Two ormolu-mounted Sèvres (hard paste) vases and covers, circa 1788-90, the contemporary mounts probably by Thomire. Est. £50,000 - £80,000. Photo: Christie's Images Ltd., 2010.
London – This May Christie’s King Street celebrates 18th century porcelain with two important sales entitled White Gold. The first collection which will be offered on 12 May coincides with the 300th anniversary of the founding of the Meissen factory and is a fitting celebration of this important cultural and historic event. This single owner collection of Meissen and Viennese du Paquier is the property of The Byrnes Children Trust and consists of over 170 lots that will be offered in the morning session. The auction will be immediately followed by the afternoon sale of White Gold - 18th Century Porcelain from Vincennes and Sèvres; one of the most important selections of porcelain to appear on the market from the internationally renowned French manufactures. These two unique sales are a tribute to the great names in European porcelain, which are synonymous with quality across the world, from the Americas to the Middle East and Australia.
White Gold - 18th Century Porcelain from Meissen and du Paquier
Christie’s is proud to offer the Property of The Byrnes Children Trust, a splendid collection of Meissen and du Paquier which wonderfully illustrates how Meissen designs evolved during the eighteenth centry, between 1710 and 1760. The collection is a demonstration of how useful wares that were created for the rich and powerful of the day were elaborately decorated with exquisite gilding, painted scenes and sculptural decoration. As well as the service wares that Dr Byrnes has amassed over the last 40 years he has collected stunning figure groups and vases and these will all be offered in the May sale.
Highlights include pieces from the exquisite Swan service; one of the largest services created in the 18th century, commissioned by influential statesman of the Saxon Court and director of the Meissen factory from 1733-63; Count Brühl. The pieces in this service were the triumph of J.J. Kändler, head of the Meissen sculpture workshop and the most important sculptor in poreclain of the 18th century. The collection features a bottle stand from the service (estimate: £10,000-15,000), illustrated below, beautifully decorated with gilding and moulded with swans, herons, reeds and water, and shell cartouches enclosing the coat-of-arms.
A Meissen pierced flaschenständer from the 'swan service', 1741-42, blue crossed swords mark, pressnummer 26. Photo: Christie's Images Ltd., 2010.
Modelled by J.F. Eberlein, finely moulded with swans, herons, reeds and water, each side centred by a gilt scroll and shell cartouche enclosing the coat-of-arms, beneath a pierced border of strapwork, foliage and flowerheads enriched in gilding, the oval spreading shell-moulded foot with indianische Blumen (small chip to top rim, areas of very slight wear to gilding) - 9¼ in. (23.4 cm.) wide. Est. £10,000 - £15,000
Provenance: Heinrich Count von Brühl (1700-1763), and thence by descent
Kathy Gillmeister Collection, California, no. G149
Notes: For another example of a bottle-holder from the service, see Ulrich Pietsch, et al., Schwanen Service, Meissener Porzellan für Heinrich Graf von Brühl Exhibition Catalogue (Leipzig, 2000), pp. 168-169.
The Swan service was made for Count Brühl (1700-1763), the Prime Minister of Saxony and director of the Meissen factory from 1733-63. Brühl commissioned the service in 1737 on the occasion of his marriage to Maria Anna Franziska von Kolowrat-Krakowska. The moulded decoration (a play on word Brühl, meaning 'watery') was carried out by J.J. Kändler with the assistance of J.F. Eberlein. It would appear to be the largest service produced in the 18th century and Rainer Rückert (Meissen Porzellan 1710-1810, Munich, 1966, p. 118) estimates its original size to have been between 2,200 and 2,400 pieces. Kändler began work on the larger pieces for the service in the summer of 1737, when work on the large armorial service for Graf Sulkowski was still not complete. As director of the factory, Brühl would have been more than aware of Sulkowski's commission, which at the time was the largest privately commissioned armorial service to date, and it is probable that Brühl intended to compete with Sulkowski (see lot 83). The service remained in the possession of the family until after the Second World War.
A Meissen (Augustus Rex) blue and white chinoiserie baluster vase and cover, circa 1725, blue AR monogram mark, 310 inventory number. Photo: Christie's Images Ltd., 2010.
With a high domed foot, bulbous body, tall tapering cylindrical neck and stepped cover, the body painted with two Orientals, one holding a parasol, on a fenced terrace beside rockwork issuing luxuriant flowering plants and with birds and moths in flight, the neck similarly decorated but without figures, with stepped blue bands between the sections, the top of the neck and foot with flowering plants and moths, the cover with rockwork and flowering plants (cover with extended firing crack and minute loss to inner flange) - 17½ in. (44.5 cm.) high. Est. £40,000 - £60,000.
Provenance: A Private European Collection, sale Christie's, London, 28th March 1977, lot 49
Anonymous sale, Sotheby's, London, 17th and 18th October 1988, lot 377
Anonymous sale, Christie's, London, 21st September 1992, lot 104
With Armin B. Allen, New York, October 1992
Literature: M. Cassidy-Geiger, The Arnhold Collection of Meissen Porcelain 1710-50 (London, 2008), p. 202, where this vase is discussed in note 1.
Notes: The pendant vase (which bears a similar indistinct 31[0?] black inventory number) was sold by Christie's in the same 1977 sale (lot 49), by Sotheby's in the same 1988 sale (lot 378) and by Christie's New York on 24th November 1998, lot 26, and it is now in the Arnhold Collection, New York, see Maureen Cassidy-Geiger ibid. (London, 2008), pp. 202-3, no. 21. Another vase decorated en suite (P.E. 7150, lacking a cover) is in the Porzellansammlung, Dresden, see Klaus-Peter Arnold et. al., Meissen Blaumalerei aus Drei Jahrhunderten, Museum für Kunst und Gewerbe, Hamburg, Exhibition Catalogue (Leipzig, 1989), p. 147, no. 35. Cassidy-Geiger points out that the 310 inventory number does not correspond to the 1770 Inventarium, which lists six blue and white teacaddies under 310, but instead the vases are listed under nos. 318-32. For a discussion of the inventory, see Claus Bolz, 'Japanisches Palais-Inventar 1770 und Turmzimmer-Inventar 1769' Keramos, No. 153, July 1996, pp. 83-86.
A Vienna (Du Paquier) two-handled écuelle, cover and stand, circa 1730-35, incised line to base of stand. Photo: Christie's Images Ltd., 2010.
Each side of the écuelle painted in puce camaïeu with figures by classical ruins in wooded landscapes within shaped rectangular cartouches, flanked by dark-brown and gilt diaper panels, with puce scrolling foliage flanking the gilt angular handles, the shallow cover with similar ornament enclosing baskets of flowers radiating around the angular finial, the centre of the saucer similarly decorated within a broad gilt surround, the interior, bowl and cover undersides all richly gilt, the underside of the saucer with brown flower-sprays and puce flowerheads (minute gilded chip to rim of cover, saucer with some wear to enamels at centre) - The stand 5¼ in. (13.4 cm.) diam. Est. £7,000 - £10,000
Provenance: With Klaber & Klaber, London, 2001
Notes: A covered bowl and stand of related form in the Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York, is illustrated by Meredith Chilton et al., Fired by Passion, Vienna Baroque Porcelain of Claudius Innocentius du Paquier (Stuttgart, 2009), Vol. III, p. 1296, no. 316.
White Gold - 18th Century Porcelain from Vincennes and Sèvres
The sale of White Gold - 18th Century Porcelain from Vincennes and Sèvres presents a rare opportunity to view one of the most important selections of porcelain to appear on the market. The last notable collection of Sèvres was sold by Christie’s in December 2001 as part of the Collection Zieseniss that realized in excess of €2.7 million. The second of the White Gold sales this May will chart the history of the Vincennes and Sèvres factory from the 1740s through to the 1790s. Careful research into these factories’ records reveals the extraordinary provenance of the pieces offered in the sale, and much can be traced back to Louis XV, Madame de Pompadour and French nobility. As so much of the production is recorded, the paper trail from the factory’s and dealers’ archives and the owners’ inventories reveal the remarkable provenance of the works that will be offered in May. With estimates ranging from £1,500 to £280,000, this 82 lot sale is expected to fetch in the region of £2 million.
Early pieces from Vincennes were highly influenced by Meissen, as the beginning of the sale catalogue illustrates, though the recipe developed by Vincennes was slightly different to the German factory; Vincennes and Sèvres produced a soft-paste porcelain. A pair of bottle coolers (estimate: £75,000-85,000), illustrated left, demonstrate the influence of the Meissen style and are typical of early Vincennes, with the carefully painted idyllic river landscapes and rich gilding. However, from the 1750s onwards Sèvres began to establish a more contemporary French style, which became more popular in Europe. The innovative techniques developed by the craftsmen throughout the eighteenth century included imitating oriental lacquer and cloisonné, which made Sèvres highly distinctive and popular throughout Europe. All Sèvres pieces were designed for a specific use and the careful cataloguing of the White Gold sale refers to the pieces with their original name in French, which often indicates their particular intended use.
A pair of Vincennes bottle-coolers (seau à bouteille 1ere grandeur), circa 1750, elaborate blue interlaced L's marks enclosing fleur-de-lys, one with dots above and below the mark. Photo: Christie's Images Ltd., 2010.
Each painted in puce camaïeu with two river landscapes with figures, bridges, fortified buildings and trees within slender gilt line and scroll cartouches, the interwoven palm-frond handles enriched in puce and gilding, the rosette terminals issuing further fronds, with single insects below, the interiors with large specimen flowers, with puce scroll borders and gilt band upper rims (both with minor firing faults to handles, one with minute footrim chip) - 7 3/8 in. (18.8 cm.) high (2). Est. £75,000 - £85,000
Provenance: Almost certainly Madame de Pompadour, château de Saint-Ouen.
Gilbert Lévy Collection, Etude Tajan, Hôtel George V, Paris, 10 December 1996, lot 54.
Notes: The sales ledgers of the Sèvres archives record (Vy 1 fol. 5) that 2 seaux a bouteille paysages 216 livres were delivered to Madame de Pompadour on 29 August 1752. Very few examples of this form are recorded in the archives at this period, and a comparison of the costs reveals the present lot as the most likely to have been delivered to Madame de Pompadour.
A posthumous inventory of Madame de Pompadour's chattels was taken in 1764 (published by Jean Cordey, Inventaire des biens de Madame de Pompadour: rédigé après son décés, 1939), and item 390 is recorded as 'deux grands sceaux à bouteilles...le tout de porcelaine de France, en partie à fleurs, à paysages et camayeux'. Pieces were subsequently moved from the château to her Parisian townhouse, the Hôtel de Pompadour, and the movement of these pieces is also recorded in the same inventory on Friday 27th July 1764. Item 1288 records a group of seaux: 'Quinze grands seaux à bouteilles, tant en camayeux que fleurs colorées; prisés cent cinquante livres' which could include the present lot.
An example with very similar Meissen style puce decoration within a gilt cartouche in the musée des Arts Décoratifs, Paris, is illustrated by Tamara Préaud and Antoine d'Albis, La Porcelaine de Vincennes (Paris, 1991), p. 101, no. 38.
Reproductions of the original designs, retained in the Sèvres Archives are reproduced courtesy of the Sèvres-Cité de la Céramique Archives.
Highlights include a beautiful Vincennes bleu lapis vase and cover (estimate: £230,000-280,000), illustrated top right, which was made as a diplomatic gift for Elizabeth of Russia from Louis XV of France in 1757. Originally one of a pair in a five-part garniture, this stunning vase was previously the most expensive lot of the Christie’s New York sale of the Elizabeth Parke Firestone Collection in 1992. A figure group (estimate: £60,000-80,000), illustrated right, is a rare collector’s piece with only one other known example in a museum collection. This unusual fine glazed white porcelain group represents a scene from a contemporary comic opera by Charles-Simeon Favart, whose works inspired artists such as Boucher. Madame de Pompadour played a very important role in the commissioning of Sèvres as well as setting trends, with exquisite pieces such as a bleu mosaique ewer and basin or pot a eau a la romaine et jatte (estimate: £30,000-40,000), illustrated left. The decorative border on the ewer and basin became popular in the 1750s and ’60s and it is recorded that Madame de Pompadour was amongst the earliest buyers of pieces with this design.
A Vincennes royal bleu lapis two-handled baluster vase and domed cover (vase urne antique), 1755-56, blue interlaced L's mark enclosing date letter C and with four dots above, between and below, two blue dots to underside edge and incised 3. Photo: Christie's Images Ltd., 2010.
With quatrefoil lip and slender perforated ear-shaped handles enriched with gilt splashes, each side painted with bouquets of fruit and flowers within rich rocaille ciselé gilt cartouches with foliage, flowers, scrolls and trellis-pattern panels, reserved on a gilt caillouté bleu lapis ground, the quatrefoil shaped cover with similar ground, gilt dentil rims (slight chip to top rim and inside rim of cover) - 12 in. (30.5 cm.) high. Est. £230,000 - £280,000
A Vincennes group of lovers observed before an urn (groupe de vandrevolle), circa 1752. Photo: Christie's Images Ltd., 2010.
Modelled as a kneeling shepherd grasping the arm of a seated maid, at her side a youth feeds a sheep, a rockwork base before a flower encrusted vase on a plinth, to the rear of the group stands another figure holding his finger to his lips, a sheep at his feet (the figure to the reverse re-attached with associated restoration to his right foot, chipping to her rigth hand fingers) - 11¾ in. (29.9 cm.) high. Est. £60,000 - £80,000
Provenance: Gilbert Lévy Collection, Etude Tajan, Hôtel George V, Paris, 10 December 1996, lot 56.
Notes: This group depicts a scene from a comic opera by Charles-Siméon Favart, first performed as Les Vendanges de Tempé in 1745 and revived as La Vallée de Montmorency ou les amours villageois. A contemporary record of the second version, performed in Paris at the Théâtre Italien on 25 February 1752 is given by Claude Parfaict, Dictionnaire des Théâtres de Paris... (Paris, 1767), Vol. VI, p. 30. The present group depicts a scene were Lisette and The Little Shepherd meet and are observed by his father, Mathurin, who has been brought by Babette, Lisette's jealous cousin, to discover the trysting couple.
The group was known in the Vincennes factory records as groupe de Vandrevolle, probably a reference to the sculptor Van der Voost who was working in Paris at the time. Three finished glazed versions of the group are recorded in the Sèvres archive, the first on 30 June 1753 (Vy 1 fol. 30), sold to M. (Jean-François) de Verdun, a shareholder in the factory. The other two were sold to unnamed buyers on 11 September 1753 (Vy 1 fol. 17) and 17 September 1754, each for 120 Livres.
Only two complete glazed versions of this group are known, apart from the present example another from the Pierpont Morgan Collection is illusrated and discussed by Linda H. Roth and Clare Le Corbeiller, French Eighteenth-Century Porcelain at the Wadsworth Atheneum, the J. Pierpont Morgan Collection (Hartford, 2000), pp. 345-348, no. 172. An unglazed and incomplete version was sold Christie's, London, 3 December 1984, lot 19. For the later biscuit variant of this popular group see Svend Eriksen, The David Collection, French Porcelain (Copenhagen, 1980), pp. 73-74, pl. 63.
A Sèvres bleu mosaique ewer and basin (pot à eau à la romaine et jatte), 1760-61, blue interlaced L’ marks, enclosing date letter H to ewer, painter's marks for Cardin, the ewer incised H, the basin incised S. Photo: Christie's Images Ltd., 2010.
The baluster ewer moulded with foliate scrolls to the rim and handle, supported by a quatrefoil foot, the quatrefoil basin with flared thumbpieces, painted with sprays of fruits and flowers within blue and gilt borders reserved with flower-sprays in gilt scrolls cartouches (rubbing to gilding, minor chipping to rim of ewer and two blemishes to handle, wear to the interior of the basin) - The ewer -- 9¼ in. (23.5 cm.) high; the basin -- 14 3/8 in. (36.5 cm.) wide (2). Est. £30,000 - £40,000
Provenance: Probably the ewer and basin delivered to Madame de Pompadour on 1 September 1762.
Notes: The decorative border on this ewer and basin and the folloing two items in the sale became popular in the 1750s and 60s, a fashion led by Madame de Pompadour who is recorded amongst the earliest buyers of pieces with this design, see Tamara Préaud and Antoine d'Albis, La Porcelaine de Vincennes (Paris, 1991), pp. 70-71, no. 7. The pattern is also associated with the service presented to Carl Theodore, Elector Palatine.
The only relevant record for a ewer and basin of this type in the Sèvres archives (Vy 3 fol. 117 v°) states on 1 September 1762, delivered to Mme de Pompadour:
1 Pot a la Romaine & jatte mosaique fleurs 180 (livres)
A posthumous inventory of Madame de Pompadour's chattels was taken in 1764 (published by Jean Cordey, Inventaire des biens de Madame de Pompadour: rédigé après son décés, 1939), and in the section of porcelain formerly at the Château de Saint-Ouen, removed to the hotel de Pompadour, item no. 1312 records:
--Un grand pot à l'eau et sa jatte forme romaine à fleurs colorée; priseée trente six livres
Many of these chattles were inherited by Mme. de Pompadour's brother, Abel-François Poisson de Vandières, marquis de Marigny and de Ménars, whose collection was sold in Paris in 1781; lot 626 in this sale was described as:
Un petit Broc dans fa jatte de même porcelaine (idem 'porcelaine de Sevres'), avec deffin en mofaïque & bouquets de fleurs.
Claude-Joseph Cardin was a painter of flowers active at Vincennes and Sèvres from 1749 to 1787.
Provenance: Purchased by Lazare Duvaux, 20 August 1756 - 1 January 1757.
Presented on behalf of Louis XV to Tsarina Elizabeth of Russia by the Marquis de l'Hospital to Count Voronzov.
Elizabeth Parke Firestone; Christie's, New York, 21-22 March 1991, lot 201.
Literature: Tamara Préaud and Antoine d'Albis, La Porcelaine de Vincennes (Paris, 1991), p. 193, no. 234.
Rosalind Savill, The Wallace Collection, Catalogue of Sèvres Porcelain (London, 1988), Vol. I, p. 149.
Notes: The present vase is part of an extravagant gift from Louis XV to the Elisabeth of Russia. Contemporary accounts of the gift emphasise the importance of this commission to relations between France and Russia. The Seven Years' War (1756-63) involved many of the major powers in Europe and had repercussions around the world. At the beginning of the conflict, Great Britain and Prussia, allied with several smaller German states were pitted against France, Russia, Austria, Sweden and Saxony.
The vase is one of a pair which appear in the sales ledgers of the Sèvres archives (Vy 2 fol. 16), between 20 August 1756 and 1 January 1757, delivered to M. Duvaux:
2 Vases d'apres l'antique lapis Caillouté 600 (Livres each) 1200 (livres in total)
The pair of vases and the other elements from a five vase garniture appear in the Livre Journal de Lazare Duvaux in June 1757, entry no. 2806:
S.M. le Roy: Dès le 12 janvier dernier, fourni à M. le Marquis de l'Hofpital pour la Ruffie, (...) Autre garniture en gros-bleu: un vafe à mettre des fleurs, peint à enfans, 432 l. -- Deux caiffes, idem, 384 l. -- Deux vafes cailloutés à fleurs, 1,200 l. total 2.0161 l. (...) Mémoire remis à M. Rouillé, 8,320 l.
Another record of payment of this delivery appears in September 1757, entry no. 2861:
J'ai receu de S. M. le ROY la fomme de 8,320 l. pour l'article écrit au folio 189, livré à M. le marquis de l'Hofpital
The garniture appears several times in the archives of the Ministère des affaires étrangères Vols. 2073 and 2078 from the fonds "Mémoires et Documents - Supplément - Fonds divers - France":
Une garniture de bleu foncé composée/d'un vase a mettre des fleurs à sujets d'enfans/pour le milieu 432 (livres)
Deux urnes couvertes meme bleu peintes a/fleurs cailloutées en or sur le fonds 1200 (livres)/Deux Caisses quarrees à Sujet d'enfans 384 (livres)
Another contemporary document, Pierreries et bijoux des présens du Roi also records the garniture. The final mention of the garniture in the Ministère des Affaires Etrangères archives on 15 January 1757 points to the final recipient of the gift, gathered from various sources:
Etats des présends faits par le Roi/Presens destinés pour l'ambassade de/Russie et remis à M. Le M
(...) M. Le M
Count Michael Illarionovich Voronzov, was Grand Chancelier of Russia in 1758-59. One of his nieces, Princess Dashkova (1743-1810), née Vorontzova, was god-daughter of both Empress Elizabeth and the future Peter III
For the original plaster model and a full discussion of this form see Rosalind Savill, The Wallace Collection Catalogue of Sèvres Porcelain (London, 1988), Vol. 1, pp. 148-153.