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A GERMAN BRASS-MOUNTED AND SATINE-CROSSBANDED CHERRYWOOD CABINET CONTAINING FORTY-EIGHT WAX RELIEFS
A GERMAN BRASS-MOUNTED AND SATINE-CROSSBANDED CHERRYWOOD CABINET CONTAINING FORTY-EIGHT WAX RELIEFS
A GERMAN BRASS-MOUNTED AND SATINE-CROSSBANDED CHERRYWOOD CABINET CONTAINING FORTY-EIGHT WAX RELIEFS
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A GERMAN BRASS-MOUNTED AND SATINE-CROSSBANDED CHERRYWOOD CABINET CONTAINING FORTY-EIGHT WAX RELIEFS
18 More
This lot will be removed to Christie’s Park Royal.… Read more PROPERTY OF A GENTLEMAN SOLD TO BENEFIT A CHARITABLE FOUNDATION
A GERMAN BRASS-MOUNTED AND SATINE-CROSSBANDED CHERRYWOOD CABINET CONTAINING FORTY-EIGHT WAX RELIEFS

THE CABINET ATTRIBUTED TO THEODOR COMMER, THE WAX RELIEFS BY KASPAR BERNHARD HARDY, COLOGNE, CIRCA 1795

Details
A GERMAN BRASS-MOUNTED AND SATINE-CROSSBANDED CHERRYWOOD CABINET CONTAINING FORTY-EIGHT WAX RELIEFS
THE CABINET ATTRIBUTED TO THEODOR COMMER, THE WAX RELIEFS BY KASPAR BERNHARD HARDY, COLOGNE, CIRCA 1795
The wax reliefs realistically modelled in high relief and mounted in deep, glazed, giltwood frames; the upper part of the cabinet with panelled doors, each with deep internal recess and hooks to hang twelve wax reliefs, the interior of the cabinet divided into a further two bays each with four shallow drawers with later steel ring handles and hooks to hang a further twelve reliefs to each bay; the base of the cabinet with rising cylinder inlaid with the initials 'JWN' enclosing an architectural fitted writing compartment with three arched pigeon holes, each with stepped base forming a concealed drawer, over an olive leather-lined sliding writing surface, above six drawers on tapering square section legs, remnants of printed paper label to the reverse of the base and with further paper transit labels to the interior of the mechanism, various numbering to the drawers and around the hooks, minor restoration and replacement
88 ¾ in. (225.5 cm.) high; 57 in. (145 cm.) wide, closed or 105 ½ in. (268 cm.) wide, open; 24 ¾ in. (64.5 cm.) deep
Provenance
Canon Johann Wilhelm Neel (1744-1819), Cologne.
Collection of the Jansen family, Cologne.
Collection of the sculptor Michael Lock, Cologne/Berlin.
Collection of the physician Dr. Hanson, Cologne.
Collection of the Baron von Gwinner, Haus im Dol, 46 - 48, Berlin, since 1926 and by descent until,
sold from The Collection of a German Countess, Sotheby's, London, 24 February 2015, lot 93; when illustrated with thirty wax reliefs with further period wax reliefs by Bernhard Hardy subsequently added to complete the interior.
With Walter Padovani, Milan.
With Georg Laue, Munich, from whom acquired.
Literature
K. Luthmer, 'Ein Schauschrank mit Wachsbossierungen', Wallraf-Richartz Jahrbuch 3-4 (1926/7), pp. 199-207.
C. McDaniel-Odendall, Die Wachsbossierung des Caspar Bernhard Hardy (1726-1819), Cologne, 1990, figs. 2-3.
C. Napoleone, 'Gruppo di cere in un Secrétaire', Antiquariato, May 2016, pp. 60-65.
A. González-Palacios, Secrétaire by Thoedor Commer with panels Containing Wax Figures by Caspar Bernhard Hardy,
Milan, 2016.
G, Laue, The Kunstkammer. Kunstkammer Edition, vol 1, Munich, 2016, pp. 88-89, pp.121, Cat. Nr. 45, Abb. 60.
Special Notice

This lot will be removed to Christie’s Park Royal. Christie’s will inform you if the lot has been sent offsite. Our removal and storage of the lot is subject to the terms and conditions of storage which can be found at Christies.com/storage and our fees for storage are set out in the table below - these will apply whether the lot remains with Christie’s or is removed elsewhere. Please call Christie’s Client Service 24 hours in advance to book a collection time at Christie’s Park Royal. All collections from Christie’s Park Royal will be by pre-booked appointment only. Tel: +44 (0)20 7839 9060 Email: cscollectionsuk@christies.com. If the lot remains at Christie’s it will be available for collection on any working day 9.00 am to 5.00 pm. Lots are not available for collection at weekends.
Sale Room Notice
Please note that the last line of the provenance should read: Georg Laue, Munich, from whom acquired - not as stated in the printed catalogue.

Brought to you by

Peter Horwood
Peter Horwood Head of Department, English Furniture, Co-Head of Sale

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Lot Essay


The doors of the upper section of this Neoclassical secrétaire (or Neelische Schrank) open to reveal, in the manner of a kunstkammer, a set of forty-eight, polychrome wax reliefs by the celebrated wax modeller, Kaspar (Caspar) Bernhard Hardy (1726-1819). Hardy may be described as a ‘Renaissance man’, having pursued a variety of disciplines including the arts of painted enamel, engraved shells, glasswork and bronze casting. However it was skill in wax modelling for which he was most recognized, “in wax modelling, Hardy achieved a position which has not been reached by anybody else. He started, following the taste of his time, with low reliefs of great men, portraying them with apt traits of nature and character. He also paid great attention to a natural moulding of material, especially of lace. He then continued with genre figures, full of psychological truth, and with idylls, which reveal the purest and tenderest sentiments” ( E.J. Pyke, A Biographical Dictionary of Wax Modellers, Oxford, 1973, p. 63). Admired for his talents, he found friends and patrons in Franz Ferdinand Wallraf (1748-1824), founder of the museum in Cologne, and Johann Wolfgang von Goethe (1749-1832) who acquired eight of Hardy’s wax figures, now on display in the Goethe Nationalmuseum in Schloss Tierfurt in Weimar. The wax portraits in this cabinet depict predominantly genre figures, such as the meticulously executed, compassionate ‘The Mother’ and the pathetic ‘The Frugal Peasant’, parallels of which can be found in contemporary paintings and engravings.
The secrétaire in which these portraits are housed is believed to have been the work of Theodor Commer (1773-1853), ‘Commer of Cologne’, as attributed in the sole academic reference to this piece: ‘Ein Schauschrank mit Wachsbossierungen des Kolner Domvikarius Kaspar Bernhard Hardy (1726-1819)’ in Wallraf-Richartz Jahrbuch, by Kurt Luthmer, 3-4, 1926-27, pp. 199-207. The form is heavily influenced by the work of the preeminent German cabinet maker, David Roentgen and the output of his workshop in Neuwied. This is evident in the severe neoclassical form, the use strongly contrasting timbers, the characteristic brass mounts and inlay as well as spring-released hidden drawers, giving some credence to the suggestion that Comer may have trained under Roentgen. There are two models of related Roentgen cylinder desks, which ostensibly differ solely in the depth of the lower section beneath the rising cylinder; one model, as in this example, has rows of two or three drawers above short tapering supports, and the second is on tall tapering supports.
Until very recently, the secrétaire was believed to have been destroyed during the Second World War, its survival over two-hundred years even more remarkable (A. González-Palacios, A Secretaire by Theodor Commer with panels containing wax figures by Caspar Bernhard Hardy, Milan, 2016, p. 37).

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