Lot 6
  • 6

A pair of Louis XV ormolu-mounted kingwood, tulipwood and marquetry encoignures attributed to Jean-Pierre Latz circa 1750, largely remounted

80,000 - 120,000 USD
bidding is closed


  • kingwood, tulipwood, marquetry, gilt-bronze
  • height 37 3/4 in.; width 35 in.; depth 25 in.
  • 96 cm; 89 cm; 63.5 cm
the molded Griotte marble top above two cupboard doors decorated with bois de bout floral marquetry, the doors and the frieze mounted with ormolu borders of scrolling vines, C-scrolls, and rocaille motifs, the apron centered by an acanthus spray over a pierced mount, the chutes with ormolu C-scrolls issuing espagnolettes and terminating in foliate sabots; old handwritten paper labels to the underside inscribed 'SB lot #650/aRT #35', one encoignure stenciled in ink with an inventory number 16940, the majority of the ormolu mounts of a later date stamped with the monogram L.T. on the reverse


The Collection of Princess Paley, St. Petersburg, Russia
Acquired from Mr(?) Symons, presumably the connoisseur Henry Symons, whose collection was sold at Anderson Galleries, New York, January 27-February 3, 1923, by French & Company, New York
Acquired from French & Company by William Randolph Hearst, June 10, 1930 for $11,000, possibly for San Simeon, California, and subsequently sold at Parke-Bernet Galleries, New York, The William Randolph Hearst Collection, Part IV, January 5-7, 1939, lot 192.
Acquired at the Hearst sale by French & Company, New York
Sold Sotheby's London, May 15, 1998, lot 194
Sold Christie's New York, October 23, 1998, lot 79


Henry Hawley, 'Jean-Pierre Latz, Cabinet-maker', The Bulletin of The Cleveland Museum of Art, September/October 1970, pp. 245-7, fig. 39.
'Une paire d'encoignures estampillée Latz et Boudin', L'Objet d'art/L'Estampille, December 1992.


Marble tops possibly original and now with restored breaks, small chips and losses to edges, and areas of infill. Largest chip to marble approximately 1 in. by 1/2 inch to back edge. Mounts are later, probably second half of the 19th century, but of high quality and with nice chasing, most are marked with an LT bronzier mark. Apron mount appears to be original. Mounts now with some oxidation, surface dirt, and rubbing but in good condition. Veneers with some surface restorations and small patches. Usual small nicks, scratches, and small losses consistent with use and age but overall in very good condition.
In response to your inquiry, we are pleased to provide you with a general report of the condition of the property described above. Since we are not professional conservators or restorers, we urge you to consult with a restorer or conservator of your choice who will be better able to provide a detailed, professional report. Prospective buyers should inspect each lot to satisfy themselves as to condition and must understand that any statement made by Sotheby's is merely a subjective qualified opinion.

Catalogue Note

This pair of encoignures has been firmly attributed to Jean-Pierre Latz by Henry Hawley,The Bulletin of The Cleveland Museum of Art, September/October 1970, pp. 245-256 based on a number of stylistic similarities to his known pieces. Specifically, the marquetry to the encoignures, especially the lozenge-shaped diaper pattern at the center, is very similar to the decoration of a bureau en pente stamped Latz in the collection of Stavros Niarchos, illustrated M. Jourdain, “An Exhibition by the British Antique Dealers’ Association,” The Burlington Magazine, Vol. 52, No. 301, April 1928, pl. 3 and to the frieze of a sécretaire illustrated Pierre Kjellberg, Le Mobilier Français du XVIIIe Siècle, Paris, 2002, p. 527. The elongated deeply shaped apron hiding the back leg is also characteristic of Latz's production.
In their overall proportions and decoration, these encoignures can be seen as closely related to a pair stamped Latz formerly in the Ojjeh collection and sold Sotheby’s Monaco, June 25-26, 1979, lot 44 and sold again Christie’s Monaco, December 11, 1999, lot 40. They also bear a striking resemblance to a pair formerly in the collection of the Duc de Vendôme, currently in a private collection and illustrated Hawley, op. cit., fig. 22.  All three of these encoignures feature bois de bout floral marquetry, as do other Latz pieces such as a table à la Bourgogne, sold Christie’s Monaco, December 5, 1993, lot 153. While Latz’s marquetry can range from highly stylized to naturalistic flora, he uses many reoccurring motifs, such as the diaper pattern and consistently frames the decoration to the doors of his encoigures in curving, thin ormolu borders. These features, when combined with two cabinet doors, a third foot concealed by the apron and an overall sculptural bombé shape strongly suggest an attribution to Latz.

Jean-Pierre Latz (1691-1754)

Jean-Pierre Latz was born in Cologne and moved to Paris in 1719 after his apprenticeship. In 1741, he is listed as an ébéniste privilégié du Roy, which permitted him, as a foreigner, to work as an independent ébéniste without having to become a member of the guild. Like many other ébénistes who disregarded guild rules, Latz made many of his own mounts and continued to run into conflicts with the guild of fondeurs-cisleurs. Despite this and his status as a foreigner, his workshop prospered in the 1740s, as his clients included the King of Prussia Frederick II, the King of Poland and the elector of Saxony Augustus III and the duchess of Parma Louise-Elisabeth, the daughter of Louis XV. The majority of his production consisted of clock cases, but documents also attest to an active production of commodes, encoignures, and desks. Throughout his oeuvre, he was known for his exceptional marquetry that had a playful, exuberant Rococo style that hinted at his Germanic origins as well as his sculptural forms. Pieces were impeccably designed and often meticulously decorated using both bois de bout and stained woods to create dynamic floral arrangements against a rosewood or bois de satiné ground such as the present pair.

The Princesses Paley

Three princesses Paley are recorded. The first, born Olga Karnovitsch (1865-1929) was the second wife of the Grand Duke Paul Alexandrovich of Russia. Their affair, while she was still married to Erich von Pistohlkors, produced a son and the subsequent scandal led to their exile and morganatic marriage in 1902. In 1904, she was granted the title countess von Hohenfelsen. Tsar Nicolas II later granted her and her children the Paley title and allowed their return to Russia. The family lived at the Palace of Tsarskoe Selo in St. Petersburg. The three princesses escaped Russia at the Revolution, settling in Paris in 1920.
The second, her daughter princess Irina Paley  (1903-1990) married her cousin Prince Feodor Alexandrovich in 1921.
The third, her daughter Natalia (1905-1981) was an actress and famous model, who married the couturieur and collector Lucien Lelong in 1928 and, following their divorce in 1936, subsequently John Chapman Wilson, an American theater producer and director.

William Randolph Hearst (1863-1951)

William Randolph Hearst was a media magnate who started his career as the proprietor of the San Francisco Examiner, eventually purchasing many other newspapers while expanding into radio, television, and movies. In 1947, he finished the renovation of his Sam Simeon, California estate to create Hearst Castle, a Spanish Revival mansion that housed his extensive collection of furniture, art, tapestries and other decorative arts.