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PROPERTY OF THE HARCOURT FAMILY

A very rare gilt-bronze mounted pomegranate pot-pourri, circa 1745-50
Estimate
8,00012,000
LOT SOLD. 37,500 GBP
JUMP TO LOT
22

PROPERTY OF THE HARCOURT FAMILY

A very rare gilt-bronze mounted pomegranate pot-pourri, circa 1745-50
Estimate
8,00012,000
LOT SOLD. 37,500 GBP
JUMP TO LOT

Details & Cataloguing

Arts of Europe

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London

A very rare gilt-bronze mounted pomegranate pot-pourri, circa 1745-50
probably Chantilly, naturalistically modelled and painted as a ripe green pomegranate with a hinged cover with a pierced gallery, beside two small tree-stumps issuing flowers, resting upon a rockwork base applied with leaves and flower buds, raised on a later foliate mount.
23.5cm., 9 1/4 in. wide
Read Condition Report Read Condition Report

Provenance

Probably acquired by Simon, 1st Earl Harcourt (1714-1777), British Ambassador to Paris 1768-1772, of Nuneham Courtney, Oxfordshire;
Thence by descent.

Catalogue Note

Simon Harcourt, from the eminent Harcourt family whose history traces back to a thousand years in Normandy, was appointed as the British Ambassador to Paris from 1768 to 1772. For this he was supplied with one of the most celebrated ambassadorial silver services provided by Royal goldsmiths Parker & Wakelin, see Sotheby's London, The Harcourt Collection, 10 June 1993. He also travelled extensively on the continent - both on a Grand Tour, and on various diplomatic and ambassadorial missions, collecting along the way exquisite works of art, see lot 87 in this sale. He lived at Nuneham Courtney, on the Thames outside Oxford, which remained in the Harcourt family until it was sold after the Second World War.

The pomegranate in the 18th century was seen as one of the many new and exotic luxury items being imported into Europe and reserved for the upper echelon of society. The first performance of Jean Racine’s Iphigénie took place in the Orangerie of Versailles on 18thAugust 1674. André Felibien, secretary of the Royal Academy of architecture, commented on the setting:

'…beyond that was the avenue of the Orangerie itself, bordered on both sides by orange and pomegranate trees, intermixed with several porcelain vases filled with different flowers…' , Michel Baridon, A History of the Gardens of Versailles, 2012, p. 190.

Interest into these new specimens grew with speed. Contemporary to the production of this form the French Physician and Botanist Henri-Louis Duhamel du Monceau (1700-82) began the manuscript of what would become Traite des Arbres Fruitiers [Treaties on Fruit Trees]; the completed work was published in 1768.

An almost identical example mounted in gilt-bronze with pierced holes on the shoulder is in the Wrightsman collection, previously in the collection of Louis-Philippe Robert Orléans, Duc d'Orléans (published in the collection catalogue, 1970, vol. II , no. 265, vol. IV, no. 124; Geneviève Le Duc, Porcelaine tendre de Chantilly au XVIIIe siècle, 1996, p. 177). A related example of a different design depicting a horizontal pomegranate resting on a rockwork modelled base was in the Frédéric Halinbourg collection of Chantilly porcelain, sold at Hôtel Drouot, Paris, 22nd-23rd May 1913, no. 128.

Arts of Europe

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London