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    Sale 7627

    Dealing in Excellence: A Celebration of Hotspur and Jeremy

    20 November 2008, London, King Street

  • Lot 35

    A ROYAL FRENCH RESTAURATION GILTWOOD COURONNEMENT

    ATTRIBUTED TO PIERRE-GASTON BRION, CIRCA 1820-1830

    Price Realised  

    A ROYAL FRENCH RESTAURATION GILTWOOD COURONNEMENT
    ATTRIBUTED TO PIERRE-GASTON BRION, CIRCA 1820-1830
    With circular roundel depicting the Royal Arms of France of three fleur-de-lys, surmounted by a Royal crown and enclosed by the collars of the orders of Saint-Michel and Saint-Espirit, on crossed staffs with later azure ruched silk roundels, one staff surmounted by a fleur-de-lys, the other with the main de justice, lacking the badge of the Ordre du Saint-Esprit, refreshments to the original oil-gilding with two identified schemes (see gilding report below)
    35½ x 32 in. (90 x 81 cm.)


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    This Royal French couronnement is closely related to one supplied in 1824 for Charles X by Pierre-Gaston Brion as part of the bed furnishings for the new State apartments at the Tuileries. Brion's invoice stated that the bed was 'orné des armoiries de France' (D. Ledoux-Lebard, Le mobilier français du XIXe siècle, Paris, 1984, pp. 101-103).
    However, Couronnements were placed either above a bed or a throne. The present example is fitted with crossed staffs, one of which is has the main de justice, suggesting that this was intended to be placed above a throne. The Tuileries inventaire de mobilier de 1826 mentions a very similar couronnement in the throne room:
    Un Couronnement à chassis double, corniche bois richement sculpté et doré, forme rond sur le devant, cintrer rentrer sur les cotés et arrière corp droit, boucliers casques fleurs de lis et autre ornement, deux trophés aussi en bois sculpté et doré, composé de bouclier, cuirasse lancer et bas relief et guirlande bois idem'. A related, but larger couronnement was in the Throne Room of the Tuileries in 1865 and there is a gate at Versailles surmounted by an almost identical couronnement, which shows the same arrangement of orders and crown, with the badge of the order of Saint-Esprit visible at the bottom.

    The couronnement is encircled with the collar of the two French Royal orders, or Ordres du Roi, the Ordre du Saint-Esprit and the Ordre du Saint-Michel. The Ordre du Saint-Esprit was an order of chivalry instituted by Henri III in 1578 but abolished during the revolution and then revived in 1814 with Louis XVIII and then abolished again by Louis-Philippe in 1830. The collar is formed of fleurs-de-lys alternating with the letter H (for Henri) and in the present case with knight's helms on crossed flags. Knights wore a pale blue sash, or hung the Cross of the Saint-Esprit from a blue ribbon, known as the Cordon Bleu. All knights of the Order of Saint-Esprit were also members of the Order of Saint-Michel.
    The inner collar is that of the Ordre du Saint-Michel, founded by Louis XI in 1469. The collar is formed of pilgrim's shells linked by double-knots, and a badge depicting Saint Michael fighting the serpent, standing on a rock. The order was also abolished by Louis-Philippe in 1830.

    THE GILDING
    Two gilding schemes were found.
    Original Gilding:
    No gesso was used on the wood, which accounts for the rough finish. A thick layer of buff-coloured oil paint based on lead white, chalk and natural ochres, was brushed onto the wood, followed by gold leaf laid over a very dark unusual red oil size. The red pigments in the oil size included both red ochre and vermilion.

    Second Gilding
    The piece was regilded using a set of materials identical to the original ones. This suggests that the same gilder or workshop was used.

    Special Notice

    This lot will be sold under the Alpha scheme. If you are an EU Purchaser, there is effectively no change: VAT is charged at 17.5% on the buyer''s premium ONLY on a VAT inclusive basis. VAT is accounted for under the auctioneer''s margin scheme. If you are a non-EU Purchaser: VAT, at 17.5%, will be payable on both the hammer price and the buyer''s premium. VAT on the hammer will be refunded upon receipt of export documentation by the VAT department. Non-EU trading businesses can receive a further VAT refund on the buyer''s premium directly from HM Revenue and Customs.


    Provenance

    Presumably Charles X of France.