Lot Content

Global notice COVID-19 Important notice
3 More
This lot will be removed to Christie’s Park Royal.… Read more 'LOTTO' RUGS OF WEST ANATOLIAThe immediately recognisable red ground with an overall angular yellow lattice field design of this highly collectible group of rugs, is named after the artist Lorenzo Lotto who painted two examples of the design in 1542 and 1547. It appears in many slightly different forms in Italian paintings from the 1520's until the first part of the eighteenth century (John Mills, "'Lotto' carpets in Western Paintings", Hali, vol.3, no.4, 1981 pp.278-289). It similarly appears in Dutch paintings, the earliest appearance being in 1544, continuing through at least until the end of the seventeenth century (Onno Ydema, Carpets and their Datings in Netherlandish Paintings, 1540-1700, Zutphen, 1991, pp.239 and 131-143). The field designs have been divided into three different subgroups by Charles Grant Ellis: 'Anatolian', 'Kilim' and 'Ornamented' (C. G. Ellis, The 'Lotto' Pattern as a Fashion in Carpets, Festschrift Peter Wilhelm Meister, 1975, pp.19-31), a division of styles which has been used almost universally subsequently, even if the conclusions drawn by the author have not been fully accepted. Kurt Erdmann suggested that the "Lotto" design was a development of the "small pattern Holbein" design, opening it up to become an overall pattern (Kurt Erdmann, The early Turkish Carpet, London, 1977, p.31). Indeed, he at times ignores the label "Lotto" and prefers to refer to them as "Holbein type II" carpets. In this theory he has been followed by most authorities, even if the "Lotto" name has remained. A very interesting fragment in a private collection however could challenge this assumption. Drawn with what could be either a degenerate or prototype of this pattern, it has been carbon-dated to well before the sixteenth century, which is the time when Erdmann rationalises the present design to have been created. It opens the possibility that the design developed from the much earlier Turkish tradition of two-tone overall lattice carpets, such as those of the thirteenth and fourteenth centuries, far more directly than had been previously thought. While it is not uncommon to see a 'Lotto' rug appear at auction from time to time, to be able to offer a group of three, that have passed down by descent through the same Noble Italian family, who were very probably gifted the rugs from Pope Alexander VII with whom they had strong familial ties, is highly unusual. THE PROPERTY OF A NOBLE ITALIAN FAMILY (Lots 258-260)


Even wear, corroded black, a few small spot repairs, possibly reduced in length, selvages frayed, minor loss at either end but secured
6ft. x 3ft.7in. (182cm. x 110cm.)
Possibly received as a diplomatic gift by Pope Alexander VII and then by descent
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.

Brought to you by

Sara Plumbly
Sara Plumbly

Check the condition report or get in touch for additional information about this

Condition Report

If you wish to view the condition report of this lot, please sign in to your account.

Sign in
View condition report

Lot Essay

The largest examples with this border design tend to have complete cartouches in the border while the medium sized and smaller examples have the part-cartouches, as seen here. The best known of the larger carpets is probably that in the Bargello Museum in Florence (Carlo Maria Suriano, "Patterns Of Patronage, Classical Carpets in the Bargello Museum, Florence", Hali 83, October/November 1985, pp.84-85 and pl.9). The footnote to that entry (note 18, p.116) gives details of twelve other comparable examples. There are similarly a few slightly smaller examples, the best of which is generally acknowledged as that which was formerly part of the Ghazi Aita Collection which sold in these Rooms, 18 October 2001, lot 220. Others from the medium sized group include one with a green ground border which was with Bausback in Mannheim (Hali 107, November/December 1999, advertisement p.49), another with much stiffer drawing in the Museum für Angewandte Kunst, Vienna (Hali 42, November/December 1988, p.30), and a further but very worn example in the Jim Dixon Collection, California (Hali, 109, March/April 2000, p.101). The border of the present lot is typical of the group with smaller proportions where the cartouches are bisected clearly on the central vertical axis. This wonderful 'Lotto' rug is particularly attractive as it uses a more unusual colour palette than most within the border, with the inclusion of a warm terracotta and a shaded sea-green.

The earliest of the group can be dated to the middle of the sixteenth century on the basis of a painting by Jacopo del Ponte in Rome dateable to around 1560 which appears to show the half cartouche version of this border (Mills, op.cit., p.282, no.16). The same border appears with greater regularity immediately after 1600 in paintings from the Netherlands and England (Mills, op.cit.nos.28-30). The majority of paintings after 1600 however appear to show a greater number of smaller rugs, many of which are displayed on tables. A very similar example with the same field design and border pattern but with a different palette within the cartouches was displayed recently in Venice in the highly successful exhibition, 'Serenissime Trame, Carpets from the Zaleski Collection and Renaissance Paintings', Venice, 2017, exhibition catalogue, p.127, pl.20.


Related Articles

View all
From holy script to Huroufiyah auction at Christies
No Time Like Present auction at Christies

No Time Like Present

Christies auction house James Christie logo

More from Art of the Islamic and Indian Worlds Including Oriental Rugs and Carpets

View All
View All