A LOUIS XVI SILVER AND SILVER-GILT TABLE SERVICE
A LOUIS XVI SILVER AND SILVER-GILT TABLE SERVICE
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A LOUIS XVI SILVER AND SILVER-GILT TABLE SERVICE

THIRTY-FIVE TABLE-FORKS, THIRTY-SIX TABLE SPOONS, THIRTY-SEVEN TABLE KNIVES AND TWO SERVING SPOONS, WITH MARK OF CLAUDE-AUGUSTE AUBRY, PARIS, 1783, THIRTY-SIX TABLE-FORKS AND THIRTY-SIX TABLE SPOONS WITH MARK OF FRANTZ PETER BUNSEN (BUNDSEN), HANOVER, CIRCA 1785, ONE FORK WITH MARK OF JOHANN CHRISTIAN PETER NEUTHARD, HANOVER, CIRCA 1825

Details
A LOUIS XVI SILVER AND SILVER-GILT TABLE SERVICE
THIRTY-FIVE TABLE-FORKS, THIRTY-SIX TABLE SPOONS, THIRTY-SEVEN TABLE KNIVES AND TWO SERVING SPOONS, WITH MARK OF CLAUDE-AUGUSTE AUBRY, PARIS, 1783, THIRTY-SIX TABLE-FORKS AND THIRTY-SIX TABLE SPOONS WITH MARK OF FRANTZ PETER BUNSEN (BUNDSEN), HANOVER, CIRCA 1785, ONE FORK WITH MARK OF JOHANN CHRISTIAN PETER NEUTHARD, HANOVER, CIRCA 1825
Fiddle and thread pattern, each engraved with Royal cypher 'GR III' beneath Royal crown, marked on stems and with later French control mark, comprising:
Seventy-two table spoons
Seventy-two table forks
Seventy table knives, with steel blades stamped 'Schmalstig'
weighable silver 423 oz. 1 dwt. (13,159 gr.)
The cypher is that of King George III (1760-1820), King of Great Britain and Ireland, Elector and later King of Hanover.
Provenance
King George III (1760-1820) of Great Britain, Ireland and Hanover, by descent in the Royal family of Great Britain and Hanover until the death of King William IV in 1837, when the two kingdoms separated under two monarchs.
Ernest Augustus, 1st Duke of Cumberland and King of Hanover (r.1837-1851), fifth son of King George III of Great Britain and brother of King William IV, by descent to his son
George V of Hanover, 2nd Duke of Cumberland (1819–1878) and King of Hanover until 1866, by descent to his son
Ernest Augustus II, Crown Prince of Hanover, 3rd Duke of Cumberland (1845–1923),
Glückselig und Sohn in 1924,
Crichton Brothers of London,
Rothschild collection.
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.
Sale room notice
Please note that there are two serving spoons illustrated in the catalogue but not mentioned in the catalogue entry.

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Paul Gallois

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Lot Essay

The table service comprised 144 sets of flatware made by Aubry and further 144 sets copied by Bunsen.

For large services such as King George III's service, Robert-Joseph Auguste sub-contracted the production of flatware to Claude-Auguste Aubry, Nicolas-Martin, Jean-Etienne Langlois and Pierre-Nicolas Sommé, although he often provided the design.

Claude-Auguste Aubry who was apprenticed to Jacques Duguay and Simon Gallien, and became master in 1758, specialised in flatware, working regularly for Auguste and providing amongst others a dessert service for Empress Catherine the Great.

Franz Peter Bunsen, born in Hanover in circa 1725, became master in 1754. In 1770 he was appointed Court Goldsmith and was chosen for the making of George III new royal service. It was initially thought that it would take four years to complete the service with both Auguste and Bunsen working at the same time, the later copying the former's work, however, the whole service was not finished until 1790.

SILVER FROM THE KING GEORGE III HERRENHAUSEN DINNER SERVICE

The silver dinner service made for King George III is considered one of the largest and most important services made in the late 18th century. King George III succeeded his grand-father George I as Elector of Hanover and was the first Hanoverian monarch to be born and educated in England declaring upon his accession 'I glory in the name of Briton'.

Although he never visited Hanover, George continued to take a personal interest in the prosperity of Hanover, and decided in 1770 to commission a dinner service that was appropriately grand and extensive. This very large service was in fact made up of the Hanoverian Service intended for 60 to 72 persons and the Hildesheim Service for 30 to 32.

In 1772 Robert-Joseph Auguste was chosen to make the 72 setting service later called in the archives 'Service A', and by January 1777 he had submitted his final drawings. As the first pieces were delivered and approved by the King, they were immediately copied by the Hanover court goldsmith Frantz Peter Bunsen using the high silver standard of 15 lot to match the Parisian standard, as the cost for Auguste’s pieces was prohibitive.

The first pieces were delivered in 1777 and after receiving the third delivery in 1782, the Lord Chamberlain, Heinrich-Julius Baron von Lichtenstein (1723-1789) enquired in a letter of 29 August about an order for plates and flatware confirming that he had chosen the border 'Nro. 2 à baguettes et rubans' and 'filets' for the flatware (see L. Seelig, The Silver Society Journal, 'The Dinner Service made for George III by Robert-Joseph Auguste and Frantz-Peter Bunsen, no. 28, 2012, p. 89). This flatware was part of the fourth delivery, by far the largest, made in September 1784; it comprised 216 plates, various dishes and 144 sets of flatware, the latter made by Claude-Auguste Aubry. The fifth and final delivery was made in July 1786 and comprised dish covers, pans, small covered pots and chafing dishes. At the same time, Bunsen, and after his death, his son were making copies, adding to the service until 1797.

The service was extensively used for court entertainment and to serve King George III's three younger sons, who attended the University of Göttingen and often spent time in Hanover, until Napoleon’s invasion in 1803, when the service was shipped to Windsor Castle. In 1805, it was presented to 500 guests at a grand fete of German music, dance and dining. Miss Lucy Kennedy, lady in Waiting to Queen Charlotte wrote ‘great preparations have been making for a month past, new furniture, pictures removed and a great collection of very fine new ones…there is also the magnificent plate which was brought over from Hanover’ (Kennedy Diary, The MS Diary of Miss Lucy Kennedy, Royal Library Windsor, cited in Olwen Hedley Queen Charlotte, 1975 p. 221-222). Whilst The Gentleman’s Magazine (pt 1, 1805, p. 262-264) reported ‘it may truly be said it was his Majesty’s fete, everything was done by the direction and under the superintendence of his Majesty’.

The service thereafter remained at Windsor, stored in a dedicated silver chamber, until 1814 when it was finally returned to Hanover now elevated to a Kingdom under Ernest-Augustus of Hanover (1771-1851), Duke of Cumberland crowned in 1837. Additions were made in preparation for King George IV’s visit in 1821 and to reflect the change in dining fashion from service à la française to service à la Russe, bases were added to wine coolers, and also new plates, dishes and flatware were made by Franz Anton Nübell and Johann Christian Peter Neuthard. However, Ernest Augustus only decided in 1841 to have his father's cypher engraved on 2,226 pieces by Johann Carl Matthias.

During the 1866 Austro-Prussian War, Hanover was invaded and absorbed into the new German state. The service was transported to Austria and in 1924 a large part was sold to the dealer J. Glückselig und Sohn who resold it the same year to the Crichton Brothers of London. One part was then acquired by Louis Cartier, later sold at Sotheby’s Monaco on 25-27 November 1979, whilst the second part was acquired by the French branch of the Rothschild family who bequeathed part of it to the Louvre while another part was sold by their heirs and is now at Waddesdon.
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