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    Sale 2037

    Important European Furniture, Ceramics, and Carpets

    21 November 2008, New York, Rockefeller Plaza

  • Lot 177

    A SEVRES BLUE CELESTE PLATE FROM THE ESSEX SERVICE (ASSIETTE A PALMES)

    BLUE INTERLACED L'S ENCLOSING DATE LETTER Q FOR 1769, PAINTER'S MARK FOR JOFFROY, INCISED ENTWINED C'S

    Price Realised  

    Estimate

    A SEVRES BLUE CELESTE PLATE FROM THE ESSEX SERVICE (ASSIETTE A PALMES)
    BLUE INTERLACED L'S ENCLOSING DATE LETTER Q FOR 1769, PAINTER'S MARK FOR JOFFROY, INCISED ENTWINED C's
    Finely painted with a central loose bouquet, the bleu céleste lobed border with three floral cartouches alternate with gilt husk roundels intersected with gilt crossed myrtle branches, each beneath a molded palm scroll enriched in gilt, the cavetto edged with similar gilt husks, gilt line rim
    9 7/8 in. (25 cm.) diameter


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    The present plate is from a set of wares forming a small service of some 72 pieces acquired from the factory in early 1770 by the marchand-mercier Madame Lair. Its inclusion in an inventory of the holdings at Carlton House assembled between 1793 and 1830, described as purchased by George, Prince of Wales from his crony George Capel-Conigsby, 5th Earl of Essex, indicates that the service must have come into the royal collection prior to 1820, the year the prince regent ascended the throne as George IV upon the death of his father on 29 January of that year. What is unclear is whether Madame Lair sold the service directly to the 5th earl or whether it was acquired first by William Anne Holles Capel, the 4th earl.

    The service originally included 36 plates at a cost of 36 livres each, the high cost due to the ground color. The present plate is the only example not either still in the Royal Collection or in a public institution. Three are now in the the collection of the musée des Arts décoratifs, Paris. One can be found at the Hillwood Museum and Gardens, Washington, D.C. On 17 July 1895, Christie's sold a Sèvres plate dated 1770, painted by Thevenet and described as "painted in the center with a bouquet of flowers, turquoise border with sprays of flowers in three medallions, gilt festoons in low relief" which may be a sixth plate from the Essex Service.

    Dominique Joffroy is recorded as a painter of flowers and figures at Sèvres 1753-1770.

    Provenance

    Madame Marie Bebrin Lair, Paris, early 1770.
    Either William Anne Capell, 4th Earl of Essex (1732-1799) or George Capel-Coningsby, 5th Earl of Essex (1757-1839).
    George, Prince of Wales, Prince Regent and later King George IV, Carlton House, London.


    Literature

    David Peters, Sèvres Plates and Services of the 18th Century, privately printed, 2005, vol. II, p. 430.