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A sublime blue and white 'palace' bowl mark and period of chenghua

The acme of this revered type and a most delicate feast for the senses, elegantly potted with smooth rounded sides barely flaring at the rim, finely painted in muted washes of cobalt-blue accented with sharp outlines of a deeper hue, the exterior with a musk-mallow scroll undulating gently around the sides issuing four luscious blooms with tender flaring petals, interspersed with star-shaped leaves, their edges characteristically serrated, each bloom with a leaf daintily tucked and partially concealed behind, the meander of alternating flowers and leaves unpredictably syncopated with the sudden burst of a bud and its two leaves, as though permeated with life, all between double lines at the rim and foot, the interior with a central medallion enclosing a single stylised flower head within a double circle, encircled by a musk-mallow meander similar to that on the exterior barring some refined mutation, all beneath a double-line border, the body thinly veiled in a most sensual unctuous glaze The Cunliffe Musk-Mallow Palace Bowl Regina Krahl The porcelains of the Chenghua period (1465-87) can be considered the epitome of the unceasing efforts of the Jingdezhen potters at the imperial kilns to prove their originality in design and their outstanding craftsmanship. They represent the peak of material refinement and artistry, and are among the most idiosyncratic and distinct creations in terms of their decorative style. In all these respects the present bowl is an archetypal example. It would be difficult to find a piece of Chenghua blue-and-white that better embodies the special appeal of that period. The porcelain stone and glaze used for Chenghua imperial porcelains are arguably the finest ever achieved at Jingdezhen. The sensual pleasure of the touch of a Chenghua porcelain vessel is unmatched by porcelains of any other period, and the smooth, pleasing surface texture of the present bowl is unrivalled in its tactility. The ‘softness’ of the hard material can be gleaned even from a photograph. After a beginning where the Xuande period still supplied the main inspiration, the potters of the Chenghua reign arrived at their own distinctive style towards the latter part of the period. Palace bowls were made for only a few years towards the end of the Chenghua reign – opinions still vary between late 1470s to early 1480s, or just the 1480s. Unlike the crisp and glossy glazes of the best Xuande wares, those of the Chenghua reign are more muted, covering the blue design with a most delicate veil. The cobalt pigment is much more even than it was in the Xuande period, without any 'heaping and piling'. The attractive delicate tone seen on the present bowl is one of the trademarks of Chenghua blue-and-white. After decades of importing cobalt from the Middle East to achieve a deep and intense colour, native cobalt was deliberately chosen in the Chenghua reign – either on its own or in combination with imported pigment – to create a very different effect. The decoration is of a striking artlessness and immediacy, again in a deliberate move away from earlier models, focusing special attention on the material. With such new goals and high specifications at the imperial workshops, it is not surprising that Chenghua porcelains are extremely rare, in fact, the rarest Chinese Imperial porcelains. Liu Xinyuan graphically describes the volume of fragments recovered from the site of the Ming Imperial kilns, where the Chenghua (AD 1465 – 1487) fragments equal less than half those unearthed from the Xuande stratum (AD 1426 – 1435), even though the latter period was so much shorter (Liu Xinyuan 'Reconstructing Chenghua Porcelain from Historical Records', The Emperor's Broken China: Reconstructing Chenghua Porcelain, exhibition catalogue, Sotheby's London, 1995, p. 11). The scarcity of sherds at the kiln site is mirrored by the rarity of surviving examples. Of those by far the greatest number is preserved in the National Palace Museum, Taiwan, and in Museums in mainland China. Of the remaining examples most are today in museum collections. Only some two dozen Chenghua pieces of any type are recorded to be in private hands (see Julian Thompson's 'List of Patterns of Chenghua Porcelain in Collections Worldwide', ibid., pp. 116-129). What is generally known as 'palace bowls' are bowls of fine proportion, painted in underglaze blue with a flower or fruit design of apparent simplicity. Bowls with flower scroll decoration were of course also made in the Yongle (AD 1403 – 1424) and Xuande periods, but those of the Chenghua reign are unique in the deliberate irregularity introduced to a seemingly regular pattern. In the present design, blooms basically alternate with leaves, but on the inside one sprig of leaves appears behind a bloom rather than beside it, and on the outside an added bud similarly interrupts the regular rhythm. The stems therefore do not undulate in a predictable manner, but deliberately break up any symmetry. It is this slight deviation from the orderly arrangement – a daring and unique concept for imperial works of art, where any individual touch was generally shunned and machine-like precision and perfection were required – that makes this and other palace bowl designs vibrate, as if pervaded with some quiet motion. In this respect Chenghua palace bowls like the present example are quite unlike any earlier or later imperial designs. The musk-mallow design with its combination of softly rounded, multi-lobed flower petals and contrasting pointed, serrated finger-like leaves is perhaps the most spectacular design among the various palace bowl patterns, many of which have a plain inside. Only three other patterns exist of palace bowls painted both inside and out, one showing scrolling lotus stems, one lily scrolls (figs. 1 and 2), and one a gardenia scroll outside and a mixed flower scroll inside. The musk mallow is easy to identify through the classic botanical literature. It was used already on some Yongle vessels, but extremely rarely, for example, on a ewer in Topkapi Saray, Istanbul, illustrated in Regina Krahl, Chinese Ceramics in the Topkapi Saray Museum, Istanbul, ed. John Ayers, London, 1986, vol. 2, no. 617, and an identical one sold in these rooms, 30th October 2002, lot 271. The depiction of the flower at that period was very different, lacking the clear distinction between darker outlines and paler washes, as well as the white rims of the petals seen on the present bowl. The present pattern exists in two slightly different variations, one with the scrolling leaf stems on the inside crossing, as in the present case, the other with the stems not crossing. The central flower-head is also derived from flower-scroll bowls of the Xuande period, see Mingdai Xuande guanyao jinghua tezhan tulu/Catalogue of the Special Exhibition of Selected Hsüan-te Imperial Porcelains of the Ming Dynasty, National Palace Museum, Taipei, 1998, cat. no. 61. Although the present flower is six-petalled, others exist with seven petals, again displaying the peculiar Chenghua tendency towards diversity. The Cunliffe musk-mallow bowl is one of only two bowls of this design still remaining in private hands, while eleven examples are in museum collection, six of them in Asia and five in Europe; none are preserved in mainland China or in the United States. Beside this piece only three such bowls have ever been offered at auction, one for the last time in 1951, another in 1973 and the third in 2009. Examples of this design have been recovered in fragments from the waste heaps of the Ming Imperial kilns at Jingdezhen, and one reconstructed example was included in the exhibition The Emperor's Broken China: Reconstructing Chenghua Porcelain, Sotheby's London, 1995, cat. no. 69. Companion pieces in Asia are four bowls preserved in the National Palace Museum, Taipei, recorded in the Museum's porcelain catalogue Gugong ciqi lu, part II: Ming, vol. 1, Taipei, 1962, p. 214, three of which have been published with illustrations, two in the Catalogue of the Special Exhibition of Ch'eng-hua Porcelain Ware, 1465–1487, Taipei, 2003, cat. nos. 33 and 34; the third in the exhibition catalogue Ming Chenghua ciqi tezhan [Special exhibition of Ming Chenghua porcelain], Taipei, 1976, no. 80. One bowl from the collections of Lindsay Hay and R.E.R. Luff, later in the Ataka collection and now in the Museum of Oriental Ceramics, Osaka, sold in our London rooms in 1946 and 1973, was included in the Museum's exhibition Imperial Porcelain: Recent Discoveries of Jingdezhen Ware, Osaka, 1995, pl. 229; another bowl from the collections of C.M. Woodbridge and Mr. and Mrs. Eugene Bernat, now in the Umezawa Kinenkan, Tokyo, sold in our London rooms 8th May 1951, lot 62, formed part of the Special Exhibition of Chinese Ceramics, Tokyo, 1994, pl. 263; and one sold at Christie's Hong Kong, 20 March 1990, lot 523, and 27th April 1997, lot 73, and at Sotheby's Hong Kong, 7th October 2006, lot 908, and 8th October 2009, lot 1692, is illustrated in Li Zhengzhong and Zhu Yuping, Taoci yanjiu jianshang congshu, 3: Zhongguo qinghua ci [Series on ceramics research and connoisseurship, 3: Chinese blue-and-white porcelain], Taipei, 1993, fig. 101. In Europe, a pair of bowls of this design from the collection of Axel and Nora Lundgren is in the Museum of Far Eastern Antiquities, Stockholm, see Jan Wirgin, Ming Porcelain in the Collection of the Museum of Far Eastern Antiquities. Hongwu to Chenghua, Stockholm, 1991, cat. no. 35; two similar bowls are also in the British Museum, London, one, from the collection of Sir Percival David, was included in the exhibition Flawless Porcelains: Imperial Ceramics from the Reign of the Chenghua Emperor, Percival David Foundation, London, 1995, cat. no. 1; the other from the collection of Mrs. Winnifred Roberts, given in memory of A.D. Brankston, is published in Jessica Harrison-Hall, Catalogue of Late Yuan and Ming Ceramics in the British Museum, London, 2001, no. 6:4; and a similar bowl in the Gemeentemuseum, The Hague, in the Netherlands, is illustrated in Daisy Lion-Goldschmidt, Ming Porcelain, London, 1978, pl. 66. Chenghua porcelain remained greatly treasured throughout the Ming and Qing dynasties. Ts'ai Ho-pi relates many anecdotes recorded in the historical literature attesting to the value and esteem of Chenghua wares in later periods (Ts'ai Ho-pi, 'Chenghua Porcelain in Historical Context', Sotheby's London, 1995, op.cit., pp. 16 ff.). The rulers most interested in collecting ancient ceramics, the Wanli (r. AD 1573 – 1620) and Yongzheng (r. AD 1723 – 1735) Emperors both had copies commissioned from the Imperial kilns at Jingdezhen, the former with his own reign marks, the latter with a spurious Chenghua mark. A bowl of this design of Wanli mark and period in the National Palace Museum, Taipei, was included in the Museum's 1976 exhibition together with an original piece, op.cit., cat. no. 79; a Qing copy in the Percival David Foundation, is illustrated in Oriental Ceramics. The World's Great Collections, vol. 6, Tokyo, New York and San Francisco, 1982, no. 252. The present bowl was one of three Chenghua palace bowls in the collection of Lord Cunliffe. The Rt. Hon. Rolf, 2nd Baron Cunliffe of Headley (1899-1963) was one of the most important collectors of Chinese art – ceramics of all periods as well as archaic bronzes, jades and snuff bottles. According to Roy Davids and Dominic Jellinek, Provenance, London, 2011, pp. 132-3, Bluett & Sons prepared a valuation of his collection after his death, which comprised some 600 items. He had acquired all three palace bowls together from Peter Boode in 1947 for a total of £ 475. Boode, an important dealer in East Asian art, had arrived in the Far East in 1913, had sourced many Chinese art works in the early Republican period and opened a gallery in Mount Street, London, in 1934, which closed around 1949. At Bluett’s selling exhibition in 1971 the present bowl was prized at £ 25,000. At Sotheby’s ten years later it sold for HK $ 4,070,000. The other two Cunliffe palace bowls were a pair, both of the lily pattern; one of them was sold in these rooms, 20th May 1980, lot 39 (fig. 1); the other was sold at Bonhams London, 11th November 2002, lot 67 (fig. 2), where the original Boode invoice was illustrated in the catalogue, and is now in the Xiling collection, illustrated in Regina Krahl, Xiling Collection, n.p., 2011, p. 40, no. 16.

  • HKGRAE de Hong Kong (China)
  • 2013-10-08
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A Highly Important late Louis XVI ormolu-mounted Japanese black and gilt lacquer and ebony commode à vantaux and

A Highly Important late Louis XVI ormolu-mounted Japanese black and gilt lacquer and ebony commode à vantaux and secrétaire à abattant en suite late 18th century, attributed to Adam Weisweiler and Pierre-Philippe Thomire, possibly under the direction of Martin-Eloi Lignereux, The commode à vantaux with rectangular Egyptian granito rosso top surrounded by an ormolu border cast with gadroons and flowers upon a slightly breakfront frieze fitted with three drawers and mounted all around with ormolu anthemia and palmettes, the front with central cupboard door inset with a pair of ormolu-framed stylized uchiwa fans depicting pavillions and floral sprays on a roiro ground, the side doors inset with ormolu-framed rectangular seventeenth-century takamakie, hiramakie, and kirigane lacquer on a roiro ground depicting landscapes, the angles mounted with putto herms holding baskets of grapes and terminating in part-patinated and fluted ormolu supports mounted with flowers and raised on trumpet-form socles cast with leaves, the sides inset with ormolu-framed seventeenth-century Japanese lacquer panels depicting buildings in landscapes, the conforming plinth with rounded angles and shaped apron mounted with ormolu rosettes, foliage and shell motifs, raised upon ormolu-mounted patinated bronze paw feet; the granite top with stenciled inventory number 1101, inscription in black paint Bk Morning Room Hartmann, inscribed in black pencil lot 176, 176, 327, ... Room and in blue pencil 24; the secrétaire à abattant with rectangular breccia marble top framed by an ormolu border cast with gadroons and flowers, the frieze fitted with one long drawer and mounted all around with ormolu anthemia and palmettes, the fall-front inset with an ormolu-framed seventeenth-century Japanese lacquer panel depicting figures in a landscape in aogai and inlaid with a leather writing surface on reverse, the interior fitted with two shelves above six small drawers flanking a central compartment which can be removed to reveal two secret drawers, the angles mounted with an ormolu maiden on each side surmounted by capitals cast with palmettes and supported by balusters decorated with acanthus, the lower section with cupboard doors inset with seventeenth-century Japanese lacquer panels framed by ormolu bands and depicting mountainous landscapes, the lower interior fitted with one shelf and a coffre-fort, the sides inset with ormolu-framed rectangular seventeenth-century lacquer panels decorated in takamakie, hiramakie, and kirigane on a roiro ground, the four lower corners and the back upper corners with fluted and brass-inlaid pilasters, the plinth with shaped apron mounted with ormolu rosettes, foliage and shell motifs, raised on ormolu-mounted patinated bronze paw feet; the marble top with stenciled inventory number 1105, inscription in black paint Morning Rm Secretaire Hartmann and with writing in red pencil 1st Portion. Height of commode 38 1/2 in.; width of commode 5 ft. 5 in.; depth of commode 27 1/2 in.; height of secrétaire 4 ft. 7 1/4 in.; width of secrétaire 36 1/2 in.; depth of secrétaire 17 1/4 in. 98 cm; 165.5 cm; 70 cm; 140.5 cm; 93 cm; 44 cm

  • USAEstados Unidos
  • 2011-10-18
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A LOUIS XIV ORMOLU-MOUNTED EBONY, CUT-BRASS, TORTOISESHELL, BLUE-STAINED HORN AND PEWTER MARQUETRY ARMOIRE 'DE L'HISTOIRE D'APOLLON'**

A LOUIS XIV ORMOLU-MOUNTED EBONY, CUT-BRASS, TORTOISESHELL, BLUE-STAINED HORN AND PEWTER MARQUETRY ARMOIRE 'DE L'HISTOIRE D'APOLLON'** By André-Charles Boulle, circa 1695-1700 Inlaid overall in première and contre partie, the concave cornice with flower-filled guilloche moulding above a strapwork frieze with alternating masks of Hercules and Flora, above a central lion's mask and egg-and-dart moulding, each rectangular door divided into three panels, the outer panels with heart-shaped motifs of scrolling arabesques and palmettes, the central largest panel of each door with reentrant corners above a ribbon-suspended scrolling foliate canopy above a bas-relief panel, one depicting Apollo with his harp watching Marsyas being flayed by a Scythian, the other with Apollo pursuing the nymph Daphne, transforming into a tree before her father the river God Peneus, each on a ram's mask and lion's paw-supported plinth, the sides each set with a relief-cast figure, to the left Flora, emblematic of Spring, to the right an old bearded man by a brazier, emblematic of Winter, on an arched base with eight bun feet with gadrooned collars, the interior of the doors with arabesque marquetry in tin on an amaranth ground, with exhibition label to the reverse printed and inscribed in ink 'MINISTERE DE L'EDUCATION NATIONALE/REUNION DES MUSEES NATIONAUX/ORANGERIE DES TUILERIES/EXPOSITION: Le Cabinet d'un Amateur AUTEUR: BOULLE Titre de l'ouvre: L'Armoire Propriétaire: Mme LEBAUDY 57 R. François 1, 8e no de Catalogue', with a Chenue transit label and a further label inscribed in ink 'Lebaudy', inscribed in white chalk to the reverse '5321' twice, and in red chalk 'V' and 'H', minor restorations and replacements, including the ebony central panels of the sides, the shelves and shelf-supports, the later locks of Bramah type and probably English, the two central feet replaced, probably originally with three feet under the central projection, the four outer bun feet probably original, probably originally with lion's mask mounts to the plinth 109 7/8in. (279 cm.) high; 60½in. (154 cm.) wide; 23¼in. (59.5 cm.) deep

  • USAEstados Unidos
  • 2003-10-22
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Marilyn Monroe "Subway" dress, from The Seven Year Itch

Marilyn Monroe "The Girl" ivory pleated "Subway" dress by Travilla, the most recognized costume in film history, from The Seven Year Itch. (TCF, 1955) Ivory rayon-acetate halter dress with pleated skirt. Handwritten label "1-27-1-8171 M. Monroe A-734-12." Worn by Marilyn Monroe as "The Girl" in one of the most iconic images of film history in The Seven Year Itch, when she stood above the subway grate and uttered that famous line, "OOOH isn't it delicious?" The Seven Year Itch storyline, unlike some of Monroe's earlier films, held no promise as a costume showcase. It was not a period piece and had no dance routines. Yet this was to become the vehicle for Travilla's most famous dress design, in bias-cut crepe with a halter top and sunburst pleats. "So I wondered what could I do with this most beautiful girl that Marilyn was to play to make her look clean, talcum-powdered, and adorable," Travilla mused. "What would I give her to wear that would blow in the breeze and be fun and pretty? I knew there would be a wind blowing so that would require a skirt." [Hollywood Costume Design by Travilla, Maureen Reilly]. The fabric Travilla chose was an ivory colored rayon-acetate crepe, heavy enough to flow beautifully as Marilyn walked but still light enough to blow up in an interesting way. A fabric very hard if not impossible to get now, the closest is georgette. Travilla never normally used man-made fabric but this posed a challenge with pleating as 100% natural fabric would not hold such stiff pleats, so for all his pleated creations a special fabric had to be made with just a small amount of man-made fiber in it to maintain the structure. Acquired by Debbie Reynolds directly from Twentieth Century-Fox during the "pre-sale" when she bought all of the Marilyn Monroe wardrobe from the studio prior to the auction in 1971.

  • USAEstados Unidos
  • 2011-06-18
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The johnson family important queen anne figured maple dressing table

This dressing table was originally owned by the Johnson family of Philadelphia, successful tanners, property holders and Quakers, and stood for approximately 130 years in their home in Germantown. The house was completed in 1768 and given by Dirck Jansen, an early settler of Germantown, to his son John Johnson on the occasion of his marriage to Rachel Livezey in 1769 (Harold Eberlein and Courtlandt van Dyke Hubbard, Portrait of a Colonial City, Philadelphia, 1670-1838, p. 380). The dressing table was most likely purchased around the time of their marriage, probably from William Savery (1721/2-1787), the Philadelphia chair maker and a fellow Quaker. It remained in the possession of family owners of the Johnson House until 1905 and is owned by a Johnson descendant today. Retaining its original brass hardware, this dressing table is distinguished by its exceptional carving and fine construction of highly-figured maple. It displays several characteristics associated with William Savery’s work. The edges of the skirt are traced with an uninterrupted scored line similar to that found on his early chairs (see Joseph Downs, American Furniture, New York, 1952, pl. 110). The top drawer simulates his preferred design for three short top drawers while at the same time following the local preference for one long top drawer. The scalloped skirt with a central fish-tail pendant appears on a dressing table that has been attributed to Savery on the basis of a history of descent in his family (Samuel W. Woodhouse, Jr., “Philadelphia Cabinet Makers,” PMA Bulletin 20 [January 1925]: pp. 62-63). Other Philadelphia dressing tables with this distinctive pendant include one illustrated in the Girl Scouts Loan Exhibition catalog (New York: American Art Galleries, 1929, no. 566), one illustrated in American Antiques from Israel Sack Collection, Volume I, p. 195, and another believed to have been originally owned by Ben Franklin (see Jack Lindsey, Worldly Goods, 1999, no. 56, p. 145). An additional example sold in these rooms, Property from the Collection of Gunston Hall Plantation, January 20, 2002, sale 7753, lot 1136. A set of six maple side chairs in a private collection with the same family history in the Johnson Family also bears an attribution to William Savery. They were sold in these rooms, Important Americana, January 20-22, 2006, sale 8158, lot 530, for the record price of $2,144,000.

  • USAEstados Unidos
  • 2007-01-21
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A LOUIS XIV ORMOLU-MOUNTED AND BOULLE BRASS-INLAID BROWN TORTOISESHELL BUREAU PLAT

A LOUIS XIV ORMOLU-MOUNTED AND BOULLE BRASS-INLAID BROWN TORTOISESHELL BUREAU PLAT CIRCA 1710, ATTRIBUTED TO ANDRE-CHARLES BOULLE Inlaid overall en première partie, the rounded rectangular tooled long-grain brown leather top with monumental pounced and moulded border with domed lambrequin and scallop-shell corner clasps, the inverted breakfront frieze with three walnut-lined frieze drawers, the central drawer with weeping Heraclitus handle, all inlaid with foliate arabesque marquetry within channelled borders, the kneehole flanked by gadrooned berried laurel swept mounts, the shaped side drawers with cartouche escutcheons and baluster handles, the arched ends with further arabesque panels with a Bacchic mask with ribbon-tied garlanded hair, with descending husk-trailed chutes and acanthus scroll sabots, the plain ebonised walnut moulding directly beneath the top almost certainly original but with one end section replaced, the central drawer with replaced support, the side drawers with later cross-struts to the interior to prevent tipping, the right-hand of the kneehole concealing a spring-loaded hidden secret drawer to interior, the underside of the top inscribed 'DEVA', the reverse of the frieze with simulated drawers with handwritten blue paper label numbered '8944' 41¾ in. (80.5 cm.) high; 80½ in. (204 cm.) wide; 41¼ in. (105 cm.) deep

  • GBRGran Bretaña
  • 2005-12-14
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A highly important louis xvi ormolu-mounted amaranth bureau plat circa

The rectangular removable top inset with a gilt-tooled green leather writing surface on an amaranth ground inlaid with stringing and surrounded by an ormolu border fitted at the corners with acanthus leaf-cast clasps, the frieze with three drawers and mounted all around with ormolu interlocking circles enclosing finely chased flowerheads within laurel wreaths, and foliate paterae respectively, three laurel wreaths forming the drawer handles, all flanked by scrolling berried foliage on a stained green ground and surrounded  by borders cast with leaf tips, the legs surmounted by foliate capitals above rectangular blocks inset with ormolu paterae continuing to tapered legs inset with ormolu flutes and ending in stepped ormolu sabots.  The underside of the desk with ink inscription: Madame la Comtesse de Flahaut Mai 185(?) Jean-François Leleu, maître in 1764   The underside inscribed in ink  Madame la Comtesse de Flahaut Mai 1-5 .. Jean-Francois Leleu, maitre in 1764 (stamped on upper edge of left hand drawer) Auguste-Charles-Joseph, Comte de Flahaut and Margaret, Baroness Nairne and Keith Auguste-Charles-Joseph, Comte de Flahaut (1788-1867) was the natural son of Talleyrand and nephew of the Comte d’Angiviller (nephew of Marigny and his successor as directeur-général des bâtiments du Roi).   Flahaut was a professional soldier who had been Aide de Camp to Napoleon at the battle of Waterloo in 1815.  He was the lover of Hortense, wife of Louis Napoleon (later King of Holland), an affair which the Emperor’s sister, Caroline Murat, had tried to prevent because of her own infatuation with the young officer.  That her attempt was futile is evident since in 1811 Hortense bore Flahaut’s son, Monsieur de Mornay.  After the Restauration and in exile in England, he courted the enormously rich Margaret Mercer against the wishes of her father, Admiral Lord Keith, who not only mistrusted the motives of the impecunious Flahaut, but also was a  confirmed anti-Bonapartist.    Over her father’s objections, Margaret married Flahaut in 1817 and henceforth they embarked upon a  peripatetic life which periodically changed in response to the prevailing political conditions. Sharing a common, passionate interest in politics, the Flahauts were variously associated with both the Orléans and Bonaparte families.   They maintained houses in great style and lived very much in the manner of the ancien régime  in London, Paris, Vienna and  in Perthshire in Scotland.  For these houses they amassed a justly celebrated collection of French furniture and works of art, much of which was inherited by their eldest daughter, Emily Jane Mercer Elphinstone de Flahaut who married the 4th Marquess of Lansdowne in 1843 and it was through this marriage that much of the collection passed  into the Lansdowne family. As persona non grata in France, the Comte de Flahaut was obliged to live with his bride in London and Scotland after their marriage in 1817.  Madame de Flahaut had already inherited the Mercer family property at Meikleour in 1790 through her mother and later, on her father’s death in 1823 she came into the Keith estates in Fife including the newly-built Tullyalan Castle (built between 1817-1820).  Inspite of the risks involved in travelling to France, Flahaut did go to Paris in the early 1820’s which is confirmed by records kept by Madame de  Flahaut, in her own hand, referring to purchases which had been made by her husband in Paris in 1823, the same year that she inherited  Tullyanan. The couple returned to France in 1827 eventually purchasing the former Hotel de Massa which they furnished from 1830-1831 to universal acclaim.  It is of considerable interest to note that there are contemporary accounts which confirm the Flahaut’s taste for the furniture of the ancien régime such as the present lot.  A bill from Bresson Jeune who was a dealer in “ancien Bronzes ainsi que d’anciennes Porcelaines; en general tout ce qui concerne l’antiquité …”  cites five items, including a commode, purchased for the sum of 290 francs.  The maréchal de Castellane also noted, “l’ameublement est magnifique … ce sont des formes d’anciens meubles et de belle étoffes, de mode il ya a de longues années et qui le redeviennent.”  It seems most likely that the Flauhauts acquired the present lot in Paris during this period.  The couple remained in their Paris residence during the 1830s, frequently visiting England.  In 1841 Flahaut was appointed Ambassador in Vienna where, once again, a suitably impressive residence was furnished. By the mid 1850s the Flahauts were settled in England where they leased Coventry House at 106 Piccadilly  for their London residence.  A partial inventory of items at Coventry House in Madame de Flahaut’s hand notes a number of pieces known to have passed later into the Lansdowne collections.  The present desk cannot be identified in any inventories of any of the Flahaut’s many residences during their respective lifetimes nor has it yet been determined when they purchased it.  It is interesting to note that the inventory marking beneath the table refers to Madame la Comtesse .. and not to the Comte, making it likely that this was recorded in a European residence rather than any of the Scottish or English estates where, after her father’s death in 1823, she was habitually referred to as ‘Lady Keith’.  An inventory taken at Tullyanan Castle, Fife,  in 1895 lists “1 do (Writing Table) much ornamented with brass”;  a “French Writing Table” recorded as the property of comte de Flahaut in the proposed list of items belonging to the Dowager Marchioness of Lansdowne to be moved from Tullyanan Castle to Meikleour in 1868 following her mother’s death in 1867  could possibly be the same table which was described as a “Rosewood oblong writing table with chased ormolu mounts” recorded in an inventory taken at Meikleour in 1895; either one of which might prove to be the present piece. Jean-Francois Leleu (1729-1807) was born in Paris and was first apprenticed in the workshop of Jean-Francois Oeben.  On Oeben’s death in 1763, the thirty-four year old Leleu was poised to take over the workshop, only to be supplanted by his younger colleague Jean-Henri Riesener who later married Oeben’s widow. Receiving his maitrise in 1764, Leleu settled in the Chaussée de la Contrescarpe in the Faubourg Saint-Antoine, he later moved to the street now known as the Rue Birague near the Place des Vosges. Leleu’s clientele included notable pioneers of the neo-classical style, among them were Madame du Barry who although arguably more of a fashion-follower than a trend-setter,  nevertheless had a notable collection of highly innovative neo-classical furniture.  Leleu provided a number of pieces of case furniture for the baron d’Ivry for the château d’Henonville which had been modernized by the architect Nicolas Barré.  Barré also designed the château du Marais for which Leleu provided some important furniture; also notable was furniture in extemely advanced taste delivered to the château de Méréville for the Marquis de Laborde who was the Court banker.  Leleu also made furniture for the Duc d’Uzès whose Paris residence had been altered by Ledoux in 1769.  We see, therefore, a pattern of newly-built or modernized residences owned by fashionable  and discerning patrons who turned to Leleu for some of their most innovative “modern” furniture, executed in his inimicable architectural style. By far the most important commission Leleu was to receive came between  April 1772 and June 1776 when the Prince de  Condé ordered furniture for the Palais Bourbon.  These furnishings delivered at the tremendous cost of over 60,000 livres included: “two secrétaires a abattant, two bureaux à cylindre; seven commodes; two writing desks, twenty-seven games tables and eleven screens of various kinds”.  Some of this furniture is today in the Wallace Collection, London, in the Petit Trianon and the Louvre. The furniture made by Leleu for the Palais Bourbon incorporated designs at once intensely modern and yet classical and was considered to be extremely influential in the emerging neoclassic style in Paris.  The present table is certainly made in the same spirit and almost certainly at the same period in time, indeed Eriksen has written “The workmanship is of the same high order as that found on the Palais Bourbon furniture and, while no table like this is listed in the bills Leleu rendered to the Prince, it is probably not far wrong to assume it is contemporary with the Bourbon pieces”.  (Eriksen, op. cit., p. 323). A pair of commodes delivered for the Duchesse de Bourbon’s bedchamber at the Palais Bourbon by Leleu in May 1773 is fitted with similar foliate capitals surmounting the legs as has a writing table delivered that month, illustrated top right.  Another writing table of this model is illustrated, Pradere, op. cit. p. 390, illustrated bottom right.  It is interesting to note that it is veneered with marquetry  around the frieze incorporating interlocking guilloche enclosing flowerheads, reminiscent of the ormolu mounts on the frieze of the present table. The present table is notable for a feature which is not currently operable, that is a concealed spring button which will release the integrally designed keyhole cover when engaged, thus obviating the need for a drawer handle which would interrupt the design.  This is a refinement which Leleu almost certainly learned in Oeben’s workshop, along with the practice of concealing the fastenings of the ormolu mounts.  These devices both represent standards of the highest possible quality, and in the case of the keyhole covers, means that the architectural integrity of the frieze mounts is uninterrupted and the eye follows a straight line running from each of the forceful columnar legs. The ormolu mounts on the present desk are of the highest quality.  Leleu’s suppliers do not appear to be recorded, however when working in Oeben’s workshop, he would have been familiar with the mounts provided to Oeben by the bronze-founders Hervieu and Forestier, and also those of Pierre Caron and Anne-Francois Briquet who were both doreurs-ciseleurs who executed orders for Oeben (Eriksen, ibid. p. 208).

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The gilbert deblois family important chippendale carved and figured

Case width 38 1/2 inches. Valances in desk interior missing. Vase, candlesticks and ledger not included with this lot. The Story of a Boston Merchant I. The Man Gilbert Deblois (March 15, 1725 to November 27, 1791), the second child and first son of Stephen and Ann (Furley) Deblois, was born in New York and died in Broadstairs (a small resort town in Kent, near Ramsgate, England).  Gilbert’s parents were part of New York colonial governor William Burnet’s retinue that arrived in New York in September 1720.  Stephen Deblois and Ann Furley were married in New York in February 1721 and named their son in honor of Governor Burnet’s father, Gilbert Burnet, the Bishop of Salisbury.  When the royal governor was removed to Massachusetts, the parents and their three children followed William Burnet to Boston, where they joined the Anglican parish of King’s Chapel and Stephen became the church organist in March 1733.  Burnet died in September 1729. After growing up in Boston, Gilbert Deblois entered his business as an “importer of hardware and other foreign goods” at the end of 1746.  On February 17, 1749, Gilbert Deblois married Ann Coffin (1730-1808), the daughter of William and Ann (Holmes) Coffin, in Boston.  Between 1752 and 1774, in their long and politically turbulent lives, the couple produced sixteen children.  In late 1750 or early 1751, Gilbert and his younger brother Lewis Deblois (1727-1799) purchased a dwelling house bounded by Hanover and Queen streets.  The brothers petitioned the town in 1754 for widening Queen Street in front of their property.  Subsequently, Gilbert and Ann made their home on Longacre street (now Tremont Street near Bromfield) opposite the common.  Both brothers prospered as merchants and importers of English goods.  Gilbert owned stores in Boston, Worcester, Providence, Newport, a shipyard and his own fleet of vessels.  By 1756 Gilbert's chief place of business was advertised as located at the “Sign of the Crown and Comb” near the prison on Queen Street; for some years he also had a warehouse at the head of Green’s Wharf.  He advertised in the Boston Gazette, September 29, 1760:  “Just imported … from London, and to be Sold, by Gilbert Deblois, At his warehouse on Green's Wharf, opposite John Rowe, Esq; (only by Wholesale) A large and compleat Assortment of Winter Goods.”  After the economic downturn in 1764, he abandoned the warehouse for a store at the lower end of King Street, “adjoining Mr. James Apthorp’s.” In 1762 Gilbert bought the “Paddock Elms” from James Smith, a wealthy sugar-baker and a warden of King’s Chapel, and planted them in front of the Granary, just opposite his house on Tremont Street.  Smith had imported the elms from England and then placed them in his nursery at Bush Hill, Milton.  In return for the trees, Gilbert promised to name a son for James Smith, which he did in 1769.  In late 1763, Gilbert and his brother Lewis were appointed vestrymen of King’s Chapel.  In 1764, during the smallpox epidemic in Boston, Gilbert moved part of his large stock of hardware, groceries and liquors to the “Sign of the Half Moon,” a store in Weston, “on the great road to Worcester..”  In addition in Boston, Gilbert had a shop opposite School Street, “near the late Rev. Dr. Sewall’s meetinghouse” and a shop in a new, detached brick store at No. 1 Cornhill.  In his memorials, petitions and claims as a Loyalist following the Revolution, he stated that over the thirty years of his business as a merchant he imported nearly £200,000 of goods, which produced an annual profit of £1,200 sterling. The Stamp Act of 1765, the first direct tax levied by Parliament upon the American colonies, was designed to increase crown revenues by requiring a stamp duty on a large variety of printed items, and all legal documents.  By this Act colonial whiggish opposition suddenly mobilized.  Almost overnight the colonies entered into Nonimportation Agreements that were so effective that even London merchants petitioned Parliament for a repeal of the tax.  Against these Nonimportation Agreements of the radicals, the Loyalist Gilbert Deblois took a firm stand, although he was forced to sign them in May 1768.  In January 1774, as the Revolution approached, he purchased his latest dwelling on Tremont Street, at the north corner of Bromfield Street, which he bought from John Timmins (which would later burn in 1838).  During the Revolution, this valuable property was confiscated, because Deblois fled the colonies as a Loyalist refugee, but his wife was afterward permitted to buy it back. The so-called Boston Massacre occurred on March 5, 1770, when a mob of some 60 hecklers, expressing the community’s resentment at the quartering of British troops in the town of Boston, began to snowball a squad of redcoats.  A fracas developed, during which, without orders, several soldiers opened fire on the mob, killing three and wounding eight, two of whom later died.  Radical patriots deliberately characterized the brawl as a “massacre” for propaganda purposes.  Captain Thomas Preston and the British soldiers were tried for manslaughter, and with John Adams (a leader of the Massachusetts Whigs) acting as the defense lawyer and Gilbert Deblois (a leading High Tory Boston merchant) serving on the jury, the men obtained an acquittal.  This melee, in which the Americans patriots were partly at fault, was so maneuvered as to create strong anti-British feeling and an outspoken demand for American independence.  Throughout 1770 Gilbert wrote that all the goods he had imported, contrary to the Nonimportation Agreement, had to be returned to England, noting the “great change in the attitude of the Sons of Liberty.”  In 1774, Gilbert Deblois was an Addresser of the unpopular Thomas Hutchinson, the retiring governor, reciting the special favors the Loyalists had enjoyed during his administration and testifying their loyalty to the king.  In May 1774, before the British general Thomas Gage replaced Hutchinson as governor of Massachusetts, Tory leaders in Boston canvassed up and down King Street and Cornhill, along the docks, and in the neighboring towns of Cambridge, Roxbury and Dorchester looking for supporters of the Crown.  The Tory leaders were able to subscribe one hundred and twenty-three inhabitants including Gilbert Deblois to an address that welcomed Gage’s coming.  Soon after his arrival, Gage attempted to secure military stores west of Boston in Concord.  This military action instigated the shot heard round the world and precipitated the War of Independence.  By October 1774, Gage had resigned and was replaced by Sir William Howe. Following the Battle of Bunker Hill on June 17, 1775, the metropolis of Boston became for a time a kind of sanctuary for the Massachusetts Tories; but following the fortification of Dorchester Heights on the night of March 4th the following year, “the last trump,” as George Washington wrote, “could not have struck the Tories with greater consternation.”  When Lord Howe began his hurried embarkation from Boston to Nova Scotia, the Loyalist inhabitants were permitted to go first; however orders were given to them to carry nothing but necessities.  The fleet of one hundred and seventy set sail on March 11, 1776.  Abigail Adams, looking out from Penn’s Hill in Braintree, reported the forest of masts as the largest fleet ever seen in America.  The transports were mostly small schooners, and on their top-heavy decks were huddled a wretched throng of soldiers and refugees.  There was but one consolation, as one of them expressed it, “neither Hell, Hull nor Halifax, can afford worse shelter than Boston.”  It was impossible, thought another of them, that more events could occcur to render their distress complete, and their ruin almost inevitable.  They remembered that March was the most tempestuous month of the year on the American coast, and feared that without a miracle the wretched fleet must be dispersed and lost.  In spite of their misgivings, however, their ragged fleet of ships with its nine hundred plus fugitive Loyalists arrived after six days on the Nova Scotia coast – and among them were Gilbert and Lewis Deblois and three of Gilbert's sons, Lewis, Francis, and Stephen, leaving behind his wife and five children, oldest son Gilbert, Jr., three sons, William, John, and James Smith and daughter Elizabeth. In October 1776, Gilbert sailed from Halifax to New York and visited his cousin George ("Sr.") Deblois (1740-1799), then in December sailed to England with two of his sons.  Communication became difficult because letters and goods were held.  In December 1777 Ann Deblois wrote to her son Lewis, "How ardently do I wish the reunion of my at present very unhappyly sepperated family.  I have been kindly treated by everyone here since your Papa absence but earnestly wish to know where is to be the place of my destiny."  Young Lewis was in Quebec. In 1779, Gilbert was proscribed and banished as an enemy of the state, and his estate confiscated.  The following year in London he addressed the King as an expatriated Loyalist.  In his statement of account he said he apprehended that the Commonwealth of Massachusetts would not benefit greatly by the confiscation of his estates, inasmuch as a considerable part was invested in the hands of committees, who did not render an account satisfactory to the public, with the result that a proposal was made that the General Court should institute an enquiry into the conduct of these committees, but the affair was dropped.  In April 1779, Ann Deblois, wife of Gilbert Deblois, received one-third dower right to No. 1 Cornhill and the Tremont Street property by the committee appointed by the Probate Court. During his exile in England, Gilbert Deblois lived outside of London in Peckham in Surrey, first on Elysium Row and then on Camden Row.  Following repeated unsuccessful requests to his wife to come to England, by 1779 he has written that he had abandoned that hope.  During this period, between 1777 and 1780, Gilbert had his portrait painted by John Singleton Copley, who was living in London in Leicester Square.  In September 1780, the Massachusetts Inferior Court of Common Pleas forfeited and confiscated Gilbert’s Taunton shipyard and his fleet of ships; the next year in April the same legal action was taken against his Boston property.  In October 1785 two-thirds of the land and house in on Tremont Street was sold to her.  In February 1783, two thirds of the confiscated land and brick warehouse on Cornhill was sold to their son Gilbert Deblois, Jr. (1755-1808).  After the war, he sent his son Francis (1763-1786) from London to Boston in August 1784 to collect debts and try to recover other Deblois confiscated property for the family, but the young man died there in March 1786 before he could achieve any notable success.  The father himself, Gilbert Deblois, in response to entreaties of the family, sailed for Boston in 1789 to attend the marriage of his son Lewis (1760-1833) to Ruth Hooper Dalton in Newburyport, and also to make his will, dated June 3, 1789, and proved in Boston in 1792.  He returned to England in early 1790. Gilbert obviously was not well, suffering with symptoms of gout.  Ever the concerned and solicitous father, he carried on a stern correspondence after he returned to England with his daughter Elizabeth over her romantic involvement now with one “M. de L’Etombe.” At the same time, he was having a rather contentious dispute with St. John’s Church in Providence over the failure to be paid for the procurement of an organ for the church.  In July 1791, he moved to Broadstairs in Kent on the North Sea for his health and died there on November 27th (despite the fact that the official published genealogy of the family states that he “died in Packham, a suburb of London”).  His wish to be buried at Pentonville besides “Uncle Twycross and Sister Winslow” was fulfilled. Gilbert DeBlois – with his fellow American Loyalists – because of the American Revolution suffered losses and family separations, but maintained pride in their colonial merchant tradition. II.  The Family The founders of the three branches of the Deblois family in America were Stephen Deblois (1699–1778), Gilbert’s father, and and two sons of George Deblois (1710-1798), Stephen (1735-1805) and George ("Sr.") (1739/40–1799).  Stephen (the elder) and George were both born in Oxford, England.  Stephen lived first in New York, and then permanently in Boston; Stephen the younger lived in Newport, Rhode Island, and his brother, George ("Sr."), lived first in Salem, Massachusetts, then New York, New York, and then finally in Halifax, Nova Scotia.  The patriarch of the family was Louis (or Lewis) DeBlois (or Deblois) of Oxford, who came to England as a Huguenot refugee out of France as early as 1688 following the Revocation of the Edict of Nantes in 1685.  He died in England  in June 1739. Stephen Deblois arrived in New York in September 1720 aboard the ship Seahorse in the retinue of Governor William Burnet and in New York married Ann Furley (1687–1762) in February 1721 who was also in the household of Burnet and traveled in the same ship with her future husband.  Stephen Deblois built the Concert Hall on Hanover Street in 1756, the first building in Boston to be used for public concerts.  He was an accomplished musician and served as the organist of King’s Chapel for thirty-five years.  Their first child was Sarah (1723–1777), who married William Wait Wallis (b. 1721) in 1743 and had several daughters who were living mid-century; then their son, our Gilbert Deblois, who was born in 1725; and finally another son, Lewis Deblois, (1727-1799), who married in 1739 first, in Boston, Elizabeth Jenkins (1730–1767), and second, in 1770, Elizabeth Debuke (1725-1799). Lewis Deblois, born in New York in 1727, became like his brother Gilbert, a successful importer of and dealer in hardware and other foreign goods after the family’s move to Boston.  Like his father, Stephen, and his brother, Gilbert, he too had a great interest in music; both brothers served as organists in several Boston churches.  He advertised for sale a “curious toned harpsichord just imported” which is “esteemed the master piece of the famous Falconer.” He also advertised for church use an organ made by Mr. Thomas Johnston of Boston, the furniture craftsman, japanner, painter, engraver, and looking glass seller (1708-1767), formerly used in his father's Concert Hall.  In 1774, when he became a “protester and addresser,” he identified himself as a “shopkeeper” in Dock Square.  And like his brother, Gilbert, in March 1776, with a family of two, he went with Howe’s fleet to Halifax, and from there, sailed with Gilbert and other Loyalists for England.  With his brother Gilbert, Lewis was frequently a partner in business and had been a fellow vestryman of King’s Chapel, 1765 to 1776.  His second wife, Elizabeth Debuke Deblois, accompanied him in exile to England, where he died on February 9, 1799, and where the Gentleman’s Magazine reported his death: “Very suddenly at his apartment in Holborn, after being out on that day, Mr. Lewis Deblois, late merchant in Boston, North America.” Lewis Deblois had four children by his first wife, Elizabeth (Jenkins) Deblois: (1) George Deblois, "Jr.", so-called in the family (1750-1819), who married, first, Catherine Loughton, (1752-1776) in 1773; married, second, Lydia Scott, in 1777; and married, third, Mrs. Ruth (Hooper) Jenkins, in 1809;  (2) Sarah Deblois (1753-1827), married in 1771, George Deblois, (1739/40-1799) of Salem, called ("Sr.") in the family, the first cousin of her father.  He has been called the “founder of Halifax, Nova Scotia.”  (3) Lewis (1762-1801) who married but about whom little else is known.  (4) Gilbert Deblois (1763-1785), who died in Providence without issue. When Gilbert Deblois (1725-1791) married Ann Coffin (1730-1808), daughter of William and Ann (Holmes) Coffin, in Boston on February 17, 1749, she was nineteen years of age.  Ann (Coffin) Deblois descended from a distinguished Massachusetts maritime (Tristram Coffyn of Nantucket) and merchant family: she was a sister of Nathaniel Coffin, whose son was the distinguished British admiral Sir Isaac Coffin (1759-1839); her sister Elizabeth Coffin was the wife of Thomas Amory; and “It is said, on the testimony of Sir Guy Carlton and others, that her brother John Coffin by his resolution and watchfulness played the chief part in saving Quebec and Canada to England.”  She was a determined lady and chose to remain in Boston throughout her life.  “Mrs. Deblois was so fierce a Loyalist that she never would be reconciled to one or two of her sons who became Whigs.” Gilbert and Ann (Coffin) Deblois had sixteen children, with seven of tens sons reaching maturity, and one surviving daughter, “the beautiful Betsy Deblois.” • Ann (1752–1753) • Ann (1754–1755) • Gilbert (1755–1803), m. in 1780 and had one son. • Stephen (1757–1758) • William (1758–1806), m. in 1785 Sarah Williams and had seven children. • Lewis (1760–1833), m. 1789 Ruth H. Dalton and had six children. • Elizabeth (1761–1843), the historic “Miss Betsy”, who died unmarried. • Francis (1763–1785), died unmarried. • Stephen (1764–1850), m. Elizabeth Amory, his first cousin and had eight children of whom the third son John Amory Deblois (1797-1855) married Emily Jane Rousse and produced the line that inherited the desk-and-bookcase • Ann (Aug.1765–Sept. 1765) John (1767–1784), died unmarried in London. • James Smith (1769–1803), named for James Smith, the well-to-do Boston sugar-baker and warden on King’s Chapel, was purser of the frigate Constitution and died of a fever in the harbor of Smyrna. • Isaac (1770–1771) • Ann (1771–1774) • Ralph (1773–1774) • Lucy Ann (1774–1775) Since the surviving daughter Elizabeth Deblois (1761–1843),”one of Boston’s noted eighteenth-century belles in her own day”, plays such an important role in the provenance of her father’s desk-and-bookcase, and since her life of love and romance could have such a potential cinematic role, the record deserves a bit of lengthy indulgence from the genealogical record of the family: The Genealogical Register notes that in July 1777, Betsy or the "Beautiful Betsy" as she was known, was wooed by Mr. Martin Brimmer, but her mother disapproved of the match for some reason – possibly connected with the Revolution.  Just as the wedding banns were announced in church (perhaps King’s Chapel), the mother stood up and forbade them.  Mr. Brimmer thereupon brought in the evening a loaded hay cart under Betsy’s window – at the corner of Bromfield and Tremont Streets – that he might take her to church and be married without more ado.  As she was preparing to step down on the hay her mother came into the room, threw her arms around her, and sent for a carpenter to nail up the window.  The man came, but declined the job: he ‘could not do it to such a beautiful young lady'.  Alas, the romance did not survive and Mr. Brimmer married someone else. Later in 1777, after the Brimmer relationship had ended, Benedict Arnold (1741-1801), the Revolutionary patriot, soon to be hero of The Battle of Saratoga and eventual traitor, sent a letter to Mrs. Knox, wife of General Knox, enclosing another letter requesting ‘favorable intelligence’ on ‘the heavenly Miss Deblois’, through Mrs. Knox and ‘the charming Mrs. Emery,’ who was no doubt Ann Deblois’s sister Elizabeth, wife of Thomas Amory.  Arnold was three years Betsy’s senior and a patriot.  She declined his interest as well. Betsy was accomplished in music and entertained friends in the Deblois home during the war years.  Surviving family letters mention additional admirers and her brothers often urged her to choose wisely.  For whatever her reasons however, she declined all of her suitors and never married. Upon her mother's death in 1808, Betsy inherited almost all her mother’s property, including the house on Tremont Street.  She lived there in ‘single-blessedness and high respectability’ until well toward 1836, when she moved to Roxbury.  Her will, dated 27 Dec. 1830, is recorded at Dedham.  She is said to have remained almost to the last ‘a straight, tall, elegant woman.”  She died in Roxbury on October 27, 1843. Stephen Deblois, one of Betsy’s younger brothers, was born in Boston on April 4, 1764, and married in September 1792, his first cousin, Elizabeth Amory (1768-1850),  the daughter of his mother’s sister and her husband, Elizabeth (Coffin) and Thomas Amory.  Stephen died at the United States Hotel in Boston on June 3, 1850.  However, in his father’s (Gilbert’s) will drawn in 1789, Stephen is listed as living in Portland, Maine.  He and his wife had eight children. Thomas Amory Deblois (1794-1867), the second of Stephen’s sons, a graduate of Harvard College 1813, married Dorcas Deering of Portland, Maine, where he died without issue.  He practiced law in Portland, and during the administrations of Presidents Zachary Taylor (1848-1850) and Millard Fillmore (1850-1852), he was the United States District Attorney for Maine, and in 1857 he represented Portland in the state legislature.  Bowdoin College conferred on him the degree of L.L.D. in 1867.  At some point in his lifetime he acquired a copy of the Copley portrait of his grandfather, Gilbert Deblois. John Amory Deblois (1797-1855) the third of Stephen’s sons, Harvard College 1816, married Emily Jane Rousse (1822-1907), who was born in Virginia and died in Boston.  He died in Columbus, Georgia; the Columbus Enquirer of June 5, 1855, published the following obituary upon his death: “The sudden death of one of our leading merchants fills our entire community with profound sorrow.  In all the relations of life Mr. John A. De Blois was a model man; he was one of the pillars of the Episcopal Church.  He was a native of Boston, but had resided in this city since 1837; and has been actively engaged in the commission business as a member of the firm of Hall and De Blois, a firm which contributed much to the prosperity of Columbus by its extensive business with Northern manufacturers.  Honest and upright in his business relations, social in his intercourse with his fellows, a model husband, father and citizen, he dies without leaving an enemy behind him, and his loss is deplored by this community as a public calamity.” Nathaniel James Deblois (1806-1858), the fourth son of Stephen, married in 1845 Mrs. Angelique L.V. (Rousse) Hurd, and died in Boston at the age of 52. Thomas Amory Deblois, M.D. (b. 1848), the eldest of three children of John Amory Deblois of Columbus, Georgia, graduated from the United States Naval Academy and served for eighteen years in the U.S. Navy.  He received his medical degree from Dartmouth in 1877 and from the University of New York in 1878.  He married Louisa Dorinthea Anderson of New York.  Of their two children, Lewis Amory DeBlois (1878-1967), Harvard 1899, was the prolific family historian and grandfather of the consignors of the Gilbert Deblois Boston desk-and-bookcase. III. The Gilbert Deblois Family Desk-and-Bookcase By the time of the death of Ann (Coffin) Deblois – widow of Gilbert Deblois in December 1808, only three of her sixteen children survived her: • Lewis (1760-1833), who married Ruth H. Dalton and had six children, none of whom ever married. • Elizabeth (1761-1843), unmarried. • Stephen (1764-1850), who married his first cousin, Elizabeth Amory, and had eight children. When Gilbert Deblois died in 1791, he had left the Tremont-Bromfield Streets “mansion” and his “furniture” in equal parts to his wife, Ann, and daughter, Elizabeth.  When Ann (Coffin) Deblois died in 1808 she left only $33 to each of her two surviving sons and the entire estate of personal and real property to her daughter Elizabeth.  When Elizabeth moved to Roxbury in 1836 she sold the Tremont Street house for $26,500.  At this time, she was seventy-five years of age and wealthy. When Loyalist father Gilbert Deblois died in 1791, he left only five shillings to his two oldest sons, Gilbert Jr. (1755-1803) and William (1758-1806) because of an ongoing estate issue.  Gilbert Jr. had only one son, Francis Gilbert (1781-1831), who upon his death left several children as wards of Elizabeth, who lived with their aunt.  When her brother Lewis (1760-1833) died, two of his daughters—Charlotte (1791-1881) and Matilda (1798-1863)—were also living with Elizabeth in Roxbury.  They with their two other siblings, Elizabeth (1792-1849) and Dalton (1800-1854), survived their aunt, and all died unmarried. Elizabeth, before her death in 1843, set up five trusts totaling $40,500 and a direct bequest of $2,000 for the benefit of all her nephews and nieces. When Matilda died in 1863 and her sister Charlotte in 1881, each willed to the other her “entire estate, real, personal and mixed, if surviving;” otherwise to Aunt Elizabeth’s “paid housekeeper” and their companion “Mary Atwood of said Boston, during her life or until she shall again marry,” and then to her three children upon her death. Each sister, Matilda and Charlotte, therefore, appointed the other her executor, with full power to dispose of her estate by public auction or private sale, but, if deceased, then to pass to Mary Atwood for disposition.  Therefore, either the desk-and-bookcase passed on to Mary Atwood from whom it may have been purchased at a later point by a descendant as was a clothespress currently in the collection of the Museum Fine Arts, Boston or it may have been given to Emily Jane (Rousse) Deblois (1822-1907) before Charlotte’s death.  The later hypothesis appears more plausible as Emily was the last of that generation still alive and no record exists among the carefully kept records of the Deblois family detailing any such purchase as it does of  the clothespress. The family historian, Lewis Amory DeBlois (1878-1967), wrote that “the earliest I recall seeing [the desk-and-bookcase] it was stood in the library of 119 Gibbs Avenue, Newport, R.I., called my father’s cottage because he designed it, but owned by Granny (Emily J. Deblois [1822-1907], my father’s mother). This must have been 1888. I cannot recall it in any of our homes in Boston…when Granny came to live with us during the last years of her life I think it must have remained in Newport probably in one of the cottages until Granny died in 1907 when it was shipped to me in Wilmington, Del.”  When “Granny” Emily Jane (Rousse) Deblois died in Boston on February 2, 1907, she left in her will of August 11, 1896: the disposition of “the old family desk to my son Thomas Amory DeBlois, to hold during his life and, after his death, to my grandson Lewis Amory DeBlois and his heirs.” Lewis Amory DeBlois (1878-1967) was a knowledgeable student of American furniture and a responsible steward in his care of his family heirloom. Having lived in Wilmington, Delaware, he had the wit and curiosity in early 1953 to write Joseph Downs, the curator of the newly-opened Henry Francis du Pont Winterthur Museum to seek his advice and expertise. In early 1955 Lewis wrote to his son from Chappaqua, New York, into whose possession it had passed, with conviction, captivation, and circumspection: “it is a unique piece; I have seen much old furniture but never a piece like it.” Nor have we. –Wendell Garrett References Eaton, Arthur Wentworth Hamilton, Old Boston Families, Number One: The DeBlois Family (Boston, 1913). Fox, Frank B., Two Huguenot Families: DeBlois-Lucas (Cambridge, 1949). Jones, E. Alfred, The Loyalists of Massachusetts: Their Memorials, Petitions and Claims (London, 1930). Meredith, Gertrude Euphemia, The Descendants of Hugh Amory, 1605-1805 (London, 1901). Nelson, William H., The American Tory (Oxford, 1961). Prown, Jules David, John Singleton Copley, In England, 1774-1815 (Cambridge, 1966). Smith, Paul H., Loyalists and Redcoats, A Study in British Revolutionary Policy (Chapel Hill, 1964). Stark, James H., The Loyalists of Massachusetts and the Other Side of the American Revolution (Boston, 1907). Whitehill, Walter Muir, Boston: A Topographical History (Cambridge, 1959). Van Tyne, Claude H., The Loyalists in the American Revolution (New York, 1902). Zobel, Hiller B., The Boston Massacre (New York, 1970). Exceptionally carved, meticulously constructed and retaining an early finish, this monumental desk-and-bookcase is a masterpiece of Boston craftsmanship as well as an important document of American furniture, as its original owner and carver are known.  It was commissioned by Gilbert Deblois (1725-1791) (fig.1), a member of the merchant aristocracy of Boston who achieved considerable wealth before the Revolution selling “imports from Great-Britain, Ireland, France and Holland” at his “store in Cornhill, no. 1, opposite School-Street, Near the Old South Meeting House.”1  He was also a strong Loyalist who served on the jury for the Boston Massacre trial of his friend, British Captain Thomas Preston.  His staunch loyalism forced him to flee to England for the duration of the war, separating him from his family and leaving most of his possessions in Boston with his wife.  His name appears listed in the Banishment Act of the State of Massachusetts, dated September 1778, as well as in the Lloyd’s of Nova Scotia Banishment.  It was during his stay in England that he commissioned a portrait from John Singleton Copley (1738-1815)2.  He likely ordered the present desk after his marriage to Ann Coffin in 1749, and it appears listed in the 1792 inventory of his estate at the value of £9 (see fig. 2)3.  Remarkably, the desk has remained closely associated with family ever since, for over 250 years, and has never been published or exhibited. In the use of construction characteristics common in British practice combined with rigorous architectural design, the present desk-and-bookcase represents a significant departure from mainstream Boston work.  The structure of this desk is exceptional in excellence of design and workmanship.  A particular feature of the construction found on the desk is that the front baseboard and quarter-round molding above it are cut from a single large block of wood, which is dished out from behind to form a rabbet for the bottom boards.  Its remarkable architectonic design displays the classical architectural details of Doric columns, and engaged pilasters with Corinthian capitals.  The bookcase doors are raised above the arc of the fallboard by a horizontally configured box with candle slides and molded recesses attached to the base of the bookcase.  It is one of three magnificent pieces of Boston casework owned by Gilbert Deblois.  The two others include a mahogany clothespress in the collection of the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston with identical hardware as is present on the currently offered desk-and-bookcase, and a mahogany tall-case clock housing a movement by Marmaduke Storr of London presently in the collection of the Chipstone Foundation (see preceding introduction and fig. 3)4.  The clock was valued in Deblois’ estate inventory at £9, the same price as this desk. Similarities amongst the three Deblois pieces indicate a common shop tradition distinguished by extremely fine cabinetry rooted in urban British construction practice, accomplished carving, use of high quality materials and complex designs assimilating the influence of late-seventeenth–century Baroque style and Palladian classicism.   The extensive group of furniture now identified from this shop – apparently a large enterprise flourishing from 1735 to 1760 -- reflects the collaborative efforts of several highly skilled artisans contracted by the shop and collectively represents the pinnacle of cabinetwork from eighteenth-century Boston.  The shop is the focus of the article “Roman Gusto in New England: An Eighteenth-Century Boston Furniture Designer and His Shop” by Alan Miller, American Furniture, ed. Luke Beckerdite, (Milwaukee, WI: Chipstone Foundation, 1993), pp. 160-200. The present desk is one of the most extensively carved pieces stemming from this shop and its lavish carving is assuredly linked with John Welch (1711-1789), the accomplished Boston carver who executed the Rococo style frames for many of John Singleton Copley’s portraits of Boston aristocracy.  Born in Boston on April 19, 1711, Welch may have apprenticed to the prominent Boston carver George Robinson (1680-1737), before working as a journeyman by March 8, 1732.5   He was in business at a shop on the Boston wharf by 1733 where he executed ship and furniture carving in addition to architectural carving for the courthouse (the present Massachusetts State House) when it was rebuilt after a fire in December of 1747.  He collaborated with John Singleton Copley during the first half of the 1770s and of the 32 extant Rococo style frames on Copley portraits, twenty-five can be documented or attributed to Welch.  Welch continued to work after the Revolution and served as a Captain in the Ancient and Honorable Artillery and was a pew holder at King’s Chapel.  He owned a house on Green Lane, near Paul Revere’s house, which was large enough to quarter 14 British soldiers after the French and Indian War.  Welch died in Boston on February 9, 1789 and was buried in the church cemetery, leaving an estate valued at £58 s9.6  The attribution to Welch for the carving of the present desk is based upon shared details with his documented architectural carving for the State House, in particular the Corinthian capitals, which were undoubtedly carved by the same hand.  Welch was contracted by the shop to execute the carving on the desk and probably followed elevation drawings provided by the designer/master of the shop. An extraordinary desk-and-bookcase at Winterthur Museum, originally owned by the Boston goldsmith John Allen (1671-1760), is clearly the product of the same shop and carver (fig. 4).  It displays many construction and design details consistent with those found on the present desk, such as nearly identical engaged pilasters surmounted with Corinthian capitals with the outer examples architecturally integrated into the cornice, bookcase interiors and desk interiors of the same design, prospect door echoing the shape of the bookcase doors, and punchwork-and-acanthus carved feet.  The feet on the Allen desk reflect a difficulty on Welch’s part in translating the designs for that desk into three-dimensional forms.  The central shell pendant in the manner of William Kent is unique in this shop’s work.  In contrast, the feet and pierced pendant of the present desk are successfully rendered and unsurpassed in quality, manifesting Welch’s genius as a carver. Among other related pieces, the Huntington desk-and-bookcase survived with carving attributed to Welch that is very closely related to the present desk, with a design described by Miller as “almost entirely within the Palladian design mode” (see figs. 5 and 6).7   Both desks exhibit the same form, interior arrangement, and unusual carved details such as engaged Corinthian pilasters to the rear corners of the bookcase and reverse ogee feet overlaid with exquisitely modeled acanthus leaves and scrolls.  Miller notes that the latter “literally quote elements on the picture frame carved by Welch” for John Singleton Copley’s portrait of Nicholas Boylston and that such feet would have been extremely difficult to reconcile with a blocked façade, perhaps explaining why the piece was designed with a straight front.8  A desk-and-bookcase in the collection of the Art Institute of Chicago is the earliest known piece by this shop.9  It displays similar carving on the tympanum possibly attributed to Welch and identical carrying handles to the present desk.  A desk-and-bookcase at the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston made by this shop and one of the earliest bombe desks made in Boston features a very similar scrollboard appliqué and shells inside the bookcase (see figs. 7 and 8).10  Closely related carved imbrication as seen on the drop pendant of the presently offered desk-and-bookcase is found on the crests of a set of eight side chairs attributed to Welch that descended from Charles (1698-1758) and Grizzell (1709-1796) Apthorp of Boston.11 Another remarkable achievement of this shop with carving executed by John Welch is a clock case with a movement by Thomas Hughes of London originally owned by Colonel Henry Bromfield, also a wealthy Boston merchant.12  Currently in the collection of the Art Institute of Chicago, the Bromfield clock’s architectonic case, inscribed “This case made by George Glinn 1750 … it cost £10 lawf. money”, has distinctly baroque details of a blocked façade, an elevated cornice, and ball- and winged-paw feet.  This clock and the above-mentioned desk-and-bookcase made for John Allen were made concurrently and exhibit matching cove, ovolo, and pilaster base moldings as well as pilaster corners molded with the same ovolo scratch stock cutter.  The extraordinary winged paw feet of the clock are derived from late seventeenth and early eighteenth century patterns of Daniel Marot, a progenitor of the baroque court style in France who designed clock cases with complex interrupted facades, engaged fluted pilasters and carved ball feet.  The tall case clock owned by Gilbert Deblois displays the same winged paw feet carved by Welch on the Bromfield clock as well as design and construction details consistent with the case made by George Glinn (Glenn) with several subtle improvements, which required retooling planes and stock cutters.  The Corinthian capitals on the Deblois clock are minature versions to those carved by Welch for the Massachusetts State House and are identical to those on the presently offered desk-and-bookcase. George Glinn (Glenn) was an Irish immigrant cabinetmaker working in Boston in the mid-eighteenth century as well as a member of West Church and founding member of the Charitable Irish Society in Boston (founded 1737).13  He was listed in the annual membership role for the society for the years 1718-1741 alongside Robert Glenn, an Irish immigrant who was a relative, perhaps his brother, as well as a cabinetmaker.  George Glinn (Glenn) married Eliza Grice on September 1, 1751 and after her death Elizabeth Tingey on January 17, 1760, both in West Church, the same church where Robert Glenn married and baptized his children.  Henry Bromley and Gilbert Deblois were possibly members of the Charitable Irish Society, whose parents were Irish immigrants who moved to Boston in 1636.  Copley’s mother remarried in 1748 Peter Pelham, who was also a founding member of the Charitable Irish Society with George Glinn (Glenn).  This suggests the existence of a patronage network, which may have included reliance on members of the Charitable Irish Society. Lack of property records for George Glinn (Glenn) and the sparseness of other records suggest he achieved moderate economic success and probably worked as a journeyman in a larger cabinet shop.14  As the splendid legacy of furniture attests, this unidentified shop was successful over a long period of time and undoubtedly employed journeymen and specialized craftsmen of the caliber of John Welch and George Glinn (Glenn). Exceedingly few desk-and-bookcases of this quality from this historically significant period in Boston appear on the marketplace.  The most recent was a desk-and-bookcase originally owned by Edward Jackson (1708-1757) that sold in these rooms, Important Americana: The Collection of Mr. and Mrs. Adolph Henry Meyer, January 20, 1996, sale 6801, lot 218, for $1,432,500.  The present desk-and-bookcase is extraordinary because it retains its carved components and carries a sterling provenance.  Sotheby’s is honored to have the privilege to sell a desk-and-bookcase of this importance. 1 October 24, 1770 advertisement. A November 23, 1774 advertisement also survives as does a trade card in the collection of the American Antiquarian Society in which Deblois advertises himself as an importer of hardware from England, India, Scotland & Holland. 2 The portrait was given by his descendant, Dr. Elizabeth DeBlois, to the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston (acc. #1990.300). 3 Suffolk County Probate 19898. 4 For additional information on the clothespress see Collecting American Decorative Arts and Sculpture: 1971-1991, (Boston, MA: Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, 1991), p. 33, no. 6 and Edward S. Cooke, Jr., “Boston Clothespress of the Mid-Eighteenth Century”, Journal of the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston I (1989), pp. 75-95.  The tall case clock was sold at Sotheby's, Important American Furniture, Folk Art and Folk Paintings, October 25, 1992, sale no. 6350, lot 320. 5 Luke Beckerdite, “Carving Practices in Eighteenth-Century Boston,” in Old-Time New England: New England Furniture, 1987, p. 142. 6 Beckerdite, p. 159. 7 See Miller, fig. 40, p. 186. This desk-and-bookcase is illustrated with later restoration in Brock Jobe’s article “A Boston Desk-and-Bookcase at the Milwaukee Art Museum”, The Magazine Antiques (Sept. 1991), vol. 140, no. 3 8 A detail of this frame is illustrated in Miller, fig. 12, p. 170. 9 See Miller, fig. 8, p. 168. 10 See Miller, fig. 45, p. 190. 11 See Leigh Keno, Joan Barzilay Freund, and Alan Miller, “The Very Pink of the Mode: Boston Georgian Chairs, Their Export, and Their Influence,” American Furniture, (Milwaukee, WI: Chipstone Foundation, 1996), fig. 1, p. 266. 12 This clock was sold at Sotheby's, June 28, 1990, Fine American Furniture, Folk Art, Folk Paintings and Silver, sale no. 6051, lot 369. 13 Sotheby’s would like to thank Leigh Keno American Antiques and Robert Mussey for providing the research on George Glinn (Glenn) and Robert Glen. 14 Alan Miller discusses one possibility, William Price (1684-1771), in his article but notes there is no evidence linking him to this group of furniture. Another candidate, Richard Walker, has been proposed by Philip Zimmerman and Frank Levy in “An important block-front desk by Richard Walker of Boston,” The Magazine Antiques (May 1992) vol. 24, no. 3, 436-41. Sotheby's would like to thank Ralph M. Chait Galleries for loaning the Chinese blue and white porcelain Kangxi vase, circa 1662-1722.

  • USAEstados Unidos
  • 2007-01-21
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A SUPERB AND VERY RARE IMPERIAL DOUCAI WINEPOT AND

A SUPERB AND VERY RARE IMPERIAL DOUCAI WINEPOT AND COVER, China, underglaze-blue six-character seal mark Yongzheng and of the period. Of finely potted ovoid shape with a loop handle and slender scroll spout, the cover surmounted by a scroll knop, either side of the body delicately painted in underglaze-blue and enamels of characteristic soft tones with a different arrangement of the Three Friends (suihan sanyou). The arching canes of bamboo rise beside a blossoming prunus and the densely needled branches of a pine tree with soft washes of green, aubergine and brown, prunus blossoms highlighted with tiny dots of red enamels - Provenance: Private collection Rhineland, bought from Sotheby's London, 11.12.1984, Lot 357. Former collection of Sir Percival David (1892-1964), sold as duplicate (A 798 a) from his collection and bought by Bluett at Sotheby's London, 15.10.1968, lot 134 (1650.- Pounds), possibly bought on behalf for Frederick M. Knight, who sold the winepot at Sotheby's Hong Kong, 18.5.1982, as lot 40 (165.000 HK$) - Exhibited at the O.C.S. Exhibition of the Arts of the Ch'ing Dynasty, 1964, Catalogue no. 193 collection, illustr. Harry M. Garner and Margaret Medley, Chinese Art in Three-Dimensional Colours, vol. IV, reel 28, no. 2. Publ. Sotheby's Hongkong 20 Years 1973 - 1973', no. 272 - The famous Doucai ewer A 798 is now preserved in the British Museum and is illustrated by Hobson in Chinese Pottery and Porcelain in the David Collection, col. pl. CLXV, where he states that it came from the Imperial Collection, Beijing. Another Yongzheng winepot of this pattern was sold in Hong Kong 12 May 1976, lot 352 and is now preserved in the collection of the Hongkong Museum of Art as donation from Dr K.S. Lo (1910-1995). Compare also a white glazed imperial ewer with yongzheng mark in the same shape in Palast Museum collection in Beijing, publ. in gugong bowuyuan cang qingdai yuyao ciqi (Porcelain of Imperial klin in Qing Dynasty in the Collection of Palast Museum Beijing) Vol Ib, no.89 - Very short hairline to spout vissible only at the outside otherwise fine condition H. 13,3 cm

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  • 2013-05-10
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John webb the hertford jewel cabinet, commissioned by john rutter

Acajou flamée, faux lapis lazuli-painted tôle, the cupboard beneath three spring-loaded secret drawers, opening to reveal eighteen small drawers, three spring released frieze drawers, the cresting bearing the coat-of-arms of Marie-Josephine-Louise of Savoy who married Louis XVI's younger brother, the comte de Provence, the future Louis XVIII, in 1771. The pair of vases on the cresting replaced with castings made from the original cabinet by kind permission of Her Majesty The Queen. The present lot is shown without the pair of gilt-bronze, faux lapis vases on the cornice, presumed lost between 1912 and 1957 when the photograph, fig.1 of the three-volume Wallace Collection catalogue, was taken by Connaissance des Arts. While the Riesener cabinet was being restored at The Royal Workshops at Malborough House on The Mall in London, Christopher Payne, acting as agent on behalf of the present owner, obtained permission from Her Majesty The Queen through the offices of the Surveyor of the Queen’s Works of Art to have copies of the vases on the cresting of the cabinet made from the Riesener original. Thus, the vases on the present lot were replaced between 2002 and 2003. Castings of the foliate details were taken from molds in London, the socles and vase bodies were made in Paris from detailed measurements. The fine chasing and the lapis coloring were also done in Paris prior to assembly in London to join the cabinet, by then on loan at the Wallace Collection. During the restoration of the original at Marlborough House, the present lot was restored in a nearby workshop, enabling a detailed examination of the two cabinets by conservators from the Royal Workshops, the Wallace Collection, and Christopher Payne. Upon examination, it was evident that the carcass was made by an English-trained cabinetmaker. The exquisite gilt-bronze mounts have no markings on the reverse, and so it is only speculation as to where, or by whom, they were cast. Precise measurements were taken with a Vernier scale using a digital readout, and the difference between the originals and the copy was infinitesimal, often a tolerance of only 0.01 mm. It was generally accepted that it was barely possible to distinguish the original mounts from the copies once disassembled, not only for size, but for the quality of chasing and gilding. It is not certain how the bronze mounts were made on the Webb cabinet. While the construction of the cabinet shows that it is clearly of English origin, the country of origin of the extraordinary workmanship of the cast brass and gilded mounts is less clear.  Of the various methods available at the time for casting mounts, no satisfactory answer has yet been found as to how the mounts on the copy are so exact, sizes from original to copy differing by less than one percent. The quality of the chasing and burnishing is exemplary and the gilding in near-perfect condition. Side by side comparison with mounts from the original showed virtually no difference, and it is not readily possible to identify which were made in the 1780s from those of 1853-55. Although there had only been less than seventy years between making the original and the present lot, it is unlikely that any master models were available from Riesener's workshops. Indeed, in his May 1769 description of his bureau du Roi, Riesener describes how he made the models for the bronze mounts in wax 'fait en cire tous les differents objects de bronzes.' These wax models would have been lost during pouring of the molten bronze; thus, the mounts may have been surmoulé, however this does not allow for the unavoidable shrinkage that occurs with this technique, shrinkage clearly not evident upon measuring. It was noted that the carcass of the upper part of the cabinet had been slightly raised in height, allowing speculation that the bronze mounts were indeed cast in Paris, sent to London with an error in measurement by the English cabinetmakers which needed to be corrected. Observers have further speculated that possibly only the house of Beurdeley was capable of such castings at the time, but without archival proof this cannot be substantiated. Also from Paris, the firm of Grohé was capable of making such castings; their standing barometer made to match the Riesener regulator (and now in the Louvre) is an outstanding tour de force of bronze casting and chasing. Ledoux-Lebard records a commentary in the 1867 Exposition Universelle that the furniture and bronzes of Grohé are “superieurs a ceux de Riesener et Gouthière." Others such as Winckelsen, Denière or Millet père were also more than capable of such work if the client had deep enough pockets. However, it is probable that the celebrated London firm of Hatfield may have carried out the castings. The records of H. J. Hatfield & Sons Ltd. were unfortunately destroyed; however, Geoffrey de Bellaigue noted that he had been shown a photograph of a set of four four-light candelabra made by Hatfield's for Baron Ferdinand de Rothschild in 1882. As with the present lot, the originals were, and still are, in the Royal Collection, with permission to copy them granted by Her Majesty Queen Victoria (illustrated, ‘Buckingham Palace’ by John Harris, Geoffery de Bellaigue and Oliver Millar, London, 1968, p. 154). Verlet (p. 364) notes a remark written by (Victor de) Champeaux, undated but probably circa 1880: “Hatfield, fondeur et ciseleur du XIXe Siecle. Etait très habile dans la reproduction des oeuvres françaises de l’époque de Louis XVI. Il eut un neuveu qui herita de la delicatesse de son burin." The Franco-British connection would have facilitated the casting, chasing and gilding and would have appealed to Lord Hertford, who was in Paris at the time of the commission. If the bronzes were indeed cast in Paris, it might even explain the slight adjustment apparently made to the carcass on the cornice when the bronzes were fitted. However, with the political unrest in Paris at the time -- an unrest that later in 1870 caused Sir Richard Wallace to return to live in London -- there were a number of highly skilled French craftsmen working in London, with one influx after the July Revolution of 1830 and later, more relevant to the present lot, the 1848 revolution which unseated Louis-Philippe. The mahogany veneers on the present lot are also extraordinary for their close comparison with the original panels. The cabinetmaker is clearly not familiar with Riesener's box-like construction and either ignored it or did not have intimate access to the original. The easiest guide to it being an English craftsman is the quarter or dust moldings in the small drawers of the interior. Slight differences in the dovetailing are a further but not obvious clue. Lord Hertford’s Commission The impetus for making this cabinet appears to have come from the exhibition held in 1853 at Gore House, South Kensington, titled Specimens of Cabinet Work. It was the first retrospective exhibition of French furniture held in England in the 19th century. The loans, recorded in an unillustrated catalogue of one hundred and twelve items, were sourced from eminent collections, such as those of the Elector of Bavaria and the Dukes of Buccleuch, Northumberland and Hamilton, as well as Queen Victoria. Although Lord Hertford did not travel to London to see the exhibition, he was clearly aware of some of the exhibits, possibly aided by photographs taken by the Victoria & Albert Museum’s photographer, Charles Thurston. The exhibition preamble states ‘Persons are privileged to make Drawings and Sketches’ and on June 11, 1853, Lord Hertford wrote to the London picture dealer Samuel Mawson: ‘I should very much like to have drawings made of some of the principal & the most beautiful articles of furniture not of the middle ages, but of the times of Louis XIV, XV & XVI, especially the fine Cabinet by Gouthières sent by the Queen. I should like these drawings to be most accurately made, with sides & backs, with exact dimensions & plans of the shapes. The ornaments very carefully copied as well as other details.' In a significant letter on December 11, 1853, Lord Hertford again wrote to Mawson: ‘Many thanks for having had the drawings completed…I hope that it [the cost] will not be very considerable for I find, between you & I, that some dealers we know, have had the fine things of this collection surmoulé so they will be able to obtain perfect copies & from drawings it is impossible.'  To make such furniture from accurate drawings alone would seem an improbable task, and five days later Lord Hertford again writes to Mawson: ‘By what I have heard, between you & I, I am certain that complete casts have been taken of some of the things, shape & all.'  Had John Webb, the Bond Street dealer who had helped to organize the Gore House exhibition, been able to take squeezes of the mounts, thus accounting for the extraordinary accuracy of the present lot compared to the original at Windsor? By October 1853, Lord Hertford had commissioned Edward Rutter, an English dealer working from 10 rue Louis-Grand in Paris, to make copies of some of the Gore House exhibits. Rutter writes to Lord Hertford on January 20, 1854: ‘I had the pleasure of addressing you respecting your copies of Her Majesty’s cabinet…I now beg to offer for your inspection 4 Photographs taken very cleverly from each of the originals,…one from Her Majesty’s Cabinet …and I am happy to inform you that they are progressing. I expect…Her Majesty’s Cabinet about the end of this year, there being [in the latter] a tremendous quantity of most difficult work,.' It appears that Lord Hertford commissioned these elaborate pieces without an estimate, possibly with no idea as to the eventual costs, as Rutter continues his sentence ‘I expect to be able shortly to inform you of what will be about the cost of the five pieces of Furniture.’ The order appears to have then been passed to John Webb; an account of December 1855, from Webb to ‘The most Honble. The Marquis of Hertford KG’ lists seven copies from the Gore House exhibition. Webb describes the present lot ‘To a magnificent cabinet of Mahogany with stand & stretcher, elegantly and elaborately ornamented with or-mat decoration after as the one at Windsor Castle…2500.’ The group of four replicas, including a pair of commodes, on this invoice, sent in 1857, totalled £6,270 and appear to have been more expensive to make than the cost of buying second-hand 18th century furniture on the market at this time, the most expensive being the so called ‘Artois’ cabinet, the present lot, at £2,500, just over three times the cost per item of the other copies. [The relative value calculated by measuringworth.com at £1,958,130.54 using the per-capita Gross Domestic Product (a staggering £4,261,894.32 using the economy’s total output or GDP).] An interesting comparison is the cost of making the large bell for ‘Big Ben’ at the palace of Westminster, £2,401 four years later in 1848. By way of comparison, in 1868 Lord Hertford paid ‘only’ the equivalent of £400 for the Riesener secretaire supplied to Marie-Antoinette at the Petit Trianon in 1783 (Wallace Collection no. 199 (F302)). John Webb (b. circa 1800 - 1872) had, by 1825, a business at 8 Old Bond Street, London, until circa 1853. Litchfield writes that ‘he employed a considerable number of workmen and carried on a very successful business.' He purchased objects for both the South Kensington and British Museums and became a friend of Henry Cole, first director of the South Kensington Museum, now the Victoria & Albert Museum. In his will, Webb left the museum the considerable sum of £10,000 to establish the John Webb Trust Fund. He enjoyed an English country house and a villa near Cannes in the south of France. It is possible that, at the age of 53, the wealthy Webb left his Mayfair business to devote himself to helping to organize the Gore House exhibition in which the Prince Consort, Queen Victoria’s husband, was actively involved. Certainly his involvement in the exhibition would have given him an unrestricted access to the furniture on display. There can be no one better placed to receive the commission from Rutter on behalf of the Marquess of Hertford. Sixteen copies appear to have been commissioned for the Lord Hertford, of which seven were made through John Webb, the remainder in France.  During this period the Marquess’ acquisitions of 18th century furniture continued unabated.  Lord Hertford was evidently content to possess a copy if the original was not available, and saw the replicas as an addition to his collection to show an even wider diversity of furniture than would otherwise have been open to him. The negative attitude towards fine quality copies that grew out of academic disdain in the 1920s clearly did not trouble one of the most important collectors of the 19th century. Hughes notes in ‘Replicas,' p. 60, that according to Webb’s bill, ‘all the replicas were delivered to Manchester House, the present-day Hertford House, they were all in fact kept in the Parisian collections of Lord Hertford, as though he did not wish to be parted from them.' Only three of these important replicas remain on permanent display in the Wallace Collection today. One, the copy of the writing-table made in circa 1715 for the Elector of Bavaria, number 170, was delivered with its pair in August 1857 at a cost £1,650; as with the present lot, the carcass work is of English construction.  Between 1855 and 1860, the copy of the bureau du Roi, number 204, was made in Paris, attributed to Henry Dasson, almost certainly the first copy of this celebrated model made originally by Oeben and Riesener and an encoignure, number 186, made between circa 1864 and 1870 to match an 18th century original by Riesener, number 185. Lord Hertford’s son, Sir Richard Wallace left the bulk of the collection to his widow, who in turn left the contents still at 2 rue Laffitte to her residuary legatee, Sir John Murray Scott. At the death of Sir John in 1912, the present lot was listed as being in the Bureau in the inventory taken at rue Laffitte for probate purposes between February 16, 1912 and November 11, 1913, described in the session of February 20, 1912 as "Grand meuble à bijoux en acajou richement garni de bronzes dorés.....- prisé cinq mille francs" (Wallace Collection archives, carbon copy given by M. G. Seligman, p. 56). These contents were bequeathed to Lady Sackville, who sold them to the dealer Jacques Seligman, becoming therefore available again on the open market. John Ayres Hatfield founded his company in 1844, referring to himself as a 'bronzist.'  His workshop was at 20 Cumberland Street in the London parish of St. Pancras and he lived next door at number 21. His brother Henry Charles, eight years younger, worked as John's bronze chaser, and it was his son Henry John who continued the business in 1881, being granted a Royal Warrent by Queen Victoria in 1882. However, Hatfield's had been working at Windsor Castle from November 1850. Among hundreds of invoices in the Windsor Archives, one letter-heading of the 1850s, the time that the present lot was made, serves to underline the company's capabilities: 'J. Hatfield, Bronze & Ormolu Manufacturer, Groups-Statues...and all kinds of Works of Art from Models, Designs or Originals cast and executed to the Antique.' Probably coincidentally, Hatfield's were employed to restore metalwork at the Wallace Collection when it was opened to the public in 1901. History of the Riesener cabinet The original cabinet is described by The Royal Collection (RCIN 31207) as 'one of the greatest masterpieces of furniture in the Louis XVI style, this object de luxe combines cabinet-making virtuosity of a high order with quite exceptional gilt-bronze mounts. The well-figured, plain mahogany veneers, characteristic of Riesener's output in the later 1780s, provide a deliberate foil to the mounts, jewel-like on the doors (as befits the purpose of the cabinet) and treated as sculpture-in-the-round at the front angles and on the cresting.' It was made in circa 1785 for Marie-Josephe-Louise de Savoie, daughter of Victor Amadeus III of Savoy. The cabinet represents a belated celebration of her marriage to Louis XVI’s younger brother, the comte de Provence, the three gilt-bronze cherubs on the cresting holding a princess’s crown above the combined arms of France and Savoy. The hymeneal crown, doves on the doors, and quivers of Cupid’s arrows forming the legs are further emblems of love and union. The original cabinet stood in the countesses’ apartment in the Petit-Luxembourg in Paris. Confiscated in 1793 by the Revolutionary Government and intended for the new Republic’s museum, it was sold in 1796 to the femme Aumont. She offered it to Napoleon in 1809 and again in 1811, the second time receiving the famous reproach from the Emperor ‘S. M. veut faire du neuf et non acheter du vieux.' Napoleon wanted new, not old and second-hand, furniture from the deposed regime. At some time after hostilities finally ended between France and England in 1815, the cabinet was purchased by George Watson Taylor, whose wife had inherited a fortune from the West Indies trade. In London, the cabinet was housed on the corner of Cavendish Square and Harley Street, not far from Lord Hertford’s house in Manchester Square. Facing bankruptcy, Taylor sold much of his vast collection at Christie, Manson & Woods in 1825. Six pieces were purchased by Robert Fogg on behalf of King George IV, including the Riesener cabinet which alone cost £420. The king described his new purchases in a letter to the Duke of Wellington as ‘quite suitable for Windsor Castle’ but the jewel cabinet was sent to the Riding House Store near Carlton House. It was sent to Windsor for Queen Victoria’s enjoyment and to this day is in the White Drawing Room at the castle. The official wedding photograph of His Royal Highness Prince Edward and Sophie, Countess of Wessex, was taken in front of the Riesener cabinet at Windsor Castle, June 19, 1999. Morris, writing of the present lot in 1911, states ‘It is very representative of the development of taste towards the end of the eighteenth century. The severe form, the admixture of classicism and purely French decoration, are very characteristic.' He adds the amusing anecdote that a scantily clad portrait by Vestier of the Comte de Provence's mistress, Madame Duthé, hung in the state bedroom at Bagatelle, next to the study in which the original cabinet was housed. He further records a play on words popular in circa 1790 that, on seeing the comte's coach leaving the Royal palace on the way to Bagatelle, "Il en a assez de son Gateau de Savoie; il va prendre Duthé." Loans The original cabinet was lent by Queen Victoria to the ‘Specimens of Cabinet Work’ exhibition at Gore House, Kensington between May and July, 1853. One hundred and fifty years later it was further exhibited in ‘Royal Collection: A Golden Jubilee Celebration’, May 22, 2002 to January 12, 2003. The present owner loaned the present lot to the Wallace Collection from May 2002 to 2005, coinciding in part with the exhibition of the Riesener example in the newly-built Queen's Gallery at Buckingham Palace.  The original cabinet was also exhibited at The Queen's Gallery, in 'The Age of Neo-Classicism,' 1972, no. 1619, pl. 138. Conservation Prior to 1996, the present lot had been stored for some years in a garage in Trouville, near Deauville, in northern France. Although generally in very good condition, it needed cleaning and conservation. The carcass and doors had moved and split, with some lifting and cracking of the mahogany veneers that were very dry in appearance. The gilt-bronze was dirty and had oxidized in some places. The cabinet was carefully dismantled in London and a re-hydration technique used to re-lay the veneer on the doors. A vacuum pump was used to draw air out of a specially-tailored plastic bag laid over a polycarbonate covering which acted as a clamp to reglue lifting areas of veneer. Polished surfaces were cleaned with an aqueous solution and non-ionic detergent to remove surface dirt. The shellac polish was rebuilt where the veneer repairs were carried out, and finally the whole cabinet was waxed with beeswax and Carnuba polish. The gilt-bronze mounts were washed with a non-ionic detergent, the oxidisation removed using Bioax. Once dried, they were given a coating of micro-crystalline wax.

  • USAEstados Unidos
  • 2007-04-19
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The Peaceable Kingdom

Recollections of Bob Carlen He was my father so, of course, I thought him handsome, brilliant, and funny. He loved, in no particular order, his family, the paintings of Hicks and Pippin, Pennsylvania Dutch Antiques (quilts and weathervanes in partiuclar), opera (which he sang at the top of his lungs in the car on Sunday afternoon drives), and small animals (you could catch him feeding strays outside the back door late at night). Because he came from a poor family, he was self educated. He had a photographic memory, reading art and history until late at night in the stacks of the Philadelphia library and retaining it all. And, finally, he was a born teacher, leading my sister and me through museums with a magnifying glass when we were children, demostrating how the brush applied the paint to the canvas. I watched him, late in his life, gather a crowd of 30 or more, as he, unselfconsciously, lectured his way through an exhibit of the Rockefeller Collection (John D III had been a client of his) at the San Francisco Museum. He owned, in his lifetime, thirty-three paintings by Edward Hicks; they were everywhere in our house, and this Peaceable Kingdom, that my mother sells now, was his favorite. He bought it in 1949 from his friend David Ellinger, a Bucks County dealer. I was eight years old so I grew up with this painting always hanging in our living room, always a part of my life, and now of my father's legacy. Nancy Carlen, September 2005 on the original chrome-red stretchers inscribed in Hicks’ hand: Peaceable Kingdom/ Painted by Edward Hicks in the 66th year of his age. Painted 1846-1847. In his lifetime, legendary art dealer Robert Carlen (1906-1990) located more than half of the known works by American folk artist Edward Hicks (1780-1849); at last count 62 have been found. Carlen’s search for Hicks works spanned decades and helped to build his reputation as a leading dealer in American folk art. In numerous cases, Carlen bought paintings from the descendants of the original owners. Though he had many of Hicks’s works in his possession, Carlen only kept one—a Peaceable Kingdom done in the artist’s “66th year”, which Alice Ford deems “a precious legacy.”[1] Carlen purchased the work from his friend and Bucks County dealer David Ellinger in 1949. Considered “psychologically the most powerful of the Kingdoms,”[2] it graced Carlen’s living room until it was loaned to the Diplomatic Rooms at the State Department in 1976 to 2000 as part of the government’s Americana Project.(4) Carlen brought Hicks to the attention of the art world and its patrons by the 1940s. He recalled in a 1985 interview how he had to initially convince his clients about the importance of the artist.[3]  Carlen considered Hicks “the American Rousseau” and held the “Hicks Centennial Exhibition” at the Robert Carlen Gallery in Philadelphia, 1949.[4] Today Hicks is considered the quintessential American folk artist. In the nineteenth-century, he was recognized for his Quaker ministry rather than the engaging simplicity of his easel work. Edward was born to Isaac and Catharine Hicks in Bucks County, Pennsylvania on April 4, 1780. Soon after the untimely death of his mother, Edward’s father remarried. Unable to support his children, Isaac sent three-year-old Edward to live with a business acquaintance David Twining and his wife Elizabeth in Newtown, Pennsylvania.  The Twinings introduced Edward to the Society of Friends. For seven years starting in 1793, Hicks apprenticed with coach makers William and Henry Tomlinson in Langhorne, near Newtown. Hicks’s talent for coach and sign painting not only gave him the means to support his family but would eventually provide an artistic language in which he could express his religious convictions. His understanding of color and his adroitness for lettering, particularly with the difficult combination of black on yellow, became a signature technique found in numerous Kingdoms. As a man of twenty-three, Hicks became a member of the Middletown Monthly Meeting and married Sarah Worstall. His growing involvement with his faith led to his ordination as a minister by 1811. That year he also opened his own shop as a decorative painter and eventually found himself criticized by the Friends for transgressing the bounds of Quaker simplicity. While ornamental painting was an acceptable trade to the Friends, it had to adhere to their general guidelines for attitudes and behavior known as the “Rules of Discipline”. Effected by their condemnation, and in arrears, Hicks quit his shop and became a farmer, a vocation he believed to be more consistent for a Christian. With the assistance of friends and family, Hicks paid down his debt and returned to decorative painting at least to a modest extent by mid-1816. During his short-lived career as a farmer, Hicks entered a pivotal relationship with his older cousin the Quaker minister Elias Hicks of Long Island, New York. The two remained close until Elias’s death in 1830. The elder Hicks was at the center of the schism within the Friends. Followers of the elder Hicks were known as Hicksites, with Edward being one. Like his cousin, Edward believed many Friends had strayed from the traditions practiced by their forefathers, William Penn, George Fox, and Robert Barclay. These leaders and their beliefs were fundamental to the creation of Hicks’s greatest artistic achievements, namely his series of Kingdoms, which he produced for nearly thirty years, until the night before he died. With the Kingdoms Hicks reconciled his love of art and the faith to which he dedicated himself. Their naive, flat style, make the Kingdoms deceptively simple in appearance and meaning to contemporary audiences. Their richness, however, would have been understood by nineteenth-century Quakers. Though he painted other easel subjects, Hicks refined his deepest spiritual beliefs and expectations for peace within the Friends community on the Kingdom canvases. To relay his point of view in agreeable terms to the Friends, Hicks brought to life the prophecy of Isaiah 11:6-9 The wolf also shall dwell with the lamb, and the leopard shall lie down with the kid; and the calf and the young lion and the fatling together; and a little child shall lead them. And the cow and the bear shall feed; their young ones shall lie down together: and the lion shall eat straw like the ox.  And the suckling child shall play on the hole of the asp, and the weaned child shall put his hand on the cockatrice’s den. They shall not hurt nor destroy in all my hold mountain: for the earth shall be full of the knowledge of the LORD, as the waters cover the sea.[5] The prophecy wholly supported Elias Hicks’s teaching that individuals need to overcome the “animal propensities and passions in their nature.”[6] The Kingdoms were layered with Hicks’s knowledge of medieval humoralism. The four humors: melancholy, sanguine, phlegmatic and choleric were represented in the animal kingdom by the wolf, leopard, bear and lion, respectively. The inner character of the animals is seen in their faces and in their movements. Over time, the facial expressions, physical movements and proximity of one animal to another changes. These transitions divide the series of paintings into the Early, Middle and Later Kingdoms, and divine the whole body of work as a dynamic artistic expression of a life and the history of the Society of Friends in America. The Later Kingdoms (1835-1849) were created during the last phase of Hicks’s life when the artist-minister turned his attentions inward to find his own “Inner Light” through prayer and introspection. Eleanore Price Mather and Dorothy Canning Miller refer to these paintings as the “Kingdoms of Departure.” [7] Their tone is one of resignation and acceptance that peace could only be reached if the Friends “fully relinquished their self-will to the will of God.”[8] They are marked by a shift from the uneasy peace evidenced in the Middle Kingdoms where the animals were alert with trepidation. In particular, the lion which dominates the Later Kingdoms has mellowed in appearance, giving these works a serene feeling that makes them more akin to the Early Kingdoms. Elements from the Early Kingdoms reemerged and were integrated with significant symbols employed in the Middle Kingdoms. Hicks reaffirmed his desire for a harmonious life by restoring Penn’s Treaty to the composition and combining it with the image of Elias Hicks and the other Quaker forefathers who peopled the middle period’s Banner Kingdoms. The branch of grapes also reappeared to remind viewers of the redemptive blood of Christ. Every Quaker, including Hicks, truly would be a Christian when he overcame his natural animal propensities. The addition of the lioness tending to her cubs noted the importance of women and children to the future of the Friends. Hicks’s hopes were now hinged on the youth and the ability of their elders to raise them in their faith as advocated by their forefathers. As he declared in his Memoirs towards the end of his life …parents, guardians, and the head of families [should] consider themselves as delegated shepherds…charged with the care of a flock of lambs…for whose present and everlasting welfare they are in a certain degree responsible....Such as are thus exercised will be kind, affectionate, tender-hearted, forgiving one another, and be the happy instruments of kindling on the altar of the child’s heart, the same devotional flame that glows within their own breast.[9] Incorporating new symbols as well as evolving his compositional techniques evidence the continuous refinement of Hicks’s thinking and draftsmanship. The animals now spread out from the right to the left side of the canvass. “Animation—truly suspended—and a new mobility lend an air of spontaneity that almost belies a reliance on prints.”[10] The alteration of the landscape along with the transformation of the animals not only document a personal view of the Friends in nineteenth-century America but Hicks’s ever-striving to improve as both man and artist. Bibliography Carlen Galleries, Inc., Records, 1775-1997. Archives of American Art, Smithsonian Institution. Carlen, Nancy. Recollections of Robert Carlen, 2005. Conger, Clement E., Chairman, Fine Arts Committee, Department of State, to “Friend of the Americana Project”, March 22, 1974 and September 9, 1974. Carlen Galleries, Inc., Records, 1775-1997. Archives of American Art, Smithsonian Institution Ford, Alice. Edward Hicks: His Life and Art. New York: Abbeville Press, 1985. Gaines, Catherine S. Finding Aid to the Carlen Galleries, Inc., Records, 1775-1997. Smithsonian Archives of American Art, 2002.  http://www.aaa.si.edu/findaids/carlgall/carlgall.htm, November 13, 2005. Hicks, Edward.  Memoirs of the Life and Religious Labors of Edward Hicks, Late of Newtown, Bucks County, Pennsylvania. Philadelphia, PA: Merrihew & Thompson, Printers, 1851. Mather, Eleanore Price and Dorothy Canning Miller. Edward Hicks: His Peaceable Kingdoms and Other Paintings. Newark, NJ: University of Delaware Press, 1983. Stover, Catharine. Interview with Robert Carlen. Smithsonian Archives of American Art,   June 28, 1985. http://artarchives.si.edu/oralhist/carlen85.htm, November 13, 2005. Weekley, Carolyn J. The Kingdoms of Edward Hicks. New York, NY: Harry N. Abrams, Inc., Publishers, 1999. [1] Alice Ford, Edward Hicks: His Life and Art (New York: Abbeville Press, 1985), p. 202. [2] Eleanore Price Mather and Dorothy Canning Miller, Edward Hicks: His Peaceable Kingdoms and Other Paintings (Newark, NJ: University of Delaware Press, 1983), p. 151. [3] Robert Carlen interview by Catharine Stover for Smithsonian Archives of American Art, June 28, 1985. [4] Mather and Miller, Edward Hicks, p. 151. [5]  The Holy Bible, Containing All the Books of The Old and New Testaments, King James Version (New York: Viking Studio, 1999), p. 567. [6] Weekley, The Kingdoms of Edward Hicks, p. 42. [7] Mather and Miller as cited in Weekley, Kingdoms of Edward Hicks, p. 151. [8] Weekley, Kingdoms of Edward Hicks, p. 154. [9] Edward Hicks, Memoirs of the Life and Religious Labors of Edward Hicks, Late of Newtown, Bucks County, Pennsylvania (Philadelphia: Merrihew & Thompson, Printers, 1851), pp. 116-117. [10] Ford, Edward Hicks: His Life and Art, p. 202.

  • USAEstados Unidos
  • 2006-01-22
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THE IMPORTANT HOLLINGSWORTH FAMILY CHIPPENDALE CARVED WALNUT HIGH CHEST-OF-DRAWERS, MATCHING DRESSING TABLE AND SIDECHAIR

THE IMPORTANT HOLLINGSWORTH FAMILY CHIPPENDALE CARVED WALNUT HIGH CHEST-OF-DRAWERS, MATCHING DRESSING TABLE AND SIDECHAIR Thomas Affleck (1740-1795), Philadelphia, 1765-1775 The high chest in two sections: the upper with a molded, broken-scroll pediment with carved rosettes centering a naturalistically carved rococo cartouche flanked by three-part, flame finials with fluted plinths above five thumb-nail molded small drawers, the center top drawer with a carved shell and acanthus appliques, over three large thumb-nail molded drawers flanked by fluted quarter columns; the lower section with applied moldings above a case with a long thumb-nail molded drawer over three small drawers, the center with a carved shell and acanthus appliqus, above an elaborately shaped skirt with a central applied scallop shell, flanked by fluted quarter-columns, on acanthus carved cabriole legs with ball-and-claw feet. The dressing table with a rectangular top with molded edge above a conforming case fitted with one long thumb-nail molded drawer over three small drawers, the center with a carved shell and acanthus appliqus, above an elaborately shaped skirt with a central applied scallop shell, flanked by fluted quarter-columns, on acanthus carved cabriole legs with ball-and-claw feet. The chair with a serpentine, bowed crest centering a carved shell flanked by acanthus foliage and bold shell-carved ears above an interlaced strap-work splat with deeply modeled volutes and leafage and a carved shoe flanked by fluted stiles over a trapezoidal slip-seat with original needlework upholstery, the front seat rail centering a carved shell, on acanthus-carved cabriole front legs with ball-and-claw feet high chest 94in. high, 42in. wide, 21in. deep; dressing table; 30in. high, 48in. wide, 19in. deep; chair 40in. high (3)

  • USAEstados Unidos
  • 1998-01-16
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A PAIR OF GEORGE III GILTWOOD ARMCHAIRS

A PAIR OF GEORGE III GILTWOOD ARMCHAIRS DESIGNED BY ROBERT ADAM AND MADE BY THOMAS CHIPPENDALE, 1765 Each with padded back, arms and seat covered in blue floral cut-velvet silk damask, the shaped rectangular back framed with foliage-bound reeding, headed at the angles by paterae, the scrolled serpentine toprail centred by a pierced anthemia, the padded arms with scrolled foliate supports, the terminals with flowerheads, the padded serpentine-fronted seat above a deep seat-rail edged with a husk border carved with a shell issuing scrolling foliage ending in winged sphinxes, the sides with interlaced scrolls and sphinxes, the back with scrolls, on cabriole legs headed by anthemions suspending ribbon-tied wreaths, on hairy paw feet headed by a beaded girdle enclosing anti-friction castors, both chairs with incised constructional numerals, one chair numbered on the back of the front-rail 'III' and with chalk inscription 'M.H. 28/11', the other numbered 'VI', the seat-rails raised for upholstery tacking, with large screw-holes in the centre of each seat-rail and at the top of each leg for constructional tightening, the frames and side seat-rails in beechwood, the side seat-rail facings, front seat-rails and legs in limewood, with beech cross-struts, originally oil-gilt, now water-gilt over a thin lacquer with traces of original oil-gilding 42 in. (107 cm.) high; the seats 27 in. (68.5 cm.) wide; 29¾ in. (75.5 cm.) wide, overall; 29½ in. (75 cm.) deep

  • GBRGran Bretaña
  • 2008-06-18
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Exceptionnel cabinet en pierres dures, ébène, bronze doré et argent

La façade à trois niveaux et cinq travées, centrée d’un avant-corps, reposant sur un double soubassement ; le premier niveau rythmé par des colonnes corinthiennes, comportant une niche surmontée d’un fronton curviligne orné des armoiries du pape Paul V Borghèse ; le deuxième niveau rythmé par des colonnes corinthiennes, centré d’un fronton triangulaire, couronné d’une balustrade et flanquée d’allégories ; le troisième niveau rythmé par des cariatides et surmonté d’un fronton brisé couronné d’allégories couchées et d’une figure d’empereur ; les panneaux en marqueterie de lapis-lazuli, différents types de pierres dures et de jaspes, les colonnes en lapis-lazuli, les figures en argent et bronze doré, les côtés plaqués de palissandre ; un tiroir inscrit au crayon Joel Wood repair'd this thing Feb 27 Broad St 1824, London ; le dos marqué au fer VR BP N°188 / 1866 ainsi que C.M & W 1959 ; avec trois étiquettes, dont deux imprimées BUCKINGHAM PALACE / L.C.D. surmonté du chiffre couronné GVR (pour George V Rex) et FROM THE SUPERINTENDENT / BUCKINGHAM PALACE / FROM THE GREEN DRAWING ROOM / 7/5/58 ;le piètement en ébène, bois noirci et bronze doré, probablement réalisé en Angleterre par l'ébéniste Louis-François Bellangé vers 1821-1827, à fond de glace, épousant le ressaut central du cabinet, composée de colonnes ioniques jumelées surmontées d’un entablement orné d’une frise de rinceaux et reposant sur une plinthe Le Cabinet Borghèse-Windsor Alvar González-Palacios De nobles proportions, ce cabinet grandiose (en italien « stipo »), caractéristique du maniérisme tardif, se présente comme un palais en miniature ou, si l’on préfère, comme un magnifique objet d’art à très grande échelle  (178 cm - incluant la statuette – x 126cm x 54 cm). Composé de trois étages, il est entièrement recouvert de pierres dures et divisé en deux ordres de colonnes plaquées de lapis-lazulis, quatorze colonnes scandant le premier niveau et douze rythmant l’étage supérieur. La richesse de sa façade tient à la splendeur chromatique des pierres, du bleu intense des lapis-lazulis à la lumière polychrome des jaspes – blanc et rouge, rouge orangé, jaune strié. Agates, cornalines et autres pierres dures  tachetées de nacre et de tonalités plus claires soulignent au centre l’ovale en améthyste et à l’intérieur de la niche est plaqué le plus beau jaspe jaune de Sicile qu’il m’ait été donné de voir. Cette partie du meuble est particulièrement soignée, la voûte et les portes latérales sont ornées de bronze doré et le plancher marqueté en ébène et corne. Le reste du cabinet est également décoré en bronze et cuivre doré, depuis les bases  et les chapiteaux corinthiens des colonnes jusqu’aux volutes, des six cariatides aux quatre figures féminines en ronde-bosse – probablement des Vertus – et aux deux dernières couchées sur le tympan. Toutes les têtes de ces statuettes sont en argent. Au sommet du cabinet, la figure d’un empereur romain,  légèrement plus grande,  confère une aura patricienne à la somptueuse construction : ses traits rappellent ceux d’Hadrien ou de Lucius Verus. Les armes sur l’arc central sont celles de Paul V Borghèse (1552-1621, élu pape en 1605) : est fait ainsi allusion à la relation entre le pouvoir temporel des empereurs de Rome et celui plus spirituel du vicaire du Christ sur la Terre. Il s’agit du cabinet romain le plus important depuis plusieurs décennies à apparaître sur le marché. Son histoire est en partie connue, mais elle a été rappelée récemment dans l’ouvrage de Simon Swynfen Jervis and Dudley Dodd (voir note 3). Le meuble apparut une première fois à Londres le 4 juillet 1821, lors de la vente anonyme A Collector of taste : le catalogue Christie’s stipulait une provenance Borghèse, « this noble article is from the Borghese Palace ». Suite à la vente, il fut racheté par le célèbre marchand londonien Edward Holmes Baldock (1777-1845) qui le confia pour restauration à Joel Wood à Londres en 1824. Trois années plus tard, le 22 mai, Baldock le vendit à Georges IV (1762-1830). Le roi le destinait au Grand Corridor du château de Windsor : c’est pourquoi il fut restauré en 1828 par ses ébénistes, Morel & Seddon. Le cabinet Borghèse demeura dans les collections royales anglaises jusqu’en 1959, date à laquelle il fut vendu avec la table pariétale de goût néoclassique qui le soutenait, peut-être commissionnée par Baldock auprès de l’ébéniste français Alexandre-Louis Bellangé (voir infra) : il fut inclus dans la vente Christie’s du 2 octobre s’intitulant « Property of H. M. Queen Mary, from Marlborough House ». Tout ce qui a été écrit jusqu’à présent à propos de l’origine Borghèse de ce cabinet est exact. Le prince Camille Borghèse (1775-1832), auquel le cabinet appartenait en tant que descendant de Paul V, était jeune et assez riche : l’héritage des Borghèse était alors intact et tous les palais et les biens des Borghèse, à Rome et ailleurs, demeuraient en sa possession. Cet héritage comprenait également de splendides collections d’œuvres d’art, à l’exception de la plupart des antiquités classiques qu’il avait dû vendre à la France suivant la volonté de Napoléon Ier - ces dernières ne lui furent d’ailleurs jamais entièrement payées. Depuis son mariage avec Pauline Bonaparte en 1803, sœur de Napoléon Ier, le prince Camille était devenu citoyen français et Altesse Impériale. Après la chute de l’Empire, le prince partit vivre à Florence au palais Salviati Borghèse, redécoré somptueusement pour l’occasion ; ses relations avec Rome et la Papauté étaient cordiales mais légèrement assombries par son passé anticlérical. Son frère et héritier présumé, Francesco Borghèse Aldobrandini, vivait pour sa part à Paris en très bons terme avec la cour des Bourbons, revenus au pouvoir en 1815. Les relations étroites entre Louis XVIII et Georges IV sont connues, et cela aurait été inconcevable de vendre au roi d’Angleterre un objet qui se prévalait d’une origine Borghèse, si cette dernière avait été fausse. On pourrait se demander pourquoi un homme aisé et très en vue céda ainsi un meuble que nous considérons aujourd’hui un chef-d’œuvre[1]. Cependant les goûts changent et un cabinet comme celui-ci, si spectaculaire soit-il, ne fut pas toujours à la mode. Lorsqu’au XVIIIe siècle s’épanouit le goût rocaille, celui-ci s’accommoda mal des meubles en ébène et pierres dures. A l’époque du triomphe de la courbe, ce type de mobilier fut relégué dans des dépôts ou vendu. Dans le meilleur des cas, il fut, comme cela se produisit effectivement en France, envoyé dans des institutions scientifiques, à l’image du Jardin du Roi (actuel Jardin des Plantes). Ce ne furent pas des motivations artistiques qui déterminèrent ces choix, mais bien plutôt l’influence de grands hommes de sciences ou de naturalistes comme Buffon, lesquels souhaitaient étudier les pierres rares qui constituaient ces meubles. Il n’est donc pas surprenant que, quelques décennies plus tard, Georges IV ait eu la possibilité d’acquérir le cabinet Borghèse, ou que le duc de Northumberland ait pu acheter en 1824 les deux cabinets de Domenico Cucci, réalisés à Paris en 1683 par les lapidaires florentins des Gobelins pour Louis XIV. En dépit de leur provenance, Louis XV avait décidé de les céder dès 1751. Ils se trouvent toujours en Angleterre, à Alnwick castle, où  leur grande importance historique et artistique est maintenant parfaitement reconnue. A Rome, les meubles marquetés entièrement en pierres dures étaient fabriqués par des ateliers indépendants, et de nos jours demeurent rarissimes. A Florence au contraire, il n’y avait qu’un seul mais extraordinaire atelier appartenant aux Médicis, la Galleria dei Lavori qui occupait le premier étage des Offices. Cet atelier avait accumulé d’énormes réserves de pierres très rares, achetées au fil des décennies, parfois au prix d’expéditions lointaines. La réputation des œuvres florentines fut telle qu’on finit souvent par oublier celles exécutées à Rome. Le cabinet  Borghèse n’en est que plus exceptionnel, d’autant que les pierres qui le décorent sont exclusivement siliceuses, dénommées en italien pietre dure – pierres dures – à cause de la difficulté à les travailler. Le cabinet du pape Sixte Quint, conservé au château de Stourhead (Wiltshire, Angleterre) et dont les dimensions sont similaires bien que légèrement plus hautes (214 x 126 x 84 cm), comprend en revanche deux types de pierre, des pierres siliceuses et des marbres colorés appelés en italien  pietre tenere – pierres souples. Sur la façade, les colonnettes sont taillées en différents types d’albâtre ou de marbre, tandis que les côtés du meuble sont également marquetés en marbres colorés, avec seulement quelques médaillons de lapis-lazuli et ou d’agate. Sur le cabinet de Sixte Quint, les pierres dures sont donc rares et leurs dimensions relativement réduites. Le choix des pierres n’était pas sans implication dans le prix final de l’œuvre : scier et polir les pierres dures était très compliqué et représentait un coût élevé. Les marbres, en revanche, y compris les porphyres et les granits, comportaient moins de difficultés. Ce n’est pas par hasard que les documents d’archives pour ce genre de travaux recensent des artisans aux spécialités bien distinctes : ceux qui travaillaient les pietre dure ou siliceuses étaient pour la plupart des orfèvres et des joailliers, tandis que ceux qui s'occupaient des marbres ou pietre tenere étaient plutôt des tailleurs de pierre ou des marbriers. Pour saisir la différence essentielle qui existait entre ces deux  techniques, il convient de préciser qu’à ma connaissance, il n’y eut que cinq ouvrages réalisés exclusivement en pietre dure à Rome au XVIe siècle[2]. Même la magnifique table Farnèse, autrefois au palais éponyme à Rome et maintenant conservée au Metropolitan Museum de New York, fut exécutée en marbres colorés, ne comprenant que quelques détails en pierres dures. C'est l'absence d'une chronologie précise qui rend l’analyse de ce genre d’œuvre assez complexe. Très peu de meubles peuvent être datés précisément et les noms de leurs auteurs ne sont presque jamais parvenus jusqu’à nous, y compris pour la fameuse table Farnèse. Quant au cabinet de Sixte Quint (le meuble artistiquement plus proche du cabinet Borghèse, comme l’a déjà souligné S. S. Jervis[3]), il est impossible de le dater avec certitude : peut-être a-t-il été conçu, même si c’est peu probable, après le pontificat de Sixte Quint (1585-1590), mais une proximité stylistique  avec  la table de Philippe II exécutée en 1587, me fait pencher pour une datation avant 1590. Les deux cabinets papaux ne sont pas en tous points identiques. Structurellement, le cabinet de Sixte Quint est plus élancé que celui de Paul V ; en outre, les matériaux et l’échelle chromatique choisis présentent des différences. Le cabinet Borghèse ne peut être antérieur à la nomination de Paul V en 1605 ; sa silhouette et son allure sont moins gracieuses mais plus puissantes. Les figures en bronze et argent le décorant, possèdent un caractère plus plastique que pictural, relevant davantage du travail d’un sculpteur que de celui d’un joaillier. Enfin, la figure de l’empereur au sommet est très proche d’une sculpture ayant appartenu à la reine Christine de Suède : en albâtre et bronze doré, elle représente Tibère et fut conçue au début du XVIIe siècle à partir d’un torse et d’une tête antiques auxquels on adjoignit des mains et des pieds en métal doré (aujourd’hui au musée du Prado à Madrid).[4] Bien que peu d’années séparent les deux cabinets, leur conception est  différente. Non seulement le chromatisme dans son ensemble s’assombrit légèrement dans le cabinet Borghèse, mais on n’observe plus non plus certaines ornementations consistant en de petites bandes de disques de pierres dures, que l’on retrouvait aussi bien sur le cabinet de Sixte Quint que sur la table de Philippe II. Les côtés du cabinet de Sixte Quint sont, comme on l’a dit, ornés de marbres colorés et demeurent clairs et lumineux, bien qu’ils ne soient pas en pierres dures. Pour le cabinet Borghèse, on préféra supprimer la décoration latérale, les côtés étant désormais entièrement plaqués d’ébène et de palissandre,  conférant ainsi un aspect plus solennel et majestueux au cabinet. L’évolution stylistique des cabinets de marbres et pierres dures se poursuivit tout au long du XVIIe siècle : moins imposants, ils réduisirent en hauteur, ce qui atténua leur dimension architecturale. Le cabinet de la galerie Colonna par exemple (pour lequel nous n’avons pas de date certaine, même s’il serait prudent de le situer vers le troisième quart du XVIIe siècle) semble, à l’instar des autres meubles du même type, qu’ils soient en pierres dures ou non, avoir perdu en hauteur ce qu’il a gagné en largeur. De manière générale, le modèle du cabinet tendit à évoluer vers un dessin plus rectangulaire, de dimensions plus restreintes : toutefois, le changement majeur consistait non pas en un format plus petit, mais tenait surtout à un goût nouveau, privilégiant les lignes horizontales aux verticales.[5] Une paire de cabinets appartenant jadis aux Borghèse, et figurant depuis le XVIIIe siècle à Castle Howard (Yorkshire, Angleterre), a été vendue chez Sotheby’s à Londres le 8 juillet 2015 : présentant de nombreuses similitudes avec le cabinet de Paul V, ils ont probablement été réalisés autour de 1620, bien qu’il faille considérer cette date avec précaution, car ils pourraient tout aussi bien remonter aux années 1610. A l’occasion de cette vente, j’ai rappelé comment John Evelyn, après son séjour à Rome en 1644, racontait avoir vu de nombreuses œuvres en pierres dures appartenant aux Borghèse, lors d’une visite le 28 novembre, dans le palais qu’il pensait être celui du cardinal Borghèse (il s’agit sans doute d’une erreur puisqu’en 1644 aucun cardinal Borghèse n’était alors en vie). Le bâtiment qu’Evelyn visita était en réalité le palais Borghèse au Campo Marzio : “We were shown here a fine cabinet and tables of Florence work in stone” [6] (Evelyn les croyait florentines, ainsi que le pensaient souvent les visiteurs étrangers de l’époque). Il est fort probable que le meuble observé par Evelyn ait été le cabinet Borghèse présenté ici. Les Borghèse possédaient beaucoup d’autres cabinets que j’ai déjà dérits par le passé[7] ; cependant, ils n’auraient pas été qualifiés comme uniquement en pietre dure,  car ils étaient également composés de nombreux autres et luxueux matériaux. A partir des documents d’archives qui nous sont parvenus, on peut identifier les différents métiers impliqués dans la réalisation du cabinet Borghèse ;  il est bon de souligner que chacun de ces artisans intervenait sur des aspects bien spécifiques de l’exécution. A l’origine, un architecte livrait le dessin du cabinet et, dans la plupart des cas, supervisait la réalisation de l’œuvre. C’était ensuite au menuisier (falegname en italien) de construire un bâti en bois sur lequel un ébéniste venait plaquer les bois précieux et moulurer les tympans, encadrements et motifs en ébène. Un groupe de lapidaires concevaient les marqueteries en pierres dures, et probablement un autre lapidaire se chargeait spécifiquement des colonnes en lapis-lazuli ; un fondeur (metallaro)  fournissait  les montures en cuivre ou bronze doré, tandis qu’un sculpteur, et peut-être aussi un orfèvre, réalisaient les figures en bronze et en argent. Il fallait enfin que l’ébéniste fixe les montures sur le cabinet et qu’un serrurier (chiavaro) élabore les mécanismes pour ouvrir et fermer les différents tiroirs et compartiments. D’autres artisans étaient certainement sollicités, comme un ébéniste spécialisé dans le travail de l’ivoire par exemple. Les noms des artistes et artisans exerçant ces métiers sous le pontificat de Paul V sont connus.[8] Parmi eux, il est ainsi possible d’en relever quelques-uns, susceptibles d’avoir pu travailler sur ce cabinet, mais en aucun cas ces suggestions ne doivent être considérées comme des attributions. L’un d’entre eux, Innocenzo Toscani, était réputé pour travailler l’ébène : son nom nous amène à penser qu’il était italien, bien que les ébénistes les plus renommés de l’époque vinssent du nord de l’Europe. L’orfèvre originaire de Nuremberg Hans Keller (dénommé Cheller ou Chellero en italien) est mentionné pour la première fois en 1617. L’artisan le plus susceptible d’avoir apporté sa contribution au cabinet est l’ébéniste allemand Remigio Chilolz mais nous n’avons aucune information sur lui avant 1629 (il mourut en 1661). Le fondeur et sculpteur Giacomo Laurenziani apparait plusieurs fois parmi les fournisseurs de Paul V, ainsi que les orfèvres Tomasso Cortini et Martino Guizzardi. Enfin, l’ingénieur et bronzier Pompeo Targone (1575-v.1630)  conçut pour la chapelle Pauline (basilique Sainte-Marie-Majeure) - dont le chantier était suivi avec le plus grand soin par le pontife - des colonnes entièrement recouvertes de lamelles de jaspe enchâssées de métal doré : un tour de force technique jamais réalisé jusque-là, même sous l’Antiquité. Une hypothèse encore plus satisfaisante serait l’ébéniste flamand Giovanni van Santen (connu en Italie sous le nom de Vasanzio) : en 1606, il est mentionné comme proposant dans sa boutique de la Via Giulia des cabinets d’ébène ornés de gemmes, puis il travailla de 1613 jusqu’à sa mort en 1621, comme architecte attitré des Borghèse. Malheureusement, il n’existe pas d’objet comparable nous permettant de faire un rapprochement définitif avec l’œuvre de Vasanzio ou de Targone, bien que la technique employée pour les colonnettes en lapis-lazuli du cabinet Borghèse soit la même que celle employée sur les grandes colonnes de la chapelle Pauline. Un indice confortant la provenance du cabinet est l’exceptionnelle qualité des jaspes ornant sa façade. Dans les documents d’archives, Antonio Del Drago est mentionné en 1608 comme le préposé aux pierres dures du pape: la même année, il reçoit un dépôt de jaspes pour la chapelle Pauline du marchand Giovanni Geri qui approvisionna directement en jaspes le chantier de la chapelle à une autre occasion cette année-là. En 1612, on relève encore le nom de Del Drago vérifiant les fournitures livrées par le fondeur Fiochino (ce dernier pourrait être l’un des auteurs des montures du cabinet). En 1610, un prince sicilien fit livrer des jaspes pour la chapelle du pape et, en 1612, Francesco Cechone est indiqué comme sciant des marbres pour le même chantier (le document parle de marbres plutôt que de pietre dure). Quoi qu’il en soit, une attention toute particulière était portée aux jaspes siciliens puisque l’administration papale fit donner vingt-cinq écus « aux marins qui ont rapporté les jaspes de Sicile »[9]. Il y eut également deux achats successifs en 1609 et 1610 de lapis-lazulis auprès de Giovanni Battista Bolognetti à Venise : ces pierres semi-précieuses étaient, d’après les documents, destinées à la chapelle du pape à Sainte-Marie-Majeure, mais du point de vue de Paul V, ce qui était destiné au pape lui appartenait aussi en propre. N’était-il pas l’élu de Dieu ? [1] J’ai lu récemment la Description de l’inventaire de tout le mobilier existant dans les appartements du Palazzo Nobile à Rome et de celui des appartements du Casino, de la Villa Pinciana, propriétés de Son Altesse Monsieur le Prince Camillo Borghèse occupées temporairement par Sa Majesté le Roi Charles IV (Archives Secrètes du Vatican, Archives Borghèse, fascicule 309). Aucun meuble en pierres dures n’est mentionné au Palazzo. Néanmoins, les propriétés des Borghèse étaient bien plus nombreuses et je n’ai pas eu occasion de voir s’ils existaient des inventaires de l’époque pour les autres résidences de la famille Borghèse, ni n’ai pu accéder aux inventaires de l’époque pour les résidences du prince lorsqu’il vivait à Turin en qualité de Gouverneur d’une grande partie du Nord d’Italie. [2] Ces ouvrages sont : la table de Philippe II offerte par le cardinal Alessandrino au roi d’Espagne en 1587, aujourd’hui au Prado ; une table ayant appartenu au duc de Westminster, datable à mon avis des environs de 1585 (A. Gonzalez-Palacios, Las colecciones reales españolas de mosaicos y piedras duras, Madrid 2001, p. 62) ; une table autrefois à la Corsini Gallery à New York (A. Gonzalez-Palacios, Il Gusto dei principi, Milan, 1993, fig. 702) ; le cabinet de Sixte Quint, et le cabinet Borghèse présenté ici, même si ce dernier date du début du XVII siècle. [3] Simon Swynfen Jervis and Dudley Dodd, Roman Splendour English Arcadia, The English Taste for Pietre Dure and the Sixtus Cabinet at Stourhead, National Trust, Londres, 2015. Voir aussi les importantes enquêtes de H. Roberts, For the King’s Pleasure. The Furnishings and Decorations of George IV’s Apartements at Windor Castle, Londres 2001. [4] R. Coppel, Museo del Prado. Catalogo de la Escultura de Epoca Moderna, Madrid 1998, p. 338 (l’auteur semble attribuer la sculpture à Nicolas Cordier) ; M. Simal Lopez, « Marbres pour le décor du Palais de la Granja », in Splendor marmoris, sous la direction de G. Extermann et A. Varela Braga, Rome, 2016, pages 244-245, fig. 11. [5] Le cabinet Colonna est illustré dans le livre de A. Gonzalez-Palacios, Mobiliers et décors à la cour de Rome, Milan 2004, p. 23 – à la page 22 du même ouvrage est illustré un cabinet du château de Rosenborg, datant de 1678 et témoignant de cette tendance nouvelle : à propos de ce meuble et d’autres cabinets, voir le catalogue de vente Treasures , Sotheby’s, Londres, le 8 juillet 2015, lot 20, sous la direction de M. Tavella et A. Gonzalez-Palacios. Voir aussi Simon Swynfen Jervis et Dudley Dodd, cité supra, où on reproduit une vaste sélection de cabinets romains plus petits et de silhouette rectangulaire, pages 24, 26, 67, 68, 71 et 73. [6] The Diary of John Evelyn, sous la direction de A. Dobson, Londres 1906, 1er volume, p. 199. [7]  Voir Treasures , vente Sotheby’s à Londres, le 8 juillet 2015, lot 20 ; A. Gonzalez-Palacios, “Concerning furniture : Roman Documents and Inventories”, dans Furniture History, vol. XLVI (2010), pages 11, 12, 65-70. [8] A. M. Corbo, Massimo Pomponi, Sources pour l’histoire artistique romaine à l’époque de Paul V, Rome 1995, avec des index très utiles et une liste exhaustive de documents d’archives. [9] Corbo, Pomponi, cité supra, pages 39, 64, 65, 68, 70, 149, 160, 170. Le cabinet Borghèse-Windsor dans les collections royales anglaises Etabli à Londres au 7 Hanway Street, Edward Holmes Baldock (1777-1845) débuta son activité comme marchand de porcelaines, puis se spécialisa dans la conception et la revente de meubles ornés de plaques de porcelaine ou de pierres dures. Il fut l’un des principaux fournisseurs de George IV, ainsi que des grands collectionneurs britanniques comme le duc de Northumberland  à qui il vendit en 1824 les fameux cabinets de Domenico Cucci, provenant des collections de Louis XIV. Ce fut sans doute Baldock qui, afin de mettre parfaitement en valeur le cabinet, commanda la luxueuse console sur laquelle il repose encore aujourd’hui. Cette console est caractéristique de l’œuvre de l’ébéniste français Louis-François Bellangé (1759-1827), dont la production était particulièrement appréciée des amateurs outre-Manche et notamment du roi George IV.  Les Bellangé travaillèrent fréquemment pour Baldock : on retrouve la marque du marchand - EHB - sur un meuble en  pierres dures d'Alexandre Bellangé (cf. S. Cordier, op. cit., pp. 630-631, ALB 5). Epousant discrètement l’architecture du cabinet, la console repose des colonnes géminées dont les chapiteaux ioniques rappellent ceux du cabinet que Louis-François Bellangé livra en 1823 au marchand Maëlrondt ; la frise de rinceaux sur la ceinture de la console est aussi très similaire aux rinceaux du cabinet Maëlrondt  (cf. S. Cordier, op. cit., p. 619, LFB 25). Néanmoins, il se peut également que George IV ait directement commandé à Bellangé la console : une note de la Royal Household fait état en 1829 d’une dette importante de la Couronne envers la veuve Bellangé, correspondant à un meuble "purchased for His Majesty" (cf. S. Cordier, op. cit., p. 356). Jusqu’à maintenant, ce meuble n’avait pas été identifié et il pourrait s’agir de notre console, d’autant que tous les autres meubles connus des Bellangé appartenant aux collections royales proviennent de marchands ou de ventes publiques, et qu’aucun ne fut directement acquitté aux Bellangé. Nous remercions M. Sylvain Cordier pour ces informations qu’il nous a aimablement communiquées. Le 22 mai 1827, Baldock vendit finalement le cabinet au roi George IV (H. Roberts, op. cit., p. 248). Continuant l’œuvre de son père, auquel il succéda enfin en 1820, George IV (1762-1830) contribua grandement à la rénovation du château de Windsor : sous la direction de son conseiller Charles Long et de l’architecte Jeffry Wyatville, une gigantesque campagne de travaux fut entreprise afin de redonner tout son lustre à l’antique forteresse. L’une des innovations majeures fut la création du Grand Corridor : construit entre 1824 et 1828, il ne mesurait pas moins de 168 m de long et desservait les appartements royaux. The Long Gallery se révéla bientôt être un écrin de choix pour les collections du roi : tandis que, sur les murs, se côtoyaient tableaux de maîtres vénitiens et portraits de famille, une quantité impressionnante de consoles, cabinets en laque et meubles d’André-Charles Boulle, sur lesquels étaient disposés bronzes et porcelaines, alternait avec les bustes des monarques britanniques posés sur des gaines. Trois cabinets de pierres dures, dont celui acquis chez Baldock, étaient destinés à compléter l’ensemble (H. Roberts, op. cit., p. 238). Les ébénistes du roi, Nicholas Morel & George Seddon, furent chargés de la décoration du Corridor, aménagé dans le goût Tudor. Comme toutes les acquisitions du souverain, le cabinet leur fut confié pour restauration le 24 septembre 1828 : « To taking out thoroughly repairing, cleaning and polishing, the Mosaic panels lapis-lazuli columns, and precious stones of a large high cabinet […] » (H. Roberts, op. cit., p. 244). Une fois restauré, le cabinet fut livré à Windsor, puis mis en réserve le 13 août 1829. Le cabinet fut bientôt transféré au palais de Buckingham où il orna The Green Drawing Room : une aquarelle par Douglas Morison (1814-1847), datée de 1843 et appartenant aux collections royales britanniques, le montre dans ce salon côté fenêtres, sous un portrait par John Singleton Copley. Il s’y trouvait encore dans les années 1930 et figurait alors de l’autre côté du salon (voir photographie reproduite ci-contre). Mary de Teck épousa le futur roi George V en 1893. Lorsque ce dernier fut titré prince de Galles en 1901, le couple s’installa à Marlborough House, située à l’est du palais Saint-James, jusqu’en 1910, date de leur couronnement. Veuve en 1936, elle retourna habiter à Marlborough House où elle vécut jusqu’à sa disparition en 1953. Grand amateur d’art, Queen Mary fut une collectionneuse passionnée et contribua par de nombreux achats à enrichir les collections royales britanniques. Ses connaissances et sa maîtrise des inventaires lui permirent de retrouver des œuvres importantes, oubliées depuis longtemps dans les réserves ou même « empruntées » abusivement. Il n’est donc pas étonnant qu’elle ait souhaité  pouvoir disposer du cabinet Borghèse pour le décor de sa résidence londonienne. The Borghese-Windsor Cabinet by Alvar González-Palacios Of noble proportions, this late mannerist masterpiece looks like a miniature building, or perhaps a sumptuous objet on a grand scale (its dimensions are 178cm high, including the statuette, x 126 cm wide x 54 cm deep).  Composed of three storeys, its facade is completely covered with pietre dure, and divided by two orders of columns with lapis lazuli veneers, fourteen large columns articulate the ground floor level with twelve smaller columns above. Its splendour is emphasised by the rich colours of the stones, from the intense blue of the lapis lazuli to the variegated luminosity of the jaspers – white and red, orange-red, and yellow with netted markings.  Agates, cornelians and other hard stones with pearly striations and lighter colouring highlight the oval amethyst used in the centre and lining the niche is the most beautiful Sicilian yellow jasper that I have ever seen. This central focus of the constructions is particularly finely executed with the vault and the side tiny doors mounted with gilt bronze and the floor inlaid with ebony and horn. The whole cabinet is richly mounted with bronze and copper gilt from the base mouldings and Corinthian capitals of the colums to the three pairs of scrolls, from the six caryatids to the four female figures modelled in the round – possibly representing Virtues – and by two others on the uppermost pediment.  All the statuettes have silver heads.  The figure of a Roman Emperor is set on top of the cabinet giving the whole a patrician quality.  Its features recall those of Hadrian or Lucius Verus and it is slightly larger in scale than the other statuettes.  The arms in the central pediment are those of Paul V (Borghese, 1605-1621) making a connection between the earthly power of the Roman emperors and the more spiritual power of the Vicar of Christ on earth. This is the most significant Roman cabinet to have come onto to the market for many years.  Its story is partly known but has been retold by Jervis and Dodd (see note 3). Auctioned on 4 July 1821 as the property of an anonymous Collector of Taste, the  Christie’s catalogue description specified that ‘this noble article is from the Borghese Palace’. It was acquired (perhaps after the sale) by the famous London dealer Edward Holmes Baldock for whom it was repaired by Joel Wood in London in 1824.  Three years later on 22 May, Baldock sold it to George IV.  The King had it restored by his cabinet makers, Morel & Seddon in 1828 before it was placed in the Grand Corridor of Windsor Castle.  The Borghese cabinet remained in the Royal Collection until 1959, when it was sold along with its neoclassical stand, which may have been commissioned by Baldock from the French cabinet maker Alexandre-Louis Bellangé.  The Christie’s catalogue of 2 October 1959 describes it as ‘Property of HM Queen Mary, from Marlborough House’. Everything written so far on the Borghese provenance is correct. Prince Camillo Borghese (1775-1832), who as head of the family descended from Paul V, owned the Cabinet, was still relatively young and very wealthy.  The family estates were intact and included all the palaces and property of the Borghese in Rome as well as many properties elsewhere. There were also magnificent art collections, although the greater part of the classical antiquities had been sold at Napoleon’s request to France (although never totally payed for).  After the fall of the Emperor, Don Camillo moved to Florence to the Palazzo Salviati Borghese which had been lavishly redecorated for him.  He continued to have a cordial relationship with Rome and the papacy although it was slightly upset by his anticlerical past. He was a famous man, married since 1803 to Paolina, sister of Napoleon, becoming then a French citizen and a member of the Bonaparte family with the title of Imperial Highness. His brother and heir Francesco Borghese Aldobrandini, lived in Paris and enjoyed a warm relationship with the Bourbon court.  The close ties between Louis XVIII and George IV are well known and it was therefore inconceivable that an object with a doubtful Borghese provenance could have been sold to the King of England. One might wonder why a wealthy man with such a high social profile should have disposed of an object that today we consider a masterpiece.[1] However tastes change and this sort of work was not always in favour.  The Rococo style which emerged in the eighteenth century, was particularly ill-suited to being placed alongside pietre dure. In an age when curves were triumphant, objects made up of stone panels set into dark wood were either relegated to the deposits or sold off.  The most positive  destination for such an object at that time was the King’s Museum (now known as the Jardin des Plantes) not so much on account of its artistic merit but because the great scientists and naturalists of the day, like Buffon, wanted to study rare minerals and stones.  It is therefore unsurprising that George IV acquired the Borghese Cabinet or, that in the same period, the Duke of Northumberland, bought two cabinets made in Paris in 1683 by Florentine stonecutters from the Gobelins manufactory under the direction of another Italian, Domenico Cucci. Although originally made for Louis XIV for Versailles, by the mid-eighteenth century Louis XV was ready to dispose of them. They have remained in England ever since and there is now a much greater awareness of their considerable art historical significance. Furniture exclusively inlaid with pietre dure was made in Rome by individual workshops and is very rare.  In Florence on the other hand there was a single outstanding manufactory, the Galleria dei Lavori, on the first floor of the Uffizi, which belonged to the Grand Dukes, or, in effect, the state.  It had built up enormous reserves of very rare stones acquired over the years, sometimes as a result of expensive expeditions to source the materials in remote places.  Such was the fame of Florentine work that the contribution of Rome has often been lost or confused with that of Florence. This makes the Borghese Cabinet even more unusual because every one of the stones used is siliceous in type.  This means that they are hard stones - in Italian pietre dure – and, because of this characteristic, difficult to cut. The Sixtus V Cabinet at Stourhead House in England, (which is of a greater height at 214cm, but of similar width at 126cm and depth of 84cm), uses both siliceous stones and coloured marbles (defined as pietre tenere, or soft stones, in Italian).  On the facade the colonnettes are made of different types of alabaster or marble while coloured marbles are also set into the sides of the object with only the occasional disc of hardstone like lapis lazuli or agate included among them. The choice of material is noticeably varied, the few pietre dure are relatively small in size.  To cut such stone and polish it is difficult and therefore expensive. Marbles, on the other hand, present less of a challenge, even porphyry and granites require less demanding techniques. It is not surprising that the documents record craftsmen with different specialist skills undertaking this work.  Those that worked the siliceous or hard stones – pietre dure – were mostly goldsmiths and jewellers while those that worked marbles or pietre tenere were stone cutters or marble workers.  To understand the substantial difference between the techniques employed for the two different types of material,  it may help to realise that, to my knowledge only five objects made in Rome in the sixteenth century used pietre dure exclusively.[2]  Even the magnificent Farnese Table originally in  the Palazzo Farnese in Rome and now in the Metropolitan Museum of New York, was made using coloured marbles with only a few details in pietre dure. What makes analysis of this kind of object quite complicated is the absence of a precise chronology.  Very few have documented dates and we almost never know the names of the makers even for the Farnese Table. Neither is there a firm date for the  Sixtus V Cabinet (which is the closest to the Borghese Cabinet as S. S. Jervis[3] has pointed out).  It is possible, though unlikely, that it was made after Sixtus V’s papacy (1585-1590), but stylistic ties with the Table of Philip II (Museo del Prado) made in 1587, point to a date before 1590. The two papal cabinets are by no means completely alike.  Structurally the Sixtus V Cabinet is more vertical than that made for Paul V and the materials and chromatic range are different. The Borghese Cabinet could not have been made before 1605 the date of his ascendance to the papal throne and its shape and character are less graceful though more powerful.  The bronze and silver figures that adorn it have a more plastic, less pictorial aspect, as if made by a sculptor rather than a jeweller.  The figure of the emperor on the top is strikingly close to a sculpture that belonged to Christina of Sweden and is now in the Prado Museum.  Made of alabaster and gilt bronze it shows Tiberius and was remodelled at the beginning of the seventeenth century with an antique torso and head and with hands and feet of gilded metal.[4] Although the two cabinets were made only a few years apart they are also different in character. Not only does the use of colour change from sumptuous and bright in the earlier cabinet to darker and less minutely defined in the later, but also the delicate bands containing little discs that are found both in the earlier cabinet and in the Table of Philip II are nowhere to be seen on the Borghese Cabinet.  The sides of the earlier object, made with coloured marbles, are luminous and bright, though they would have been even brighter had they been made only of pietre dure. A few years later a choice was made with the Borghese Cabinet not to decorate the sides with marbles but to apply veneers of ebony and rosewood instead, giving the object an austere, solemn presence. Cabinets continued to change throughout the seventeenth century, reducing in height and gradually giving less weight to their architectural character. The cabinet in the Galleria Colonna (for which we have no firm date, but which was probably made in the third quarter of the seventeenth century) appears to have lost in height what it has made up in width, like other furniture of this type in Rome whether made with pietre dure or not. In a sense the model itself was evolving towards a series of cabinets which are rectangular in shape but smaller in size.  However the change lay not so much in the reduced dimensions but in the new taste that favoured the horizontal over the vertical.[5] The 2015 Sotheby’s Treasures catalogue featured a pair of cabinets from Castle Howard that also had a Borghese provenance.  Very similar in style to the Paul V Cabinet and close in date, they were probably made around 1620, although this is by no means certain, and they could have been made around 1610. Writing about them in 2015, I described how during his visit to Rome in 1644, John Evelyn recalled having seen a number of objects made of pietre dure belonging to the Borghese.  Evelyn believed them to be Florentine, as did many travellers.  On 28 November he went to visit the Palazzo of Cardinal Borghese (and here he confuses one thing with another because in 1644 there was no Cardinal Borghese alive).  The building Evelyn was visiting was the Palazzo Borghese in Campio Marzio and he writes, “We were shown here a fine cabinet and tables of Florence work in stone”.[6]  It is highly likely that the object seen by Evelyn was the Borghese Cabinet of Paul V.  The Borghese family had many other cabinets, about which I have written elsewhere,[7] but they would not necessarily have been described simply as works in pietre dure because they were made of many other sorts of rich materials as well.  Documents from the archives make it possible to suggest names of craftsmen who may have been involved in building the Borghese Cabinet and it is useful to point out how these craftsmen specialised in different aspects of the construction.  To start with there would have been an architect who produced a design and usually oversaw each stage of the work.  A falegname (or joiner in English, menuisier in French) would build the wooden carcase, then a cabinet maker would lay the veneers of precious woods (in this case ebony and rosewood) and assemble the cabinet, carving architectural details such as the pediments and frames in ebony.  A group of stone cutters attended to the pietre dure inlays and probably a different stone cutter would make the lapis lazuli columns.  A founder or ‘metallaro’ (metalworker) supplied the gilt-brass ornament (such as the scrolls on the facade), while a sculptor and perhaps a silversmith made the more complex elements like the figures in bronze or silver.  The same cabinet maker or another cabinet maker would attach the ornaments and then a ‘chiavaro’ (or locksmith) would have supplied the mechanisms to open and close the cabinet.  I am convinced that there would have been other craftsmen involved as well, perhaps a specialist cabinet maker called in to make the ebony or ivory inlays for the niche. The names of many artists and craftsmen working at the time of Paul V’s papacy, are recorded with descriptions of their specialist skills[8] so it is possible to suggest some of those who might have worked on the cabinet.  Suggestions though should not be considered attributions.  Innocenzo Toscani is one of these and he was mainly a carver of ebony, his name indicates that he was Italian although the most well known cabinet makers in this period were from northern Europe.  Then there is Hans Keller (called in Italian Cheller or Chellero) who appears first, as far as we know, in 1617, whilst the name of the German cabinet maker Remigio Chilolz, who seems the most obvious craftsman to have been involved with Borghese Cabinet, is not recorded  until 1629 and we know he died in 1661.  The founder and sculptor Giacomo Laurenziani figures many times in the accounts of Paul V, as do the silversmiths Tomasso Cortini and Martino Guizzardi.  Meanwhile Pompeo Targone, a founder, engineer and maker of exquisite objects, designed the columns in the Cappella Paolina in S. Maria Maggiore, a project close to Paul V’s heart.  They featured narrow jasper veneers fixed between gilt metal mounts running along the length of the column, something never before seen even by the ancient Romans. Then there was the Flemish cabinet maker Giovanni van Santen (known in Italy as Vasanzio) who may be an even better candidate for the Borghese Cabinet.  In 1606 he is recorded as making ebony cabinets decorated with gems in his workshop in Via Giulia. Subsequently, from 1613 until his death in 1621, he served as architect to the Borghese. Unfortunately we have no other comparisons or relevant objects that would allow an attribution to either Vasanzio or Targone even though the technique used to make the little lapis lazuli columns on the Borghese Cabinet is the same as that used on the very large columns of the Cappella Paolina. One further possible, indeed convincing, indicator of provenance concerns the exceptional quality of jasper used on the facade of Paul V’s Cabinet.  The name of Antonio Del Drago is known from documents which describe him, in 1608, as  keeper of the Pope’s pietre dure.  That year he received a consignment of jaspers for the Cappella Paolina from Giovanni Geri who must have been a dealer in stones because he sold jaspers directly to the chapel on another occasion that year.  In 1612 Del Drago is recorded to supervise the accounts of the brass worker Fiochino (Fiochino could be another craftsmen involved with the mounts for the cabinet).  In 1610 a Sicilian prince sent jaspers for the “Cappella del Papa” and in 1612 Francesco Cechone is recorded as cutting marbles for the same building (the document mentions marbles, rather than pietre dure).  The Sicilian jaspers are however of particular importance since the papal administration recorded a payment of 25 scudi “alli marinari che han portato li diaspri di Sicilia” – to the sailors who brought the jaspers from Sicily.[9] In 1609 and 1610 on two separate occasions, lapis lazuli was acquired in Venice from Giovanni Battista Bolognetti and documents record that these semiprecious stones were destined for the Pope’s chapel at S. Maria Maggiore but as far as Paul V was concerned what belonged to the Pope belonged by right to him as individual, since he had been chosen by God. Translation by Emma-Louise Bassett [1] I have recently read the, “Descrizione di inventario di tutto il mobilio esistente nelli appartamenti del Palazzo Nobile di Roma e di quello delli appartamenti de’ Casini, della Villa Pinciana spettante a S. A. I. il Sig. Pnpe. Camillo Borghese provvisoriamente occupati da S. M. il Re Carlo IV” (Archivio Segreto Vaticano, Archivio Borghese, f. 309). No mention is made of any pietre dure furniture in the Palace.  However the Borghese had many other properties and I have not had the opportunity to discover if there are surviving inventories from this period for the family’s other residences, nor have I been able to access the inventories of the Prince’s residences when he was Governor General of a large part of Northern Italy and lived in Turin. [2] These include the Table of Philip II given to the King of Spain in 1587 by Cardinal Alessandrino, which is now in the Prado Museum;  a table that belonged to the Duke of Westminster, datable by my reckoning to around 1585 (A. Gonzalez-Palacios, Las colecciones reales españolas de mosaicos y piedras duras, Madrid 2001, p. 62); a table that was once in the Corsini Gallery in New York (A. Gonzalez-Palacios, Il gusto dei principi, Milan 1993, fig. 702); the Cabinet of Sixtus V which has been mentioned and the Borghese Cabinet under discussion here, although this last object dates to the early seventeenth century. [3] Simon Swynfen Jervis and Dudley Dodd, Roman Splendour English Arcadia, The English Taste for Pietre Dure and the Sixtus Cabinet at Stourhead, National Trust, London, 2015. See also the significant findings by H. Roberts, For the King’s Pleasure. The Furnishings and Decorations of George IV’s Apartments at Windor Castle”,  London 2001. [4] R. Coppel, Museo del Prado. Catalogo de la Escultura de Epoca Moderna, Madrid 1998, p. 338 (the author appears to be drawn towards an attribution of the sculpture to Nicolas Cordier); M. Simal López, “Marmi per la decorazione del Palazzo della Granja”, in Splendor marmoris, ed. G. Extermann and A. Varela Braga, Rome 2016, pp. 244-245, fig. 11. [5] The Colonna Cabinet is illustrated in A. Gonzalez-Palacios, Arredi e ornamenti alla corte di Roma, Milan 2004, p. 23. On p.22 there is also a picture of a cabinet of 1678 in Rosenborg Castle which follows this new tendency. For more on this and other similar cabinets, see the auction catalogue Treasures, Sotheby’s, London, July 8th 2015, lot 20, ed. M. Tavella and A. Gonzalez-Palacios.  See also  Simon Swynfen Jervis and Dudley Dodd, cit., which includes illustrations of a wide range of smaller rectangular Roman cabinets, pp. 24, 26, 67, 68, 71 and 73. [6] The Diary of John Evelyn, ed. A. Dobson, London 1906, vol. I, p. 199. [7] See the auction catalogue Treasures, Sotheby’s, London, July 8th 2015, lot 20; A. Gonzalez-Palacios, “Concerning Furniture: Roman Documents and Inventories”, in Furniture History, vol. XLVI (2010), pp. 11, 12, 65-70. [8] A. M. Corbo, Massimo Pomponi, Fonti per la storia artistica romana al tempo di Paolo V, Rome 1995, for very useful indexes and an exhaustive list of archive documents. [9] Corbo, Pomponi, cit., pp. 39, 64, 65, 68, 70, 149, 160 and 170.

  • GBRGran Bretaña
  • 2016-09-20
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S.A.R. le Maharadjah d'Indore

Le Maharadjah Raj Rajeshwar Sawai Shri Yeshwant Rao II Holkar XIV Bahadur (1908 - 1961), membre de la dynastie des Holkar de Marathas, épouse Shrimant Akhand Sahib Soubhagyavati Sanyogita Bai Holkar (1913 - 1937) en 1924. Il devient Maharadjah d'Indore en 1926, à l'âge de dix-sept ans, quand son père, Tukojirao Holkar III (1890 - 1978), abdique en sa faveur. Le Maharadjah et la Maharani ont tous deux suivi leur scolarité en Angleterre. Le couple est très amoureux de la vie européenne et ses fastes. Ils possèdent notamment deux maisons en France et leur fille, Usha, naît à Paris en 1933. Leur goût pour l'art moderne les pousse à se faire conseiller par Henri-Pierre Roché (1879 - 1959), marchand d'art de renom qui aide notamment Brancusi, Man Ray et Picabia à se faire connaître dans le monde de l'art. En 1929, le marchand recommande Bernard Boutet de Monvel quand le Maharadjah manifeste sa volonté de décorer l'un de ses palais en Indore, d'un portrait de lui-même, peint par un artiste de renom. Bernard Boutet de Monvel réalise ainsi un premier portrait du Maharadjah en 1929, accoudé à une cheminée dans la maison de l'artiste, passage de la Visitation, en costume de soirée (collection particulière; voir le lot 240 pour un dessin préparatoire). En 1933, le Maharadjah commande au peintre un second portrait, en habit de cour (180 x 180 cm, collection particulière), avec pour pendant un portrait de son épouse en tenue traditionnelle. La paire de tableaux également destinée à orner les murs du palais, coûte trois cent mille francs. Exposée à la galerie Wildenstein, New York en janvier 1934, elle rencontre un immense succès, provoquant la prolongation de l'exposition. Boutet de Monvel est si heureux de l'enthousiasme du public qu'il réalise la même année une réplique du portrait du Maharadjah, en vue de la montrer dans de futures expositions. Il s'agit du tableau présenté ici.  Stéphane-Jacques Addade décrit le tableau qui présente "[...] le maharadjah vêtu du costume maratha traditionnel. Assis sur un gaddi blanc, trône des Holkar, Yeswant Rao Holkar flotterait comme en apesanteur au centre de l'espace immaculé et de la toile si le grenat profond d'un tapis, comme les couleurs chatoyantes du sabre enserré d'une patka benarsi placé entre ses jambes, ne permettaient au spectateur de reconstituer une perspective profonde." (Stéphane-Jacques Addade, op. cit. 2001, p. 266). Le Maharadjah porte les spectaculaires "Poires d'Indore", diamants de près de quarante-sept carats chacun, montés sur un collier de perles par les soins de la Maison Chaumet à l'occasion de ce portrait. Les précieuses poires avaient été montées deux ans plus tôt par la Maison Mauboussin sur un splendide collier, les mariant avec une émeraude éblouissante, visibles sur le portrait de la Maharani en robe du soir peint en 1929. En 1946, Harry Winston se porte acquéreur des deux pierres. La Maharani meurt à l'âge de vingt-deux ans, laissant son mari dévasté. Il épouse l'américaine Margaret Lawler dont il divorce, puis l'américaine Lady Euphemia Watt, qui lui donne un fils, Richard Holkar. En 1948, le Maharadjah signe l'acte de réunion de l'Indore à l'Inde, et travaille beaucoup pour les Nations Unies. Il meurt en 1961 à Bombay. The Maharajah Raj Rajeshwar Sawai Shri Yeshwant Rao II Holkar XIV Bahadur marries Shrimant Akhand Sahib Soubhagyavati Sanyogita Bai Holkar in 1924. In 1926, when he is 17 years old, he becomes the Maharajah of Indore. The young couple is very fond of of the European way of life: they own two houses in France, and give birth to their daughter, Usha, in Paris in 1933. Their taste for modern art leads them to have close ties with Henri-Pierre Roché, who advises them to ask Bernard Boutet de Monvel for their portraits when they inquire to decorate one of their palaces in Indore. In 1929, Boutet de Monvel executes a first portrait of the Maharajah posing in the artist's house, passage de la Visitation, Paris, by his fire place. In 1933, the Maharajah commissions another portrait to the painter, in his traditionnal outfit. The portrait is exhibited with its pendant, a portrait of the Maharani, in 1934 at the Wildenstein Gallery in New York and mesmerizes everyone with its modernity. The artist is so happy with the success of the exhibition that he executes a smaller replica of the portrait of the Maharajah, here presented. The beautiful "Pears of Indore" the Maharajah is wearing strike by their clarity and brightness - each diamond representing almost 47 carats. They were assembled by Chaumet especiallly for this portrait. In 1946, Harry Winston acquires them. The Maharani dies tragically at 22 years old, leaving a devastated man. He remarries an American woman, Euphemia Watt, who will give him a son, Richard Holkar. The Maharajah is very much involved with public affairs : in 1948, the Maharajah signs the union act between India and Indore, and works actively for the United Nations. He dies in 1961 in Mumbay. Signé en bas à gauche BERNARD / B. DE MONVEL 

  • USAEstados Unidos
  • 2016-04-06
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"The Stream of Life" Window from the First Presbyterian Church of

Attributed to Agnes Northrupwith upper tracery elements (illustrated) and three lower inscription panels (not illustrated) Signed and dated TIFFANY STUDIOS N.Y. 1914 in enamel The Stream of Life Tiffany Studios is known today for having introduced the landscape as a suitable subject for religious or devotional windows. In 1881, Louis Comfort Tiffany's first landscape, for an unknown church in Newark, New Jersey, appeared as a sketch in American Stained Glass, a pivotal three-part article by Roger Riordan in American Art Review. The Studio started making landscape windows in earnest in 1895, when Agnes F. Northrop (1857-1953), Tiffanys principal floral-window designer, created one for the Church of the Savior (now First Unitarian Church) in Brooklyn, New York. Landscapes would become a hallmark of the Tiffany style, and leave an enduring mark the history of this art form. The present window personifies Northrops mature style, drawn with confidence and mastery of her subject. A deeply contemplative scene, the composition is a quiet glade in the woods enclosed in trees. Distant mountains are visible only on the far left through a break in the foliage. A small waterfall in the center foreground focuses our attention, the sound of trickling water almost audible. The landscape is still, with huge boulders in the foreground signifying an eternity of time. Low blooming shrubs in the background replace Tiffanys usual riot of flowers, giving the scene solemnity and peace. There is a feeling of specificity here, as though we are visiting a particular place that was known to the donors or dedicatees. The magnificent selection of glass enhances this sense of peace. The flowing colors of the foreground boulders lend them weight, mass, and form. Selected to suggest soft, rounded glacier-tumbled rock, splotches of gold, green, and blue in each piece of glass hint at moss and lichen colonies on damp surfaces. Confetti or fractured glass forms foliage and shrubs, the shards of colored glass embedded in it emulating individual branches and leaves. Mottled or cats-paw glass creates dappled sunlight on the forest floor. The small meandering stream that culminates as a small cascade in the foreground is realistically depicted using plating (layering) of striated and etched glass. In his development of the landscape for religious windows, Tiffany answered a desire from liberal American congregations to illustrate the glory of Gods creation of this beautiful country, instead of Popish saints and rote Biblical stories. A central tenet of many of the newer Protestant sects, as well as a popular theme in American painting, was the sublime presence of the divine in nature. In his long-time employee Agnes Northrop, Tiffany found an able interpreter of the American landscape. Both Tiffany and Northrop were avid floral painters and garden aficionados. Northrop was raised in Flushing, Queens, amid lush gardens and nurseries. She spent her free time drawing or photographing flowers, shrubs, and vines. From the time of her hiring in 1884, Northrops role was to design floral windows, or parts of windows. This evolved into designing landscape windows in the mid-1890s, which became her lifes work. Northrop was one of Tiffanys most important and longest employees, staying with the Studio until its close in 1936 and continuing its work with its successor firm, Westminster Studios, almost until her death at the age of 96. She had her own room within the Womens Department at Tiffany, and traveled with Tiffany on sketching vacations. His fame as a landscape window designer is due almost solely to Northrops talent. Julie L. Sloan, Stained-Glass Consultant, North Adams, MA

  • GBRGran Bretaña
  • 2016-12-14
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Watt bei Ebbe (Fens at Low Tide)

Painted in 1912, Watt bei Ebbe exemplifies the energy and radical experimentation that defined Schmidt-Rottluffs involvement with Die Brücke. Along with Kirchner and Heckel, Schmidt-Rottluff was one of the founders of the movement, pioneering a new form of art that promoted freedom of expression and rejected the traditions of academic painting that had been central to their artistic education in turn of the century Dresden. With faith in progress and in a new generation of creators and spectators we call together all youth, Kirchner wrote in the programme of Die Brücke in 1906, continuing: As youth, we carry the future and want to create for ourselves freedom of life and of movement against the long established older forces. Everyone who reproduces that which drives him to creation with directness and authenticity belongs to us (quoted in C. Harrison & P. Wood (eds.), Art in Theory, 1900-1990, Oxford & Cambridge, 1993, pp. 67-68).  Schmidt-Rottluff spent the summers between 1907 and 1912 in the small coastal town of Dangast often in the company of Heckel. The wild and untouched nature of the surrounding countryside was a significant source of inspiration and the related paintings show an increasing freedom of expression articulated through a visionary use of colour. In Watt bei Ebbe broad swathes of red and orange are juxtaposed against gloriously deep blues and blacks to create a work of remarkable emotional intensity. In their experimentation with colour the Brücke artists were keeping pace with prevailing currents of European modernism and particularly the painting of the Post and Neo-Impressionists. Van Gogh held a particular appeal for this new generation of German artists, as the Expressionist writer Ernst Blass recalled: Van Gogh stood for expression and experience as opposed to Impressionism and Naturalism. Flaming concentration, youthful sincerity, immediacy, depth; exhibition and hallucination The courage of ones own means of expression (E. Blass, quoted in Expressionism in Germany and France (exhibition catalogue), Los Angeles County Museum of Art, Los Angeles & The Montreal Museum of Fine Arts, Montreal, 2014, p. 48). A few months after the founding of Die Brücke in 1905, they had had the opportunity to see his work first-hand at the Van Gogh retrospective held at the Galerie Arnold in Dresden. This proved a pivotal moment for the group and had considerable influence on their development of an expressive aesthetic that was characterised by a flattened perspective. Equally, in the beautiful simplicity and rich colouration of Watt bei Ebbe the influence of Gauguin (fig. 2) is also apparent. Whilst the members of Die Brücke absorbed these influences, they also invested their art with a freshness and naïvety that expressed the self-confidence of youth. Theirs was the first distinctly German artistic movement of the twentieth century, and their bold aesthetic established Schmidt-Rottluff and his colleagues as a reckonable force among the European avant-garde. Perhaps most significant, however, is the correspondence with the vivid compositions of the Fauves (fig. 1), which the Brücke artists are likely to have seen as early as 1906. They also shared with them an interest in the primitive art of the past as a means of confronting the alienation of modern life which for the German artists was made manifest in their revival of older media, such as their use of woodcut prints. This influence is clearly felt in Watt bei Ebbe where Schmidt-Rottluff builds the composition with a remarkable economy of means that borders on abstraction, making full use of light and dark contrasts to achieve his pictorial vision. In the present work Schmidt-Rottluff embraces a Fauve approach to colour but the pictorial clarity is indicative of the singular style that defines his work of this period. Barry Herbert observed this tendency when writing about Schmidt-Rottluffs Brücke canvases: His work reached an extreme pitch of emotional intensity in its semi-abstract handling of form and colour without ever quite losing contact with tangible reality. The brilliantly coloured, loosely applied paint communicates that feverish involvement with the subject that distinguished the young German artist's vision from the more impersonal approach favoured by Matisse, and identified him as, above all, a direct successor to van Gogh and Munch (B. Herbert, German Expressionism, Die Brücke and Der Blaue Reiter, London, 1983, p. 118). This work is registered in the archives of the Karl und Emy Schmidt-Rottluff Stiftung, Berlin. Signed S. Rottluff and dated 1912 (lower right)

  • GBRGran Bretaña
  • 2018-02-28
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A LOUIS XV ORMOLU-MOUNTED SEVRES PORCELAIN, TULIPWOOD, AMARANTH AND END-CUT MARQUETRY TABLE A CAFE

A LOUIS XV ORMOLU-MOUNTED SEVRES PORCELAIN, TULIPWOOD, AMARANTH AND END-CUT MARQUETRY TABLE A CAFE Circa 1761, by BVRB, stamped twice JME and inscribed Poirier md Rue St. Honoré à Paris, the plaque with Sèvres interlaced L's, date letter H for 1760 and painter's mark for Armand L'aîné. The top fitted with a soft-paste Sèvres porcelain tray of eared rectangular shape decorated with three exotic birds in a landscape, the borders with Wittelsbach trellis pattern reserves within gilt scrolled frames, the corners with floral bouquets, the porcelain with blue interlaced L's enclosing date letter H for 1760 and painter's mark of Armand L'aîné and incised mark BP, within a molded ormolu frame secured by scrolled foliate ormolu clasps, the waved sides with molded rim and acanthus-cast handles, with single drawer to the front lined in blue watered silk and inscribed in ink to the back Poirier Md Rue St. Honoré à Paris, the angle mounts cast with guilloche framed by acanthus sprays, on cabriole legs joined by a conforming rectangular top decorated with floral bois de bout marquetry reserve within Wittelsbach trellis parquetry border, on cabochon-encrusted acanthus-cast sabots, the drawer with printed label for 1955 New York Art Treasures Exhibition 1955, no 280, the undertier inscribed in paint 44 and with paper label inscribed Riera C./No. 5(?) (now crossed through), a further small label under the drawer indistinctly inscribed 11 or 14, with incised inscription 1877 Perrin, previously with castors, the plaque with small repair to one edge 26½in. (67.5cm.) high, 14½in. (36.5cm.) wide, 11in. (28cm.) deep

  • USAEstados Unidos
  • 2000-11-02
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Muebles, diseño & espejos

Aquí encontrarás todo tipo de mobiliario a la venta en subastas: sofás, vestidores, sillas, así como muebles de jardín, espejos. Las subastas de muebles incluyen un amplio rango de mobiliario antiguo y nuevo, de varios estilos y eras. Encontrarás también muebles de diseño y lámparas de Escandinavia, así como piezas de Esta-dos Unidos, Reino Unido e Italia creados por algunos de los más prominentes di-señadores como Josef Frank, Arne Jacobsen, Ray y Charles Earnes ,y Ludwig Mies van der Rohe. Resumiendo, muebles para todos los gustos y hogares.