A Continental silver-gilt, carved hardstone, pietre dure inlaid and lapis lazuli casket, mid-19th century
30,000 - 50,000 GBP
A Continental silver-gilt, carved hardstone, pietre dure inlaid and lapis lazuli casket,
the top applied with a carved fruit group hardstone relief to the centre on a lapis lazuli ground, the panels around with pietre dure scenes on a black marble ground and applied interlaced Ls on a lapis lazuli ground divided into geometric reserves with engraved silver-gilt borders, the frieze decorated similarly with hardstones and pietre dure divided panels, on bun feet
11cm. high, 20cm. wide, 15.6cm. deep; 4⅜in., 8in., 6⅛in.
In overall very good condition and ready to place. Very minor old marks and scratches consistent with age and use. One very small hairline crack to the corner of the pietra dura panel on the right side.
The lot is sold in the condition it is in at the time of sale. The condition report is provided to assist you with assessing the condition of the lot and is for guidance only. Any reference to condition in the condition report for the lot does not amount to a full description of condition. The images of the lot form part of the condition report for the lot. Certain images of the lot provided online may not accurately reflect the actual condition of the lot. In particular, the online images may represent colors and shades which are different to the lot's actual color and shades. The condition report for the lot may make reference to particular imperfections of the lot but you should note that the lot may have other faults not expressly referred to in the condition report for the lot or shown in the online images of the lot. The condition report may not refer to all faults, restoration, alteration or adaptation. The condition report is a statement of opinion only. For that reason, the condition report is not an alternative to taking your own professional advice regarding the condition of the lot. NOTWITHSTANDING THIS ONLINE CONDITION REPORT OR ANY DISCUSSIONS CONCERNING A LOT, ALL LOTS ARE OFFERED AND SOLD "AS IS" IN ACCORDANCE WITH THE CONDITIONS OF SALE/BUSINESS APPLICABLE TO THE RESPECTIVE SALE.
This rare and impressive silver-gilt casket, with very fine pietre dure panels, and in beautiful condition, is a fine example of luxury objets d’art produced by an expanding industry supplying a growing international elite that would travel around Europe. Its origin is slightly tantalizing as it does not bear a maker’s mark and its uniqueness makes it difficult to pinpoint a place of production.
The pietra dura panels recall the celebrated Florentine work, disseminated from the Grand Ducal Workshops, with the birds’ design seen on the lid clear successor of Jacopo Ligozzi’s creations, so much used by the Opificio. The vibrant palette, which uses malachite and lapis lazuli, nevertheless is different from what was seen in the Italian production.
The exquisite relief panels also follow the hardstone relief tradition seen in 17th century Florentine caskets, which will see a new uptake in Russia in the 19th century, where exceptional carved hardstone objects with assorted groups of flowers and fruits in relief were created. This tradition of relief carving can also be seen in Germany, where beautiful snuff boxes in the 18th century would incorporate hardstones in the same vein. The lapis lazuli used as ground for the reliefs is of a striking blue with gilt highlights (coming from the mineral pyrite) and it is possible that it is of Russian origin.
As said, its individuality is intriguing but Paris, as the capital of luxury in the 19th century, led by tasteful entrepreneurs and a hub for talented migrant artists and craftsmen, has also been suggested as a possible place of production for this intriguing and exquisite casket.