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R. Murphy, Les paradis secrets d'Yves Saint Laurent et de Pierre Bergé, Paris, 2009, pp. 2, 90-94 (ill.).
A very fine set of seven wallpaper panels painted during the Qianlong period, depicting court figures in a garden landscape.
These types of wallpaper panels were made in China in great numbers for export since the early 18th century. The East India Company was specialized in their export, together with porcelain and lacquer objects. These panels have always been extremely high-priced luxury items. We know in fact that the Regent prince and future King of England paid up to 17 Pounds per bolt.
Each panel from this series originally measured 3.5 m in height by approximately 1.12m or 1.13m in width, and was composed of an assemblage of square rice paper sheets fixed with fish glue. The bolt thus made was then decorated by print in the woodblock technique for the outline and the scenes were then hand painted with water soluble colours.
These seven panels were part of a set of 22 acquired by Mona Von Bismark for her estate in Palm Beach (Fig. 1-2-3). The villa was then sold to Jane Wrightsman. The living room thus adorned was home to the most beautiful French 18th century furniture for over 50 years and today in a great number of museums.
During the restoration of this series, the seal of the T'SAI Company was found, which was based in Canton and produced these paper sheets.
Out of the 15 remaining panels, 2 were sold to an American collector, the 13 others were sold at Sotheby's in 1992 (100 000 Pounds) and acquired by the Château de Vincy in Switzerland, then sold by Koller in Zurich on 22nd March 2007 (200 000 CHF).
An identical series of wallpaper panels composed of two en-suite panels, which do not appear in this series, may lead us to believe that the complete series was made of 24 panels. They were kept at Abbotsford Castle, residence of Sir Walter Scott. A letter from Sir Walter Scott dated 1817 asking his nephew, officer in the East India Company, to purchase these panels was found. Therefore, we can precisely date our series of panels to the end of the 18th century.
Please call 1-800-555-5555 to order a print catalog for this sale.
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