A PAIR OF LOUIS XIV ORMOLU-MOUNTED CHINESE BLUE AND WHITE PORCELAIN CACHE-POTS
A PAIR OF LOUIS XIV ORMOLU-MOUNTED CHINESE BLUE AND WHITE PORCELAIN CACHE-POTS
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These lots have been imported from outside the EU … Read more Imaginez un collectionneur passionné qui confie à son expert : « Patrick, je voudrais la plus belle collection de meubles et d’objets d’art qui soit… » C’est l’alliance de cette passion hors du commun, de moyens financiers importants, et d’une totale confiance mutuelle qui a permis en une quinzaine d’années de créer une collection dont vous devinerez ici l’ampleur. C’est dans ce contexte que seront proposés à la vente le 10 juillet prochain à Londres des objets d’exception. Témoignage d’un amour profond du Siècle des Lumières, ils furent choisis auprès des maisons de ventes et de grands marchands mais aussi achetés à des familles qui se les transmettaient précieusement au fil des générations. Dès l’Antiquité, les empereurs romains rassemblèrent des chefs-d’œuvre provenant souvent de la Grèce antique. Puis les souverains d’Occident collectionnèrent des objets d’art dans des Schatzkammer. Au XVIIIe siècle, Randon de Boisset, le duc d’Aumont et quelques autres reprirent ce flambeau dans les Arts Décoratifs avec toutefois moins d’universalité. Cette tradition perdura au XIXe siècle avec le prince Demidov, les Rothschild ou Lord Hertford. Au début du XXe siècle, le pouvoir économique s’étant déplacé de l’autre côté de l’Atlantique, de grands industriels et financiers tels que H.C. Frick, J.P. Morgan ou J.P. Getty créèrent de grandes collections dont bon nombre furent données à des institutions muséales. L’Europe cependant, et la France en particulier, maintinrent cette tradition avec de grands mécènes tels Moise de Camondo, Anténor Patino et plus récemment René Grog et Djahanguir Riahi. Un grand objet du XVIIIème siècle français se distingue souvent des autres dès sa création, qui passe par le dessin puis par l’exceptionnelle maîtrise des artisans ayant participé à sa mise en oeuvre. En témoignent le grand vase violet aux courbes amples et si harmonieuses (lot ) ou le fabuleux bureau de Cressent (lot ) au moins équivalent à celui conservé au Musée du Louvre. Regardons et contemplons cette bergère(lot ) commandée par Marie-Antoinette pour le Pavillon du Belvédère dans le jardin du Petit Trianon : typique du goût de la souveraine, ce siège allie la perfection du décor sculpté à une garniture de soie retissée que la Reine de France n’aurait pas désavouée. Dans cette vente où seulement figurent 22 œuvres-, sièges, console, meubles, bronzes dorés et objets d’art, vous reconnaitrez avant tout la perfection des formes, alliée à la qualité des matériaux utilisés ? Ces objets, très couteux dès leur élaboration, qui reflètant le gout sophistiqué et raffiné de la Cour, ont été commandés par d’illustres clients tels le prince de Conti, le marquis de Marigny, Louis XVI ou Marie-Antoinette mais ils ont aussi appartenu depuis lors à de prestigieux collectionneurs dont la lignée ne demande qu’à être perpétuée. Patrick Leperlier Expert en meubles et objets d’art Imagine a passionate collector who confides in his expert: "Patrick, I would like the most beautiful collection of furniture and works of art in the world". The combination of an extraordinary passion, important financial means and mutual trust resulted in this unsurpassed collection, formed over fifteen years. In this context these exceptional items are presented for sale in London on 9 July. Demonstrating a passion for the 'Siècle des Lumières', they were chosen at auctions and great dealers but also acquired from families where they had been passed on through generations. Since Antiquity, Roman emperors collected masterpieces from Ancient Greece. More recently, princely rulers assembled precious works of art in Schatzkammer, and in the 18th Century this collecting spirit was adopted by enlightened connoisseurs such as Randon de Boisset and the duc d'Aumont. This tradition continued in the 19th Century with Prince Demidov, the Rothschilds and Lord Hertford. At the beginning of the 20th Century, with large fortunes being made on the other side of the Atlantic, great industrialists and financiers such as Henry Clay Frick, J.P. Morgan and J. Paul Getty created important collections which were bequeathed to form museums. In Europe, in France particularly, this tradition lived on with patrons like Moïse de Camondo, Antenor Patiño and more recently René Grog and Djahanguir Riahi. A great French objet d’art from the 18th Century distinguishes itself from all others through its superlative design and exceptional craftsmanship. Such is the case for the great violet vase in this collection with its sinuous and harmonious lines (lot 5) as well as the fabulous bureau by Cressent (lot 15), equal to the example in the Louvre. Let’s examine and contemplate for a moment the bergere (lot 18), ordered by Marie-Antoinette for the Pavillion de Belvédère in the gardens of the Petit Trianon: typical of the taste of the Queen, it combines the perfection of sculptural decoration with a silk covering which the Queen of France would have approved of. In this sale of only 22 works-seat furniture, console, case furniture, gilt-bronzes and works of art- one will recognize above all a perfection of form combined with the exceptional quality of the precious materials employed. These objects, precious and costly since their inception, were commissioned by the most important patrons and tastemakers of the day such as the prince de Conti, the marquis de Marigny, Louis XVI and Marie-Antoinette and reflect the sophisticated and refined taste of the Royal court- since then they have continued to be owned by the most illustrious clients, and this will undoubtedly continue. The Vaux-le Vicomte blue-and-white cache-pots
A PAIR OF LOUIS XIV ORMOLU-MOUNTED CHINESE BLUE AND WHITE PORCELAIN CACHE-POTS

THE MOUNTS CIRCA 1715, THE PORCELAIN KANGXI (1662-1722)

Details
A PAIR OF LOUIS XIV ORMOLU-MOUNTED CHINESE BLUE AND WHITE PORCELAIN CACHE-POTS
THE MOUNTS CIRCA 1715, THE PORCELAIN KANGXI (1662-1722)
The gadrooned rim with Vitruvian scroll chased inner border, the sides pierced with scrolling foliate strapwork centred by a female mask and issuing a fluted handle, on a gadrooned base with scroll-engraved border, the porcelain bodies decorated with flowers and a series of cusped arches
7 5/8 in. (19.5 cm.) high; 11 ¼ in. (28.5 cm.) wide, over handles; 8 ½ in. (21.5 cm.) diameter
Provenance
Almost certainly acquired by Alfred Sommier (1835-1908), for the château de Vaux-le-Vicomte in the late 19th Century and by descent;
Anonymous sale; Beaussant-Lefèvre Drouot, Paris, 23 June 2006, lot 91.
Special notice

These lots have been imported from outside the EU for sale using a Temporary Import regime. Import VAT is payable (at 5%) on the Hammer price. VAT is also payable (at 20%) on the buyer’s Premium on a VAT inclusive basis. When a buyer of such a lot has registered an EU address but wishes to export the lot or complete the import into another EU country, he must advise Christie's immediately after the auction.

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Lot Essay

Porcelain from the Far East has been prized in the West since the Middle Ages for its exotic character and the perfection of its technique. Spanish, Portuguese, and Dutch traders brought examples of these mysterious wares to the West, creating a passion for all things from ‘les Indes’, which even extended to creating whole porcelain rooms. This ‘engoument pour la Chine’ was particularly marked in France after the famous visit of the Siamese ambassadors to the court of Louis XIV in 1686, bringing with them abundant gifts to the king including lacquer, textiles and no fewer than 1,500 pieces of porcelain. The inventory drawn up in 1689 of the collection of the king’s eldest son, the Grand Dauphin, a passionate collector of porcelain, included a special section devoted to ‘Porcelaines données par les Siamois’ and listed 380 pieces of blue and white porcelain.

The fashion for transforming such exotic and expensive Chinese porcelain into true 'objets de luxe' with the addition of rich gilt-bronze mounts first emerged in the Louis XIV period at the end of the 17th Century (earlier examples tended to be mounted in silver or silver-gilt), and reached its zenith through the activities of marchands-merciers such as Lazare Duvaux and Thomas-Joachim Hébert. Francis Watson and Gillian Wilson suggest that one reason for mounting these objects was to naturalise them to the decorative scheme of the French interior and give them a quasi-French appearance while retaining their exciting exotic character – exciting not only for their design and colour, but also because of their material (F.J.B Watson & G. Wilson, Mounted Oriental Porcelain in the J. Paul Getty Museum, California, 1982, pp. 1 & 15).

The popularity for mounting porcelain became such that eventually the cost of the mounts began to outrun the value of the porcelain which it adorned. The Livre-Journal of Lazare Duvaux for 1751 notes that Madame de Pompadour paid the extraordinary sum of 1,680 livres for a pair of ormolu-mounted celadon ewers. The detail with which such rich objects were described in contemporary sale catalogues during the second half of the 18th Century, in contrast to the more generalised descriptions of (unmounted) Chinese porcelain found in earlier inventories, demonstrates the regard in which such objects were held. Moreover, vases, pots and ornaments were manufactured with the specific intention of being mounted in contrast with earlier examples which were usually everyday objects such as tobacco jars, as with the present vases, which have been cut at the shoulder to form a wider opening.

These sophisticated cache-pots are set in Bérainesque strapwork mounts centred by masks and relate to the later oeuvre of André-Charles Boulle (1642-1732), in particular to a design for a set of wall-lights, supplied by Boulle to the duchesse de Berry, circa 1715, currently in the Louvre, Paris (J.N. Ronfort, André-Charles Boulle, 1642-1732, Ein neuer Stil Für Europa, Frankfurt, 2009, p. 80). This design can also be seen on the set of wall-lights in this collection (lot 12) and on a pair of Chinese Kangxi lidded vases currently in the J. Paul Getty Museum, California (Watson & Wilson, op. cit., pp. 24-25, no. 2). The strapwork mounts and handles adorning these cache-pots are also closely related to those on a Japanese Imari bowl and another pair of Chinese Kangxi lidded vases, both in the Getty, as well as on a Japanese Imari lidded bowl with silver mounts in the Toledo Museum of Art, which is struck with the Paris décharge mark of 1717-1722 (ibid., pp. 28-29 & 32-34, nos. 3 & 4; F.J.B. Watson, Mounted Oriental Porcelain, Washington, 1986, pp. 56-57, no. 14). A pair of mounted Chinese Wucai porcelain cache-pots with very similar Bérainesque strapwork mounts and gadrooned rims was sold anonymously at Christie’s, London, 6 July 2012, lot 170 (£85,250) and another similarly mounted pair from the Ortiz-Patiño Collection was sold at Sotheby’s, New York, 25 April 1998, lot 234 ($178,500).

These cache-pots were in the collections of the comtes de Vogüé at the château de Vaux-le-Vicomte. The château was built by Nicolas Fouquet between 1658 and 1661. Fouquet, an ambitious bureaucrat from Anjou, rose rapidly under the tutelage of Cardinal Mazarin and became Surintendant des Finances to Louis XIV. The château was the product of his ambition as well as a celebration of his success. It was incredible to behold and for a short time it was the centre of literature, art and fine fêtes. However, the lavish and dazzling nature of the château was sadly the death-knell of its owner. The king had Fouquet arrested shortly after the famous inaugural fête in August 1661. The celebration had been too impressive and the château too luxurious, even if the intention had been to flatter the King. After a long period of neglect in the mid-19th Century, the estate was sold to Alfred Sommier (1835-1908), who with his son Edmé (1873-1945), spent decades restoring and refurbishing the château and its gardens (J.-M. Pérouse de Montclos, Vaux-le-Vicomte, London, 1997). Edmé Sommier’s sister Lucie (1874-1946) married Robert de Vogüé in 1897, and the château passed to their descendants.

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