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  • 4 mai 1989—13 oct. 2017

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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

  • USAUSA
  • 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

  • USAUSA
  • 2003-10-22
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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).

  • USAUSA
  • 2004-10-23
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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

  • GBRGrande Bretagne
  • 2005-12-14
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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)

  • USAUSA
  • 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

  • GBRGrande Bretagne
  • 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.

  • GBRGrande Bretagne
  • 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 

  • USAUSA
  • 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

  • GBRGrande Bretagne
  • 2016-12-14
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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

  • USAUSA
  • 2000-11-02
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The Goldfish Pool at Chartwell

We are grateful to David Coombs for his kind assistance with the cataloguing of the present work. Painted in 1932, The Goldfish Pool at Chartwell is undoubtedly Churchill's masterpiece from the decade. Hung in pride of place above Lady Soames's mantelpiece in the Drawing Room at West House, the painting is a culmination of all that Churchill had learnt since first wielding a paint brush in 1915. Chosen by the artist to be illustrated in the first edition of Painting as a Pastime published in 1948, the painting is a striking manifestation of the artist at his very best. Capturing the spontaneous movement of vividly coloured golden orfe, the composition combines a masterly demonstration of Churchill's skill and talent in recreating the subtle reflections and texture of water whilst at the same time bringing to life a subject that was particularly dear to him. His grand-daughter Emma Soames recalls the Sunday ritual for all the grand-children of following their Grandpapa down to the pool to watch him feed the goldfish. Pied-piper like, they would proceed in single file behind him, across the stepping stones to his usual seat by the water-side where Churchill would tap his walking stick, stirring the goldfish to life. The pool was part of Churchill's extensive renovation of all the water features at Chartwell and became a particularly contemplative spot where he could be found feeding his beloved fish right up until the end of his life. Enthusiasm for the goldfish stretched across all generations: ‘Yesterday Papa and I walked round all the lakes, and in the round one below the pool there are about 1,000 little golden orfe! Isn’t it exciting? They are no bigger than this and pale goldy yellow in colour with here & there a touch of red. They look so sweet swimming about in the weeds. Papa is very much excited, as indeed we all are, and he says their existence is due to the horrible common tenches, pike etc, which would prey on them, having been killed…’ (Mary Soames, letter to Clementine Churchill, 1938, quoted in Mary Soames, A Daughter’s Tale, Doubleday, London, 2011, p.157). Unlike many of his landscapes at Chartwell which focus on a wide panorama of the impressive gardens, stretching out over the Weald of Kent, The Goldfish Pool is unusual in zooming right into the water itself taking in the luscious foliage along the water side. More than simply capturing a corner of the pond however, the picture is an exemplary essay in tonality, combining multiple hues of greens and browns to striking effect. The quality of handling is unparalleled within his oeuvre, Churchill's deft brush-strokes enlivening the water's surface, portraying the dynamic interplay of light, reflection and movement with great aplomb.

  • GBRGrande Bretagne
  • 2014-12-17
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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 Each with padded back, arms and seat covered in crimson floral damask, the shaped rectangular back framed with foliage-bound reeding, headed at the angles by paterae, the scrolled serpentine toprail centred by a pierced anthemion, 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 'I', the other numbered 'II', with two pairs of batten-holes front to back, the seat-rails raised and with large screw-holes in the centre of each seat-rail and at the top of each leg, with beechwood frames, seat-rail facings, frontrails and legs in limewood; chair 'I' with two oak and two beech cross-struts; re-gilt; chair 'II' with two mahogany and two beech cross-struts, the upper part of the pierced anthemion cresting possibly replaced; re-gilt (see page 33) 30¼ in. (77 cm.) wide overall; the seats 27 in. (68.5 cm.) wide; 41¾ in. (106 cm.) high; 30¼ in. (77 cm.) deep (2)

  • GBRGrande Bretagne
  • 1997-07-03
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Mobilier, Design & Miroirs

Différents types de mobiliers tel des canapés, commodes, chaises et miroirs ainsi que du mobilier de jardin mis en enchères sont regroupés dans cette catégorie. Ces ventes de mobilier incluent du mobilier ancien et moderne de divers styles et époques. Vous trouverez aussi dans cette catégorie du mobilier et des lampes design provenant de la Scandinavie, mais aussi du Royaume Uni, des États-Unis et de l’Italie fait par des designers connus dans le monde entier tel que Josef Frank, Arne Jacobsen, Ray et Charles Eames et Ludwig Mies van der Rohe. Tout simplement, vous trouverez des meubles pour tous les types de maisons.

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