• 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 139

    A FRENCH GOLD-LINED TORTOISESHELL BOÎTE-À-MINIATURE

    BY ADRIEN-JEAN-MAXIMILIEN VACHETTE (1753-1839), MARKED, WITH THE SECOND STANDARD AND EXCISE MARKS FOR GOLD, PARIS 1809-1819, THE PARISIAN POST-REVOLUTIONARY UNOFFICIAL STANDARD MARK FOR 20.5 CARAT GOLD, LATER STRUCK WITH THE FRENCH POST-1838 RESTRICTED WARRANTY MARK FOR GOLD, THE FLANGE ENGRAVED 'VACHETTE BIJOUTIER À PARIS . 20 K..'; THE MINIATURE BY D. F. LEBELLE (FL. 1806-1831), SIGNED 'LEBELLE FÉCIT' (LOWER RIGHT), CIRCA 1815

    Price Realised  

    Estimate

    A FRENCH GOLD-LINED TORTOISESHELL BOÎTE-À-MINIATURE
    BY ADRIEN-JEAN-MAXIMILIEN VACHETTE (1753-1839), MARKED, WITH THE SECOND STANDARD AND EXCISE MARKS FOR GOLD, PARIS 1809-1819, THE PARISIAN POST-REVOLUTIONARY UNOFFICIAL STANDARD MARK FOR 20.5 CARAT GOLD, LATER STRUCK WITH THE FRENCH POST-1838 RESTRICTED WARRANTY MARK FOR GOLD, THE FLANGE ENGRAVED 'VACHETTE BIJOUTIER À PARIS . 20 K..'; THE MINIATURE BY D. F. LEBELLE (FL. 1806-1831), SIGNED 'LEBELLE FÉCIT' (LOWER RIGHT), CIRCA 1815
    Circular gold-lined black tortoiseshell box, the independent lid set with a fixé-sous-verre miniature of a view of the nave of a cathedral, framed by a silver-gilt rim, concave sides
    3¼ in. (81 mm.) diam.


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    Lebelle worked in Paris at the end of the 18th and early part of the 19th Century, specialising in fixé-sous-verre miniatures depicting views of Paris.
    The identification of the cathedral interior in the present miniature is complicated by the scene's inclusion of both real and fictional details. While the double aisles and elevation recall elements of famous Parisian cathedral interiors, other elements of the painting such as the variation between sexpartite and quadripartite vaults complicate its firm identification. A further element of fiction is introduced into the scene by the inclusion of historicising, 17th Century dress alongside 18th Century architectural features like the wainscoting around the bases of the columns. Lebelle's use of 17th Century dress in the present miniature suggests he was possibly inspired by Dutch artists, such as Emanuel de Witte, Bartholomeus van Bassen, Hendrick van der Vliet, and Hendrik van Steenwyck, famous for their paintings of church interiors.

    Vachette's collaboration with the miniaturist Lebelle reflects his persistent search for new materials and decoration for his boxes. This quest for innovation often led Vachette to collaborate with a variety of artists, which can be seen in a box of the same period set with a micromosaic of Bacchus by Clemente Ciuli, in the Gilbert Collection, now housed at the Victoria and Albert Museum (C. Truman, The Gilbert Collection of Gold Boxes, Los Angeles, 1991, pp. 121-123, no. 37).

    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.


    Provenance

    with Galerie J. Kugel, Paris, 1996.