426
426

PROPERTY FROM A PRIVATE COLLECTION, NORWAY

A rosewood, porcelain and gilt-bronze writing cabinet, Peter and Ernst Gambs and the Imperial Porcelain Manufactory, St Petersburg, Period of Nicholas I (1825-1855), circa 1842
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426

PROPERTY FROM A PRIVATE COLLECTION, NORWAY

A rosewood, porcelain and gilt-bronze writing cabinet, Peter and Ernst Gambs and the Imperial Porcelain Manufactory, St Petersburg, Period of Nicholas I (1825-1855), circa 1842
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Details & Cataloguing

Russian Works of Art, Fabergé & Icons

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A rosewood, porcelain and gilt-bronze writing cabinet, Peter and Ernst Gambs and the Imperial Porcelain Manufactory, St Petersburg, Period of Nicholas I (1825-1855), circa 1842
herringbone veneered and richly applied with moulded and painted floral and scroll elements, the upright upper section with canted corners and ogee cornice, the front inset with a plaque painted after Carl Timoleon von Neff's Two Girls in National Dress (1838), signed in Cyrillic 'Nikolai Frolov' and dated 1842, the back inset with a plaque painted with a young lady and her maid, signed with Cyrillic initials P.N: for Pavel Nesterov, the sides each with a plaque painted with summer flowers, the front and back pediments of painted floral cartouches within bleu celeste and gold rocaille scrolls and moulded pink and white flowers, the corners applied with female herms within scrolls, bracket scroll feet, the front opening to reveal the writing surface lined with blue velvet, the interior fitted with drawers with turned ivory pulls; the conforming table with aprons of floral cartouches above double scroll legs, the upper C-scrolls of exuberantly modelled porcelain terminating in bouquets of flowers, the lower S-scrolls above porcelain bracket supports, on a shaped rectangular quarter-veneered stretcher shelf, gilt scroll feet, each apron with blue Imperial cypher of Nicholas I
height 155cm, 61in.
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Catalogue Note

Almost certainly an Imperial commission, the present lot is one of a small group of nearly identical writing cabinets, all of which were produced on the orders of Emperor Nicholas I and Empress Alexandra Feodorovna for members of their family.  They were all made by Court cabinetmaker Peter Gambs and his brother Ernst, incorporating porcelain from the Imperial Manufactory, at a time when the dowries of the Imperial daughters were being furnished. 

When Grand Duchess Olga Nikolaevna wed the future King of Württemberg, Crown Prince Charles, on 13 July 1846, her dowry included a wall-mounted version of this model, today at the Staatsgalerie Stuttgart (see Im Glanz der Zaren: Die Romanows, Württemberg und Europa, Landesmuseum Württemberg, 2014, ex. cat., pp. 240-241).  A further wall-mounted example was ordered by the Empress and given to her sister-in-law, Grand Duchess Anna Pavlovna, Queen of the Netherlands.  This cabinet, like the present lot, incorporates a plaque painted by Nesterov, this one dated 1845.  It is in the collection at Het Loo Palace, Apeldoom (illustrated, Une Passion Royale pour l’Art: Guillaume II des Pays-Bas et Anna Pavlovna, Villa Vauban, Luxembourg, 2014, ex. cat. no. 212).

The painting reproduced by Frolov on this cabinet, Two Girls in National Dress, by the Emperor’s favourite artist Carl Timoleon von Neff, was in Empress Alexandra Feodorovna’s private collection at Anichkov Palace, further supporting an Imperial provenance for the present lot.  The painting of the young lady and her maid reproduced on the plaque at the back of the cabinet is at present unidentified, the original possibly lost.  It was reproduced at least one other time by the Imperial Porcelain Manufactory, on a plaque painted by Nikolai Semenov in 1843 (sold, Gelos Moscow, 26 November 2010, lot 115).  Sotheby's is grateful to Antoine Chenevière, Andreas Dobler and Galina Korneva for their assistance in cataloguing this lot.

Russian Works of Art, Fabergé & Icons

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