Enfilade

Silver Playing Cards Fit for a Princess

Posted in Art Market by Editor on October 17, 2010

As reported at ArtDaily, this set of seventeenth-century silver playing cards up for auction at Christie’s belonged, in the eighteenth century, to Princess Carlota, the daughter of King Carlos IV (as the wife of King João of Portugal, she was Princess of Portugal and Brazil). The cards are estimated to sell for between $150,000 and $250,000. From Christie’s:

Sale 2349, Lot 56
Important Silver Including The Stuart Collection of Magnificent Regency Silver , 19 October 2010, New York

An Extremely Rare Set of German Engraved and Parcel-Gilt Silver Playing Cards, signed Michael Frömmer, Augsburg, 1616

A complete set of 52 cards engraved in the four Italian suits: swords, batons, cups, and coins, each suit with a king, a knight, a knave, and pip cards ace through ten; the Knave of Swords signed M. frömmer fec, the Ace of Batons dated 1616; with a tooled-leather shadowbox case set with a brass plaque engraved with provenance. Each card is 3 3/8 inches (8.6 cm) high by 1 15/16 inches (5 cm) wide.

These cards, according to family tradition, were given to Josefa Oribe y Viana de Contucci, ancestor of the present owner, by Infanta Carlota Joaquina of Spain (1775-1830). Princess Carlota was daughter of King Carlos IV and, as wife of King João of
Portugal, Princess of Portugal and Brazil.

During Napoleonic struggles, Carlota was exiled to Brazil with the Portuguese Court. When Napoleon forced her father to abdicate in Spain, she became claimant to the throne of Spain and Spanish America. Following the patriotic revolution in Buenos Aires in 1810, she ordered Portuguese-Brazilian troops into Montevideo to protect the interests of the Spanish monarchy. Carlota’s emissary in South America and the director of her military efforts there was Felipe Contucci. Carlota presented these cards to Contucci’s wife, and they descended to the present owner. . . .

The full catalogue entry is available here»

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Lots 158 and 121



Much of the sale is dedicated to nineteenth-century silver, but there are some lovely eighteenth-century pieces such as a Queen Anne teapot-on-stand (mark of William Pearson, 1712) and this George III honey pot (marks of Paul Storr, 1798). Each is estimated to fetch between $20,000 and $30,000. (For more information click on the images.)

Avenues in the Garden

Posted in lectures (to attend) by Editor on October 17, 2010

From The Garden History Society’s website:

Sarah Couch, “Avenues in the Landscape in the 17th and 18th Centuries”
Glasite Meeting House, Barony Street, Edinburgh, 1 November, 6:30pm

Couch has expertise in heritage landscape, horticulture and architecture, with a particular interest in historic avenues and their planting.

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As noted at Couch’s website:

Sarah is part of  Historic Environment Associates, a new interdisciplinary consultancy, specialising in the conservation of historic buildings and landscapes. As an architect, Sarah is also qualified in heritage landscape and horticulture. She has worked on many historic landscape projects, either on her own account or as part of a team, combining this with teaching and lecturing. . . She has  undertaken conservation work for English Heritage and the Garden History Society.

Her publications on avenues include:

  • “Avenue Planting 1660-1850: A Framework for Conservation Practice,” thesis, London, Architectural Association, 1991.
  • “The Practice of Avenue Planting in the Seventeenth and Eighteenth Centuries,” Garden History 20 (Autumn 1992): 173-200.
  • “Trees in Line for Conservation,” Landscape Design (October 1992): 43-46.
  • “Conservation of Avenue Trees,” Arboricultural Journal 18 (1994): 307-20.
  • “The  Conservation of Avenues in the Historic Landscape: Issues, Method, and Practice,” in Giardini, contesto, paesaggio (Milan 2005).