Our sale A Tale of Two Cities: Venice and Dresden, featuring two exquisite private collections from the titular cities, achieved a total of £2,463,567. The top lot of the sale was a pair of late-18th-century Italian commodes, which sold for £149,000. Also performing well were a Florentine pietre dure inlaid table top from the first half 17th century (£106,250), a Régence polychrome vernis Martin commode (£97,500) and an important Nymphenburg figure of Pierrot from the Commedia dell’arte (£93,750).
Each of the two collections offered in this sale embodies the essence of its city of origin.
The collection from a charming Venetian Palazzo overlooking the Grand Canal incorporates an array of 18th-century Italian pieces, paired with modernity, unique textures, mediums, forms, colour and motifs, providing a visual language and culminating in what Venice itself is often described as - fascinating. With a wonderful Florentine pietre dure marble table top, carved giltwood mirrors and console tables, Venetian Rococo chinoiserie dining chairs, Oriental and European ceramics, Old Master and Modern paintings, drawings, tapestries, carpets, 20th-century-designed furniture and glass and furthermore, appropriately incorporating that essential Venetian component - kaleidoscopic Murano glass.
Porcelain, with its purity of colour, lightness, opaque translucency and its inviting touch allows one to understand how this precious and elusive material held a certain power over its collectors in early 18th-century Europe. The private German collection of exquisite Meissen, the second half of the auction, allows us to see fully the true breadth of imagination of the chief decorator Johann Gregorius Höroldt and the skill of the painters in his workshop, through pieces depicting mysterious landscapes, amusing oriental figures in vibrant costumes, luscious exotic flora and mysterious lurking creatures, birds and insects. A highlight in the collection are two important Nymphenburg figures, in colours, modelled by Franz Anton Bustelli, of Lalagé and Pierrot from the Commedia dell’Arte, encompassing fully the spirit of the time.