AN AUSTRIAN SILVER SOUP-TUREEN, COVER, STAND AND LINER FROM THE SECOND SACSHEN-TESCHEN SERVICE
AN AUSTRIAN SILVER SOUP-TUREEN, COVER, STAND AND LINER FROM THE SECOND SACSHEN-TESCHEN SERVICE
AN AUSTRIAN SILVER SOUP-TUREEN, COVER, STAND AND LINER FROM THE SECOND SACSHEN-TESCHEN SERVICE
AN AUSTRIAN SILVER SOUP-TUREEN, COVER, STAND AND LINER FROM THE SECOND SACSHEN-TESCHEN SERVICE
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AN AUSTRIAN SILVER SOUP-TUREEN, COVER, STAND AND LINER FROM THE SECOND SACHSEN-TESCHEN SERVICE

MARK OF IGNAZ JOSEPH WURTH, VIENNA, THE LINER AND STAND 1780 THE TUREEN AND COVER 1781

Details
AN AUSTRIAN SILVER SOUP-TUREEN, COVER, STAND AND LINER FROM THE SECOND SACHSEN-TESCHEN SERVICE
MARK OF IGNAZ JOSEPH WURTH, VIENNA, THE LINER AND STAND 1780 THE TUREEN AND COVER 1781
Oval, the tureen raised on four cast dolphin feet, their tails entwined to form side-handles, the lower-body fluted below a band of beading and a frieze of foliate guilloche, with matted laurel border, the cover chased with flutes below a fluted dome applied with a finial realistically cast as clams, a sea urchin and oyster shell atop foliage, beading and seaweed, the stand with laurel border and acanthus side-handles, chased with flutes and centred by paterae on each side below a band of stiff-leafage, on four scroll supports, marked inside, on cover rim, under stand and liner, further marked with later Austro-Hungarian import marks, the tureen and stand each engraved underneath with number and scratchweight 'N:2. M.30.6.=.=' and 'N:1 M 13.13.=.='

the tureen 17 3/4 in. (45 cm.) long; the stand 26 in. (66 cm.) long
the tureen and stand 12 1/2 in. (31.8 cm.) high overall
391 oz. 16 dwt. (12,187 gr.)
Provenance
Duke Albert Casimir of Sachsen-Teschen (1738-1822) and Archduchess Marie Christine of Austria (1742-1798)
Duke Charles of Teschen and by descent to his son
Duke Albrecht of Teschen (1817-1895), and by descent to his nephew
Duke Frederick of Teschen (1856-1936), and by decent to his son
Duke Albrecht II of Teschen (1897-1955).
Silver from a Princely Home (Tafelsilber aus einem Fürstlichen Hause); Galerie Fischer, Lucerne, 6 May 1947, lot 34.
Presumably with Bulgari, Rome.
Literature
Dr. Edmund Wilhelm Braun, Das Tafelsilber de Herzogs Albert von Sachsen-Teschen, Vienna, 1910, p. 4, no. 3.
Sale room notice
Please note the provenance for this lot has been updated and is available online. The provenance in the printed catalogue should read:
Duke Albert Casimir of Sachsen-Teschen (1738-1822) and Archduchess Marie Christine of Austria (1742-1798)
Duke Charles of Teschen and by descent to his son
Duke Albrecht of Teschen (1817-1895), and by descent to his nephew
Duke Frederick of Teschen (1856-1936), and by decent to his son
Duke Albrecht II of Teschen (1897-1955).
Silver from a Princely Home (Tafelsilber aus einem Fürstlichen Hause); Galerie Fischer, Lucerne, 6 May 1947, lot 34.
Presumably with Bulgari, Rome.

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Lot Essay

Duke Albert of Sachsen-Teschen (1738-1822) and Archduchess Marie Christine of Habsburg-Lorraine (1742-1798) and the Sachsen-Teschen Services
The First Sachsen-Teschen Service was made in Vienna by Frans Caspar Würth in 1748 to commemorate the wedding of Duke Albert of Sachsen-Teschen (1738-1822) and Archduchess Marie Christine of Austria (1742-1798). As was often the case with extensive and time-sensitive commissions, this service was made in collaboration with other silversmiths in Vienna. Similarly, although on a considerably larger scale, the dinner-services commissioned by Catherine the Great of Russia (r.1762-1796) for her regional governors were executed by goldsmiths in Paris, Augsburg and London.

Duke Albert of Sachsen-Teschen (1738-1822) was the youngest son of August III, King of Poland and Elector of Saxony. He was educated at the court in Dresden and embarked on a military career. In 1766, he married Archduchess Marie Christine of Austria (1742-1798), favourite daughter of Empress Maria-Theresa and elder sister of Marie Antoinette. His marriage secured him a considerable fortune, which enabled him to form an extraordinary art collection, renowned both for its quality and quantity. In 1767 the couple had one child, Princess Maria Theresa who died at one day old. After the death of their daughter, the couple travelled to Italy and completed a Grand Tour.

In 1780 Albert and Marie Christine were appointed joint governors of the Austrian Netherlands by her mother, Empress Maria Theresa. The Second Sachsen-Teschen Service was commissioned for their use in Brussels. They travelled to Brussels and began their governorship there on 10th July 1781. The service was made solely by the workshop of Ignaz Joseph Würth, and judging by the quality and extent, it no-doubt occupied the studio for the majority of the time between 1779 and 1782.

The Austrian Netherlands were invaded in 1792. The vast Sachsen-Teschen collection was packed and shipped, not all of the collection arrived and a portion was lost at sea. The couple returned to Vienna in 1794. When Marie Christine died in 1798, art collecting became Albert’s sole focus. The vast collection inside the Albertina Palace was left to their adopted child, the nephew of Marie Christine, Archduke Charles of Austria.

Chateau de Laeken and the Sachsen-Teschen Collection
The Sachsen-Teschens were joint Governors of the Habsburg Netherlands from 1780-1792. In 1782, construction began on a lavish palace to be used as their summer residence at Laeken near Brussels. Chateau de Laeken was designed by the French architect Charles de Wailly. Marie Christine and Albert furnished in the latest fashion.

The Sachsen-Teschen album of drawings, now in the Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York, and Braun’s inventory of the Second Sachsen-Teschen Service are the only clues to the composition of their collection before some of it was lost at sea. The drawings are devoted to the decorative arts and include luxurious French furniture, oriental porcelain (both mounted and un-mounted), clocks and other categories. The collection ranged from the rococo style, to the bold goût grec, and further items in a pure neo-classical style, such as the present lots. The range of categories and styles shows their enthusiasm for the decorative arts. Albert was keenly interested in neo-classicism, and among his library in the Albertina Palace, Vienna was, Bucolica, Georgica, et Aeneis, a book including works by Vigil and with neo-classical engravings, including a rare example signed by Jacques-Louis David (Anonymous sale; Christie’s, London, 21 November 2012, lot 127).

Known as Schoonenberg in the 18th Century, the Château de Laeken was built between 1782 and 1785 to the designs of the celebrated Parisian architect Charles de Wailly (d. 1798). The imposing neo-classical building divided in five bays was surmounted by a dome above the central pavilion. The interiors were executed by the sculptor, architect and designer Gilles-Paul Cauvet (d. 1788). The refined and luxurious interiors created by Cauvet in the latest ‘antique’ fashion of the 1780s were a sophisticated backdrop for the superb collections of the Duke and Archduchess of Sachsen-Teschen. Napoleon acquired the Château in 1804 and established an Imperial residence. From 1830 Laeken became one of the residences of the Kings of Belgium.

Ignaz Joseph rth
Ignaz Joseph Würth (b. 1742) was the son of silversmith Johann Joseph Würth (d.1767) and took over the workshop in 1769 after his father’s death. He became a master in 1770. Other members of the Würth family include his uncle, Frans Caspar Würth who created the First Sachsen-Teschen Service, and Frans Zaver Würth, a medalist. The workshop also supplied Emperor Joseph II, the Danish Royal Court, and pieces such as a pair of gilt-bronze vases and pedestals, sent by Maria Theresa to her daughter Marie Antoinette at Versailles in 1780 (W. Koeppe, Vienna Circa 1780: An Imperial Service Residcovered, The Metropolitan Museum of Art: New York, 2010, p. 22, cat no. 6).

Dining in the Eighteenth Century
Dining culture in the eighteenth century called for distinctive forms, shapes and designs of vessels to be used for individual dishes and courses. Extensive services played a role in the court and dining etiquette of the time. Dishes were set out in symmetrical and increasingly intricate à la française patterns, templates for which began to appear in courtly cookbooks and household management manuals. Several dishes of the same food were placed at various points along the table, so that no matter where diners were seated they had a good selection. New serving-pieces such as soup-tureens, sauceboats, and centrepieces were required for increasingly elaborate presentation; silver candlesticks were required to light the banquet table.

Magnificent silver dining-services were commissioned by Royal, aristocratic and wealthy patrons to convey their power and authority. Commissions of silver dining-services were an intensive project for the craftsmen involved. They were often ordered on the occasion of a wedding or a new political appointment, as exemplified by the First and Second Sachsen-Teschen Services.

The Second Sachsen-Teschen Service
Duke Albert of Sachsen-Teschen and Archduchess of Austria Marie Christine commissioned Ignaz Joseph Würth to provide a second, grander dinner-service for their use in Brussels. At the ducal court service was known as ‘The Polish Service.’ The magnificent service comprised twenty-seven different types of pieces, not to mention the covers, stands and liners for soup and sauce-tureens. In total, the service encompassed 398 pieces, of which 240 were dinner-plates. The most significant pieces of the service are the soup-tureens, candelabra and wine-coolers. These were the most complex designs and were the heaviest, and therefore most luxurious items.

Dr. Edmund Wilhelm Braun was the first art historian to catalogue the service. His pioneering 1910 publication Das Tafelsilber de Herzogs Albert von Sachsen-Teschen includes a discussion and an inventory of the pieces at the Albertina in Vienna. It is possible that Braun was enthused by another seminal catalogue, the 1907 inventory of the Russian Imperial silver services by Baron A. de Foelkersam, Inventaire de lArgenterie conservé dans les garde meubles des Palais Impériaux, St. Petersburg, 1907. The service first appeared on the auction market when Galerie Fischer offered ‘Tafelsilber aus Einem Furstlichen Hause’ on 6 May 1947.

One-hundred years after Braun’s inventory, Wolfram Koeppe published a comprehensive study of the service, Vienna Circa 1780: An Imperial Silver Service Rediscovered, The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York, 2010. The catalogue accompanied a momentous exhibition of the service at The Metropolitan Museum of Art. Among the pieces exhibited were a pair of silver wine coolers, in the collection of the Metropolitan Museum of Art (museum no. 2002.265.1a, b, 2a, b) and the inspiration for the exhibition. These were acquired by the Metropolitan Museum of Art, after the sale at Sotheby’s, New York, 18 April 2002, lot 47, having been previously sold at Christie’s, New York, 11 April 1995, lot 120.

The ‘oyster tureen’ (lot 650 in the present sale) is the fourth and final tureen of a set of four ‘fish or shellfish’ oval soup tureens, covers and stands from the Second Sachsen-Teschen Service to be ‘rediscovered.’ Braun’s 1910 inventory records three sizes of soup tureens and stands: two large round examples; two large oval; and four smaller oval. The 1947 Galerie Fischer catalogue mirrors the inventory, offering: two large circular tureens on oval stands (lots 30 and 31); two large oval tureens on stands (lots 32 and 33); and four smaller oval examples (lots 34-37). We can further distinguish the oval tureens based on use: large oval ‘vegetable’ tureens (Braun, op. cit., p. 4, no. 3); and four smaller ‘fish or shellfish’ tureens (Braun, op. cit., p. 4, no. 4).

Two large round soup-tureens, covers and stands are recorded by Braun (op. cit., p. 4, no. 2). A large round tureen with a turtle finial is illustrated (op. cit., pl. I) and the stand is illustrated separately (op. cit., pl. I and III). Two large round soup-tureens are currently recorded:
Round Turtle Tureen, Cover with Oval Stand
Tureen engraved N:1
Provenance:
Galerie Fisher, 6 May 1947, lot 30.
(Present whereabouts unknown)
Literature:
Braun, op. cit., p. 4, no. 2, pl. I and pl. III.

Round Cabbage Tureen, Cover with Oval Stand
Tureen engraved N:2
Provenance:
Galerie Fisher, 6 May 1947, lot 31.
Sotheby’s, Geneva, 15 May 1995, lot 163.
Private Collection, Paris.
Exhibited:
Ausstellung von alt-österreichischen Goldschmiedearbeiten, Troppau, Kaiser Franz Josef Museum of Decorative Art, 1 September – 1 October 1904.
Vienna Circa 1780: An Imperial Silver Service Rediscovered, New York, The Metropolitan Museum of Art, 13 April – 7 November 2010.
The Ceremonial Silver of Duke Albert of Sachsen-Teschen Highlights, Vienna, Liechtenstein: The Princely Collections Museum, 2 December 2010 – 26 April 2011.
Literature:
Braun, op. cit., p. 4, no. 2.
Koeppe, op. cit., cat no. 17.

Two large oval soup tureens, covers and stands are listed in Braun’s inventory (op. cit., p. 4, no. 3) and he illustrates a large oval tureen with a vegetable finial (op. cit., pl. II). Two oval tureens with a vegetable finial are currently recorded:
Vegetable Tureen, Cover and Stand, 1779-80
Tureen engraved N:2; stand engraved N:2
Provenance:
Galerie Fischer, 6 May 1947, lot 32.
Sotheby’s, Geneva, 15 May 1995, lot 162,
with Partridge,
The Sterling and Francine Clark Institute (acq. no. 1996.1).
Exhibited:
Ausstellung von alt-österreichischen Goldschmiedearbeiten, Troppau, Kaiser Franz Josef Museum of Decorative Art, 1 September – 1 October 1904.
Literature:
Braun, op. cit., p. 4, no. 3; probably pl. II.
'Silver at Partridge, Recent Acquisitions, November 1995', London, 1995 pp. 32-34, cat. no. 19.
W. Koeppe, op. cit., p. 94, in the note to cat. no. 15.

Vegetable Tureen, Cover and Stand, 1779-81
Tureen, 1781, engraved N:1 (previously engraved N:3); stand, 1779, engraved N:1
Provenance:
Galerie Fischer, 6 May 1947, lot 33 (as 1779).
with Bulgari.
Collection Paul-Louis Weiller; Étude Gros et Delletrey, Paris, 7 April 2011, lot 432.
Literature:
Braun, op. cit., p. 4, no. 3.

Four slightly smaller oval tureens, covers and stands are recorded in Braun’s inventory (Braun, op. cit., p. 4, no. 4), later offered by Galerie Fisher, Lucerne, 6 May 1947, lots 34-37. In his meticulous 2010 catalogue, Koeppe records two oval tureens covers and stands in a Private Collection in Paris as part of this set of four. Including the present lot, the four ‘fish or shellfish’ tureens are all now recorded:
Oyster Tureen, Cover and Stand, 1780-81, the present lot
Tureen, 1781, engraved N:2; stand, 1780, engraved N:1
Provenance:
Galerie Fischer, 6 May 1947, lot 34.
Literature:
Braun, op. cit., p. 4, no. 4.

Crayfish Tureen, Cover and Stand, 1780-81
Tureen, 1781, engraved N:3; stand, 1780, engraved N:3
Provenance:
Galerie Fischer, 6 May 1947, lot 35 (as 1780) and pl. 3
Private Collection, Paris
Exhibited:
Vienna Circa 1780: An Imperial Silver Service Rediscovered, New York, The Metropolitan Museum of Art, 13 April – 7 November 2010.
The Ceremonial Silver of Duke Albert of Sachsen-Teschen Highlights, Vienna, Liechtenstein: The Princely Collections Museum, 2 December 2010 – 26 April 2011.
Literature:
Braun, op. cit., p. 4, no. 4.
Koeppe, op. cit., cat no. 15

Fish Tureen, Cover and Stand, 1780-81
Tureen, 1781, engraved N:4; stand, 1780, engraved N:4
Provenance:
Galerie Fischer, 6 May 1947, lot 36 (as 1780).
Private Collection, Paris.
Exhibited:
Vienna Circa 1780: An Imperial Silver Service Rediscovered, New York, The Metropolitan Museum of Art, 13 April – 7 November 2010.
The Ceremonial Silver of Duke Albert of Sachsen-Teschen Highlights, Vienna, Liechtenstein: The Princely Collections Museum, 2 December 2010 – 26 April 2011.
Literature:
Braun, op. cit., p. 4, no. 4.
Koeppe, op. cit., cat no. 16.

Crab Tureen, Cover and Stand, 1780-81
Tureen, 1781, engraved N:1; stand, 1780, engraved N:2
Provenance:
Galerie Fischer, 6 May 1947, lot 37 (as 1780).
Bonham’s, London, 19 June 2013, lot 151.
Literature:
Braun, op. cit., p. 4, no. 4.

Braun records thirty-two single candlesticks, one for each place-setting. Together with four three-branch candelabra and eight two-branch candelabra, the lighting alone created a magnificent stage for a banquet. Twenty-four single candlesticks from private collections in Vienna (No. 7 and 8) and Paris were exhibited in Vienna Circa 1780 (Koeppe, op. cit., cat. 27). Four single candlesticks (No. 22, 23, 25 and 27) were sold, Sotheby’s, Paris, 17 May 2011, lot 183; and a pair sold, Property of a Lady, Christie’s, New York, 11 April 1995, lot 119. A pair of two-branch candelabra (engraved No. 1 and No. 2) from a Private Collection, Paris were exhibited in Vienna Circa 1780 (Koeppe, op. cit., cat. 28).

Viennese Neo-Classicism
The design of the Second Sachsen-Teschen Service is highly influenced by French silversmith Robert-Joseph Auguste. The neo-classical style was promoted by Louis XVI, Marie Antoinette and the court of Versailles. It is no surprise that Albert and Marie Christine would choose a service in-keeping with the highest fashion of the day.

The oval tureen combines architecturally inspired neo-classical elements with feet in the form of dolphins, their entwined tails twisting into side handles. The contrast achieved with the designs regularity with liveliness play of matted against polished surfaces is similar to the contrast achieved in the design. The realistic cast oyster shell, sea urchin, clams, pussy willows and marine vegetation on the finial are as lively as the writhing dolphin feet. When discussing the finials of the fish and crayfish tureens, Koeppe writes 'the naturalism of the finials is echoed in their realistic appearance, achieved in many cases by casting from actual models' (op. cit., p. 38). In some cases, the life-casting of exotic species of fish, game and vegetables could also be seen as propaganda - emblematic of the wide-reaching reign of the ruler.

The movement of the dolphin feet and side handles of the tureen, contrast with the elegant regularity of the rayed fluting on the cover and body, foliate guilloche frieze, laurel borders and paterae. The architectural form of the candelabra is punctuated by movement: the serpent coils around the stem, and foliage unfurls around the paterae on the branches. Koeppe writes the 'vigorous design, the sparkling play of textures, and the daring juxtaposition of classical elements with whimsical sculptural details embody the freshness of the Viennese interpretation of high-style French Neo-classicism.' Würth’s unique interpretation of the neo-classical described by Koeppe is exemplified here in the present lots.





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