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    Sale 7608

    Important European Furniture and Sculpture

    10 July 2008, London, King Street

  • Lot 44


    CIRCA 1715 - 1730

    Price Realised  


    CIRCA 1715 - 1730
    Depicting 'Spring' from the series 'The Seasons', woven in wool, centered by a large gadrooned vase with a floral bouquet on a shaped plinth flanked by sheep and goats, surmounted by harvesting and musical trophies and a pierced canopy structure, centered by a circular reserve depicting birds against a blue ground, surmounted by a foliate cartouche, the side borders with trailing foliage centered by small cartouches, the lower border with putti within a stylised shell and C-scroll border issuing floral cornucopiae and with stylised shells within shaped reserves to the angles
    9ft. 10in. x 7ft. 6in. (296 cm. x 228 cm.)

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    This Savonnerie panel depicting 'Spring' forms part of a series depicting the 'Seasons' woven in the 1720s. The design is identical to a set split between the Cleveland Museum of Art and the Toledo Museum of Art, who retain two such panels each, while Cleveland, who owns 'Spring', also has a suite of seat furniture to complement the set. The Toledo Cleveland Savonnerie panels bear the coat-of-arms of the Czernin von Chudenitz Mérode-Westerloo families to the top in place of the flowers that occupy the oval medallions of the offered lot. It is believed that those panels were supplied to Franz-Joseph, count Czernin von Chudenitz (d. 1733) who married Princess Isabelle de Mérode-Westerloo (d. 1780) in Brussels in 1717. Family tradition believes that it had been a gift by Louis XIV to them.

    Unfortunately no record at the Savonnerie workshop identifies the commission of this panel. Weavers at the Louvre and at Chaillot, the two main Savonnerie ateliers, were allowed to execute private commissions to support their workshops. The Lourdet and Dupont families, two of the most prominent entrepreneurial weaver dynasties, received a considerable amount of their income in this fashion during the early period of Savonnerie production. Subsequently Louis XIV's extensive carpet orders all but stopped these private weavings. During the Régence period only very few private commissions are recorded but the names of the Orléans, La Rochefoucauld and Mérode-Czernin families appear in various accounts. Both Bertrand-François Dupont (directeur 1714 - 1720) and his successor Jacques de Noinville (directeur 1721 - 1742), who led the unified workshops, are known to have executed private commissions.

    The series bears resemblance to Claude Audran Le Jeune's (d. 1734) Gobelins tapestry series of the 'Portières des Dieux', which were designed in 1699 on the order of the surintendant des bâtiments du Roi Jules Hardouin Mansart. Alexandre-François Desportes (d. 1743) is believed to have supplied the drawings for the animals in that series. Audran is recorded working for the Orléans, who are known to have placed commissions at the Savonnerie, from the late 17th Century onwards at Meudon. Ultimately, however, the design for of this set of Savonnerie panels is based on Jean I Bérain's (d. 1711) work. He is credited with the polularisation of the arabesque style, usually termed grotesque, which is based on Raphael's designs in the Loggie at the Vatican.

    (see P. Verlet, The James A. de Rothschild Collection at Waddesdon Manor, The Savonnerie, Bradford and London, 1982)

    Special Notice

    VAT rate of 5% is payable on hammer price and at 15% on the buyer's premium

    Pre-Lot Text