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    Sale 7611

    Furniture, Sculpture and Carpets

    11 September 2008, London, King Street

  • Lot 132

    A RUSSIAN BRASS-MOUNTED AND JASPERWARE PORCELAIN-INSET MAHOGANY DESK

    19TH CENTURY AND LATER, THE PORCELAIN PROBABLY WEDGWOOD, EARLY 19TH CENTURY

    Price Realised  

    Estimate

    A RUSSIAN BRASS-MOUNTED AND JASPERWARE PORCELAIN-INSET MAHOGANY DESK
    19TH CENTURY AND LATER, THE PORCELAIN PROBABLY WEDGWOOD, EARLY 19TH CENTURY
    The rectangular stepped top with pierced gallery and urn finials, above three frieze sprung drawers, the three quarter-balustraded top with similar urn finials, above a beaded frieze centred by a plaque depicting classically-dressed figures, on fluted tapering legs decorated with mille-raies panels and headed by roundels
    37¾ in. (96 cm.) high; 54½ in. (138.5 cm.) wide; 33½ in. (85 cm.) deep


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    The bureau-dressing-table is designed in Roentgen's Louis Seize 'goût Grèc' fashion recalling lyric poetry's triumph, and is china-railed with sacred urn-capped pedestals like the raised 'cartonnier' that is intended for a clock. While Venus-pearled libation-paterae enrich the fluted tablets above herm-tapered legs, their Egyptian striations recall the dress of the priestess Isis. The Etruscan-blue cameo was probably executed at Wedgwood's Birmingham manufactory and depicts the 'Choice of Hercules' with the triumphal hero ignoring a female figure, emblematic of vice, and choosing the high path indicated to the temple of virtue. This choice between the life of pleasure or of fame, was listed in Wedgwood's 1787 Catalogue as the 'Judgment of Hercules'. The Russian taste for such ornamental 'furniture' wares had been encouraged by the promotion of Wedgwood's manufactures by Lord Cathcart (d.1772), George III's Ambassador to St. Petersburg.

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