O ur STYLE: Furniture, Silver, Clocks, Ceramics and Vertu sale explores the concept of style throughout the ages and offers a wide selection of English and Continental furniture pieces, clocks, silver, gold boxes, ceramics, tapestries and old master paintings. Whether you are buying objects to use regularly such as seating furniture or silver flatware, or collecting precious objects to use and admire with wonder, this STYLE sale is filled with an exciting range of objects from across the UK and Europe.
The allure of velvet has endured from the initial appearance and references, as a prestigious and exclusive item. Italy became the leading proponents of the skill of producing silk velvet and the Renaissance was the high point for the European velvets. The design elements used were influenced by Mongol and Levantine motifs, such as the ‘pomegranate’. The expense being prohibitive to most and every fragment would be precious. Larger panels were often cut, and reused or sold, and several international museums have small fragments from what was once a larger piece.
Many European glass, ceramic and metalwork designers in Europe were influenced by Arabic, Persian and Ottoman art. As well as attempting to reinterpret Middle eastern forms and designs in a novel way, European glass makers also produced mosque lamps and vases reviving pieces from ancient Mamluk and Seljuk art. The demand for such pieces in Europe was very much influenced by the taste of the influential Rothschild family. The STYLE sale features several items in the Islamic style, some of them produced by the important Austrian glass makers, J. & L. Lobmeyr.
Once intended as portable precious containers for snuff in the courts of Europe, the snuffbox soon became ‘as powerful a weapon as a fan, and used by both sexes’ (Sacheverell Sitwell). Made of gold, enamel, hardstones, tortoiseshell etc, they soon rose to both a desired status symbol and the ultimate means of communication in the 18th century. A small selection of such gold boxes in this sale covers different periods, centres of production, and materials, each symbolising a different meaning and context: elaborately chased gold examples are accompanied by brightly enamelled gold boxes from Geneva , Paris or Hanau. Enamel is also to be found on the impressive jewelled Viennese drinking horn , and at about the same time in England, the colourful material was used to create the ravishing card case by London-based jeweller and retailer Louis Dee , while dark blue damask enamel serves as the ground for a sparkling Royal cipher on an example presented by Wilhelm II, King of the Netherlands .
Old Master Paintings from this collection include is a large panel depicting the Martyrdom of Saint Sebastian which follows a painting previously in the collection of King Charles I at Whitehall Palace, London, which itself is a partial copy after Titian’s Averoldi Altarpiece in Brescia. Other highlights include lot 11 portraying The Penitent Magdalene which is also based on an autograph painting by Titian, and presented in an impressively ornate Italian Baroque style carved giltwood frame, and a striking depiction of The Finding of Moses .
This exceptional marquetry centre table, conceived in the Louis XIV taste, once formed part of the magnificent collection of Hannah de Rothschild, later Countess of Rosebery (1851 – 1890) and Archibald Philip Primrose, 5th Earl of Rosebery, Earl of Rosebery, 1st Earl of Midlothian, KG, KT, PC, FRS, FBA (1847 – 1929) at Mentmore, Buckinghamshire. The quality of the marquetry top - profusely inlaid with flowers, birds, butterflies and grotesque masks – is certainly of exhibition quality. In the tradition of precious specimen tops, the prized marquetry is treated with reverence and elevated by embowed gilt-bronze dolphins recalling the lore of the poet Arion.
Undoubtedly beautiful on the outside, silver has long been known to have hidden antibacterial qualities as well. This fact is sometimes forgotten when it comes to looking back at the various forms of silver hollowware and flatware historically favoured by the European and global elite. To be born with a silver spoon in one’s mouth was not only an emblem of privilege, but it also acted as a natural antiseptic as it broke down bacterial membranes. This sale features a wide variety of silver flatware, from a rare set of 12 French silver-gilt tea spoons by Henri Auguste to a large Puiforcat canteen engraved with the crest of the House of Saud . Whilst undoubtedly fit for a noble feast, these pieces can equally be used as an everyday luxury, with the additional comfort of knowing there is no finer metal to dine with.