• Living with Art auction at Christies

    Sale 12198

    Living with Art

    13 - 14 October 2016, New York, Rockefeller Plaza

  • Lot 113

    A GEORGE III SATINWOOD, INDIAN ROSEWOOD, SATIN BIRCH, EBONIZED AND MARQUETRY BREAKFRONT SECRETAIRE BOOKCASE

    ATTRIBUTED TO CHRISTOPHER FUHRLOHG, CIRCA 1785

    Estimate

    A GEORGE III SATINWOOD, INDIAN ROSEWOOD, SATIN BIRCH, EBONIZED AND MARQUETRY BREAKFRONT SECRETAIRE BOOKCASE
    ATTRIBUTED TO CHRISTOPHER FUHRLOHG, CIRCA 1785
    With brass mullions, the interior with green leather writing surface, drawers and pigeonholes, the lock stamped I.BRAMAH PATENT
    94 ½ in. (240 cm.) high, 88 ½ in. (225 cm.) wide, 24 ½ in. (62 cm.) deep


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    This breakfront can be attributed to the Swedish émigré cabinet-maker Christopher Fuhrlohg (1740-c.1787) due to an identical signed and dated 'Muse of Arato' marquetry panel on a commode (C. Gilbert, Pictorial Dictionary of Marked London Furniture, Leeds 1996, p. 212, figs 366-68). One of the era’s most talented marqueteurs, Fuhrlohg’s vividly detailed work frequently employed Classical motifs that were based on popular engravings or work by artists like Angelica Kauffmann. Her work is the basis for the signed marquetry panel which he further inscribed ‘ANGELLICA KAUFFMAN R.A. PINXIT. An engraving in Le Pitture Antiche d’Ercolano, published in Naples in 1760 is the source of the cymbal player in this breakfront’s center right door. Fuhrlohg often reused motifs and both of these panels appear on other pieces either signed or attributed to him. They include a commode in the Metropolitan Museum of Art (L. Wood, Catalogue of Commodes, London, 1994, p. 110, fig.105) and a commode in the collection of Mrs. V.E. Triefus and Michael Knapp (Ibid, p.113 fig.110). A closely related library bookcase was also offered anonymously at Christie’s, London, 8 July 1999, lot 134.

    Fuhrlohg arrived in London after training in Amsterdam and Paris where he may have worked under the ébéniste Jean-François Oeben. Fuhrlohg was first employed by the cabinet-maker John Linnell (1729-1796) and a commode he supplied to Castle Howard has Fuhrlohg’s signature and the date 1768 inside the carcass (J.F.Hayward, ‘A Newly Discovered Commode by Christopher Fuhrlohg’, Burlington Magazine, October 1972, p.707). By 1773, Fuhrlohg had established his own workshop and his tradecard states he is a ‘Cabinet Maker in the Modern Grecian and Chinese Taste.’ His expertise was clearly recognized as in 1783 he was engaged to supply furniture to the Prince of Wales for Carlton House. His new tradecard touted his French training and Royal patronage as Ebeniste to his Royal Highness the Prince of Wales. Though little documentation of Fuhrlohg’s work in the Royal archives exists, this appointment is evidence of his skill as it was only given to the most gifted cabinet-makers.

    Special Notice

    Please note lots marked with a square will be moved to Christie’s Fine Art Storage Services (CFASS in Red Hook, Brooklyn) on the last day of the sale. Lots are not available for collection at Christie’s Fine Art Storage Services until after the third business day following the sale. All lots will be stored free of charge for 30 days from the auction date at Christie’s Rockefeller Center or Christie’s Fine Art Storage Services (CFASS in Red Hook, Brooklyn). Operation hours for collection from either location are from 9.30 am to 5.00 pm, Monday-Friday. After 30 days from the auction date property may be moved at Christie’s discretion. Please contact Post-Sale Services to confirm the location of your property prior to collection. Lots may not be collected during the day of their move to Christie’s Fine Art Storage Services (CFASS in Red Hook, Brooklyn). Please consult the Lot Collection Notice for collection information.


    Pre-Lot Text

    PROPERTY OF A PRIVATE COLLECTOR, NEW YORK