• 500 Years: Decorative Arts Eur auction at Christies

    Sale 2203

    500 Years: Decorative Arts Europe Including Carpets from The Corcoran Gallery of Art

    24 November 2009, New York, Rockefeller Plaza

  • Lot 130

    AN ISFAHAN CARPET

    CENTRAL PERSIA, 17TH CENTURY

    Price Realised  

    Estimate

    AN ISFAHAN CARPET
    Central Persia, 17th Century
    With silk warps
    Approximately 17 ft. 6 in. x (633 cm.) x 8 ft. 1 in. (246 cm.)


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    The use of silk warps in the present lot allows for an exquisitely intricate design. The graceful vinery and the details achieved in the palmettes and minor borders are all a product of the incredibly fine foundation. The incorporation of silk for a carpet of this large size would have been very expensive indicating that this carpet was likely commissioned as a gift or made for a member of the Persian nobility.

    According to records, this magnificent silk-warped carpet was previously in the collection of Sir Frederick Leighton (1830-1896), the English artist most associated with the Pre-Raphaelite movement. Leighton worked closely with the architect George Aitchison (1825-1910) to build his impressive home in Holland Park, London. Starting in 1864 and for the next 30 years the two collaborated to embellish and expand his home, including the famous Arab Hall in 1877 that housed his immense collection of Syrian, Turkish and Persian tiles. Presumably, this exceptional carpet was purchased during one of his numerous trips to The Middle East, Northern Africa or Europe where he developed a deep appreciation for the arts of these regions. Today, the home is open to the public as the Leighton House Museum and displays the magnificent collection of tiles as well as works by Leighton and his contemporaries.

    Provenance

    Sir Frederick Leighton (1830-1896), London.
    William A. Clark, New York.


    Pre-Lot Text

    Property from the Corcoran Gallery of Art to Benefit the Acquisition Fund


    Literature

    Illustrated Handbook of The W.A. Clark Collection, Washington, D.C., 1928, p. 73.
    'Carpets for the Great Shah', The Corcoran Gallery of Art Bulletin, Vol 2, No. 1, October 1948, p. 12, no. P1, ill IV.
    R. Ettinghausen, 'Oriental Carpets in the Clark Collection', The William A. Clark Collection, Washington, D.C., 1978, p. 85.


    Exhibited

    Washington D.C., The Corcoran Gallery of Art, Carpets for the Great Shah, 3 October-16 November, 1948, no. P1.