• Centuries of Style: Silver, Eu auction at Christies

    Sale 7800

    Centuries of Style: Silver, European Ceramics, Portrait Miniatures and Gold Boxes

    17 November 2009, London, King Street

  • Lot 304


    Price Realised  


    A grisaille scene of a fertility festival in antiquity, depicting a sacrifice to the Arcadian satyr-deity Pan in the manner of Jean-Jacques Lagrenée (d. 1821), marble plinth ground with forest landscape background
    signed 'J J De Gault' (lower left)
    on ivory
    rectangular, 2 13/16 x 7½ in. (71 x 191 mm.), modern gilt-metal frame with stamped border

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    Jacques-Joseph de Gault specialised in painting scenes both in enamel and on ivory, which emulated the Neoclassical fashion for hardstone cameos. De Gault's style developed through his work as a porcelain painter at the Sèvres factory from 1758 to 1760, and by 1777 he exhibited paintings imitating cameos at the Académie de Saint-Luc. De Gault's technique of painting classical vignettes à bas relief can be seen in the present lot as well as on thirteen boxes set with miniatures by the artist in the Louvre (S. Grandjean, Catalogue des tabatières, boîtes et étuis des XVIIIe et XIXe siècles du musée du Louvre, Paris, 1981, no. 55, 82, 83, 90, 103, 172, 207, 211, 240, 264, 394). Miniatures signed by and attributed to De Gault feature on boxes made by such notable Parisian goldsmiths as Pierre-François Drais (fl. 1763-1788), Jean Ducrollay (fl. 1734-1761), Charles Ouizille (fl. 1771-1830), and Adrien-Jean-Maximilien Vachette (fl. 1779-1839). The artist's most impressive commission was perhaps that of the jewel cabinet at Versailles for Queen Marie-Antoinette, partly illustrated in C. Jeannerat, 'De Gault et Gault de Saint-Germain', Bulletin de la Société de l'histoire de l'art français, 1835, opp. p. 224.
    Many examples of his signed miniatures, like the present lot, depict scenes relating to Bacchanalia. Very similar miniatures by the artist can be seen on a box of 1782/83, by Adrien-Jean-Maximilien Vachette in the Gilbert Collection, now housed at the Victoria and Albert Museum (C. Truman, The Gilbert Collection of Gold Boxes, Los Angeles, 1991, pp. 108-110, no. 32).

    Special Notice

    No VAT will be charged on the hammer price, but VAT at 15% will be added to the buyer's premium which is invoiced on a VAT inclusive basis.
    Prospective purchasers are advised that several countries prohibit the importation of property containing materials from endangered species, including but not limited to coral, ivory and tortoiseshell. Accordingly, prospective purchasers should familiarize themselves with relevant customs regulations prior to bidding if they intend to import this lot into another country.