New York

New York – Christie’s is pleased to announce the sale of 500 Years: Decorative Arts Europe, including Oriental Carpets on November 29-30.  The sale features a monumental Roman mosaic that once hung in the Vatican, a royal garniture of three porcelain vases, a pair of George II mahogany library armchairs that originally furnished Ditton Park, a spectacular ‘Boulle’ marquetry and pietre dure bibliothèque basse, and property from The Vertical Art Collection: Walking Sticks.  With over 450 lots, the sale will feature stunning works of English and Continental furniture, porcelain, and carpets, all examples of striking design and artistry.

Highlights include:

This spectacular bibliothèque basse, circa 1820- 1830, is a rich and rare combination of both Boulle marquetry and Florentine pietre dure, (illustrated left, estimate: $200,000-400,000).  The fact that the bibliothèque offered here is stamped 'E LEVASSEUR' provides a direct link to André-Charles  Boulle's workshop as Etienne Levasseur (maître in 1782) had apprenticed with Boulle's son Charles-Joseph.  He was one of the foremost cabinet-makers who specialized in Boulle marquetry in the Louis XVI period, and some of his most accomplished works in this style are a series of bibliothèques basses based on Boulle's prototypes.  Both his sons Pierre-Etienne and his grandson Pierre-François-Henri who continued to employ the stamp of Etienne Levasseur and made Boulle furniture into the 1820’s and a cabinet featuring closely related mounts attributed to Pierre-Etienne Levasseur is among the celebrated group of Boulle furniture assembled by the Duke of Wellington at Stratfield Saye.

The exceptional quality and design of the pair of George II mahogany library armchairs, strikingly carved throughout with fish scales, have long been one of the most admired English chair patterns of the period, attributed to William and John Gordon, circa 1755 (illustrated right, estimate: $200,000-300,000).  These gracefully sculpted chairs covered in green silk damask, conceived in the French 'picturesque' style, belonged originally to an important set of about twenty-four armchairs and a settee, which were arranged in the long corridors at Ditton Park, the beautiful home of Lord Montagu of Beaulieu at Thames Ditton.  Ditton Park, in Buckinghamshire, was a 17th Century house inherited by Ralph, Lord Montagu, later 1st Duke of Montagu in 1688.  This suite was most probably ordered by his son-in-law George Brudenell, 4th Earl of Cardigan who assumed the title 1st Duke of Montagu in 1749, having inherited the estates of his father-in-law.

The sale also includes an important and monumental Roman mosaic depicting Saints Valeria and Martial (illustrated left, estimate: $200,000-300,000).  Standing eleven-feet tall, the massive mosaic adorned the Altar of Saint Joseph in St. Peter’s Basilica of the Vatican from its completion in 1895 until 1963, when it was subsequently moved to The Vatican Mosaic Studio, where it remained for twenty years.  An important subject in Christian iconography for centuries, the tale of Saint Valeria’s martyrdom states that she was converted to Christianity by Saint Martial and was later condemned for her faith.  

 The Meiningen Garniture was a wedding gift commissioned by Frederick Wilhelm IV King of Prussia on 6 November 1850 and given to his close military confidant Georg II, Crown Prince of Saxe-Meiningen upon his marriage to Princess Charlotte Frederica, the King’s niece (illustrated right, estimate: $200,000-300,000).   The scenes on the garnitures are finely painted front and back with topographical views of Schloss Sanssouci, Schloss Babelsberg, Prince’s Palace Albrecht and a view of the Long Bridge before the King’s Palace in Berlin.

This charming "Hammersmith" carpet designed by John Henry Dearle for Morris & Co., circa 1890, demonstrates the enduring style of the Arts and Crafts movement (illustrated left, estimate: $80,000- 120,000).  Developed by William Morris in the mid-19th century, the movement found inspiration in nature, medieval craftsmanship and Persian art, making it both strongly influenced by the past and innovative.  It is a rare example of a Morris & Co. carpet that was woven at Kelmscott House, William Morris’ home in Hammersmith.  With its scrolling foliate design that evokes an English country garden it might help, as Morris wished, “turn a room into a bower, a refuge.”

The sale will offer a spectacular consulat ormolu-mounted mahogany astronomical clock, attributed to Antide Janvier, Paris, circa 1800 (illustrated left, estimate: $150,000-250,000).  This spectacular astronomical clock, features three Atlas figures literally holding aloft the heavens, a glass globe engraved with the constellations and signs of the zodiac.   Janvier was a true prodigy in horology, creating his first planetary sphere when he was only 15, which in 1768 he showed to the Academy of Sciences and the Letters in Besançon.  In 1784 he was awarded the title of horloger-mécanicien de Monsieur, frère du roi and later that year he presented a pair of spheres to Louis XVI.  His two great masterpieces were two four-faced astronomical clocks supporting mechanical spheres, one of which was purchased by Louis XVI in 1789, and the other is currently in a private collection.

Christie's is pleased to present the sale of Property from The Vertical Art Collection: Walking Sticks, With A Selection From Vertical Art: The Enduring Beauty Of Antique Canes And Walking Sticks.  The collection of 77 lots will be offered in a special section of the 500 Years: Decorative Arts Europe auction on November 30. Impressively comprehensive, the collection includes canes and walking sticks from varied materials ranging from jewels, exotic hardwoods, precious hardstones, historic figures and animals, classic Victorian canes, to a doctor’s cane complete with medical instruments.   In addition, finely crafted canes by Fabergé will be offered in the Important Russian Art sale in London on November 26.   All proceeds will benefit the Bonnie J. Addario Lung Cancer Foundation and the University of California San Francisco Thoracic Oncology Lung Cancer Program. 

For more information, please click here for a separate press release.

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