O ur bi-annual STYLE: Private Collections sales explore the concept of style throughout the ages and offer a wide selection of English and European furniture pieces, decorative objects, clocks, carpets and tapestries.
The sale this season is mainly led by three private collections, including Property from a Private Collection featuring early oak furniture (lots 21-38), the Distinguished Property from Osterrieth House in Antwerp with an elegant selection of Haute Epoque furniture pieces and tapestries (lots 3-15, 40-56, 78-92, 94); and the Property of a Distinguished Italian Collector (lots 118-140) presenting an important selection of Louis XV and Louis XVI clocks.
Centuries of Style
Spanning over 300 years, STYLE presents a fascinating survey of European furniture and decorative art charting the evolution of design from the mid-16th century right the way through to the early 20th century. These centuries marked a period of unparalleled political upheaval and cultural exchange throughout the Western world. Religious schism led to the displacement of courts and craftsmen in the 17th century; the advent of Grand Tours and exciting archaeological discoveries enlightened the designer-architects of the 18th century and the opening of international trade routes – particularly with the East – cultivated the exchange of both aesthetics and materials on a truly global footing.
A Charles II oak, walnut and yew veneered chest of drawers
A Flemish Baroque gilt-metal mounted ebony, rosewood, tortoiseshell and inlaid cabinet-on-stand, probably Antwerp
A George II carved mahogany side table
A George III brass and mother-of-pearl inlaid mahogany supper table
A Louis XV suite of carved beechwood seat furniture by Michel Cresson
A George II carved giltwood overmantel mirror
A pair of George II carved mahogany 'child’s' chair
A George III mahogany pedestal desk
A pair of South Italian gilt-bronze mounted rosewood and kingwood marquetry commodes, Naples
Regency giltwood and cane daybed
A pair of Chinese Export painted clay 'nodding head' figures
A pair William IV narwhal tusk and mahogany torchères
Threads of Splendour
Dating from the 16th through to the 19th century, the exciting group of tapestries in this sale represent various European weaving centres and depict the most important themes including, mythological, biblical and classical subjects. These tapestries ranging from a small to a large scale reflect the importance of their subjects, their scale and effect on the viewer, including those which are fragments of once larger panels. There are the thought provoking allegorical (Virtus, Illustrious women of antiquity, and the Monkey Hunt), biblical (Story of David and Susanna and the elders), classical (Triumph and Amadis and Oriana), and romance (Literary pastoral, l’Astree) subjects; all encouraging us to attain the highest standards and consider our actions and thoughts, and others which are confirmation of the advantages of life in harmony with nature (Hunting Tapestry, Fish Quay , Genre with boys climbing tree and a floral cantonniere).
The Value of Time
The horological highlights of this sale comprise a very fine group of clocks from the collection of a distinguished Italian collector. Amassed over many years, they are primarily French and from the second half of the 18th century. The collector’s fascination with horological innovation and accuracy of timekeeping is well illustrated by the inclusion of two fine Louis XVI skeleton clocks, both with remontoires, the very rare Italian weight-driven skeleton clock with constant force escapement by Alberti of Milan and a 20th century 8-day mantel chronometer by Thomas Mercer. The collection also includes highly attractive mantel and cartel clocks and a German renaissance automaton clock from circa 1600.
From other consignors, highlights include a newly discovered 30-hour wall clock by the most important of English makers, Thomas Tompion, which becomes only the third such clock by this maker to be recorded.
The Age of Oak: ‘Joined’ Up!
A small private collection of oak (lots 21-38) presents us with a discerning survey of 17th century British craftsmanship. Pieces produced by the master joiner before the advent of the 18th century master ‘cabinetmaker’, the import of tropical hardwoods and the publication of fashionable plate books of ornate design by Chippendale et al. There is sense of ‘truth to material’ through simplicity of design and an appreciation of homegrown materials in early British vernacular furniture. What better reflection of this ideal than the functionality and form of the joined stool? Visibly engineered with pegged seats and stretchers. Simple and compact. These robust little objects are not just seats but tables, steps and trestle supports a multifunctional object which can be easily tucked away and is almost modular. Seat furniture for the everyman but through the turners lathe and chisel, we have a restrained ornamental flourish in legs and carved friezes. These stools, two of which are presented here, encapsulate not only the 16th and 17th century ‘Age of Oak’ but are fundamentally a full expression of British craftsmanship.