ANTOINE-MARIE MELOTTE, SOUTHERN NETHERLANDISH, LIÈGE, 1753 | PAIR OF EQUESTRIAN BATTLE SCENES
KILLADOON HOUSE, PROPERTY FROM AN IMPORTANT IRISH ESTATE
ANTOINE-MARIE MELOTTE (1722-1795)
SOUTHERN NETHERLANDISH, LIÈGE, 1753
PAIR OF EQUESTRIAN BATTLE SCENES
one signed: A.M.MELOTTE, and the other: A LIEGE 1753
wood, within wood frames with brass inlay and gilt metal mounts, the frames circa 1825
reliefs: 76 by 160cm., 29⅞ by 63in.
overall: 134 by 217.5cm., 52¾ by 85⅞in.
Overall the condition of the wood is good with minor dirt and wear to the surface consistent with age. There is some stable splitting to the wood, consistent with the material, including some vertical open splits, in particular two splits at the centre of the relief with the bridge, and a few to the other relief, in particular to the centre and to the left quarter of the relief. There are a few minor losses, including to the weapon of the horse rider slightly left of the centre of the relief with the bridge, and to the sword of the horserider on the right of the centre of the other relief. There may be a few further chips and minor losses to the high points of both reliefs.
The condition of both frames is very good, with only minor dirt and wear to the surface. There is general wear to the gilding of the metal mounts. There is some minor stable splitting to the wood.
"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."
Probably acquired by Nathaniel Clements (1705-1777) or his grand-son Nathaniel Clements, 2nd Earl of Leitrim, KP PC (Ire) (1768-1854)
Inventory, 10th February 1812 (manuscript addition 1829), '2 carved Battle Pieces in Brass + Ebony frames' in the Entrance Hall;
Inventory, April 1830, 'Two Battle Pieces in Brass and Ebony Frames' in the Entrance Hall;
Inventory, 27th June 1836, 'Two large carvings in wood framed in Boule and Brass, these carvings represent the Battle of the amazons brought from Lord Leitrim’s house in Sackville street – Dublin' in the Entrance Hall.
These magnificent and large scenes are a testament to the tradition of Baroque wood carving in the Flemish city of Liège in the 18th century. They are signed by one of the last great Flemish Baroque wood carvers, Antoine-Marie Melotte, who trained under the important sculptor Simon Cognoulle (1687-1744). Cognoulle was responsible for producing a series of wood reliefs carved after Le Brun's paintings of the life of Alexander the Great, which were acquired by Louis XIV and installed at Fontainebleau (Philippot, op. cit., p. 1022). Melotte followed his master in carving grand battle scenes in wood. His most important patron was Catherine the Great of Russia, who acquired his Magnanimity of Alexander the Great and King Porus Abandoned by His Army (both now in the Hermitage, inv. nos. H.CK-1426 and H.CK-1430). A set of his six reliefs with battles of Alexander is in the collection of Count Gustavus of Ansemburg in Brussels. Melotte was also responsible for the statues for the rood screen in St Bartholomew's church in Liège.
P. Philippot (et al.), L'Architecture religieuse et la Sculpture Baroque dans les Pays-Bas méridionaux et la principauté de Liège, 1600-1770, Sprimont, 2003, p. 1022