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236

FROM THE ESTATE OF COUNTESS MOIRA ROSSI DI MONTELERA

CHALCEDONY AND GEM-SET CARVING OF THREE PEKINGESE DOGS, CARTIER, EARLY 20TH CENTURY
Estimate
10,00015,000
LOT SOLD. 16,800 GBP
JUMP TO LOT
236

FROM THE ESTATE OF COUNTESS MOIRA ROSSI DI MONTELERA

CHALCEDONY AND GEM-SET CARVING OF THREE PEKINGESE DOGS, CARTIER, EARLY 20TH CENTURY
Estimate
10,00015,000
LOT SOLD. 16,800 GBP
JUMP TO LOT

Details & Cataloguing

CHALCEDONY AND GEM-SET CARVING OF THREE PEKINGESE DOGS, CARTIER, EARLY 20TH CENTURY
Naturalistically carved to depict three dogs, standing, sitting and lying respectively each with rose-cut diamond eyes, length approximately 100mm, height approximately 35mm, 45mm and 50mm respectively, unsigned.
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Provenance

Countess Moira Mary Forbes was born in 1910, the eldest of two daughters of the Marchioness of Bute, 8th Earl Granard and Beatrice, his countess who was the daughter of American financier Ogden Mills of Staatsburg, USA. Lady Granard née Ogden Mills, was a frequent patron of Cartier and was described as "the last great buyer of Kokoshniks in London", ordering one in 1922, 1923 and a third in 1937, purchasing versions in seed pearls, diamond drops and a novel combination of aquamarine beads, sapphires and pearls. In 1937 Chips Channon remarked in his diary about a dinner he held in February of 1938 attended by Winston and Mrs Churchill, that "Lady Granard could scarcely walk for jewels". A combination of European aristocracy and American wealth allowed the Countess's daughter to indulge her two passions for horse racing and jewellery, at her homes in London, Paris, Ireland and on the Hudson River. It was her second marriage to Theo Rossi that bestowed on her the exotic title.

Literature

Cf: Cartier 1900-1939, Judy Rudoe, British Museum Press, 1997, plate 54, page 115, for an example of a carved jade Pekingese made for Cartier New York, c 1925, housed within one of Cartier's distinctive glass cases with decorative mounts.

Cf: Fabergé in The Royal Collection, Caroline de Guitaut, Royal Collection Enterprises Ltd, 2003, plate 70, page 79, for an example of a carved fluorspar Pekingese attributed to Alfred Pocock, for Fabergé, Alfred Pocock was an independent modeller who produced animal carvings for Fabergé London shop.

Cf: Sotheby's, Important Silver and Gold Boxes, London June 1st 2006, lot 8 for a carved rose quartz Pekingese by Cartier from The Estate of Countess Moira Rossi de Montelera, which is identical to the fluorspar  example attributed to Alfred pocock for Fabergé, in the Royal Collection.

Cf: Drouot Richelieu, Paris, November 4th 1998, lot 94 for a carved agate group of three Pekingese(damaged to feet), attributed to Fabergé, identical to the above lot.

 

Catalogue Note

During two separate visits to Russia in 1904 and 1905, Pierre Cartier explored the workshops of the leading St Petersburgian  and Moscovite Lapidaries, for the purpose of sourcing the very best that the Russian craftsmen of the day were producing. Fine enamels and hard stone carvings were a particular Russian speciality, and were purchased by Cartier to fulfil the belle Epoque fascination with the new Russian style with its deferential nods to the 18th Century.

Russian lapidaries Svietchnikov (from Moscow) and Karl Woerffel (from St Petersburg and a major supplier to Fabergé), both began supplying hard stone carvings for Cartier, working to their own design as well as those commissioned by Cartier. Beyond commissioning of Russian craftsmen, in 1910, Cartier made direct purchases of two animals direct from Fabergé, a pink jade pig and a cornelian fox. Simultaneously French craftsmen began familiarizing themselves with the Russian style, and soon the workshops of Varangoz, Fréville and Césard began supplying Cartier with items in this style.

Whilst many of the animal hard stone carvings that are today attributed to Fabergé were almost certainly produced in the Russian or French workshops that also supplied Cartier, the commonality of style and absence of any signature makes it impossible in the majority of cases to ascertain the identity of the original seller in the absence of cases or historical provenance. The problem in attempting to distinguish between the two firms is further compounded by the extensive research and documentation of Fabergé objects held in collections and the lack of equivalent recorded information for Cartier items.

In 1907,  Fabergé was commissioned to produce models of the animals at Sandringham as a present for King Edward VII. At this juncture Louis Cartier became concerned that the market was becoming saturated with animal carvings, due in part to the British enthusiasm for immortalizing their favourite pets in this decorative manner - King Edward's beloved Norfolk terrier Caesar and Queen Alexandra's Pekingese having already been immortalised in hard stone.

In 1917 Fabergé London shop closed and their clientele transferred their custom to Cartier, which continued to produce hard stone carving well in the 1920s adding new models to their repertoire, while there are similarities Cartier also employed some distinctive differences notably the use of rose quartz and the use of glass presentation cases with decorative mounts to house some of their carvings.

 

 

 

 

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