CHINESE EXPORT GOOSE TUREENS
Large tureens in the form of birds or animals made a spectacular accompaniment to table services and were very fashionable in the wealthiest households of the mid-18th Century. Tureens of this scale were made in the form of roosters, boar or ox heads, and carp, but the goose was perhaps most suitable, as its long, slender neck served as a natural handle for the cover.
Inspired by large European bird or animal tureens developed at faience factories, which reached their height in the 1740s, China trade merchants commissioned porcelain examples. C.J.A. Jörg, in Porcelain and the Dutch China Trade, The Hague, 1982 (p.190) reports that in 1763 the Dutch East India Company ordered twenty-five tureens in the form of geese, and in the following year a further four were shipped at the princely sum of Dfl.10.50 each, while an order in the same year for another thirty was cancelled because the supercargoes considered them too risky. Animal tureens were also particularly popular in Spain and Portugal. A set of elaborately enameled animal tureens each bearing the coat-of-arms for the Spanish family of Asteguita, was illustrated and exhibited, The Art of the Qing Potter: Important Chinese Export Porcelain, New York, 1997, p.71, color plate 50.
Sotheby’s Bond Street galleries held several auctions in the fall of 1963 featuring property from Lady Baron, primarily Impressionist paintings and Chinese export porcelain. Lady Baron was the widow of Sir Edward Baron (1892-1962), who had inherited his title, significant business holdings and Holmbury House from his uncle, Sir Louis Baron. The dynasty was founded by Bernhard Baron, 1st Bart. (d. 1929), who established a large tobacco company and became an important philanthropist, supporting medical and scientific research. Not only did the following generations continue the philanthropic tradition, but they also seem to have been well entrenched in art-collecting circles. Interestingly, Sir Louis married an American, Elise Richter, who, when widowed, married Robert Tritton of Godmersham Park. Their collections were sold at a major Christie’s sale on the premises in June 1983.
ANTONIO DE SOMMER CHAMPALIMAUD
Antonio Champalimaud (1918-2004) assembled a world class art collection that was dispersed in a landmark auction sale series at Christie’s London in July 2005. The ‘Champalimaud Collection’ featured outstanding French and Italian paintings as well as French furniture and objets d’art and magnificent European and Chinese export porcelain. At his death Champalimaud was the richest man in Portugal, having formed two huge conglomerates, the second following the 1974 nationalization of the first. In 1941 Champalimaud had married Dona Maria Cristina da Silva José de Melo, the daughter of an aristocratic family and an heir to the Grupo CUF conglomerate. French 18th century decorative arts were a lifelong passion of Champalimaud; his townhouse in the heart of Lisbon was often compared to a Parisian hôtel particulier. With the guidance of Pierre Delbée of Maison Jansen in Paris, Champalimaud
acquired period boiseries for his Lisbon rooms and filled them with an array of fine French furniture, period French silver, ormolu-mounted Chinese and French porcelains, tapestries and Aubusson carpets. Sadly, towards the end of his life Antonio Champalimaud lost his eyesight and could no longer fully enjoy the incredible collection he had assembled. At his death he left €500 million to establish the Champalimaud Foundation for biomedical research in aid of vision. Proceeds from the 2005 Christie’s auctions went to support the work of the Champalimaud Foundation.