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THE PROPERTY OF AMBASSADOR W. BREITENSTEIN
A RUSSIAN NEOCLASSIC STYLE ORMOLU-MOUNTED KARELIAN BIRCH FAUTEUIL

CIRCA 1910

Details
A RUSSIAN NEOCLASSIC STYLE ORMOLU-MOUNTED KARELIAN BIRCH FAUTEUIL
circa 1910
The incurving rectangular cresting centering a cast military trophy within an entwined ribbon and reeded surround over a shaped back mounted iwth cast foliate scrolls and centering a male portrait medalion within a leaf-cast frame, flanked by downscrolled arms similarly mounted and terminating with winged female busts on square splayed tapering legs mounted with cast caduceus chutes on foliate-headed paw feet
Provenance
Ordered by the Russian Imperial Family circa 1910
Purchased by the vendor's father from the gallery for Russian emigrés in Helsinki in the 1920's

Lot Essay

The form of the present armchair pays tribute to the classical Russian tradition of cabinet-making of the early 19th century. It formed part of an important set of furniture comprising armchairs, chairs, tables and settees ordered by the Russian Imperial family around 1910-1912 for the Imperial residences to commemorate the 100th anniversary of the victory of the Russians and the Prussians in the War of 1812 over Napoleon as well as the 300th anniversary of the Romanov dynasty.
All pieces from this set were mounted with medallions depicting portraits of various members of the Imperial Russian family from the time of Alexander I as well as members of the Imperial Prussian family--the Hohenzollern--such as the Grand Duke Nicolas Pavlovich, future Czar Nicolas I, the Prussian Princess Charlotte, later Empress Alexandra Feodorovna, wife of Nicolas I, Emperor Frederich-Wilhelm III and his wife Louisa, Czar Alexander I and others as the two families were related through marriage. The last Russian Czar Nicolas II was also a cousin of the Prussian Emperor Wilhelm II Hohenzollern. The medallions were copies of historical portrait medalions celebrating the dynastic relationship between the Hohenzollern and the Romanov families executed between 1800 and 1810 by Leongarde Posche (1750-1831) at the Gleivitz manufactury. The medallion on the present armchair possibly depicts Nicolas I.

Most of the pieces from this historically important set were sold after the Revolution of 1917 and several chairs are now to be found in private collections in Europe. Eight pieces including a settee remained in Russia and one (incorrectly dated to 1818), are currently exhibited at the Hermitage, one is illustrated in A. Chenevière, Russian Furniture: The Golden Age 1780-1840, 1988, p. 201, no. 209 (see also State Hermitage Museum, Russian Art of Interior of the 19th Century, 1986, pp. 119-120).
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