Lot 710
  • 710

A pair of Chinese silver-gilt filigree vases, covers and stands, with contemporary embellishment in coral and white enamel, the filigree probably Canton, the applied coral and enamel probably Trapani, Sicily, circa 1750

Estimate
30,000 - 50,000 GBP
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Description

  • Silver, Coral
  • 21.8cm., 8 1/2 in. high
constructed in a number of detachable sections, fitted over a solid ground with filigree cagework of distinctive circles and simulated tiles, applied by wires with red coral leafage and flowers, set with white enamel beads in silver mounts, the stands armorial engraved, unmarked except for later French import marks

Provenance

Tradition records these vases coming from the collection of the Prince Lanza di Trabia, Palermo

Condition

Foot of vases originally fitting into wire frame of stands, but added coral has now made them too wide. Bases of vases now with line of red wax which was included to make them sit on the wire rims of the stands, Coats of arms probably replacements, Very minor losses to filigree, coral and enamel and minor dents but basically in excellent conditions
"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. Prospective buyers should also refer to any Important Notices regarding this sale, which are printed in the Sale Catalogue.
NOTWITHSTANDING THIS REPORT OR ANY DISCUSSIONS CONCERNING A LOT, ALL LOTS ARE OFFERED AND SOLD AS IS" IN ACCORDANCE WITH THE CONDITIONS OF BUSINESS PRINTED IN THE SALE CATALOGUE."

Catalogue Note

The filigree is largely made up from a series of circular motifs which include a distinctive extra scroll in the middle of the circle. This `signature' identifies a Chinese origin for the filigree. It can be found for example on the toilet set made for the Empress of Russia, Catherine the Great, believed to have been made in Canton around 1740-50 and which is recorded in the Entresol of the Winter Palace in 1789. The motif is visible in a number of pieces of that toilet set but particularly on one of the pairs of rosewater sprinklers which like these vases is constructed from a series of filigree sleeves laid onto a solid silver-gilt ground. The rosewater sprinklers additionally include panels of simulated roof tiles, like the vases. (See: Marina Menshikova et al. Silver Wonders from the East Filigree of the Tsars, Aldershot, 2006, no. 14-26.)

A smaller pair of Chinese parcel-gilt silver filigree vases, covers and stands were sold at Christies, 10 June 2008 lot 174, `marked under stands with Chinese characters'. Another pair without stands was sold at Dreweatts, 26 February 2014, lot 801. Those vases appear to be identical to the present pair, except that their applied filigree flowers and foliage, has been identically replaced in coral by Sicilian workmen, in Trapani.