PARIS - It is an immense pleasure for us to exhibit in Paris a veritable French Renaissance masterpiece from the collections of the Dukes of Northumberland: a series of rare enamels hardly ever seen in public. They were produced in Limoges in 1530, after illustrations by the famous 16th century engraver Sébastien Brandt, by the Master of The Aeneid – a fabulous enameller revered throughout the world. The panels portray key episodes from Virgil’s Aeneid, that monument of European literature, and come from a vast ensemble of 82 pieces, many of which are now in leading museums like the Louvre and the New York Metropolitan Museum.


Master of the Aeneid (active circa 1530-1535) French, Limoges, circa 1530 Six panels representing scenes from Book VIII of the Aeneid. Estimate £800,000-1,200,000.

These enamels are incredibly well preserved given their age, and superbly executed: displaying infinite delicacy, the Master deposited a powder of humidified enamel on a copper plaque, which was then heated and the colouring heightened with gold; the panels are also illuminated here and there with the ensemble is touches of white. The artist's virtuoso skill is apparent in the meticulous detailing, refined draughtsmanship, folds of the fabrics, subtle shading, beauty of the faces and the intricate pigments, that almost seem to have been applied with a needle. The enamels have been in the Ducal collection since 1908, and are among the ones from the original ensemble still in private hands. Their arrival on the market is sure to thrill connoisseurs and seasoned collectors alike.

EUROPEAN SCULPTURE AND WORKS OF ART HIGHLIGHTS ON VIEW AT SOTHEBY’S PARIS FROM 20 TO 25TH JUNE

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