Ann Elizabeth Winn to Sir Rowland Winn, 4th Baronet, 9 December 1763, NP WYW1352/1/4/11/8 quoted in Bristol, ibid., p. 5.
(5) ‘Soane Museum, St James's Square, number 11, London: executed design for refacing the house, for Sir Rowland Winn, 5th Baronet, 1774’: the surviving drawing at the Soane Museum is one of two alternative designs provided to Sir Rowland. The façade was executed in accordance with the extant drawing in 1774-76, and included Adam's Spalatro order columns.
(6) Gilbert, op. cit., vol. I, p. 166.
(7) C. Gilbert, ‘New light on the furnishing of Nostell Priory’, Furniture History, 1990, p. 58.
(8) Bristol, Ibid., p. 22. Sir Rowland and Lady Winn also purchased second-hand furniture from the Macclesfield sale for no. 11 although their intention may have been to display ‘the finery of a previous owner of higher social status’ in anticipation of Sir Rowland’s elevation to a peerage, an aspiration that remained unfulfilled.
(9) Gilbert, The Life and Work…’, op. cit., vol. I, p. 188.
(10) Gilbert, ‘A Supreme…’, op. cit., p. 16.
(11) A. Bowett, Woods in British Furniture Making 1400-1900, Wetherby, 2012, p. 186.
(12) The Metropolitan Museum of Art, Rogers Fund, 1920 (20.40.2 60, 61).
(13) Gilbert, The Life and Work…’, op. cit., vol. I, p. 169.
(14) L. Wood, Catalogue of Commodes, Liverpool, 1994, pp. 180-185, no. 20.
(15) Sotheby’s, London, 7 December 2010, lot 69 (£3,793,250 inc. premium).
(16) Ibid., p. 184.
The Exceptional Sale 2018 | 5 July
From the Court of King Louis XIV of France, the ‘Sun King’, Christie’s will present two of the most significant sculptures to come to the market in recent years in The Exceptional Sale 2018. A unique rediscovered masterpiece by Louis XIV’s Royal sculptor François Girardon, Louis XIV on Horseback, Paris, circa 1690-1699, is believed to be the lost sculpture from the artist’s own collection, depicted in the famous engraving of the Galerie de Girardon (estimate: £7-10 million). Hercules Overcoming Acheloüs, circa 1640-50 by Florentine sculptor Ferdinando Tacca (1619-1686), was a gift from Louis XIV to his son, the Grand Dauphin, in 1681, remaining in the Royal collection until the Revolution (estimate on request: in the region of £5 million). Both works attest to the significance of Louis XIV as a connoisseur collector, celebrating the very best art from France and beyond. Comprising 30 lots in total, further highlights from The Exceptional Sale include The Stowe Cistern, a George I silver cistern, with the mark of Jacob Margas, London, 1714, which was part of Christie’s landmark Stowe sale in 1848, when it sold for £330 12s (estimate: £1-1.5 million); The Newhailes Sageot Commode, a Louis XIV ormolu-mounted polychrome-decorated boulle commode, by Nicolas Sageot, circa 1710, which has been in the family collection for at least the last 150 years (estimate: £150,000 – 250,000) and an Augsburg Masterpiece Clock by Hieronymus Syx, 1705 (estimate: £400,000 – 600,000).
Lot 130. A bronze group of Louis XIV on horseback, Francois Girardon (1628-1715), circa 1690-1699; 40 7/8 x 35 3/8 x 16 7/8 in. (104 x 90 x 43 cm.). Estimate GBP 7,000,000 - GBP 10,000,000 (USD 9,240,000 - USD 13,200,000). Unsold. © Christie's Images Ltd. 2018
Bronze group; the king depicted in classical armour and with a cloak about his shoulders, his right hand holding a baton; on a naturalistic canted rectangular plinth and later marble base inscribed to the side in gilt ‘699’.
Provenance: Almost certainly the bronze from Girardon’s own collection, depicted in the centre of Plate VI of the Galerie de Girardon published in 1708.
Possibly Christie's, London, 16 May 1800, 'A most Superb and Matchlefs ASSEMBLAGE of French Porcelain; Large French-Plate Pier Glasses etc. Many of the above Magnificent Articles were formerly in the Possession of the King of France & brought from the Palace of St. Cloud', lot 94, 'A Magnificent Equestrian Group in bronze of Louis 15 [corrected to 14], very highly finished'.
Purchased by the present owner in Toronto, circa 1993.
Literature: G. Brice, ‘Notices sur Francois Girardon et sur Antoine Coysevox’ in Nouvelles Archives de l’Art Francais, Societe de l’histoire de l’art Francais,1873, p. 121-127.
F. Souchal, ‘La Collection du sculpteur Girardon d’après décès’ in Gazette des Beaux-Arts, July/August 1973, pp. 1-98.
F. Souchal, French Sculptors of the 17th and 18th Centuries, The Reign of Louis XIV, Oxford and London, 1981, II, pp. 55-60, 1993, IV (supplement), pp. 109-111.
Paris, New York and Los Angeles, Louvre, Metropolitan Museum of Art and The J. Paul Getty Museum, Cast in Bronze: French Sculpture from Renaissance to Revolution, 22 Oct. 2008 - 27 Sep. 2009.J. Draper, G. Bresc-Bautier and G. Scherf, eds., 2008
J. Bassett and F. Bewer, ‘The cut-back core process in late 17th- and 18th-century French bronzes’, in French Bronze Sculpture: Material and Techniques 16th-18th Century, 2014.
A.-L. Desmas, ‘Bofrand’s and Mariette’s Descriptions of the casting of Louis XIV and Louis XV on Horseback’, in French Bronze Sculpture: Material and Techniques 16th-18th Century, 2014.
A. Maral, François Girardon (1628-1715) – Le Sculpteur de Louis XIV, Paris, 2015.
Exhibited: Louvre, Paris, 1699.
Note: The present bronze is a re-discovered masterpiece of King Louis XIV of France, known as the ‘Sun King’, on horseback by sculpteur du roi François Girardon, and is believed to be the example formerly in the sculptor’s own collection and depicted in the celebrated set of engravings known as the Galerie de Girardon.
Nicolas Chevalier, La Galerie de Girardon, plate VI, depicting Louis XIV on Horseback by Francois Girardon, engraving after René Charpentier, circa 1708 © Metropolitan Museum of Art
In 1685, at the height of his powers, and persuaded by his war minister the Marquis de Louvois, Louis XIV commissioned a monumental equestrian bronze of himself to sit in the newly created place Louis le Grand (now place Vendôme). The commission was entrusted to the finest sculptor of the age François Girardon, who had already worked prominently at Versailles. Girardon produced a sumptuous portrait of royal power and absolute authority. Intended as the prime ceremonial representation of the sovereign in the heart of his capital, it depicted him in Roman armour, hand outstretched in a gesture of command, astride a prancing horse. Girardon derived inspiration from the antique statue of Marcus Aurelius (Museo Capitoline, Rome) that had served as the prototype for most major equestrian commissions since the Renaissance.
The model was finished in 1687 and when eventually cast by Balthazar Keller in 1692 the bronze stood almost seven meters high (around seventeen meters with the pedestal). It was placed in the square designed by Jules Hardouin-Mansart and was inaugurated in 1699. Like so many symbols of royal authority, the bronze was destroyed in the Revolution, with only the left foot of the king surviving today (now in the Musée Carnavalet, Paris).
Inauguration of the equestrian statue of Louis XIV, 13 August 1699, in place Louis Le Grand, by Pierre Lepautre (1659-1744), 1699.
Due to the importance and success of the commission, Girardon made other versions of this monument in bronze on a reduced scale. There are four early references to bronze examples of this composition, and four surviving bronzes which are accepted as having been cast under Girardon’s supervision:
A/ British Royal Collection (Windsor Castle, Windsor)
A cast was commissioned by Louis XIV in 1695, cast by Le Pileur in 1696, and given to the Chancelier de Ponchartrain, who had been involved in the project for the place Vendome. Following the death of Ponchartrain’s son, it was sold to de La Haye in 1747. It is thought to be the bronze in the Royal Collection at Windsor, which was bought by the Prince Regent in 1817, due to the presence of a crowned C, signalling the tax levied on all bronzes sold between 1745 and 1749.
B/ Russian Royal Collection (now Hermitage, St Petersburg)
Another cast is described in the 1699 posthumous inventory of Edouard Colbert de Villacerf, who took over from Louvois as Surintendant des Batiments du Roi. This is thought to be the example now in the Hermitage, St. Petersburg, which was purchased from the Hyde Browne collection in 1785.
C/ French Royal Collection (now Louvre, Paris)
Girardon owned two casts of Louis XIV on horseback, which are thought to be the Louvre cast and the present cast. One cast was exhibited at the Academie exhibition of 1704, described as: ‘the equestrian statue of the King in bronze, which is a small copy of the one that is in place Vendôme’ (Maral, op. cit., p. 224). This version has been considered by some scholars to be the version that remained in Girardon’s collection after his death and is mentioned in inventories of 1713 and 1715. The Louvre example does not have a firm mid-18th century provenance, but appears later in the collection of the Baron de Breteuil, from which it was confiscated. It is transferred to the Musée des Monuments Français in 1796 and finally acquired by the Louvre in 1818 (Bresc-Bautier et al, op. cit., p. 328). It is the only signed cast.
Francois Girardon, Louis XIV on horseback, Musée du Louvre, Paris © Loicwood
D/ European Collection (the present version)
Almost certainly the example in Girardon’s own collection, depicted in the central image of the Galerie de Girardon. Like bronze C above, it could be the example mentioned in the inventories of 1713 and 1715.
THE KING AND HIS BATON
In 1690 the Marquis de Louvois, who had persuaded the King to approve the original project, commissioned a second monumental version of the statue from Girardon for his own chateau at Meudon. This was to be the same as the version for the place Vendôme in almost all respects, apart from the fact that the King was to be depicted holding a baton in his right hand, rather than being outstretched. The baton was a military symbol of power and authority, and created a link back to antiquity. Louvois died in 1691, and the bronze was only cast after his death in 1694, when it was acquired by the Marechal de Boufflers. It was destroyed in 1792. The present bronze is a cast of the model for this commission, which must have been finished between the original commission of the Louvois monument in 1690 and when the present cast was exhibited in the galleries of the Louvre in 1699. This was described as ‘the Equestrian Statue of the King, in bronze, 3 pieds 2 pouces high’ and was from Girardon’s personal collection.
The present cast is the fourth known early cast of Louis XIV on horseback on this scale, but the only known reduction of the Louvois model and is almost certainly unique. As none of the four casts has an unbroken provenance, and the existence of the present bronze was unknown until 1993, it has proven difficult to ascertain the history of each cast. However, an example of the equestrian bronze with the right hand holding a baton appears in the 1708 engravings of the Galerie de Girardon, a celebrated series which depicted the sculptor’s collection in a fictional architectural setting. The bronze of the king on horseback took pride of place in the centre of the engravings and was valued at the highest price of any piece in the collection, 3500 livres. A second cast was also in the collection of Girardon, and exhibited at the Academie exhibition of 1704, which is thought to be the version in the Louvre.
A tantalising possibility regarding the history of this bronze concerns a reference to a sale in these Rooms on 16 May 1800 (see under Provenance). Although not specifically referred to as a model by Girardon, the bronze failed to sell at 150 guineas, making it the most highly valued item in the sale. It was owned by 'Van Dyck', who appears to have been a dealer based on his repeated appearances in Christie's auctioneers books around this time, when he was consigning mainly Old Master paintings. The bronze was not one of the items specifically said to have come from the French Royal Collection although Van Dyck was the owner of at least one of these so it is clear that he had access to some of the best collections of France at a very troubled time. If this bronze was the Girardon model, it could not be either of the examples in the Louvre or Hermitage as they had already been acquired by this date, and it is highly unlikely to have been the Windsor example which was purchased in France in 1817.
GALERIE DE GIRARDON
Girardon therefore owned two versions of Louis XIV on horseback in bronze, but only one version was shown in the engravings of his collection. It is argued here, and by Françoise de La Moureyre in the recent monograph on Girardon (Maral, op. cit., pp. 443-4), that the present bronze is the version depicted in the engraving as it is the only known early cast that depicts the King holding a baton in his right hand.
When inventories were taken of Girardon’s collection in 1713 and 1715 only one version of the bronze was noted in the collection. This suggests one version was sold between 1704 and 1713. The inventory of 1715 describes the remaining bronze as ‘the equestrian statue of Louis the great on its supporting base of painted and gilt wood’, appraised at 3,500 livres. Scholars have maintained that this is likely to be the Louvre version (Draper, 2008, p. 91), although due to the absence of any identification of it with the place Vendôme monument, it is also possible that it is the present cast.
The present bronze is a masterpiece of graceful design and refined finish. Included in the monograph on the artist published on the 300th anniversary of his death, Girardon scholar Françoise de la Moureyre comments on the beauty of the modelling and the excellence of the cast which she compares directly to the signed example in the Louvre. She asserts, furthermore, that it is the lost example from Girardon’s collection, depicted in the Galerie de Girardon. (ibid., p. 444).
François Girardon was the most significant sculptor in France in the late seventeenth century. As sculptor to the king, Girardon was instrumental in the development of the gardens of Versailles and in the creation of a unified style that would glorify Louis XIV at home in France and across the courts of Europe. Versed in the arts of antiquity, Girardon challenged the dominance of Italian artists past and present, in order to establish a new era of greatness in France, under the rule of the ‘Sun King’.
Born in Troyes, Girardon (1628-1715) was the son of the founder Nicolas Girardon. He began his technical apprenticeship with Claude Baudesson, the ebeniste and sculptor, and rapidly caught the attention of the Chancellor Seguier, who sent him to study in Rome in 1648. Here Girardon was to find both the abundant remnants of antiquity as well as the still vibrant traditions of the renaissance.
In Rome he met the artists Philippe Thomassin and Pierre Mignard who placed him under the supervision of the sculptor Gianlorenzo Bernini. After three years in Italy, Girardon returned briefly to Troyes before establishing himself in Paris in 1651. He became the pupil of Laurent Magnier and of Francois Anguier, and was admitted to the Academy in July 1657, aged 29, following the presentation of his morceau de reception, a relief of The Virgin. He was made a professor two years later.
A RISING STAR
His artistic talents were quickly recognised and he was honoured with a number of royal ‘commandes’. In 1664 he was named Surintendant des bâtiments du Roi and worked for the Crown for the remainder of his long career. Under the protection of Charles Le Brun, Girardon flourished, and he was entrusted with several grand projects by Louis XIV, including the Galerie d’Apollon at the Louvre. In 1667 Colbert sent him to Toulon as head of the workshops responsible for the decoration of ships, the Royal-Louis and the Dauphin Royal.
Girardon continued to create important works for Versailles including the Fountain of the Pyramid, the large relief of Nymphs for the cascade de l’allee d’eau, and the large group of the Rape of Proserpina. The latter group was a direct artistic challenge to the great Italian sculptors of the past, Giambologna (Rape of a Sabine, Loggia dei Lanzi, Florence) and Gianlorenzo Bernini (Pluto and Proserpina, Villa Borghese, Rome).
Girardon’s achievements in bronze are particularly remarkable considering that for the first thirty years of his career he worked only in stucco, stone and marble. It was not until he received the commission for a tabernacle in the chapel of the Chateau de Fontainebleau in 1679 that he is recorded working in bronze – and yet what remains demonstrates that he had already mastered the techniques of modelling and chasing. From 1683 bronze was preferred over lead for statuary at Versailles, and with the preferment of Louis’ chief advisor Louvois, Girardon was elevated above all other sculptors, and was put in charge of everything cast at the Arsenal: ‘I want to inform the sculptors who work for the King in Paris of my insistence that they obey M. Girardon in all things, and that anyone who fails to do so will be expelled from the Gobelins’ (Louvois, 1686).
THE ROYAL COMMISSION
The commission for an equestrian monument to Louis XIV was Girardon’s first and only commission for the city of Paris and the ‘most important work of his later period’ (Blunt, rev. 1999, p. 238). The choice of Girardon for the undertaking demonstrates that at this time the sculptor was deemed the first in France, without equal. He was to remain as such until his old age, when he was superseded by Antoine Coysevox.
Girardon illustrated to perfection the classicism in arts envisaged by Louis XIV in creating a stylistic reference that was emulated by all the courts of Europe. Although at the beginning of his career Girardon looked towards the art of antiquity for inspiration, ‘he treated his sources with freedom in his search for ease and harmony of contour and disposition’ (ibid). He rejected the full-bodied Baroque drama of Bernini in favour of a fluid and graceful Classicism. His oeuvre bears witness to his desire to respond to the new influences of his age and it has been said that ‘from 1706 one notes the degree of perfection to which this master had brought the art of sculpture in France, which made him the equal of the most celebrated masters of antiquity’ (Brice, p. 122). He died on Sunday, 1 September 1715, within a few hours of his royal patron, Louis XIV.
GIRARDON: THE CASTING OF LOUIS XIV
The first thing that is notable about the present bronze group is its extreme weight (232 kg), and x-rays taken of the bronze reveal that the core is still intact and is filled with a complex armature of interconnected metal bars and wires. The main part of the bronze appears to have been cast in one pouring, without the usual metal to metal joins. Normally this would suggest a direct cast. However, x-rays taken of both the Royal Collection cast at Windsor and the cast in the Louvre show a closely comparable interior armature. It has been suggested that these bronze reductions may have been cast using a process referred to as the ‘cut-back core process’ (see Bassett and Bewer 2014, pp. 205-214). This relatively rare process involved creating an exact replica of the composition in core material (for the monumental Louis XIV this was a mixture of plaster and ground bricks for the body of the king, and a combination of plaster, horse hair and manure for the body of the horse; see Desmas 2014, p. 236) from the mould of the original model. This core was poured around an interior armature to give it strength and stability and then baked. This replica was then cut back all over its surface and the mould was placed around the reduced core leaving a gap between the two. This was then filled with wax and the mould was removed, thus creating an inter-model with the interior core intact. The inter-model was then encased in refractory material and the whole was heated so that the wax melted out. The re-created gap was then filled with molten bronze in the foundry. Once cooled, the casing was broken off, the surface of the bronze was repaired, fled and chased, and finally patinated.
Interestingly, the right arm of the king does not appear to have either an armature or core in its interior, and a visual examination also confirms that there is a metal to metal join at the top of the arm where it meets the drapery over the king’s shoulder. The left arm also has a metal to metal join just above the elbow. This suggests that the same mould was used for the main body of all four known reductions but that the arms were cast by the more common indirect process. This would facilitate the substitution of the outstretched right arm in the Louvre, Windsor and Hermitage examples for the raised right hand of the present model.
Apart from the obvious difference of the raised right arm, the finishing of all four bronzes differs in numerous other minor respects. The relief decoration on the king’s cuirass differs between some of the different casts, as it does on the pteruges of the armour, the saddle blanket and the plinths (for a more detailed discussion of the differences see Draper, op. cit., pp. 352-353). In terms of the chiselling, all four are of extremely high quality, with small differences of detail.
Perhaps the most notable visual difference is in the colour of the patination which, in the case of the present bronze is a relatively light golden brown colour. This makes the exquisite modelling more clearly legible and highlights the contrast between high points and those cast in shadow.
Lot 110. A bronze group of Hercules overcoming Achelous, Ferdinando Tacca (1619-1686), Florence, circa 1640-50; 22 ¾ x 21 ½ x 15 in. (57.8 x 54.5 x 38.1 cm). Estimate On Request. Price realised GBP 6,758,750. © Christie's Images Ltd. 2018
On a naturalistic base; with French Royal inventory number '-No-302' inscribed to the reverse of the bull; reddish-brown patina; cast after a model by Pietro Tacca (1577-1640); Hercules naked except for his lionskin, bends forward beside the bull, grasping both his horns in his hands and wrestling him to the ground.
Provenance: Given by Louis XIV to his son, the Grand Dauphin, in 1681 (no. 4).
Formally incorporated into the French Royal collection in 1711 on the death of the Grand Dauphin.
At Château de Meudon from 1722 until 1785.
Sent to Paris to be conserved by Jean-Antoine Houdon, 1785.
Garde-Meuble de la Couronne and then Galerie des Bronzes, Paris, 1788.
Salon des conférences des Archives et Bibliothèque du Palais du Conseil des Anciens, 1796.
Sotheby’s, Monte Carlo, 18 June 1989, lot 892.
With Rosenberg and Stiebel, New York (?).
Property from the Estate of Wendell Cherry, Sotheby’s, New York, 20 May 1994, lot 45, where acquired by the present owner.
Detail of French Royal Inventory Number "302" on the reverse of the left rear leg of the bull in the present bronze
Literature: Paris, Musée du Louvre, Les Bronzes de la Couronne, 12 Apr. - 12 Jul. 1999, no. 302, pp. 172-3.
London, Royal Academy, Bronze, D. Ekserdjian ed., 15 Sept. - 9 Dec. 2012, no. 118, p. 273.
J. Warren (ed.), Renaissance and Baroque Bronzes: in and around the Peter Marino Collection, London, 2013, pp. 22-3.
J. Warren, The Wallace Collection: Catalogue of Italian Sculpture, vol. II, 2016, pp. 544-9, figs. 116.2-3.
COMPARATIVE LITERATURE: A. Radcliffe, 'Ferdinando Tacca, the missing link in Florentine baroque bronzes', in Kunst des Barock in der Toskana: Studien zur Kunst unter der letzen Medici, H. Keutner ed., Munich, 1976, pp. 14-23.
London, Victoria and Albert Museum, Giambologna 1529-1608 - Sculptor to the Medici, 5 Oct.-16 Nov. 1978, C. Avery and A. Radcliffe eds.
A. Brook and K. Watson, ‘Tacca Family’, in Grove Art Online, 2003 [online resource].
London, San Marino and Minneapolis, Wallace Collection, Huntington Art Collections and Minneapolis Institute of Arts, Beauty and Power: Renaissance and Baroque Bronzes from the Peter Marino Collection, 29 Apr. 2010 - 15 May 2011, J. Warren ed., no. 8.
P. Wengraf, Renaissance & Baroque Bronzes from the Hill Collection, New York, ed. 2014, cat. no. 15.
Exhibited: Royal Academy, London, Bronze, 15 Sept.-9 Dec. 2012, no. 118.
Wallace Collection, London, on loan Jan.-Sept. 2013.
The French royal collection version is a cast of superb quality...’
The present group by Ferdinando Tacca represents a high point of Florentine seventeenth century bronze casting. Hercules is depicted in a ferocious battle against the god Acheloüs, who has transformed himself into a bull. The result is a superb feat of compositional bravado, technical brilliance and overpowering force. Given by King Louis XIV of France to his son in 1681, the present bronze repeatedly appears in the inventories of the French Royal Collection until it was sold or dispersed during the Revolution.
The bronze depicts Hercules’ struggle with the river god, Acheloüs, one of Hercules’ rivals for the hand of the beautiful Deianira. Faced with an array of suitors for his daughter, Deianira’s father, King Oeneus of Calydon, announced a contest in which the strongest would win her hand. Acheloüs was by far the strongest in the region, but because of Deianira’s great beauty Hercules travelled far to Calydon for the contest. It was well-known that Hercules was the strongest mortal in the world and the other suitors withdrew, leaving Hercules to wrestle Acheloüs. The river god was able to transform himself at will; he could become a snake, a bull-headed man or a bull, and did so during his wrestling match with Hercules. Hercules defeated Acheloüs, ripping off one of his horns, which became the ubiquitous classical symbol of abundance, the cornucopia. The bronze follows the story of the contest as outlined in Ovid’s Metamorphoses (IX, 94-103, London, 1567).
A GIFT OF THE MEDICI
The model of the present group is from a series of five bronzes of Hercules commissioned from Pietro Tacca, Ferdinando’s father, by Grand Duke Cosimo III of Tuscany around 1614, as part of a gift for King James I of England. This project never came to fruition and it does not appear that any of these models were cast during Pietro Tacca’s own lifetime (Warren, 2016, op. cit., no. 116). The impetus for their creation seems to have come from a request by Prince Henry of England for the Medici to send him some more bronzes, after the success of a royal gift in 1612. The Prince died in 1614, but soon after Cosimo ordered a set of the Twelve Labours of Hercules from Tacca and two others, as a gift to Henry’s father King James I. Tacca made five models for the series but they were never cast, and in 1633 he is recorded still seeking payment for the models from the Grand Duke (ibid, p. 536). The five models in the series are of Hercules and the Centaur, Hercules overcoming Acheloüs, Hercules and the Erymanthian Boar, Hercules and the Arcadian Stag and Hercules supporting the Heavens.
A source for the models may have been a series of prints by Antonio Tempesta published in 1608, which shows similarities with the compositions of Hercules and the Stag, Hercules and the Boar (in the background) and Hercules overcoming Acheloüs. An alternative source for the present group may be an engraving of the same subject by Gian Giacomo Caraglio, published in 1524, after a drawing by Rosso Fiorentino, in which the pose and type of bull are almost identical to the animal in the present bronze. The closest possible source is from a series of prints by Cornelis Cort after Frans Floris I that were published by Hendrick Goltzius in 1563. This engraving is also thought to have inspired Cornelis van Haarlem’s great painting of the same subject (sold at Christie's, New York, 15 April 2008, lot 25).
Antonio Tempesta, Hercules and Acheloüs, 1608, engraving from the Labours of Hercules, plate 82 © Metropolitan Museum of Art
Gian Giacomo Caraglio, Hercules overcoming Acheloüs, 1524, after Rosso Fiorentino © Metropolitan Museum of Art.
Ferdinando Tacca was one of the leading sculptor’s working under the Medici in Florence in the seventeenth century. Inheriting his father’s studio which he in turn had inherited from Giambologna, Tacca continued their great legacy in creating exquisite bronze casts for the Medici family and noble patrons throughout the courts of Europe. Ferdinando improved on the technical capabilities of Pietro Tacca, Antonio Susini and Giambologna by casting superb bronzes in ever increasing scale.
Ferdinando Tacca was born in Florence in October 1619. His father, Pietro, had inherited Giambologna’s studio in Borgo Pinti on his death in 1608 and was recognised as the official court sculptor to Cosimo II de Medici, Grand Duke of Tuscany. It is likely that Ferdinando assisted his father in his workshop growing up. When Pietro himself died in 1640, Ferdinando immediately took over the running of the large studio and succeeded his father as court sculptor to Ferdinand II, who had succeeded his father.
FATHER AND SON IN THE WORKSHOP
Pietro had been trained by Giambologna to work in marble and bronze, but the latter became his favourite material and his marble statues were usually handed over to his assistants. Pietro built on Giambologna’s sophisticated Mannerist style, but was able to achieve a greater technical mastery which in term influenced his own stylistic development.
Pietro’s last important commission was an equestrian monument to Philip IV, King of Spain. Philip requested from Tacca that he be depicted on a rearing horse; this difficult feat had never before been achieved on a monumental scale. Tacca’s lifelong study of casting helped him to resolve, with advice from Galileo Galilei, the immense challenge. This was ‘one of the greatest achievements in the history of Western sculpture’ (Watson and Brook, loc. cit.). Ferdinando must have been closely involved in the commission, and after Pietro’s death he carried it to its completion, travelling to Madrid to unite and erect the sculpture in the garden of Buen Retiro in 1642.
Both Pietro and Ferdinando were mindful not to abandon the celebrated style of Giambologna that had proved immensely popular with patrons Europe-wide. And yet the bronzes of both Pietro and Ferdinando are distinct from Giambologna and each other. Their works tended ‘towards naturalism more marked than that displayed in Giambologna’s sculpture’. Both father and son developed a style of their own, which can be seen most tellingly in their small-scale bronze sculptures. In the tradition of Giambologna’s other major assistant, Antonio Susini, Pietro and Ferdinando concentrated huge resources in creating exquisite surface finishes and the result was that they ‘could make bronze resemble skin or hair, hide or cloth, rock or plant’ (ibid).
SEEKING NEW PATRONAGE
After completing work on the equestrian statue of Philip IV, Ferdinando returned to Florence. From 1642 to 1649 he worked on two monumental bronze statues of Grand Dukes Ferdinand I and Cosimo II, which his father had begun for the Cappella dei Principi in San Lorenzo, Florence. But following this Ferdinando had to seek patronage outside the Medici court, which was by this date in decline. His most important works in the following period were a life-size Crucifix and four infant angels in bronze for the palace chapel of Prince Carlo I Cybo Malaspina of Massa–Carrara (1647–9), an antependium relief of the Stoning of St Stephen (1656), kneeling infant angels in bronze executed for the Bartolommei family (1650-5, Getty Museum), the bronze Fountain of Bacchus (1658–65, Prato, Palazzo Pretorio), and private commissions such as a bronze figure of Apollo (Los Angeles County Art Museum).
Alongside this Ferdinando also worked on independent bronze groups. The most impressive of these were the five re-worked casts of the Labours of Hercules after models created by Pietro, that include the bronze of Hercules overcoming Acheloüs discussed above. It is not known who commissioned Ferdinando to cast such expensively assembled large-scale bronze sculptures, but it was unlikely to have been done from his own reserves. The theatricality of the models would have appealed to Ferdinando, who was known to have pursued a second vocation as a stage designer, and they inspired in him some of his greatest achievements in bronze. Their richly defined surfaces are an enormous achievement in themselves, and give evidence that his engineering and casting skills were just as important as his artistic vision.
ESTABLISHING FERDINANDO'S OEUVRE
In 1976 Anthony Radcliffe published a paper 'Ferdinando Tacca, the missing link in Florentine Baroque bronzes' (Radcliffe, 1976, loc. cit.) that first established Ferdinando’s authorship of a group of high-quality bronze mythological sculptures. Because of the reduced patronage provided by the Medici Grand Dukes in the mid-seventeenth century, there is remarkably little documented work by Ferdinando, considering his status and the length of time he was running the most important bronze workshop in Florence. Radcliffe convincingly linked these previously mis-attributed bronzes to Ferdinando by comparing them stylistically to the relief of the Stoning of St Stephen. Each of these bronzes consists of two-figures, set apart from each other on a thin base, ‘in such a way as to emphasize a single, frontal view—a kind of miniature theatre. He thus provides a link between Giambologna and Giovanni Battista Foggini’ (Watson and Brook, 2003). This series is now known to include ten models – often in variant versions – representing the following pairs: Medoro and Angelica, Apollo and Daphne, Bireno and Olimpia, Hercules and Iole, Mercury and Juno, Pan and Diana, Roger and Angelica, Ceres and Bacchus and Venus and Adonis (Wengraf, loc. cit.).
Wengraf argues that these two-figures groups were conceived earlier than previously thought, possibly even as early as 1635-40, when Ferdinando was still in the workshop of his father Pietro. Between nine and eleven groups by Ferdinando are noted in the inventory of the commissaire des guerres Jean-Baptiste de Bretagne drawn up after his death in October 1650 (see Warren, 2010, op. cit., p. 94), which would give a terminus ante quem to the conception and casting of the models.
Radcliffe noted the individual way that Ferdinando modelled his bases, which was quite unlike the bronzes of Giambologna or Antonio Susini. His bases are all modelled in the same ‘quasi-naturalistic way and worked with sinuous convoluted tracks of unusually heavy punching’ (Radcliffe, op. cit., p. 18). This can be seen in his two-figure groups but also in his casts of Pietro’s models of the Hercules series; most evidently in the superb rendition of the bases of Hercules overcoming Acheloüs and Hercules overcoming the Centaur Eurytion, which show an obsessive attention to work every surface, a hallmark of Ferdinando’s work which made him one of the greatest sculptors working in bronze in the seventeenth century.
COMPARISON WITH THE WALLACE VERSION
The present bronze is one of two known casts; the other cast was probably acquired by the 3rd Marquess of Hertford in 1842 and is in the Wallace Collection, London. In his exhaustive study of the Italian sculpture in the Wallace Collection, Jeremy Warren compares the two bronzes, commenting that the ‘outstanding version numbered 302 in the French royal collection, now in private hands…is of higher quality’ than the version in the Wallace (Warren, 2016, loc. cit.).
Ferdinando Tacca, Hercules overcoming Acheloüs, circa 1640-50 © Wallace Collection, London
Warren notes that the two bronzes have a few small variations; in the present cast Hercules is positioned slightly further back and his head is lowered, which helps to increase the psychological tension within the composition. The lion skin that Hercules wears as a cloak is pushed further into the air in the present version, which increases the sense of Hercules’ forward movement. Technically the present cast is an advancement on the Wallace cast; the finishing is of a higher quality and the weight is more evenly distributed so that fewer extra sections were needed to be inserted after casting. Warren argues that this evidence suggests that the Wallace example may precede the present bronze, as the latter appears to improve on the design of the Wallace cast.
TACCA: HIS TECHNICAL EVOLUTION
The close similarity of the two known casts of Tacca’s Hercules Overcoming the Bull Achelöus suggests that they were also cast by the indirect lost wax process. Jeremy Warren was able to examine the two groups simultaneously and make extensive notes. Both groups have been cast in a number of separate pieces and then joined after casting. Partly because of the gilding, the joints of the Wallace bronze are relatively easy to detect. However, in the case of the present bronze Warren writes, ‘the French royal collection version is a cast of superb quality, in which it is virtually impossible through normal visual examination to determine the seams joining the different parts’ (Warren, 2016, loc. cit., p. 546). Notwithstanding, a few joins are visible, including to Hercules’ right arm below the elbow, to his right thigh and at two points of the lion skin close to Hercules’ back. This latter element of the lion skin flying out dramatically behind the hero as he lunges forward is a particularly virtuoso piece of casting and finishing. The pelt ripples in the air with a seeming life of its own, supported only by two narrow ‘arms’ that are then tied across Hercules’ chest.
Despite the many similarities of the casting process between the two bronzes, one area where they differ is the manner in which each is attached to its separately cast base. In both cases there are holes in the base into which the bronze elements are inserted. However, the method of attaching the bronze elements is quite different. In the case of the Wallace example, most of the holes are covered underneath with a metal plate before a screw is inserted through the plate and screwed into the bottom of the bronze element above. In the case of the French royal bronze, the process was more laborious and costly, but ultimately ensured that the overall group remained more stable. In this latter case, once the bronze element had been inserted into the hole a second pouring of bronze was added from beneath, thus securing the bronze element permanently. Several of these second pourings were too deep for the recessed base and would have prevented the bronze from resting flat on a given surface. One can clearly see the chisel marks where these excess pieces of bronze were removed.
One further feature worth noting is the distinctive and unusual presence of neatly paired plugs on either side of several of the second pourings. It is unclear what their function might have been but their placement is too regular for them to be casting flaws that have been repaired. It may be that bands of some sort held the elements in place during the process of the second bronze pourings and that once these elements were secure the bands were removed and the holes were filled. It would be interesting to know if this feature has parallels in other bronzes of the period.
One of the glories of the French royal bronze is its patination which, unlike the gilded example in the Wallace Collection has a rich warm brown surface. The alloy of the Wallace bronze was analysed and was shown to have a particularly high copper content (92.2%) even by the standards of Italian foundries, which tend to use more copper than their northern counterparts. Although it hasn’t been formally analysed, the alloy of the present group is clearly also high in copper, as is obvious when one examines the raw bronze on the underside which has a clear pink tinge. This distinctive alloy contributes to the depth of colour achieved. The surface is further enlivened overall by directional wire brushing which is visible under the translucent lacquers and gives greater texture to the surface.
ENTRY INTO THE FRENCH ROYAL COLLECTION
The present bronze was one of nine given by Louis XIV to his twenty-year-old son, the Grand Dauphin, in 1681. For reasons of rank, it was considered necessary for the Grand Dauphin to own a collection of bronzes, as proof of his interest in the humanist achievements of the Renaissance. At the Grand Dauphin's early death in 1711, these bronzes were incorporated into the royal collection by Louis XIV, where they remained until the Revolution. Three other bronzes by Tacca from the Hercules series also formed part of this gift from Louis XIV to his son. Today, two are in the Louvre and the third is in the collection of the Prince of Liechtenstein.
Lot 120. The Stowe Cistern. A George I Silver Cistern, Mark of Jacob Margas, London, 1714; 18 ¼ in. (46.4 cm.) high; 33 7/8 in. (86 cm.) wide over handles; 606 oz. 16 dwt. (18,874 gr.). The arms are those of George Nugent-Temple-Grenville, 1st Marquess of Buckingham (1753-1813). Estimate GBP 1,000,000 - GBP 1,500,000 (USD 1,320,000 - USD 1,980,000). Unsold. © Christie's Images Ltd. 2018
Oval and on spreading foot applied with cut-card scrolls and shells, the upper and lower body similarly applied with with cast grotesque dolphin handles, with foliage heightened gadrooned rim, later engraved with a coat-of-arms within the Garter motto and below a marquess' coronet, with a later plug with detachable cover underneath, marked underneath.
Provenance: George Nugent-Temple-Grenville, 1st Marquess of Buckingham (1753-1813) and by descent to his son,
Richard Temple-Nugent-Brydges-Chandos-Grenville, 2nd Marquess and later 1st Duke of Buckingham and Chandos (1776-1839) and by descent to his son,
Richard Plantagenet Temple-Nugent-Brydges-Chandos-Grenville, 2nd Duke of Buckingham and Chandos (1797-1861).
The Stowe Sale; Christie's, London, 6 September 1848, lot 420 (£330 12s to Town and Emanuel, as "A noble cistern with embossings in the taste of the time of Queen Anne - on a raised foot, with dolphin handles").
Robert Crewe-Milnes, 1st Marquess of Crewe (1858-1945), by 1915.
A Private Collection; Sotheby's, New York, 3 November, 1989, lot 383.
Wendell Cherry (1925-1991) lawyer, entrepreneur, art collector and patron, New York.
The Estate of Wendell Cherry; Sotheby's, New York, 20 May 1994, lot 63.
Anonymous sale; Sotheby's, New York, 27 January 2011, lot 489.
Literature: A. G. Grimwade, London Goldsmiths 1697-1837: Their Marks and Lives, London, 1982, p. 591, as by Samuel Margas.
Exhibited: London: Garrards, 'Exhibition of Choice Old English Plate from Private Collections in Aid of the Funds of the British Red Cross Society', 1915, no. 58, loaned by Robert Crewe-Milnes, 1st Marquess of Crewe, (as Samuel Margas).
THE DUKES OF BUCKINGHAM AND CHANDOS
George Nugent-Temple-Grenville, 1st Marquess of Buckingham (1753-1813), whose arms are engraved on the present wine-cistern, was the son of George Grenville, who served as Prime Minister from 1763-1765 and his wife Elizabeth (d.1769), daughter of Sir William Wyndham who was a Chancellor of the Exchequer and who married one of the daughters of Charles Seymour, 6th Duke of Somerset. The duke didn’t approve the marriage of his granddaughter to Grenville and so left her only a small inheritance on his death. Among his siblings was Thomas (d.1846) who served as a Member of Parliament and William, 1st Baron Grenville who went on to follow his father in becoming Prime Minister in 1806-1807. Grenville was educated at Eton and later matriculated at Christ Church, Oxford. He was to continue the family tradition in politics by becoming a Member of Parliament for Buckinghamshire in 1774, moving to the House of Lords in 1779 when he succeeded his uncle as Earl Temple. At this time he was also to take on the further family names of Nugent and Temple, by Royal Warrant.
George Nugent Temple Grenville, 1st Marquess of Buckingham © The National Portrait Gallery
Grenville held various positions, including Lord Lieutenant of Buckinghamshire, member of the Privy Council and Lord Lieutenant of Ireland. By Royal Warrant he was to create the Order of St. Patrick in 1783. In December of the following year, he was created Marquess of Buckingham and was to return for a second stint as Lord Lieutenant of Ireland, though it is generally accepted that his second posting was not as successful as the first, with the Marquess being accused of extravagance. This, along with other poor decisions, meant he was unpopular and, by 1789, he resigned from the office. Following this he had little involvement in politics and was to die at the family seat, Stowe House, in 1812.
Grenville was succeeded in his titles by his son, Richard Temple-Nugent-Grenville, whom he had with his wife Lady Mary Nugent, daughter of Robert Nugent, 1st Earl Nugent, and presumably also inherited the present wine-cistern. The younger Grenville followed the family tradition of an involvement in politics, serving as Member of Parliament for Buckinghamshire, the same seat his father had earlier occupied. On his succeeding his father, he moved to the House of Lords and was appointed a Knight of the Garter in 1820 and Lord Lieutenant of Buckinghamshire from 1813-1839. He was further honoured by being created Duke of Buckingham in 1822. Whilst still Earl Temple, he married Lady Anne Brydges, daughter and sole heir of James Brydges, 3rd Duke of Chandos. As a result, and by Royal license, he was to take the additional surnames of Brydges and Chandos, to become Temple-Nugent-Brydges-Chandos-Grenville. On his death in 1839 he was succeeded by his son Richard.
Richard who was to become 2nd Duke of Buckingham and Chandos followed in the family tradition to hold the seat as a Member of Parliament for Bedfordshire before succeeding his father and moving to the House of Lords. He was sworn into the Privy Council in 1841 and was also appointed as a Knight Grand Cross of the Royal Hanoverian Order and a Fellow of the Society of Antiquaries and Knight of the Garter in 1842. He married Lady Mary, daughter of the 4th Duke of Breadalbane in 1819, but this marriage ended in divorce in 1850 following the Duke’s bankruptcy, the event for which he is most remembered. He was the last Duke of Buckingham and Chandos to live at Stowe House or to own the present wine-cistern.
Both the 1st and 2nd dukes spent lavishly on what Thompson called ‘a collecting mania’ (F. M. L. Thompson, ‘The end of a Great Estate,' The Economic History Review, vol. 8, 1955, p. 37), spending for example £4,000 for a collection of rock specimens which was subsequently to be sold for only 320 guineas in the great auction in 1848. The 1st Duke was among the ‘early and considerable purchasers’ at the Orléans sale of Italian and French paintings in 1798, and commissioned the extensive Stowe service of Worcester porcelain, described as ‘The Most Magnificent Dinner Service in the World.’ In 1827, the 1st Duke, by now in serious financial difficulties, was sent to the continent to curb his extravagant spending, but managed in three years of exile to accumulate yet more pictures and artefacts in Italy. In fact, it was during this banishment that his most important collecting opportunities arose, and it is possible that he acquired a pair of Charles X Ormolu mounted sécretaire a abbatant (Christie’s, London, 9 July 2015, lot 142) on his return journey through the European capitals.
An engraving of Stowe House, from the 1848 auction catalogue.
THE DOWNFALL AND THE STOWE SALE
The demise of the family fortune, culminating in the sale of Stowe’s contents, had no doubt commenced with the 2nd Duke’s father, a prolific collector. It has long been speculated that the sale of the contents of Stowe House was necessitated by the lavish spending by the 2nd Duke, because of his excessive expenditure and land speculation. It seems more likely, however, that the land purchases were financed through the sale of other settled estates (Thompson, op. cit., p. 37) and, as such, would not have significantly increased the debt burden on the estate. Equally the payment to the extended family would have been smaller than that of other grand families of the time as none of the immediate family was to have large numbers of children.
It seems likely that the Duke was for some time living beyond his means and had exaggerated ideas of his wealth. It was recorded in an indenture of 1847 between the 2nd Duke and his son that the rent roll of the estate was some £100,000 per year. However, a careful consideration (Thompson, op. cit., p. 42-43) shows that it was more likely that the Duke had an estate of 67,000 acres receiving £67,000 in rent per year. While this would have fallen below the incomes of other great land owners such as the Dukes of Northumberland, Devonshire, Buccleuch and Portland, the Duke of Buckingham should still have been in a strong financial position. However, it is clear he was living well beyond his means when one considers that his debts were in the region of £1,500,000. It was easy to see that ruin was on the horizon. The Duke was paying interest of at least 4.5% on his debts, and in many cases much more, resulting in interest payment in excess of his incomes, which included an income from his wife and some railway compensation payments. Of course the Duke would have had other expenses on top of the interest on his debts - life insurance premiums and irredeemable annuities, to name but two.
It was thus inevitable that in August 1847 the bailiffs were to visit Stowe and that eventually the contents of the house were to be offered for sale in a marathon auction running forty-days the following year. Of the dispersal of contents at Stowe, including everything from the silver in the strong room to the deer in the deer park. H. R. Forster wrote:
‘The desecration to which the ancestral halls of the Duke of Buckingham have lately been subjected, has been regarded almost as a national disgrace. The 'household goods' of the ancestral home of the Dukes of Buckingham and Chandos have been shivered to fragments, which can never again be re-united. Those public and private testimonies of the estimation in which the family has been held from generation to generation, and which must have possessed for their owners a value wholly extrinsic of their commercial worth, have been torn from them, and 'scattered to the four winds of heaven'.
The sale was widely covered by the contemporary press, as it represented such an astonishing reversal of fortune for one of England's greatest families. Richard, 2nd Duke of Buckingham had, within eight years of his succession, become a ‘ruined man,’ bankrupt with debts of over one million pounds. The Times wrote censoriously of the Duke ‘as a man of the highest rank, and of a property not unequal to his rank, who has flung away all by extravagance and folly, and reduced his honour to the tinsel of a pauper and the baubles of a fool.’
The custom of arranging cisterns, fountains, ewers and sideboard-dishes to form a display during a formal banquet grew out of the medieval practice of placing silver to be used for serving wine on trestle tables on the side of the room. As noble and Royal life became less itinerant during the 17th century, the buffet became a permanent arrangement, which in some German courts, was of an immense scale. The buffet in the Berlin Schloss, for example, which has survived in almost original form since the end of the 17th century, is some 23 feet high. At a banquet, the various dishes comprising each course were highly dressed and decorated, and were piled on the dining table leaving little room for display of silver vessels. Therefore, a buffet became essential for the elaborate and costly displays of plate so necessary to signify the status of the host.
The silver cistern, sometime alone or sometimes two in graduating sizes is almost always the centrepiece of the buffet, if not in the entire collection of silver. Besides acting as a display of wealth, it served the practical purpose of cooling wine. Wine was decanted from casks into silver flasks or bottles which were then cooled in the cistern using water from a fountain positioned above. Another magnificent example of this system of function and display was the Hanover Cistern and Fountain, made for George I as Elector of Hanover, by Lewin Dedecke, circa 1710 (Christie's, New York, 23 October 2000, lot 486).
JACOB MARGAS SILVERSMITH
Jacob Margas was the son of Samuel Margas, described as ‘Samuel Marga de Rouen’, a goldsmith working in St. Martin in the Fields. He apprenticed to Thomas Jenkins of the Butchers company from 1699, becoming free on 7 August 1706 and entering his first mark as a largerworker on 19 August 1706. Jacob’s brother Samuel was also a silversmith who gained his freedom in January 1714 and entered his first mark in February 1715. The marks entered at Goldsmiths’ hall for the two brothers were similar, so there had been in the past some misattribution of the present wine-cistern. This is particularly true as the date letter is that used from May 1714 to May 1715. As such, it is possible that Samuel was responsible for the work, but it seems unlikely that he would have been asked, or been able, to undertake such a complicated commission so early in his career.
Grimwade notes the difficulties in distinguishing between the two brothers and their father (London Goldsmiths, 1697-1837, London, 1982, p. 591). He records ‘Old Margas’ as being one of the Subordinate Goldsmiths to the King in 1723-1730. This would seem unlikely to be Margas senior as he is recorded as being 32 years old in 1687, which would make him 68, and thus likely too old to have been given such an appointment in 1723. The more likely candidate to have held this important role is Jacob, who was distinguished from his younger brother, another Subordinate Goldsmith from 1723-1730 and again 1732-1733, by being referred to as ‘Young Margas.’ The work that both silversmiths were producing during their careers shows a consistent quality as can be amply seen on the present wine-cistern.
THE LATER OWNERS OF THE CISTERN
At some point following the Stowe sale, when the cistern left the collection of the Dukes of Buckingham and Chandos, it was acquired by the Marquess of Crewe. It was certainly with him before 1915, when he loaned it to Garrards for their exhibition of ‘Choice Old English Plate from Private Collections in Aid of the Funds of the British Red Cross Society’, where it featured as number 58, described as by Samuel Margas.
Robert Crewe-Milnes was born in Mayfair, the only son of Richard Monckton Milnes, 1st Baron Houghton and his wife Arrabella Crewe, daughter of John Crewe, 2nd Baron Crewe. Having been educated at Harrow and then Trinity College, Cambridge, Crewe-Milnes went on to have a busy career in politics. This began in 1883 when he was appointed private secretary to Lord Granville, only three years after graduating.
Following the unexpected death of his first wife in 1887, he took a break from politics to study agriculture, but due to ill health abandoned that pursuit and instead returned to politics, becoming Lord Lieutenant of Ireland from 1892-1895. In 1892, on the death of his uncle he was to inherit some 50,000 acres of land and assumed, by Royal License, the additional surname of Crewe, which was followed by his creation as Earl of Crewe.
He married secondly in 1899 Lady Mary Etienne Hannah Primrose, daughter of his friend, the former Prime Minister Lord Rosebery. It was the same year he was to acquire what was to become Crewe House, and is now the embassy of Saudi Arabia, following the death of Edward Montagu-Stuart-Wortley-Mackenzie, 1st Earl of Wharnclife. It would seem likely that the present cistern was purchased around the same time as part of the furnishing for Crewe House in London, as Crewe Hall, his country seat in Cheshire, had been a family home for many generations and so presumably was already furnished.
The Earl of Crewe continued to have a close involvement in politics, serving, for example, as Secretary of State for India in both 1910-1911 and 1911-1915, the first stint of which saw him successfully organise the Delhi Durbar, which he is said to have designed to the last detail for the visit of George V, the first such visit by a British monarch to India. He also oversaw the moving of the capital of India from Calcutta to Delhi, and brought in the architect Sir Edwin Lutyens to create a grand vision for the design of New Delhi. In recognition of these accomplishments, he was raised in the peerage to Marquess of Crewe. He had a number of children with both of his wives, but all his sons pre-deceased him, and so when he died in 1945 his titles became extinct.
Crewe House, 1939 © Getty Images UK, original photo by Felix Man.
The cistern had ended up in the United States by 1989, when it first appeared at auction and was presumably acquired at that sale, either directly or perhaps through an intermediary, by Wendell Cherry, an American lawyer and entrepreneur who co-founded Humana, a hospital operator. Born in Kentucky in 1935 into a family involved in the wholesale grocery trade, Cherry was to initially study business administration, and later law. He was to marry firstly Mary Elizabeth Baird. Between them they had four children and secondly Dorothy O’Connell.
The company that Cherry founded was originally known as Extendicare Inc., and was involved in the operation of nursing homes. However, the company was later to expand first into the running of hospitals and later health insurance. Cherry and his wives used some of their wealth to fund their acquisition of art, being named at one point in the top 100 most important art collectors in the United States. Besides the present wine-cistern Cherry had an important collection of pictures including works by Picasso, Klimt, Modigliani, Degas and Manet. His passion for art was also evident in his generous philanthropy, which included donations to the Speed Art Museum and the Kentucky Centre for the Performing Arts. Following his death in 1991, a portion of his collection, including the wine-cistern was sold through a series of public auctions.
Lot 124. The Newhailes Sageot Commode. A Louis XIV ormolu-mounted, brass, pewter, tortoiseshell, ebony and polychrome-decorated stained-horn Boulle marquetry commode, by Nicolas Sageot, circa 1710; 33 in. (84 cm.) high; 52 in. (132 cm.) wide; 27¼ in. (69.2 cm.) deep. Estimate GBP 150,000 - GBP 250,000 (USD 198,000 - USD 330,000). Price realised GBP 332,750. © Christie's Images Ltd. 2018
Inlaid in contre-partie, the rectangular top with rounded front angles and moulded edge decorated with foliate scrolls and rinceaux, centred by a seated figure of Victory under an arched canopy, flanked by further figures and Bèrainesque motifs, the angles with masks and floral bouquets, above two short and three long conformingly inlaid, walnut-lined drawers with female mask escutcheons and floral drop-handles, the drawer divides with trellis banding, the sides and angles inlaid with similarily decorated panels, above a shaped apron centred by a mask of Ceres, on shell bracket feet, stamped 'NS', minor losses to marquetry.
Provenance: Possibly Sir David Dalrymple of Hailes, 3rd Bt. Lord Hailes (1726-92), and by descent to his eldest daughter Christian Dalrymple (1765-1838) who died without issue, thence by inheritance to her half-nephew,
Sir Charles Dalrymple Fergusson of Kilkerran, 5th Bt. (1800-1849), and by descent to his son the Sir Charles Dalrymple [Fergusson] of Newhailes, 1st Bt. MP (1839-1916).
Sir David Dalrymple of Newhailes, 2nd Bt. (1879-1932).
Sir Mark Dalrymple of Newhailes, 3rd Bt. (1915-1971) and his wife, Lady Antonia Stewart (1924-217), daughter of the Earl of Galloway, and thence by inheritance to the present owner.
Literature: Possibly The Newhailes Inventory, c. 1790, in the Chintz Room as 'An inlaid chest, wax cloth cover and cloth slip'.
Inventory of New Hailles House, 1873, in the Drawing Room as a 'Fine brass & inlaid chest of Drawers Key for Do.'.
A, Dowell, Inventory & Valuation of the Furnishigs, Pictures, Silver Plate . ... of Newhailes made for Insurance Purposes, 1914, in the Drawing Room as a 'Buhl (sic) & ormolu commode of three long and two short drawers, decorated all over flowers & classical figures in colour ormolu drop handles & mounts, plate glass top'.
L. Weaver, ‘Newhailes, Midlothian, the seat of Lt. Com. Sir David Dalrymple, Bt., R.N.’, Country Life, 8 September 1917, p. 230, illustrated in situ.
Note: This wonderful early 18th century commode, an outstanding example of contre-partie marquetry design, is the work of Parisian ébéniste Nicholas Sageot (1666-1731) and typifies the style Bérain, with its elegant arabesques and foliate scrolls. For the past two centuries, it has been in the possession of the Dalrymple and Fergusson families at Newhailes House, near Edinburgh. A jewel of early Palladian architecture, the house and its furnishings are a monument to the superb taste of this highly cultured family.
THE COMMODE AT NEWHAILES HOUSE, MUSSELBURGH
This commode possibly entered the collection at Newhailes House, Musselburgh, Scotland, during the tenure of Sir David Dalrymple, 3rd Baronet, Lord Hailes (1726-92), who inherited the house in 1751. Lord Hailes, a scholar and eminent figure of the Scottish Enlightenment and a close friend of Dr Johnson, was from a dynasty of lawyers and politicians prominent in the Scottish legal system. He further developed the collection of books in the Library, originally built around 1722, for which Newhailes acquired its outstanding reputation.
This commode is possibly the one recorded in the ‘Chintz Room’ at Newhailes, near Edinburgh, in the 1790 inventory for the mansion (1), when it was described as:
‘An inlaid chest, wax cloth cover and cloth slip’.
View of Newhailes from the gate © Country Life Picture Library
Despite the sparing description in the inventory, which can be accounted for by the author, who was possibly a housekeeper because of her detailed knowledge of textiles and blankets, the protective covers for this chest suggest it may be the present commode.
In 1869, the commode appears in a watercolour of the library at Newhailes by Walter Severn (1830-1904), a member of the Royal Cambrian Academy. Severn was employed by Sir Charles Dalrymple, 1st Baronet of Newhailes (1839-1916), who inherited the estate in 1849, to paint some of the interiors. However, from this date to 1873, the villa was leased to Henry Coventry, and thereafter to Alexander, Baron Shand of Woodhouse until 1883. It was almost certainly the tenancy of the latter that prompted an inventory to be raised in 1873.
The commode is listed in the ‘Drawing room’ in the 1873 inventory: ‘Fine brass & inlaid chest of Drawers Key for Do. [ditto]’, and to the left of the entry ‘brass loose pieces off’. This room was, in fact, the old Library, which had been transformed into a drawing room by the addition of a suite of sofas and chairs from a drawing room in the opposite wing. During this ‘drawing-room phase’ the room became the principal reception room where the finest furniture and works of art from the collection were on display including this commode, and the late 17th century Flemish ‘Hopetoun Chest’; it was then described as the most learned drawing room in Europe (2).
Walter Severn (1830-1904), The Library at Newhailes, 1867 © HES
In the 1914 inventory, it is in the same room and a full description identifies the Sageot commode beyond doubt: ‘Buhl & ormolu commode of three long & two short drawers, decorated all over flowers & classical figures in colours, ormolu drop handles & mounts, plate glass top’. At this date, it is valued at £150 – one of the most expensive pieces of furniture at Newhailes.
In 1917, the commode was photographed by Country Life in the Library; and again in a privately printed photograph in 1959 (3).
Photograph of Newhailes Library, 1917 © Country Life Picture Library
NEWHAILES, MUSSELBURGH, NEAR EDINBURGH
The estate, originally known as Whitehill, was acquired in 1686 by James Smith (1645-1731), described by Colen Campbell in his Vitruvius Britannicus (1717) as: ‘the most experienced architect in Scotland’ (4). He designed the original house in the Palladian manner, and Newhailes is significant for being an early exemplar of this style, later fashionable throughout Britain and Ireland. In 1709, the estate was purchased by Sir David Dalrymple, 1st Baronet of Hailes (circa 1665-1721) for the sum of 40,000 merks (£27,000 – approximately £2.5 million in 2004), who renamed the estate ‘New Hailes’. During the long ownership of the Dalrymple family, the house has not been fundamentally altered from Smith’s original building. Although some improvements have been made to the interiors, these are largely intact and represent one of the best-preserved interiors of the early 18th century. When the National Trust of Scotland (NTS) acquired the house in 1997 their remit was to stabilise the condition of the buildings, and at the same time maintain the spirit of the house.
The richly ornamented style of this magnificent commode derives from the work of the celebrated ébéniste du roi André-Charles Boulle (1642-1732), who popularised the virtuoso practice of inlaying ebony-veneered case furniture with brass, tortoiseshell and stained horn at the court of Louis XIV. Although Boulle gave his name to this technique, it was practised by several other Parisian cabinetmakers at the start of the 18th Century, including Aubertin Gaudron (d. 1713), Noël Gérard (1685-1736) and Nicholas Sageot.
Sageot had a thriving workshop on the rue du faubourg Saint-Antoine by 1698 and became a master in 1706. Documentary evidence indicates that he also operated as a marchand mercier. As with the present commode, his pieces are often stamped, a rarity at this date, as it did not become obligatory for cabinetmakers to do so until 1751. A very similar commode in première-partie formerly in the collection of the Dukes of Newcastle, Clumber Park, Nottinghamshire (sold Christie's, London, 16 December 1999, lot 50, £287,500) also bears Sageot’s stamp, which later allowed a commode formerly in the Thyssen collection to be further attributed to this master (sold Christie's, London, 14 December 2000, lot 320, £168,750).
The Louis XIV commode, by Nicolas Sageot, formerly in the collection of the Earl of Lincoln, Clumber Park © Christie’s Images
The Louis XIV commode, by Nicolas Sageot, formerly in the Thyssen collection © Christie’s Images.
The superb design of the present commode, with its intricate filigree arabesques, abundance of polychrome flowers, and playful mask motifs is inspired by the work of Jean Bérain (1640-1711). Of exceptional quality, the top depicts the figure of Pallas-Athena, seated on a lambrequined plinth beneath a garlanded baldacchino. She is attended by two putti, possibly Eros and Anteros, who proffer a palm of victory and two flaming torches to the goddess. Flanking the central motif are two huntresses, each attended by a putto and a dog. Two further huntresses, each with a hawk and a hound top the architrave above the figure of Athena.
It is likely that this scene is symbolic of ‘Love’s triumph’, the flames of love being conquered by the wise and chaste goddess Athena. This theme played an important role in Bérain’s œuvre; in 1681 in his official role as Dessinateur de la Chambre et du Cabinet du Roi he created the costumes and set designs for the ballet Le Triomphe de l’Amour, performed by members of the court to celebrate the marriage of the dauphin and Marie-Anne-Christine-Victoire of Bavaria (1660-1690), which had taken place the previous year. Bérain’s interest in theatrical design can be seen in the composition of many of his designs, the present top being no exception; with its wonderfully bold layout and delightfully colourful figures, it is as visually arresting as any theatrical performance.
Ornamens Inventez par J. Berain Et se vendent Chez Monsieur Thuret Aux Galleries du Louvre Avec Privilege du Roy, Paris, 1711, f. 66
Given the similarity between this design, the top of the Thyssen commode and a third commode sold Sotheby’s, Monaco, 24 June 1984, it is likely that Sageot owned a specific Bérain cartoon or engraving of the subject (4). This was probably lost after Sageot’s mental health began to decline in 1725. However, the folio of engravings after designs by Bérain, published following his death in 1711, contains several variations on the central victorious figure and her attendants, providing us with an idea of the perennially popular material Sageot was using.
(1) The inventories for Newhailes held by the National Trust of Scotland, Edinburgh.
(2) V. Horrocks, Newhailes, Edinburgh, 2004, p. 6.
(3) L. Weaver, ‘Newhailes, Midlothian, the seat of Lt. Com. Sir David Dalrymple, Bt., R.N.’, Country Life, 8 September 1917, p. 230; RCAHMS.
(4) As posited by J.N. Ronfort, André Charels Boulle 1642-1732: A New Style for Europe, Paris, 2009, p. 98.
Lot 106. A South German ormolu, silver and gilt-brass quarter-striking astronomical masterpiece table clock, by Hieronymus Syx, Augsburg, 1705; 31 in. (78.7 cm.) high; 12 ¾ in. (32.4 cm.) wide; 10 3/8 in. (26.4 cm.) deep. Estimate GBP 400,000 - GBP 600,000 (USD 528,000 - USD 792,000). Price realised GBP 512,750. © Christie's Images Ltd. 2018
THE CASE: embellished overall with coloured glass Kunkelstein, the kneeling Atlas finial supporting a globe with engraved band indicating age of the moon, above a four-tiered structure enclosing the bells, each element with repoussé silver foliate ornament flanked by leaf-capped spheres about the stylised dolphin and baluster columns, the rectangular case with further silver foliate mounts and with eagle and dolphin head cast angles, on a conforming stepped spreading plinth with gadrooned border, detachable side panels, formerly on a further base (probably a turntable)
THE MAIN DIAL: the three inner rings for variable Italian and Babylonian hours, each engraved '1-24', a silvered twice 12-hour ring in Roman numerals with outer quarter hour ring divided ‘I-IIII’ and with Arabic five minute markers, the reversible outer calendar ring engraved with six months to each side, showing months, days of month and corresponding Saints days together with dominical letters, the subsidiary dials: upper left showing the Golden Number ‘Cÿclus Aurei Numeri’ numbered '1-19'; upper right for Cycle of Indication ‘Cyclus Idictionum’ numbered '1-15'; lower left for alarm setting; lower right with Zodiacal calendar, engraved with corresponding symbols for the months, for setting the latitude for the variable hours numbered '12-19'
THE ASTROLABE DIAL: the latitude plate with stereographic projections, engraved 'Tropicus Capricorni', 'Circulus Equinoctalis' and 'Tropicus Cancri', the finely engravedrete with pointers for 15 stars ('Crus Aquary', 'Venter Ceti', 'Piostrum Ceti', 'Oculus Jaury', 'Canis Major', 'Canis Minor', 'Lucida Hÿdra', 'Car Leonis', 'Spica Virginis', 'Cauda', 'Sinister Serpentary', 'Corona Septentrionalis', 'Caput Antinoj', 'Caput Serpentarii' and 'Crus Pegasi'), and showing orders of magnitude (1-3), the eliptic with zodiacal divisions and symbols, the double-ended rule indicating against the rete with one end showing the hours of daytime, the other engraved with sun face and indicating the position of the sun through the Zodiac throughout the year, aspect diagram to central disc and phases and age of moon viewed through an aperture, enclosed by a twice 12-hour ring; the subsidiary dials: upper left for ‘12’ or ‘24’ hour striking; upper right for strike / silent ‘Schlägt / Schlägt nit’; lower left showing Dominical Letters; lower right with planetary days of the week ‘Sool’ (Sunday), ‘Luna’ (Monday), ‘Mars’ (Tuesday), ‘Merc’ (Wednesday), ‘Jupiter’ (Thursday), ‘Venus’ (Friday) and ‘Saturn’ (Saturday); the left-hand side of the case with indications for quarter striking ‘1-4’, the right-hand side with 12 or 24-hour striking indications
THE MOVEMENT: the gilt-brass square-section posted frame movement raised above the base on turned pillars, signed to both end plates ‘Hÿeronimus Sÿx / Augustae Vindelicorum’ and with Augsburg ‘pine-cone’ marks, with blued-steel highlights and ornamental engraving, three-chain fusee movement and a standing barrel for the alarm, verge escapement, countwheel strike to bell and quarter strike to further bell, front-swinging pendulum; some later elements and some dials apparently non-functioning.
Provenance: Lempertz, Zurich, 14-17 November 1956, lot 1333a.
Collection of Mr & Mrs. M. W. L. Boon, until sold;
Kunstveilingen Sotheby Mak Van Waay B. V., Amsterdam, 2 April 1981, lot 264.
The Al-Tajir Collection, until acquired by the present owner.
Literature: K. Maurice, Die Deutsche Räderuhr, vols. I & II, Munich, 1976, pp. 42-3, pl. 247.
J. Abler, Meister der Uhrmacherkunst, Dusseldorf, 1977, p. 587.
Clocks, June 1981, pp. 26-31.
The Glory of the Goldsmith, Magnificent Gold and Silver from the Al-Tajir Collection, Christie’s, London, 1989, pp. 274-5.
COMPARATIVE LITERATURE: K. Maurice and O. Mayr (editors), The Clockwork Universe, German Clocks and Automata 1550-1650, Munich, 1980.
L. Winters, A Renaissance Treasury, The Flagg Collection, New York, 1999.
D. Thompson, The British Museum Clocks, London, 2004.
Exhibited: Christies, London, ‘The Glory of the Goldsmith’, 3-22 January 1990, No. 240.
Note: AUGSBURG MASTERPIECE CLOCKS
Hieronymus Syx (or Six) (b. 1680 – d. 1726), a 'small watchmaker', is documented as completing this clock in 1705 as his 'Masterpiece'. (1)
The Ilbert Masterpiece clock
The history of the craft system in Augsburg dates to the fourteenth century when clockmakers were part of a larger guild of general smiths formed in 1368. The clockmakers became autonomous in 1564 allowing them to govern their own trade.
To become a Master, a clockmaker had to complete an apprenticeship for three years and to work following different masters as a journeyman for a similar period. Only then could he apply to be a Master clockmaker by proving his ability and skill creating a Masterpiece clock.
The Augsburg clockmakers' guild stipulated that for a Masterpiece clock the following functions had to be fulfilled;
'A clock of the dimensions as hitherto, about a span high, which strikes the hours and the quarters. It shall also have an alarm and shall likewise show the astrolabe, the length of the days, the calendar and the planets and their signs. When the quarter hand is moved, all hands shall move in time with it, and in addition the clock shall strike the hours both to 12 and 24, as one may select.' (2)
The Münster Masterpiece clock.
As with all Masterpiece clocks, this clock would have been made over a period of only six months. When completed in 1705, the 1577 statutes of the guild were still in force. These had remained unchanged in the intervening 128 years which explains the traditional tower format of this clock.
Augsburg is known for the quality of its clock making and this clock epitomises this high level of craftsmanship together with the collaboration of other specialist workers such as the goldsmiths, coppersmiths and brass-founders. The latter were by 1588 strictly limited to only seven masters with a further stipulation that they only cast for clockmakers. Elements such as the dolphin mounts to the angles of the present clock would have been produced in quantity and are often repeated on known clocks; for example, the masterpiece clock formerly from the Ilbert Collection and now in the British Museum (3) shares its mounts with the ‘Quitzen’ masterpiece clock by Johan Hasse (4) and another Augsburg clock of this period formerly at Münster (5). The present clock is marked with the Augsburg hallmark, the pine cone, to each end plate of the movement.
A contemporary addition to this clock are the Kunkelstein glass sphere finials, this is a type of coloured glass invented by Johann Kunkel (1637-1703) whilst director of the laboratory and glass works of Brandenburg, in imitation of rubies, formed by the reaction of gold salts with tin chloride.
(1) K. Maurice, Die Deutsche Räderuhr, vols. I & II, Munich, 1976, pp. 42-43.
(2) K. Maurice and O. Mayr, The Clockwork Universe, German Clocks and Automata 1550-1650, Munich, 1980, p. 67.
(3) Museum reference: Reg. CAI – 2129.
(4) Christie’s, London, 5 December 1995, lot 83.
(5) Maurice, Op.Cit., pl. 248.
Old Masters Evening Sale | 5 July
Rubens’s highly poignant portrait of his daughter, Clara Serena, offers a rare glimpse into the private life of the greatest artist of the Northern Baroque (estimate: £3-5 million). The Last Judgement is a key work by the Florentine painter and miniaturist Zanobi Strozzi, and the most major monumental panel in the tradition of Fra Angelico to remain in private hands (estimate: £2-4 million). Ludovico Carracci’s arresting Portrait of Carlo Alberto Rati Opizzoni in armour is a testament to the artist’s revolutionary talent that made him a key exponent of the early Italian Baroque (estimate: £3.5-5 million). Further highlights include Rembrandt’s Christ Presented to the People (‘Ecce Homo’) (estimate on request), being offered from the collection of the late Samuel Josefowitz, which is considered to be among the artist’s most significant achievements in any medium - executed on a monumental scale and dating to 1655, it is one of only eight known impressions of the celebrated first state of this print and is the last known example in private hands.
Lot 7. Peter Paul Rubens (Siegen 1577-1640 Antwerp), Portrait of Clara Serena, the artist's daughter, oil on panel, 14 ¼ x 10 3/8 in. (36.2 x 26.4 cm.). Estimate GBP 3,000,000 - GBP 5,000,000 (USD 3,936,000 - USD 6,560,000). Unsold. © Christie's Images Ltd. 2018
Provenance: (Presumably) In the estate of Jan Brant (1559-1639), the artist’s father-in-law and the sitter’s grandfather, listed ‘In de groote camer aan den hoff’, ‘Twee stucxkens schilderije respective, op panneel, olieverve, in lijste, d'een van Jan Brant, des afflijvigens soontken was, ende d'ander van Clara Serena Rubens, dochterken was des voors. Hr. Rubbens’.
(Probably) Guillaume-Jean Constantin (1755-1816), Curator of the painting collection of Empress Josephine at Château de Malmaison; his sale (†), Rue Saint-Lazare no. 52, Paris, 18 November 1816 (=1st day), lot 285, as ‘School of Rubens’, ‘Un portrait de jeune fille bien touché et d'une grande vérité. H. 13 p., l. 10. B. [sur bois]’, sold for 22 francs to,
Louis-Antoine (Athanase) Lavallée (1768-1818), Secretary General of the ‘Musée Napoléon’ (Musée du Louvre) and its temporary director.
(Possibly) M. Camille Groult (1837-1908), Paris.
Sir Robert Henry Edward Abdy, 5th Bt. (1896-1976), Paris.
Mrs. Peter Cooper Hewitt (1842-1934), New York; her sale (†), American Art Association-Anderson Galleries, New York, 6 April 1935, lot 613.
Frederick R. Bay, New York, by 1936, until at least 1939.
Charles Ulrick Bay (1888-1955), New York, by 1942, and by inheritance to his widow,
Josephine Bay Paul, New York, 1955, by whom gifted as ‘Rubens’ to,
The Metropolitan Museum of Art (inv. no. 60.169), in 1960, catalogued as ‘a copy after Rubens, probably 17th century’, and deaccessioned in 2013; Sotheby’s, New York, 31 January 2013 (=1st day), lot 107, as ‘Follower of Peter Paul Rubens’ ($626,500), when acquired by the present owner.
Literature: (Possibly) Listed in the 1639 inventory of the estate of Jan Brant (1559-1639), the original held in the archives at Gaasbeek Castle, Lennik, Belgium.
(Possibly) M. Rooses, ‘L'oeuvre de Rubens (Addenda)’, Bulletin-Rubens, Antwerp, 1896, IV, pp. 215 and 229, no. 1036bis, as ‘il est a' peine permis de douter qu'ils soient de la main de Rubens’.
(Possibly) P. Génard, ‘Het testament van Jan Brant en Clara de Moy, Rubens’ Schoonouders‘, Bulletin-Rubens, Antwerp, 1896, IV, pp. 229-230, as listed in the inventory of Jan Brant.
E. Michel, Rubens: His life, his work, and his time, London and New York, 1899, II, p. 81, as ‘now lost’.
(Possibly) M. Rooses and C. Ruelens, eds., Correspondance de Rubens et documents e´pistolaires concernant sa vie et ses oeuvres, Antwerp, 1900, III, p. 279, under ‘Commentaire’.
(Possibly) J. Denucé, De Antwerpsche 'Konstkamers', Antwerp, 1932, p. 54, quoting Jan Brant's inventory as above.
W.R. Valentiner, Sixty Paintings and Some Drawings by Peter Paul Rubens, exhibition catalogue, Detroit, 1936, no. 29, as ‘Rubens’, illustrated.
L. van Puyvelde, Les Esquisses de Rubens, Basel, 1940, pp. 17, 49, 79–80, no. 49, fig. 49, as ‘Rubens’.
M. Vaughan, ‘Old Masters at the Fair’, Parnassus, XI, no. 5, May 1939, pp. 10-11, as ‘Rubens’, illustrated.
L. van Puyvelde, The Sketches of Rubens, London, 1947, pp. 18, 51 and 81, no. 49, fig. 49, as ‘Rubens’, ‘in all probability, the portrait of Clara-Serena by Rubens mentioned in the inventory of the effects of Jean Brant’.
L. van Puyvelde, Les esquisses de Rubens, Basel, 1948, pp. 17, 49 and 79–80, no. 49, fig. 49, as ‘Rubens’.
W.R. Valentiner, ‘Rubens' Paintings in America’, The Art Quarterly, IX, Spring 1946, p. 163, no. 8, as ‘Rubens’.
J.- A. Goris and J.S. Held, Rubens in America, New York, 1947, p. 46, no. A11, pl. 7, under Appendix, as ‘not by Rubens’.
E. Haverkamp-Begemann, Olieverfschetsen van Rubens, exhibition catalogue, Rotterdam, 1953, pp. 64–5, no. 43, fig. 45, as ‘Rubens’.
O. Benesch, ‘Review of Ref. Goris and Held 1947’, Kunstchronik, VII, March 1954, p. 77, as ‘Rubens’.
J.S. Held, Rubens: Selected Drawings, London, 1959, I, p. 138, under no. 106, as ‘not by Rubens’.
M. Varshavskaya, Rubens' Paintings in the Hermitage Museum, Leningrad, 1975, p. 176, under no. 28, as ‘Studio of Rubens’, illustrated.
E. Mitsch, Die Rubenszeichnungen der Albertina, exhibition catalogue, Vienna, 1977, p. 92, under no. 38.
K. Baetjer, European Paintings in the Metropolitan Museum of Art, by artists born in or before 1865, A Summary Catalogue, New York ,1980, I, p. 161; III, p. 373, illustrated, as ‘a copy after Rubens, probably 17th century’.
W.A. Liedtke, Flemish Paintings in The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York, 1984, I, pp. 231–3; II, pl. 88, as ‘a copy after Rubens, probably 17th century’.
R. Baumstark, Liechtenstein: the Princely Collections, exhibition catalogue, New York, 1985, p. 324, under no. 204, as ‘Follower of Rubens’.
H. Vlieghe, ‘Reviewed Work(s): Flemish paintings in the Metropolitan Museum of Art by Walter A. Liedtke’, Oud Holland, C, no. 3/4, 1986, pp. 202-3, as ‘a copy after Rubens’.
J.S. Held, Rubens: Selected Drawings, London, 1986, p. 133, under no. 162, as ‘not by Rubens’.
K. Baetjer, European Paintings in the Metropolitan Museum of Art, by artists born in or before 1865, A Summary Catalogue, New York, 1995, p. 282, illustrated, as ‘a copy after Rubens, probably 17th century’.
A.-M.S. Logan and M.C. Plomp, Peter Paul Rubens, exhibition catalogue, Vienna, 2004, p. 357, as ‘school of Rubens’.
A.-M.S. Logan and M.C. Plomp, Peter Paul Rubens: The Drawings, New Haven and London, 2005, pp. 244 and 246, under no. 84, as ‘school of Rubens’.
E. Crichton-Miller, 'Collector's Focus: Rubens and his Circle', Apollo, CLXXX, no. 625, November 2014, p. 98, as ‘Rubens’.
B. Grosvenor, 'As connoisseurship becomes easier, it has never been less fashionable', The Art Newspaper (online), 24 March 2015, as ‘Rubens’.
B. van Beneden, 'First Look: Rubens in Private', Apollo (online), 31 March 2015, as ‘Rubens’.
B. van Beneden, 'Some important new acquisitions for the Rubenshuis', The Rubenianum Quarterly, no. 4, 2015, p. 3, fig. 1, as ‘Rubens’.
K. Van der Stighelen, Corpus Rubenianum Ludwig Burchard: Portraits of Unidentified Sitters, XIX, forthcoming, as 'Rubens'.
Exhibited: Detroit, Detroit Institute of Arts, An exhibition of sixty paintings and some drawings by Peter Paul Rubens, 13 February-15 March 1936, no. 29, as ‘Rubens’.
Oslo, Nasjonalgalleriet, 13 February-15 March 1937, no. 29.
Brussels, Musées Royaux des Beaux-Arts de Belgique, Esquisses de Rubens, August-September 1937, no. 51, as ‘Rubens’.
New York, World's Fair, Masterpieces of Art: European Paintings and Sculpture from 1300-1800, May-October 1939, no. 333, as ‘Rubens’.
New York, Schaeffer and Brandt Galleries, Peter Paul Rubens, 23 November-19 December 1942, no. 16a, as ‘Rubens’.
New York, Wildenstein & Co. Inc., The Child Through Four Centuries, 1-28 March 1945, no. 2, as ‘Rubens’.
Rotterdam, Museum Boijmans-van Beuningen, Olieverfschetsen van Rubens, 15 December 1953- 28 February 1954, no. 43, as ‘Rubens’.
New York, Wildenstein & Co., Inc., Paintings from St. James' Collectors, 1955, no. 2, as ‘Rubens’.
Jacksonville, Florida, The Cummer Gallery, The DeEtte Holden Cummer Museum Foundation, January 1962 (on loan from the Metropolitan Museum of Art).
Vienna, The Princely Collections, Liechtenstein, March 2014-April 2015 (on loan), as ‘Rubens’.
Antwerp, Rubenshuis, Rubens in Private: the Master Portrays, 28 March-28 June 2015, no. 23, as ‘Rubens’ (the entry written by Katlijne Van der Stighelen).
Edinburgh, Scottish National Gallery, Rubens’ Daughter: An Intimate Family Portrait, 17 November 2017- 28 January 2018, as ‘Rubens’.
Peter Paul Rubens, Self Portrait, c. 1630 © Collectie Stad Antwerpen, Rubenshuis, photo: Michel Wuyts, Louis de Peuter
Note: A painter, humanist and diplomat to some of the most important European courts of his age, Peter Paul Rubens was the artistic paragon of the Northern Baroque, known for capturing corporeal energy and emotion in his large-scale history paintings with displays of blazing bravura. Yet it is the portraits of his family and loved ones that reveal the great tenderness of his private artistic persona. These are considered by many as his greatest achievements in portraiture through the deep personal affection and honesty of their depiction, taken from life ‘con amore’ (M. Rooses, L’Oeuvre de P.P. Rubens, Antwerp, 1892, V, p. 271).
On 21 March 1611, Clara Serena Rubens, the first child of Peter Paul Rubens and Isabella Brant, was baptised in the church of Saint Andrew in Antwerp, two years after their marriage. Acting as her godfather was the artist’s brother Philip Rubens, while Isabella Brant’s mother, Clara de Moy, acted as godmother. Very little is known of her life from this moment, save for the few intimately rendered portraits painted by Rubens, which shine a faint light on the girl’s regrettably short life; she would die in childhood at the age of twelve and a half in the autumn of 1623. We learn of her death in a letter sent by Rubens’s lifelong friend Nicolas-Claude Fabri de Peiresc, dated 11-12 February 1624, a reply to a lost letter from Rubens dated 25 October 1623, in which the artist reported the news in an undated postscript, denoting that Clara Serena would have died shortly before this date. In his letter, Peiresc wrote of the pain and sorrow he felt for Rubens at the loss of his only daughter (‘sua figliuolina unica’) who ‘already showed so much accomplishment’ (‘gia arrivata a tanto merito’) (M. Rooses and C. Ruelens, eds., Correspondance de Rubens et documents e´pistolaires concernant sa vie et ses oeuvres, Antwerp, 1900, III, p. 268).
The identification of the present portrait stems from the sitter’s resemblance to Rubens’s drawing of her mother, Isabella Brant, of circa 1621-2 (fig. 1; London, British Museum, inv. no. 1893,0731.21), on which Max Rooses also based his identification of the portrait of Clara Serena in the Liechtenstein Princely Collections (fig. 2; Vaduz and Vienna, inv. no. GE105), thought to have been painted when the girl was around five years of age.Following restoration of the present work in 2013, the sitter’s undeniable resemblance was acknowledged with the drawing of a Lady-in-Waiting to Infanta Isabella (Portrait of Clara Serena Rubens?) at the Albertina in Vienna (fig. 3; inv. no. 8259), and the picture by Rubens’s studio after the same composition (Saint Petersburg, The State Hermitage Museum, inv. no. 478). Of the drawing, Walter Liedtke observed that Clara Serena may have indeed been honoured as a lady-in-waiting to the Infanta Isabella Clara Eugenia, the Regent of the Spanish Netherlands and Rubens’s employer (op. cit.). Indeed, the young Rubens himself had served as a page in the court of Marguerite de Ligne from circa 1590, at around the age of thirteen.
Fig. 1 Peter Paul Rubens, Portrait of Isabella Brant, c. 1621-2, drawing © The Trustees of the British Museum. All rights reserved
Fig. 2 Peter Paul Rubens, Portrait of Clara Serena Rubens, c. 1616, oil sketch © Collection of the Prince of Liechtenstein, Schloss Vaduz / Bridgeman Images.
Fig. 3 Peter Paul Rubens, Lady-in-Waiting to Infanta Isabella (Portrait of Clara Serena?), c. 1623, drawing © The Albertina Museum, Vienna
The history of opinion on both the present portrait’s identification and authorship has in no small way been affected by the historic overpaint that made proper assessment of the work difficult. Rubens’s authorship remained unquestioned until 1947, when Julius Held wrote of its strong resemblance to the Albertina drawing, which he concluded to be the prototype after which the present work was a copy by a pupil or follower (op. cit.). Held’s objections stemmed in particular from the costume (then overpainted), which he deemed ‘flat and unimaginative’. In the 1950s, however, Held’s view was challenged by Otto Benesch and Prof. Egbert Haverkamp-Begemann (op. cit.), who firmly believed in Rubens’s authorship, with the former contesting the picture’s dependence on the Albertina drawing. According to Katlijne Van der Stighelen in her 2015 exhibition catalogue entry on the picture, Ludwig Burchard likewise firmly accepted the portrait as an authentic work by Rubens (op. cit., Rubens in Private, pp. 190 and 193; Rubenianum documentation, Antwerp, file LB1490). In his notes in the margin of Appendix A11 of Held’s 1947 catalogue, he went further, in light of restoration carried out in London in circa 1948-49, which he thought finally revealed ‘the pure hand of Rubens’ (cited in ibid.).
It is not known when another green layer of overpaint was added following the previous restoration, however it is precisely this that had prevented accurate analysis of the picture since the 1960s. After it was bequeathed to The Metropolitan Museum of Art as an authentic work by Rubens, the late Walter Liedtke catalogued it as ‘a copy after Rubens, probably 17th century’ (op. cit.), and it was auctioned as by a ‘follower’ in New York in 2013 after its deaccession from the museum (see provenance). Its subsequent restoration, which saw the removal of overpaint as well as an obscuring layer of old varnish, was transformative, returning the picture, as Katlijne van der Stighelen put it, ‘to its former glory’ (op. cit.). This led to the portrait being reconsidered in context as a key work by Rubens, first on loan to the Liechtenstein Princely Collections, where it was displayed poignantly alongside the younger portrait of Clara Serena, and then in 2015 in the Rubens in Private exhibition at the Rubenshuis in Antwerp. More recently, the picture was the focus of a dedicated exhibition at the Scottish National Gallery in Edinburgh and it will soon be published as autograph in the forthcoming volume of the Corpus Rubenianum Ludwig Burchard by Van der Stighelen, due for publication in 2019/2020.
It is not only the past condition of the picture that has led to debate about the attribution on the part of certain scholars – a hesitancy that still remains in some quarters – but also the highly unusual character of the portrait. The sitter’s likeness is rendered with dazzling spontaneity and naturalness, indicating that she was painted ad vivum in a single sitting. Rubens’s portraits of his family members are by their nature freer and more personal than those of his wealthy clientele and, as is the case with Clara Serena, were rarely intended for public display. As Ben van Beneden asserts: ‘Nothing about these private portraits seems idealized. They are uncommonly honest works that testify to profound commitment and deep affection’ (op. cit., Rubens in Private, p. 1). This likeness of Clara Serena, Rubens’s only daughter at the time, may have held especially deep personal significance for the artist; the portrait has generally been dated to circa 1620-23, the most likely hypothesis being that it was painted in the autumn of 1623 during Clara Serena’s infirmity, around the time of her tragic death at the age of twelve and a half. Dendrochronological examination of the single-piece oak panel supports this dating, providing a felling date of between 1612 and 1622, and a likely use from 1618 onwards (report by Dr. Peter Klein dated 26 September 2014, available upon request).
Van der Stighelen has suggested that due to the picture’s monochrome colouring and ‘truncated’ modelling of the drapery, akin to an antique bust, this portrait may have even been painted posthumously to commemorate the child’s death (op. cit., pp. 190-1). Yet unlike any portrait by Rubens, this work appears painted with the swift, summary strokes of a sketch, as in the hair and costume, evoking the intimacy of his preparatory studies, while the face is more focused and drawn in greater detail than the rest, emitting the great psychological complexity of his finished portraits. The artist captures the variegated tones of her skin in staccato strokes, as if endeavouring to record an exact moment in time, revealing a pentimento in the sitter’s right ear, which was initially painted too high, before Rubens corrected himself with a few thin intelligent strokes. The method with which he expertly developed the undulations of the face supports the idea that the picture was likely painted ad vivum, and while his preparatory sketches are known for their vigour and dynamism, the strokes here are more delicate and fluent, embodying both the tenderness he felt for his subject and the finality with which he painted her.
Through the melancholy brunaille technique, Rubens sensitively describes the flesh tones of her skin, which though pale against the earthy brown semi-transparent imprimatura, is equally opalescent due to the beautiful blue-green glaze, which can be seen in this period in sketches like his Expulsion from the Garden of Eden (circa 1620; Prague, National Gallery, inv. no. O 10443). As light falls from the left of the present picture, it creates highlights and shadows in Clara Serena’s face and shift, heightening the illusion of form and texture on the hard panel surface. Rubens blends impasto layers of milky pink flesh tones and yellow highlights in a process known as feathering, where a fan-shaped, dry badger brush was applied to stiffer impasto so as to flatten the excess paint and create delicate grooves in the paint surface. In doing so, he creates a heightened sense of volume and depth, while capturing the shimmer of her skin with palpable affection. He further adds delicate notes of warmth to the texture of the flesh with an endless variety of pinks and greys, which blend into one another, imbuing her with life. Touches of pink punctuate her eyes, nose, lips and cheeks, as if she stands before us in three dimensions, with Rubens present in the glide of his brush. It is precisely in the physical quality of Rubens’s brushstrokes that we feel the emotion behind his portrayal of his ailing daughter, what the theologian and art theorist Franciscus Junius (1591-1677) described as the ‘presence’ of the artist through the immersion of his body and mind in the painting (T. Weststeijn, The Visible World, Amsterdam, 2008, p. 145).
The tangible quality of Clara Serena’s flesh is contrasted with the more sombre, almost stone-like palette of the shift and shawl, painted as an apparent afterthought in its swiftness, bringing her face into further focus. Her informal undershirt worn beneath an outdoor wrap is indeed unusual in seventeenth-century costume and may be explained by Rubens’s visual vocabulary, which recast antique and Renaissance sources, derived from his years in Italy from 1601 to 1608. As an ambitious painter of mythological and historical subjects, Rubens had so thoroughly ‘absorbed into his system the artistic language of the ancients that he could speak it with only a trace of a Flemish accent’ (J. Held, Rubens: Selected Drawings, London, 1959, p. 51, note 8). In swathing the wan Clara Serena in a cloak similar to a Roman palla or Greek himation, Rubens grants her the dignity and virtue of a Roman noble, with her braided coiffure, which reveals a high pentimento, crowning her like a diadem, quoting from the sculptural forms of classical antiquity. It displays the intelligence and ease with which the master manipulated visual quotations from antique statuary.
The directness with which Clara Serena looks at the viewer was also not typical of contemporary portrait painting, reflecting both the intimacy of the moment shared between father and daughter, and displaying the deep affection with which she was seen through Rubens’s eyes. The great similarity between this composition and that of Rubens’s drawing of Isabella Brant at the British Museum reveals that the artist purposefully sought to emulate his wife in his depictions of his daughter, with both figures masterfully articulated through different mediums in a demonstration of Rubens’s genius. Isabella Brant had married Rubens in 1609, bearing him three children, Clara Serena, Nicolaas and Albert, before her premature death in 1626. Rubens no doubt based the composition for the present portrait of his daughter on the ancient principle that a face reflected a person’s character, so influential on seventeenth-century artistic theory, and in bestowing on the daughter the virtues he admired in the mother, he could immortalise both loved ones in the paint of a single face.
According to the inventory of the estate of Jan Brant, Rubens’s father-in-law, we know that at least one portrait of Clara Serena existed: at his death on 23 August 1639, he had ‘In the large room by the garden’ (‘In de groote camer aan den hoff’) ‘Two small paintings, both oil on panel and framed, one of Jan Brant, the son of the deceased, and the other of Clara Serena Rubens, daughter of the aforesaid Heer Rubens’ (‘Twee stucxkens schilderije respective, op panneel, olieverve, in lijste, d'een van Jan Brant, des afflijvigens soontken was, ende d'ander van Clara Serena Rubens, dochterken was des voors. Hr. Rubbens’; Génard, op. cit., 1896). However, in the list of goods at Brant’s house, dated 19 July 1640, which were to be distributed among his and his wife Clara de Moy’s nine grandchildren, the picture was no longer listed, raising the question of what became of the small panel of ‘Clara Serena Rubens, dochterken was des voors. Hr. Rubbens’. While this provenance has traditionally been attached to the Liechtenstein portrait (on canvas laid down on panel), it may equally well apply to the panel here under discussion.
Indeed, while its potential journey from Jan Brant’s home is unknown, a clue remains in the portrait’s trail of influence in an inferior copy at Muse´e d'Art Religieux et d'Art Mosan in Lie'ge (see ‘Vols signalés àl'ICOM’, Nouvelles de l’ICOM, XL, no. 3/4, 1987, p. 31, no. 6, fig. 30), which was seemingly executed sometime after the present picture was overpainted, and evidently inspired by the intimate candour of the original. Though this picture was never intended for public display, Clara Serena’s likeness now lives on as the private memory of the most public artist of the Flemish Baroque.
Lot 36. Ludovico Carracci (Bologna 1555-1619), Portrait of Carlo Alberto Rati Opizzoni in armour, three-quarter-length, wearing the Order of the Knights of Malta, the city of Bologna beyond, oil on canvas, 40 1/8 x 34 in. (102 x 86.2 cm.) with the sitter’s coat-of-arms (upper right). Estimate GBP 3,500,000 - GBP 5,000,000 (USD 4,592,000 - USD 6,560,000). Unsold. © Christie's Images Ltd. 2018
Provenance: Conte Luigi Amedeo Rati Opizzoni (1877-1946), Turin, to whom gifted by the city of Bologna (according to family tradition), before 1911, and thence by direct family descent (in New York by 1930), until sold in the following,
Anonymous sale [Property from a New York Estate]; Sotheby’s, New York, 27 January 2005, lot 125, when acquired by the present owner.
Literature: M. Marangoni, Il ritratto italiano dal Caravaggio al Tiepolo alla mostra di Palazzo Vecchio del 1911, Bergamo, c.1927, p. 60, pl. XX.
A. Brogi, ‘Un ritratto di Ludovico Carracci’, Paragone, XXXVII, 1986, pp. 75-78, nos. 431-33, pl. 47.
A. Brogi, Ludovico Carracci, Bologna, 2001, I, pp. 176-7, no. 62; II, fig. 151.
Exhibited: Florence, Palazzo Pitti, Mostra del ritratto italiano dal Caravaggio al Tiepolo, 1911, no. 545, as ‘Bolognese School, 17th Century’ (lent by Conte Luigi Rati Opizzoni).
Naples, Museo di Capodimonte, Tiziano e il ritratto di corte da Raffaelo a Carracci, 25 March-4 June 2006, no. C19.
Note: Full of command and charisma, this picture is one of Ludovico Carracci’s outstanding achievements in portraiture. It was a genre in which he worked on only select occasions, but this likeness of Carlo Alberto Rati Opizzoni is testament to the revolutionary talent that made him a key exponent of the early Baroque.
The first record of the portrait dates to 1911, when it was exhibited at Palazzo Pitti in the Mostra del ritratto italiano dal Caravaggio al Tiepolo, with the sitter identified as Opizzoni, but the hand of Ludovico then unrecognised; instead, it was catalogued as an anonymous Bolognese work. It was loaned to the Florence exhibition by Conte Luigi Amedeo Rati Opizzoni (1877-1946), to whom it had supposedly been gifted by the city of Bologna, as it showed one of his important ancestors. Though the early provenance of the portrait, and the circumstances of its commission, are yet to come to light, the identity of the figure as a member of the Rati Opizzoni family is confirmed by the coat-of-arms in the upper right, with the crowned eagle rousant and the three torteaux below. A sculpted form of the same coat-of-arms appears on the walls of the medieval castle that was owned by the family in Val Borbera. The family indeed originated from nearby, in Tortona, Piedmont, where it was recorded in the thirteenth century, but they also held residences in Turin and Reggio Emilia.
Carlo Alberto, born in 1566, was one of a number of high ranking members of the family. He fought in battle against the Turks, and was appointed to the Order of the Knights of Malta in 1592. The cross of the Order is prominently displayed lower centre, glistening next to his armour. He was part of the entourage of Orazio Spinola (1537-1616), a cardinal and relative of Opizzoni, who was appointed papal vice legate to Bologna in 1597 by Clement VIII. Spinola was well acquainted with the Carracci family, and may have played a role in the commissioning of this portrait (see Brogi, op. cit., 2001, p. 177).
The cityscape of Bologna, seen in the left distance, is rendered with typical verve and delicacy. Alessandro Brogi perceives this landscape as a trademark of Ludovico’s authorship, describing the panorama as ‘perhaps more intense than the renowned, and later [view]’ that can be seen in the lower right of The Martyrdom of Saint Peter Toma (ibid.), which dates to circa 1613 (fig. 1; Bologna, Pinacoteca Nazionale). The famous two towers, the Asinelli and Garisenda, dominate the skyline, while the church of San Michele in Bosco is seen on the hill, beneath a bank of clouds. It demonstrates Ludovico’s mastery in summoning up evocative atmosphere, a sense that Sir Joshua Reynolds observed keenly in his pictures: ‘Style in painting is the same as in writing, a power over materials, whether words or colours, by which conceptions or sentiments are conveyed. And in this Ludovico Carracci, I mean in his best works, appears to me to approach the nearest to perfection. His unaffected breadth of light and shadow, the simplicity of colouring […] and the solemn effect of that twilight which is diffused over his pictures, appear to me to correspond with grave and dignified subjects better than the more artificial brilliancy of sunshine, which enlightens the pictures of Titian’ (J. Burnet, ed., The Discourses of Sir Joshua Reynolds, London, 1842, p. 28). Reynolds’s words could aptly be applied to this portrait, with his ‘breadth of light and shadow’ used to brilliant effect. The virtuoso highlights on the armour, together with the splendour of the helmet, the exquisitely-drawn right hand and the expert use of chiaroscuro for his face, create a dazzling sense of texture and form, all executed with a remarkable sense of assurance.
Fig. 1 Ludovico Carracci, The Martyrdom of Saint Peter Toma, 1613 © 2018. Photo Scala, Florence - courtesy of the Ministero Beni e Att. Culturali e del Turismo
Although Ludovico was known to have painted portraits, only a handful have come to light, perhaps the most renowned of which is his Portrait of the Tacconi family, circa 1590 (fig. 2; Bologna, Pinacoteca Nazionale), a picture that prioritises intimacy and informality. Other more recently discovered portraits given to him include the Portrait of Lucrezia Bentivoglio (Private collection), and Portrait of Domenico Lanzoni with a servant (Rome, Pinacoteca Vaticana).
Fig. 2 Ludovico Carracci, La Famiglia Tacconi, c. 1589-90 © 2018. Photo Scala, Florence - courtesy of the Ministero Beni e Att. Culturali e del Turismo
In his effortless pose, Opizzoni embodies that most enigmatic concept of sprezzatura, a certain form of ‘studied nonchalance’ that was famously explored by Baldassare Castiglione in The Book of the Courtier. It was deemed to be a virtue necessary for any courtier, to make even the most tiresome tasks look simple. For Ludovico, the picture is indicative of his great skill in evoking such mood and psychological depth, whilst using many of the tropes of so-called ‘status’ portraiture of the late sixteenth century, positioning the figure three-quarter-length with a window open behind. Yet with its added dynamism and gravitas, it marks a break from the models of portraiture employed by his immediate predecessors in Bologna, Bartolomeo Passerotti and Prospero Fontana. Instead it is more reminiscent of Titian, with echoes of the latter’s Francesco Maria della Rovere (fig. 3; Florence, Galleria degli Uffizi), and anticipates the portraiture of great swagger of the Baroque, such as van Dyck’s Portrait of a man in armour (fig. 4; Dresden, Gemäldegalerie Alte Meister).
Brogi dates the portrait of Opizzoni to circa 1597-1600, to Ludovico’s maturity. It was made at a moment of his career when he was at the height of his powers and his position as the leading artist in Bologna was unrivalled. His cousins, Annibale and Agostino, had left for Rome in the mid-1590s, leaving Ludovico to continue the work of the renowned Accademia degli Incamminati, the artistic academy founded in Bologna by the Carracci in 1582. The impact of the Accademia, which focused on the study of classical antiquity and the Renaissance, was revolutionary, and the decisive influence of the Carracci on the course taken by painting in Bologna, and beyond, has long been recognised. Ludovico himself, however, was arguably the most original and creative of the family. Keith Christiansen, in fact, described him as an artist of ‘incomparable range and imagination’ (‘A Late Masterpiece by Ludovico Carracci: The Tanari ‘Denial of St Peter’’, The Burlington Magazine, CXLV, January 2003, p. 22); and his singular talent is encapsulated in this masterful portrait.
Lot 22. From the Collection of the Late Samuel Josefowitz, Rembrandt Harmensz van Rijn 1606-1669), Christ presented to the people (‘Ecce Homo’),drypoint, 1655, on joined sheets of warm-toned Japan paper, a superb impression of this highly important subject, New Hollstein’s extremely rare first state (of eight). Plate 15 x 17 9/16 in. (38.2 x 44.7 cm.). Sheet 15 . x 17 5/8 in. (38.7 x 44.8 cm.). Estimate On Request. Price realised GBP 2,648,750. © Christie's Images Ltd. 2018
Provenance: Gabriel von Cronstern [II], probably acquired in the 1760s from Pierre Yver in Amsterdam.
By descent in the family of the Grafen Plessen-Cronstern, Schleswig-Holstein; their sale, Christie’s, London, Important Old Master Prints from a German Family of Title – Part I, 10 December 1991, lot 54.
Samuel Josefowitz (1921-2015), Lausanne; acquired at the above sale.
Then by descent to the present owners.
Literature: Bartsch 76; Hind 271; White & Boon 76; New Hollstein 290
H. Bevers, P. Schatborn, B. Welzel, Rembrandt - The Master and his Workshop, National Gallery, London, & the Rijksmuseum, Amsterdam, 1991-1992, Yale University Press, New Haven & London, 1991, no. 38 (another impression illustrated).
C. White, Rembrandt as an Etcher, in Rembrandt: a genius and his impact, National Gallery of Australia, 1997, no. 118
(another impression illustrated).
A. T. Eeles, Rembrandt’s Ecce Homo: A Census of Impressions, in Print Quarterly, Vol. XV, 1998, no. 3, pp. 290-96.
C. White, Rembrandt as an etcher: a study of the artist at work, Yale University Press, New Haven, Conn., 1999
(another impression illustrated).
E. Hinterding, G. Luijten, M. Royalton-Kisch, Rembrandt the Printmaker, British Museum, London, 2001, no. 78
(another impression illustrated).
C. S. Ackley, T. E. Rassieur et al. Rembrandt’s journey: painter, draftsman, etcher, M.F.A. Publications, Boston, Mass., 2004, no. 174
(another impression illustrated).
N. Stogdon, A Descriptive Catalogue of Etchings by Rembrandt in a Private Collection, Switzerland, Private publication, 2011, no. 35.
E. Hinterding and J. Rutgers, The New Hollstein, Dutch & Flemish Etchings, Engravings and Woodcuts: 1450-1700, Sound and Vision Publishers, Ouderkerk aan den Ijssel, 2013, Volume II, no. 290 (another impression illustrated).
J. Bikker, G. J. M. Weber, M. S. Wieseman & E. Hinterding, Rembrandt – The Late Works, National Gallery, London, & the Rijksmuseum, Amsterdam, 2014-2015, no. 31 (another impression illustrated).
Charles M. Rosenberg, Rembrandt’s religious prints: the Feddersen collection at the Snite Museum of Art, Indiana University Press, with the Snite Museum of Art, University of Notre Dame, Bloomington, Indiana, 2017. no. 51 (another impression illustrated).
Rembrandt Harmensz van Rijn, Self-portrait drawing at an etching plate, 1648. © The Trustees of the British Museum
Note: Rembrandt’s late graphic masterpiece Christ Presented to the People stands at the summit of the western printmaking tradition. Dating from 1655, Rembrandt’s third decade as a printmaker, it is executed entirely in drypoint. Together with The Three Crosses it is the largest print in his oeuvre. The present impression is one of eight recorded in the frst state and is the only example of this state in private hands - indeed it is the only impression of the frst four states still in private hands.
The scene illustrates the moment in the New Testament when Pilate asks the crowd before him which of the two prisoners, Jesus or the criminal Barabbas, he should pardon. It is the culminating moment in the chain of interrogations, trials and persecutions that followed Jesus’ arrest. In a highly theatrical manner Rembrandt stages the presentation on a raised platform in the courtyard in front of Pilate’s palace with a crowd of onlookers directly in front of the tribune. Pilate, Christ and Barabbas stand out against the darkness of the low arched doorway behind them. Attired in a robe and turban, Pilate holds his long staf of ofice in his right hand as he gestures towards Jesus with his left. Jesus’s hands are bound in front of him, and he is clad only in a loincloth and a cloak that covers one shoulder. He gazes pensively out into space as he is presented to the throng below. The brutal looking fgure with a mustache and shaved head standing between and just behind the two principal fgures is Barabbas, leader of a bloody insurrection who, despite being prominent in the evangelists’ accounts, is rarely encountered in the visual tradition prior to Rembrandt. Christ’s humble status as a prisoner is emphasized by Him being roped together with Barabbas. On the tribune, to Pilate’s right, are a scribe, seated behind a high desk, and a youth who holds a ewer, foreshadowing the dramatic moment when Pilate will wash his hands. Smooth, heavy stone piers fanking the doorway behind these fgures act as supports for shallow niches containing herms. On the left is Justice, with her symbolic scales, and on the right is Fortitude, wearing a lion skin cape, leaning on a column, and holding a club in her left hand. The wall between the niches is completely blank and is capped by a simple horizontal architrave.
Dark, secondary entrances that fank the central frontispiece are set into the stepped-back facade. Above these side doorways are partially arched windows that are open at the bottom. On the right side, a short fight of stairs leads up to the entrance, while on the left, a doorway seems to be directly accessible at ground level. There is a blank wall above the entrance on the right, while on the left, the space between the doorways and windows is ornamented. In an upper window on the left, an elegantly dressed woman sits watching the spectacle below. She is clearly a person of some note, and not just another gaping member of the palace staf, like the two servants hanging out of the upper window on the right-hand side. She can probably be identifed as Pilate’s wife, who is only mentioned in Matthew’s account of the Passion. The soldier, who can be seen through the other window, is no doubt bearing her message to her husband “Have thou nothing to do with that just man: for I have sufered many things this day in a dream because of him.” (Matthew 27.19)
The animated cross-section of the populace exhibits a great variety of actions, ages, attires, including turbans and the fat hats worn by Eastern European Jews in Rembrandt’s time. It ranges from the old bearded patriarch and a young dandy with a plumed hat at the extreme left, to a heavily robed man with a walking stick in the middle, and a mother holding up her child for a better view near a middle-aged man with a sword and a high hat on the right.
In addition to the crowd that has gathered in front of the platform, a handful of priests, Pharisees, and temple elders has assembled at the right, some standing in shadow in the doorway, some on the steps, and some on the shallow earthen plane in front of the dais. One bearded old man with a cap has moved forward and appears to be speaking as he looks up at Jesus and raises his left hand. Illuminated by a strong light, he casts a dense shadow on the face of the platform, the only fgure to do so. His approach, his shadow, his rapt attention, open mouth, uplifted gaze, and extended hand - as well as the attention to detail that Rembrandt employed in delineating this fgure - all imply that the man has a particular signifcance in the print. It is unclear, however, whether he is showing compassion for Jesus’ plight or is one of the conspirators - a temple elder or priest - who is responding to Pilate’s question by calling for Jesus’ condemnation. If the latter, then the dark shadow may be read as an omen, a black stain that foreshadows the evil and darkness to come. (1)
There was a strong Netherlandish pictorial tradition that emphasized how common humanity condemned Christ, and that we are all implicit in the judgement. The inclusion of contemporary costume was clearly part of this tradition. The point is reinforced by using as a backdrop a building designed in the contemporary Dutch style of civic architecture. Its features bear a marked resemblance to the new Amsterdam Town Hall (now the Royal Palace) designed by Jacob van Campen which was opened in 1655, the very year in which this print was made. Moreover, in seventeenth-century Holland convicts were often sentenced outside. In this way, a distant historical event was given an immediacy and relevance to a contemporary audience.
The technique Rembrandt employed, drypoint, is deceptively simple. It involves using a sharp needle to scratch an image directly onto a copper plate, and it had long been in use by Rembrandt’s time. However, aside from the exceptionally rare work of the Master of the Housebook at the end of the 15th century and Albrecht Dürer who used it in three plates in the early 16th, it was employed exclusively as an adjunct to etching and engraving - principally to draw the initial design of a composition on a plate, which was then worked up with the engraving tool or burin, and for fnal corrections and minor adjustments. Rembrandt himself used it in this conventional way early in his career, with the needle perpendicular to the plate, producing a clean line, with little or no burr. By holding the needle at an angle, however, and applying greater pressure, it was possible to create lines of rich velvety texture which are quite diferent in appearance and can fulfll a quite diferent role. From around 1639 he began to employ drypoint in this way, which can be seen clearly in Abraham and Isaac (B. 33) from 1645, which exploits the more expressive, distinctive aspects of the medium.
The late 1640s and early 1650s involved the increasing use of drypoint in this more expressive, diferentiated style in a period which saw his transformation into the experimental etcher who is so highly regarded today. In 1652 we see his frst recorded work entirely in the medium. The ethereal, haunting Clump of Trees with a Vista (B. 222) is a bravura demonstration of what can be done when the drypoint needle is wielded like a pen. Perhaps satisfed that it could carry a large, complex composition he embarked on the frst of his two drypoint masterpieces, The Three Crosses, which appeared in 1653. As a radical departure from printmaking orthodoxy it was unprecedented in several respects, not only because of its scale - the same size as a small painting - but in terms of technique: no printmaker had ever executed an image of this magnitude in drypoint alone. One assumes that Rembrandt judged the experience of both the potential and the limitations of working in drypoint on such a scale as The Three Crosses because Christ Presented to the People appeared shortly thereafter.
The two works share so much in terms of subject matter, size, technique, the proximity of date and the fact that both were printed (in early states at least) on exotic supports, that some have speculated that they were to form part of a larger Passion series. Whether or to what extent this was true, intriguingly Rembrandt’s experiment with drypoint-only prints was as short-lived as it was intense. In all, it amounted to fve works; one portrait, two landscapes, and two biblical masterpieces.
The importance of the present work cannot be fully understood without reference to the paper upon which it is printed. For the better part of two decades, up until the late 1640s, Rembrandt appears to have been content to use white, ‘western’ paper. So long as the quality was good, he appears to have regarded paper as a commodity, showing no preference for the product of any particular maker. But from around 1647 he began to experiment with paper from the Far East which was brought to Amsterdam from the Dutch East Indies. It most likely came from Japan and was a Japanese imitation of Chinese calligraphy paper. Most of the papers used by Rembrandt are gampi (literally ‘bird skin’) papers, and must have been expensive, not just because of the costs of importation, but because the plant that provides the raw material cannot be cultivated, but has to be harvested in the wild. Almost nothing is known about where Rembrandt bought this exotic material, how often, or in what quantities, although it is recorded that the Dutch East India Company imported about four thousand sheets into Amsterdam between 1644 and 1645. It is likely that some of these shipments made their way into Rembrandt’s hands, for in 1647 he used it for a highly-fnished portrait of his patron Jan Six.
Oriental paper has an extremely regular, silk-like texture, and is generally yellower and warmer than its western counterpart, although shades can vary quite considerably from ivory to a deep yellowish brown. The warm, yellowish cast of the paper tempers the contrasts and creates a fine tonal efect. The tightly meshed fbres, which do not need to be sized, make it less absorbent that European papers with the result that ink does not sink in as much and most of it remains on the surface, holding the drypoint burr as a thick, velvety mass. Moreover, the smoother surface would have been kinder to the delicate burr of plates with drypoint, allowing more fne quality impressions to be printed, which naturally would have been of great importance to Rembrandt. He clearly appreciated its unique visual and textural qualities because from this point on he printed at least some impressions of each new plate on oriental paper. Although Hercules Seghers (1589-1638) is credited with being frst to have sought out alternative supports, Rembrandt is alone in doing so in any systematic way.
In conjunction with his experiments with paper, Rembrandt employed another method of expanding the tonal range in his prints. Instead of clean-wiping the plate so that only the bitten or incised lines printed, he began to leave ink on the surface of the plate, which produced an area of dark tone when printed. This form of selective printing could be varied from impression to impression and in many cases so diferent was one from the other that he was virtually producing monotypes.
Christ Presented to the People is a prime example of Rembrandt’s idiosyncratic, evolutionary approach to printmaking. In the frst state impressions, such as the present one, the strongly symmetrical composition is virtually complete, and only the architecture in the upper right corner seems incomplete. The next two rounds of changes are relatively minor. In the second state, the doorway in the left background was shaded over with a fne network of cross-hatching. In the third state, shading was added to the man to the extreme left of the tribune. It is not until the fourth state that the work appears to be more or less complete, with the architecture in the upper right corner being more fully worked out with a balustrade drawn in above the two windows. The most radical change in this state, however, was the reduction to the top of the plate. A 2.5cm (1 inch) strip was removed, eliminating the architrave. The reason for this was surely practical: the plate was slightly too large for the oriental paper that Rembrandt was able to access, with the result that he had to make the sheets larger by sticking an extra sheet along the top. Nearly all the impressions of the frst three states have such a strip, including the present impression.
Perhaps at this stage, Rembrandt had a larger edition in mind, but because of the signs of wear beginning to appear on the plate he was compelled to make a minor repair: in the ffth state he added some extra vertical shading to the inside of the two windows to the right of the tribune. By the later impressions of this state, little remained of the sumptuous burr that makes the early states, such as the Josefowitz impression, so attractive. Faced with the same dilemma that he had solved in the Three Crosses with the creation of efectively a new composition, Rembrandt elected to re-work part of the Ecce Homo. In the sixth state, he removed the row of fgures standing in front of the tribune and extensively reworked other areas, such as the arch behind Pilate and Christ. In the seventh state, the area where the fgures stood is now occupied by two large arches. In the rest of the composition, he concentrated on camoufaging wear by strengthening the existing lines in drypoint and rehatching various areas. Finally, he signed and dated the plate 1655. The eighth and fnal state saw changes to the architecture surrounding the arches.
Rembrandt Harmensz van Rijn, Christ presented to the people (‘Ecce Homo’), eighth state, 1655. © The Trustees of the British Museum
The Josefowitz Impression
The impression from the collection of renowned Rembrandt connoisseur Samuel Josefowitz is a superb example, with a delicately judged balance between shadows and highlights. The burr is present throughout as one would expect in the frst state, but Rembrandt has been careful to not let it clog with ink and thereby become obtrusive. There is a passage of selectively-wiped tone on the blank face of the right-hand pillar, below the fgure of Fortitude, which extends to the area below the window to the right. Surface tone is also present in the immediate foreground, throwing the fgures and the front of the tribune into sharper relief. The overall efect is a delicate recreation of late afternoon sun, with bright highlights, deep shadows and carefully nuanced mid-tones in between.
It is printed in a warm black on two joined sheets of pale, honey-colored oriental paper that matches and enhances the composition perfectly. It was previously owned by the family of the Grafen Plessen-Cronstern and is thought to have entered their collection in the second half of the eighteenth century. It spent the ensuing two centuries in an album, virtually unknown to the outside world, at Schloss Nehmten, the family home in Schleswig-Holstein. As was often the case with prints of this size, the sheet was folded to ft the album - hence the vertical creases in the right-hand half of the sheet. Fortunately, these folds have not been fattened and, thanks to its history, has avoided the ‘care’ visited upon so many works on paper in less enlightened times. The result is that it displays its minor defects honestly and is in very good condition overall.
Christie’s would like to gratefully acknowledge the assistance of Erik Hinterding and Martin Royalton-Kisch in preparing this catalogue entry.
1. Christie’s would like to thank Charles M. Rosenberg for kindly allowing us to base this section on an abstract of his text in: Rembrandt’s religious prints: the Feddersen collection at the Snite Museum of Art, Indiana University Press, with the Snite Museum of Art, University of Notre Dame, Bloomington, Indiana, 2017.
2. Christopher White, Rembrandt as an Etcher: a study of the artist at work, Yale University Press, New Haven, Conn., 1999, pp. 4.
3. Cliford S Ackley, Introduction, in: Rembrandt’s journey: painter, draftsman, etcher, M.F.A. Publications, Boston, Mass, 2004, pp. 14.
From Artist to Woodblock: Japanese Prints Online | 5 to 12 July
Christie’s will present From Artist to Woodblock: Japanese Prints Online. A highlight of the sale is a fine group of dramatic mythological prints by Utagawa Kuniyoshi and Tsukioka Yoshitoshi, amongst others. The sale also includes iconic landscapes by Katsushika Hokusai and Utagawa Hiroshige, beautiful women by Kitagawa Utamaro and Chobunsai Eishi, as well as 20th century works by Shin-hanga artists Kawase Hasui and Hashiguchi Goyo. Estimates range from £300 to £30,000.
Old Masters Day Sale | 6 July
One of the many sale highlights includes A rocky river landscape with a cottage on a cliff by Jacob van Ruisdael (estimate £50,000-70,000), a recently re-attributed and previously unpublished work. The careful handling of the composition, and the masterful creation of atmosphere through the subtle effects of light, is characteristic of the painter’s work at around the time he settled in Amsterdam circa 1656 or 1657. The Madonna and Child enthroned by Vincenzo De Rogata is an addition to the small corpus of the Salernese artist, with only three other known pictures by the master (estimate: £70,000 - 100,000), previously in the collection of Riccardo Gualino (1879-1964), an Italian Industrialist and owner of Fiat. A further highlight is A Concert, an intriguing painting by a very skilled Northern Follower of Caravaggio in the seventeenth century, who likely studied the Roman painters first-hand, or was deeply influenced by artists returning from the city who worked in the painter’s pioneering style; it was last sold by Christie’s in 1888 (estimate: £40,000 - 60,000).
Lot 172. Jacob van Ruisdael (Haarlem 1628-1682 Amsterdam), A rocky river landscape with a cottage on a cliff, signed with monogram 'JvR' (linked, lower right), oil on panel, 20 ¼ x 26 7/8 in. (51.4 x 67.8 cm.). Estimate GBP 50,000 - GBP 70,000 (USD 66,300 - USD 92,820). © Christie's Images Ltd. 2018
Property from a Swiss Estate
Note: During the late 1650s and early 1660s, Jacob van Ruisdael’s landscapes displayed an increasing richness in the treatment of texture, colour and detail. The careful handling of the present composition, and the masterful creation of atmosphere through the subtle effects of light, is characteristic of the painter’s work at around the moment he settled in Amsterdam in circa 1656 or 1657.
At this time, Ruisdael began to experiment with depicting waterfalls and rushing torrents in rocky, or mountainous, landscapes – compositions that became some of the most important thematic subjects of his oeuvre. These paintings had been derived from Allaert van Everdingen (1621-1675), whose work van Ruisdael would have had ample opportunity to study in Amsterdam. This River Landscape shows an interesting variation on the subject, with the cascading water blocked from view by the tall rock in the foreground, and the foaming waters flowing down from behind it illuminated by a strong beam of sunlight. The timbered cottage at the left of the composition was, according to Seymour Slive, not common in the western part of the Netherlands (S. Slive, Jacob van Ruisdael: A Complete Catalogue of His Paintings, Drawings and Etchings, New Haven and London, pp. 602-3, no. E10). Ruisdael probably observed such buildings during his trip to the border of the Dutch Republic and Westphalia around 1650.
We are grateful to Frits Duparc for confirming the attribution after inspection of the original. He dates the picture to the end of the 1650s.
Lot 182. Vincenzo De Rogata (Salerno, active 1498), The Madonna and Child enthroned, on gold ground panel, shaped top, in an engaged frame, 49 x 21 5/8 in. (124.4 x 54.9 cm.). Estimate GBP 70,000 - GBP 100,000 (USD 92,820 - USD 132,600). © Christie's Images Ltd. 2018
Provenance: Tullio Fossati Bellani (1880-1961), acquired 28 January 1937.
(Possibly) with Orsi, Milan.
Attilio Simonetti (1843-1925), Rome.
Riccardo Gualino (1879-1964), Turin.
Acquired by the grandfather of the present owners.
Literature: G. Castagnoli, Dagli ori antichi agli anni Venti. Le collezioni di Riccardo Gualino, exhibition catalogue, Milan, 1982, p. 50, no. 13, as ‘unknown Veneto- Marchigian painter of the 15th Century.
G. Previtali (ed.), Andrea da Salerno nel Rinascimento meridionale, exhibition catalogue, Florence 1986, pp. 234-235, fig. 1.
Note: The present lot is an addition to the small corpus of the Salernese artist Vincenzo de Rogata. Only three pictures by the master have hitherto come to light: the two triptychs depicting The Madonna and Child flanked by Saints John the Baptist, Francis of Assisi, Bernardino da Siena and Sebastian, originally in the Duomo di Salerno (Salerno, Museo Diocensano San Matteo); The Madonna and Child with Saints Matthew and Mark, dated 1498, originally in the Badia di San Marco a Salerno (Puglia, Chiesa Parrocchiale di Scorrano); and a debated Christ in Pietà (Naples, Museo di Capodimonte). This Madonna enthroned was the central panel of a triptych, once flanked by Saints Gregory and Jerome, previously in the collection of Riccardo Gualino (1879-1964) in Turin, where it was given to an anonymous Venetian-Marchigian painter. It was Giovanni Romano who first recognised the picture as possibly an early work by Vincenzo de Rogata (Previtali, loc. cit.). There is debate as to whether de Rogata travelled north through Italy, as suggested by his refined style, or remained south. The region of Campania itself witnessed diverse influences in the later fifteenth century. The well-travelled Veronese artist Cristoforo Scacco was recorded in Naples in 1499 and may have brought south his knowledge of the works of Antoniazzo Romano and Melozzo da Forlì, with whom he had direct contact in Lazio; their influence can be seen in this panel.
Following the disassembly of the triptych, the attribution was forgotten, and was given instead to Antoniazzo Romano and his school. We are grateful to Professor Filippo Todini for recognising the present work as a painting by Vincenzo De Rogata. We are equally grateful to Professor Pierluigi Leone de Castris for independently confirming the attribution on the basis of photographs and for his assistance in cataloguing this lot. Both note close similarities to the Salerno triptych, suggesting a date of around 1490.
A note on the provenance: Riccardo Gualino (1879 –1964) was a successful Italian financier and industrialist who became Chairman of Fiat. He used his vast wealth to amass an impressive collection of art, both in size and quality, and built a princely residence in the Lombard Gothic Style in Cereseto, near Turin. He was the first Italian to buy works by Édouard Manet, and was one of the earliest collectors of works by Amedeo Modigiliani, whose nudes he ‘hung serenely amidst his Titians and Botticellis’ (G. Chessa, ‘Per Amedeo Modigliani’, L’arte, XXXIII, January 1930, p. 30). Kenneth Clark was introduced to Gualino by Bernard Berenson and his wife, and after visiting the collection in 1927, described in a letter to Mrs. Berenson: ‘The Pollaiuolo & Filippino are both pictures which no photo can convey; & of course many of Gualino’s things are enchanting, especially some of the small things - the Veronese, the Foppa & the Rubens landscape. What of his Piero della Francesca? We were not prepared for it & found it beautiful...’ (see R. Cumming (ed.), My dear BB. The Letters of Bernard Berenson and Kenneth Clark, New Haven, 1925-1959, pp. 27-8.) Some of Gualino’s collection, such as Veronese’s Venus and Mars with Cupid and a Horse and Rubens’s Landscape with a pushcart, are now on display in a room dedicated to the collection in the Galleria Sabauda, Turin.
Lot 144. Northern follower of Michelangelo Merisi da Caravaggio, 17th century, A concert, oil on canvas, 30 5/8 x 45 ¾ in. (77.7 x 116.1 cm.). Estimate GBP 40,000 - GBP 60,000 (USD 53,040 - USD 79,560). © Christie's Images Ltd. 2018
Provenance: Hugh A.J. Munro of Novar (1797-1864), Novar House, Ross-shire, Scotland.
George Gipps of Howletts (1783-1869), Ickham, Kent; his sale (†), Christie's, London, 11 December 1880, lot 43, as 'Caravaggio' (14 gns.), where acquired by,
H.L. Puxley, Dunboy Castle, Co. Cork; Christie's, London, 23 March 1888, lot 167, as 'Caravaggio' (11 gns. to Corbett).
Private collection, Germany.
Note: The work of Caravaggio had a profound effect on a great number of artists living and working in Rome during the early seventeenth century. Simultaneously, painters from northern Europe were becoming increasingly interested in studying Italy’s rich cultural heritage, and great numbers began to make journeys through the country to study and learn. Caravaggio's revolutionary naturalism, chiaroscuro and dramatic lighting effects consequently became highly significant, especially for a group of painters from Utrecht, most notably Hendrick ter Brugghen (1588-1629), Gerrit van Honthorst (1592-1656) and Dirck van Baburen (c. 1594-1624).
This intriguing Concert, displaying many of the hallmarks of Caravaggesque influence, is also likely the work of a northern European artist who had been able to study the Roman painters first-hand, or was deeply influenced by artists returning from the city who worked in the painter’s pioneering style. The proliferation of music-making subjects, however, also found an established prototype in the Netherlands with earlier artists like Hendrick Goltzius (1558-1617) and Cornelis van Haarlem (1562-1658), producing numerous works depicting elegant companies engaged in playing and singing music during the second-half of the sixteenth century.
The artist of the present picture seems to have been familiar with typical details associated with the Utrecht Caravaggisti. The hands of the guitar player, for example, are eloquently modelled and the modulation in tone toward the end of the fingers is a characteristic feature observed in equivalent figures by ter Brugghen. Likewise, the elaborate costumes of the figures and the softly modelled features of the young woman are reminiscent of Honthorst’s genre scenes, like his Musical Group by Candlelight (Copenhagen, National Gallery of Denmark, inv. no. 378).
Gerard van Honthorst, Musical Group by Candlelight, 1623. Oil on canvas, 117 x 146 cm, Copenhagen, National Gallery of Denmark, inv. no. 378.
Musical subjects such as this were particularly popular amongst the Northern followers of Caravaggio who often, as here, placed near life-sized figures at half-length, engaged in playing instruments and singing. This compositional type had been established by paintings like Caravaggio’s The Musicians, included in the 1627 inventory of Cardinal Maria del Monte (now New York, Metropolitan Museum of Art, inv. no. 1952.52.81).
Caravaggio (Michelangelo Merisi) (Italian, Milan or Caravaggio 1571–1610 Porto Ercole), The Musicians, 1597. Oil on canvas, 36 1/4 x 46 5/8 in. (92.1 x 118.4 cm). Rogers Fund, 1952, 52.81. © 2000–2018 The Metropolitan Museum of Art.
Science and Natural History | 10 July
On July 10th Christie’s will hold its inaugural King Street Science & Natural History auction. On offer will be important examples of: early scientific instruments; meteorites; fine and decorative minerals; and fossils from the ice age to the dawn of life 2.5 billion years ago. Highlights include a Regency armillary sphere (£40,000-£60,000), a rare 150 million year old Jurassic flying lizard (£80,000-£100,000), a large slide of the Esquel meteorite (£25,000-£35,000).
Victorian Pre-Raphaelite & British Impressionist Art | 11 July
An artist in her own right, Head study of Marie Spartali Stillman (1844-1927) for 'Dante's Dream', 1870, by Dante Gabriel Rossetti is one of the top lots of the sale (estimate: £200,000-300,000). While images of women predominate Pre-Raphaelite paintings, the wider artistic circle included many talented female artists who made a career out of their craft, alongside their male counterparts. In this centenary year of women’s suffrage, Christie’s is offering a notable group of works by talented female Victorian artists: Portrait of Mary Emma Jones, bust-length, wearing a pearl necklace, 1 874, a recently discovered work by Emma Sandys (estimate: £20,000-30,000); Portraits of Alice Mildred and Winifred Julia Spencer Stanhope, 1884 by Evelyn de Morgan (1855-1919) (estimate: £20,000-30,000); and Study of a woman seated, a man standing behind by Elizabeth Rossetti, née Siddal (1834-1862) (estimate: £1,000- 1,500). The sale also presents the largest and most comprehensive collection of drawings and watercolours by Simeon Solomon to come to the market, comprising some of his rarest and most haunting images (lots 1 to 26). Solomon’s seemingly endless inventiveness was explored at its best through his core activity, drawing. Despite his early success as one of Rossetti’s most talented pupils, Solomon’s star was eclipsed when he was involved in a scandal and arrested. Shunned by Victorian society his powerful and beautiful drawings are only now finally receiving the recognition they deserve. Highlights within the remarkable private collection include Night and her child Sleep, 1892, a subject that fascinated Solomon and which he returned to repeatedly (estimate: £25,000-35,000) and Aspecta Medusa, 1894 which relates to Rossetti’s poem of the same title and also highlights another recurring theme within his oeuvre (estimate: £4,000-6,000).
Valuable Books and Manuscripts | 11 July
Christie’s will offer an outstanding array of Books and Manuscripts on 11 July. Highlights include the Plantin Polyglot Bible, one of only 13 copies printed on vellum, produced over 450 years ago for King Phillip II (estimated at £400,000-600,000); Gould’s The Birds of Asia which is comprises 7 large folio volumes and 530 fine hand-coloured lithographic plates (estimated £80,000-120,000), and Redoute’s Liliacees, one of the most luxurious and spectacular botanical books ever published. This copy was specially produced for the Duchesse de Berry and bound in a sumptuous red morocco gilt binding (estimate £350,000-500,000).
19th Century European & Orientalist Art | 12 July
Comprising a total of 95 lots, the 19th Century European & Orientalist Art sale is led by Giovanni Boldini’s Ritratto della Signorina Concha de Oss, 1888 (estimate: £250,000 - 350,000). Along with Sargent and Whistler, Boldini was the choice for members of high society who wanted their portrait painted by one of the most modern artists working in Europe. His bravura technique perfectly captured the nervous energy and high fashion of the period. The present sitter was one of three beautiful Chilean nieces of Boldini’s distinguished patron, Luis Subercaseaux. Further highlights include a tale of virtue's triumph over villainy in Susanna und die beiden Alten 1913, by Franz von Stuck (estimate: £200,000-300,000) and Rudolf Ernst’s In the Mosque in which he faithfully adheres to the mood and culture that he experienced during his travels, whilst masterfully contrasting textures and colours (estimate: £100,000-150,000).