• The William F. Reilly Collecti auction at Christies

    Sale 2273

    The William F. Reilly Collection

    14 October 2009, New York, Rockefeller Plaza

  • Lot 104

    A LOUIS XIV EBONY AND PARCEL-GILT MIRROR

    CIRCA 1650, POSSIBLY BY GASPARD DE SMIT

    Price Realised  

    A LOUIS XIV EBONY AND PARCEL-GILT MIRROR
    CIRCA 1650, POSSIBLY BY GASPARD DE SMIT
    The rectangular cushion-molded frame carved with figural cartouches representing the four seasons and fruit sprays, later beveled mirror plate, possibly originally a picture frame
    52¾ in. (134 cm) high, 43¼ in. (109.5 cm.) wide


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    This mirror is part of a small group of refined ebony mirrors executed in Paris in the 1650s. A closely related mirror with raised panels and ridged borders is in the collection of the Musée du Château de Pau, France. (D. Alcouffe, 'La naissance de l'ébénisterie: les cabinets d'ébéne', in exh. cat. Un temps d'exuberance, Les arts dcoratifs sous Louis XIII et Anne d'Autriche, Paris (Galeries Nationales du Grand Palais) 2002, p. 216, fig. 10). Another mirror, with raised panels depicting playful children is in the collection of the Philadelphia Museum of Art (accession number 1930-1-179).

    Documentation of only one mirror has been found in a transaction between Gaspard de Smit, an ébéniste recorded working on the Rue de Richelieu, Paris and the noted silversmith Claude <->2er<-> Ballin. The National Archives from 5 June 1651 records de Smit promising Ballin 'fournir les modelles de bois qu'il conviendra pour esbaucher les ornemens desdits ouvraiges et de un petit modelle particulier dudit cabinet et celuy du miroir.' (op. cit., p. 214).
    The first menuisiers en ébéne or ébénistes established themselves in the French capital around 1610-1620. Most of them came from the Southern or Northern Netherlands or from Germany, countries where the art of veneering furniture with exotic woods had already been practiced for at least a generation.

    Provenance

    Bought from Harris Lindsay, London, in 2000.