German, late 17th/ early 18th century. Turned cup with flowers. photo Sotheby's

ivory; 25cm., 9 3/4 in. Estimate 20,000—30,000 GBP.. Lot Sold 51,650 GBP


German, late 17th/ early 18th century. Turned cup. photo Sotheby's

ivory; 23.5cm., 9¼in. Estimate 25,000—35,000 GBP. Lot Sold 49,250 GBP

NOTE: These two intricately turned ivory cups (see also lot 100) are excellent examples of a noble tradition in European art. The turner's lathe captured the imagination of the aristocracy from the late Renaissance through to the 18th century. The remarkable manipulations of the ivory represented man's conquest over nature. The more complicated the turned ivory object was, the greater the fascination became for both sculptor and collector. In the 17th century the turning of such ivories became a favourite pastime of princes, who would employ master turners as their teachers. By the 18th century the popularity of the craft had spread and many of Europe's aristocrats were using newly published manuals (such as the ones by Plumer from 1701 and Bergeron from 1796) for instruction and inspiration. For a cup turned in a similar style see lot 287 from Sotheby's Die Sammlung der Margrafen von Baden sale on 5-21 October 1995.

RELATED LITERATURE: O. Beigbeder, Ivory, London, 1965, p. 110; H. Bredekamp, La nostalgie de l'antique. Statues, machines et cabinets de curiosités, Paris, 1996; G. Laue, Gedrehte kostbarkeiten, Munich, 2004; K. Maurice, Der Drechselnde Souveran, Zurich, 1985; E. Tartaglia, Les ivoires tournés. MS Université Paris I, Paris, 2005


South German or Austrian, circa 1700, St. Sebastian. photo Sotheby's

ivory and wood, on a turned wood base; figure: 34cm., 13 3/8 in. base: 5cm., 2in.; Estimate 10,000—15,000 GBP. Lot Sold 10,000 GBP



South German, 17th-18th century. Siamese twins on a pillow. photo Sotheby's

ivory figure on a hardwood pillow inlaid with ivory, with a later wood base; overall: 7 by 11 by 7cm., 2¾ by 4¼ by 2¾in. Estimate 3,000—5,000 GBP. Lot Sold 6,875 GBP

Sotheby's. Old Master Sculpture and Works of Art, 07 Dec 10, London www.sothebys.com