117
117
Mermod, Genève
A MAGNIFICENT GOLD AND GILT-METAL, TURQUOISE AND DIAMOND-SET HUNTING CASED WATCH THE COVER WITH AN ENAMEL PAINTED UNDERCARVED ROCK CRYSTAL BAVARIAN PEACOCK POSSIBLY FOR LUDWIG II OF BAVARIA CIRCA 1870
Estimate
26,00035,000
LOT SOLD. 30,000 GBP
JUMP TO LOT
117
Mermod, Genève
A MAGNIFICENT GOLD AND GILT-METAL, TURQUOISE AND DIAMOND-SET HUNTING CASED WATCH THE COVER WITH AN ENAMEL PAINTED UNDERCARVED ROCK CRYSTAL BAVARIAN PEACOCK POSSIBLY FOR LUDWIG II OF BAVARIA CIRCA 1870
Estimate
26,00035,000
LOT SOLD. 30,000 GBP
JUMP TO LOT

Details & Cataloguing

Masterworks of Time: George Daniels, Visionary

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London

Mermod, Genève
A MAGNIFICENT GOLD AND GILT-METAL, TURQUOISE AND DIAMOND-SET HUNTING CASED WATCH THE COVER WITH AN ENAMEL PAINTED UNDERCARVED ROCK CRYSTAL BAVARIAN PEACOCK POSSIBLY FOR LUDWIG II OF BAVARIA CIRCA 1870
Movement: unsigned nickel lever movement, 15 jewels, bi-metallic compensation balance
Dial: white enamel, Roman numerals, outer Arabic minute ring, subsidiary seconds
Case: gold and gilt-metal the cover with intaglio of a Bavarian peacock naturalistically painted in polychrome enamel and with glazed cover, the back with lozenge-shaped turquoises interspersed with rose-cut diamonds within gold lozenge-shaped settings, heavily cast bezels and bows of scrolls, flowers and foliage, winding crown surmounted by a leaf-form boss, plain rounded band, the gold cuvette with decorative engraving, movement details and signed Mermod Genève
diameter 50mm
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Provenance

Antiquorum Geneva, 16 October, 2005, lot 252

Catalogue Note

The present watch was likely one of several watches made as a special request of Ludwig II, King of Bavaria from 1864 to 1886.  The flamboyance of the piece demonstrates Ludwig's extravagance and Romanesque life which characterized his reign. It is believed that Ludwig commissioned several watches as presentation gifts, all of which were uniquely decorated.  The present watch with its undercarved rock crystal panel shares similar treatment with another Ludwig watch, which depicts a well carved Bavarian Lion, see Martin Huber, Die Uhren von A. Lange & Sohne, 1988, p. 41.

The decoration seen here includes the Bavarian flag composed of turquoise and rose-cut diamonds, while the reverse is set with an under carved rock crystal panel with a Peacock in full plume.  Although Ludwig was known most famously as the Swan King, another favourite animal of the King’s was the Peacock.   Around 1870, Ludwig stepped back from politics and focused on passion projects, including the King’s House on Schachen.  Built between 1869-1872, Ludwig used the house as a venue for birthdays and anniversaries.   Most notably, he decorated one room, called the “Turkish Room” in an elaborately Oriental style, and included a replica of the Famous Peacock Throne.  The Peacock Throne was an extravagantly jewelled throne used by Mughal Emperors in India.  Peacocks, with their ostentatious brightly coloured plumage, served as a brilliant decorative motif that fit Ludwig’s lavish aesthetic.

King Ludwig II was born at Nymphenburg Castle, outside Munich, on August 25th, 1845. He had just turned 18 when he ascended the Bavarian throne following the death of his father.  One of the first acts of his reign was to invite Richard Wagner to his court in Munich. Ludwig II is perhaps best remembered as the great composer's patron and for the commission and the construction of several extravagant fantasy castles:  Neuschwanstein – a dramatic Romanesque fortress with soaring fairy-tale towers whose walls are decorated with frescos depicting scenes from Wagner's operas; Linderhof – an ornate palace in neo-French Rococo style with handsome formal gardens; and Herrenchiemsee – a replica of the main building of the Palace of Versailles.

By 1885, Ludwig's extravagant projects put him in serious debt.  His ministers started seeking a cause to depose him by constitutional means. They finally decided that he was mentally ill and unable to rule.  Ludwig was arrested and transported to Castle Berg on the shores of Lake Starnberg. The day after, the King's body was found in the shallow water. His mysterious death remains unsolved to this day.

 

Masterworks of Time: George Daniels, Visionary

|
London