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    Sale 11955

    The Exceptional Sale 2016

    7 July 2016, London, King Street

  • Lot 326

    A FRENCH SILVER PART DINNER-SERVICE

    MARK OF MARTIN-GUILLAUME BIENNAIS, PARIS 1798-1819

    Price Realised  

    Estimate

    A FRENCH SILVER PART DINNER-SERVICE
    MARK OF MARTIN-GUILLAUME BIENNAIS, PARIS 1798-1819
    Most pieces engraved with the arms of Baden below a Royal crown, comprising:

    A Pair of Silver Soup-Tureens and Covers
    Mark of Martin-Guillaume Biennais, Paris, one tureen and two covers 1798-1809, the other tureen 1809-1819, with the petite départ for 1809-1819
    18 1/2 in. (47 cm.) wide over handles

    A set of Six Silver Meat-Dishes
    Mark of Martin-Guillaume Biennais, Paris, 1809-1819
    two 25 3/4 in. (65.5 cm.); two 19 1/4 in. (49 cm.) and two 16 1/2 in. (42 cm.) long

    A set of Eight Silver Second-Course Dishes
    Mark of Martin-Guillaume Biennais, Paris, 1809-1819
    11 3/4 in. (30 cm.) diam.

    A set of Eight Silver Second-Course Dishes
    Mark of Martin-Guillaume Biennais, Paris, 1809-1819
    10 7/8 in. (27.5 cm.) diam.

    A Silver Second-Course Dish
    Mark of Jean-Baptiste-Claude Odiot, Paris, 1819-1838
    17 1/8 in. (43.5 cm.) diam.

    A pair of Silver Dishes
    Mark of Jean-Baptiste-Claude Odiot, Paris, 1819-1838
    9 1/4 in. (23.4 cm.) diam.

    A Set of Six Silver Double Salt-Cellars
    Mark of Martin-Guillaume Biennais, Paris, 1809-1819
    6 1/4 in. (16 cm.) long
    total weight 1,115 oz. 12 dwt. (34,671 gr.)


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    These magnificent works by the French Imperial goldsmiths Jean-Baptiste Claude Odiot and Martin-Guillaume Biennais (see lot 27) epitomise the sophisticated neo-classical taste of the court of Napoleon and those of the Royal Ducal Courts of Europe during the first quarter of the 19th century.

    They belonged to the romantic figure Stephanie de Beauharnais (1789-1860), the daughter of a French aristocrat with connections to the French Imperial family. Josephine Beauharnais, the widow of Stephanie’s cousin Alexandre, Vicomte de Beauharnais, who died tragically at the guillotine in 1794, married the highly regarded General Napoleon Bonaparte in 1796. Josephine took an interest in the schooling of her late husband’s cousin and arranged for her to attend the same school as her own daughters. Following Napoleon’s coronation as Emperor in 1804 Stephanie became even closer to the Imperial Family being welcomed into Royal household at the Tuileries Palace.

    Napoleon’s dynastic plans for the Royal families of Europe included the young Stephanie. In March 1806 she was declared a Princesse Française and in April that year she was married to Prince Karl Ludwig Friedrich, grandson and heir of the newly created Grand Duke of Baden, whose sisters had married into the Royal families of Bavaria, Russia, Sweden and Hesse.

    The young couple’s frst married homes were the palaces of Mannheim and Schwetzingen. On the Grand Duke’s death in 1811 Prince Karl succeeded his grandfather and the couple moved to the palace of Karlsruhe. The pieces by the goldsmith Biennais from the present dinner service date from this time. Stephanie gave birth to fve children, two sons and three daughters. Sadly only the three daughters survived childhood by the time of her husband’s untimely death in 1818. Consequently the crown passed to Grand Duke Karl’s uncle. As the Grand Duke’s widow Stephanie was provided for with a generous settlement and she returned to the palace of Mannheim where she established her court attracting writers and artists. The later dishes and covers by Odiot were commissioned by the Dowager Grand Duchess for the palace, some of which remains in use there, (see opposite). She had the palace remodelled in the neo-classical style.

    A large part of the service was sold Sotheby’s, New York, 6 November 2008, lot 106.

    Provenance

    Stephanie de Beauharnais-Napoleon, Grand Duchess of Baden (1789-1860). Grand Duke Friedrich I of Baden (1826-1907) and by descent through a branch of the family.
    Purchased privately from the family circa 2008.


    Pre-Lot Text

    SILVER FROM THE BADEN SERVICE