Enfilade

UK Export Ban Placed on Meissen Commedia dell’Arte Figure

Posted in Art Market by Editor on May 13, 2017

Press release (2 May 2017) from Gov.UK’s Department for Culture, Media & Sport:

Meissen Böttger stoneware commedia dell’arte figure, partly polished and with original colouring, ca. 1710–13, 16.4 cm high; sold in the Emma Budge Sale, Paul Graupe, Berlin (27–29 September 1937, Lot 779).

A commedia dell’arte figure is at risk of being exported from the UK unless a buyer can be found to match the asking price of £270,000. Meissen is renowned across Europe as being the first true hard-paste porcelain factory in 18th-century Europe. The rare, fragile, and translucent porcelain imported from China and Japan was a source of wonder to kings, princes, and aristocrats across Europe at the time, with many attempting to replicate these efforts. The production of hard-paste porcelain was preceded by the creation of a very fine high-fired earthenware. This stoneware figure is an outstanding example, which demonstrates the cutting-edge technology of the time. It is one of an extremely rare group of models after the Italian commedia dell’arte theatre, for which the factory at Meissen subsequently became famous.

The item was formerly owned by Emma Budge, a prominent Jewish art collector whose collection was sold at the Graupe Auction House in Berlin in 1937 following her death. The Nazis replaced the executors of her will with their own and the proceeds from the sale were paid into a blocked account. Emma’s heirs never received any of the money. The figure was eventually acquired by a prominent member of the Jewish community who escaped Nazi Germany in April 1938.

The decision to defer the export licence follows a recommendation by the Reviewing Committee on the Export of Works of Art and Objects of Cultural Interest (RCEWA), administered by The Arts Council England. The RCEWA made its recommendation on the grounds of the figure’s aesthetic importance and for its outstanding significance to the study of Meissen porcelain and 18th-century sculpture.

The decision on the export licence application for the figure will be deferred until 1 October. This may be extended until 1 January 2018 if a serious intention to raise funds to purchase it is made at the recommended price of £270,000 (plus VAT of £4,500). Organisations or individuals interested in purchasing the figure should contact the RCEWA.

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At Sotheby’s | The Ballyedmond Collection

Posted in Art Market by Editor on May 9, 2017

From Sotheby’s (via Art Daily):

The Ballyedmond Collection, L17324
Sotheby’s, London, 23–24 May 2017

Sotheby’s in London is to offer the collection of Lord Ballyedmond (1944–2014), whose extraordinary London home formed the backdrop to life at the highest level of British society. The collection stands as testament to Lord Ballyedmond’s unerring eye as a collector, displaying a lifelong passion for the finest art and antiques, with a rare attention to detail. Around 700 objects, spanning over 400 years, will be offered at Sotheby’s London on 23 and 24 May (L17324), with the majority drawn from a magnificent townhouse on London’s Belgrave Square [#9 acquired by Ballyedmond in 2006] . . .

Born in Kilcurry, County Louth, Ireland, Edward Haughey rose from humble beginnings to make his fortune founding and steering to extraordinary success the Norbrook Group, a pharmaceutical company based in Newry, Northern Ireland. Equally influential in the world of politics as he was in business, Lord Ballyedmond is renowned as only the second person in history—after the Marquess of Lansdowne in the 1920s—to have sat in the upper houses of both the British and Irish parliaments. His standing was such that the United States government was amongst the many to pay tribute to his remarkable accomplishments: “His achievements brought significant employment to Northern Ireland and other places around the world, while his philanthropic endeavours helped improve the quality of life of countless others.”

Inspired by the Regency and the neoclassical designs of British architect, Robert Adam and entranced by the salons of 18th-century London, Lord Ballyedmond transformed a once dormant property on one of London’s most prestigious squares into a modern evocation of a great Georgian town house, specifically designed to entertain on an ambassadorial scale. The collection presented here was the fruit of selective and judicious collecting, both at auction and from dealers, with an unmatched attention to the finest of details. Paintings, tapestries, porcelain, silver. and furniture were all thoughtfully put together to create something which would enthrall and delight visitors to Belgrave Square.

The Ballyedmond Collection will be on view at Sotheby’s New Bond Street galleries in London from 19 to 23 May.

The Ballyedmond Collection Part II: Gentlemen’s Accessories Online, an online sale of gentlemen’s dressing accessories, will open on 23 May. Lord Ballyedmond was an elegant man and discerning collector; cufflinks, tie-pins and watches by great names including Cartier, Van Cleef and Arpels, Boucheron and Tiffany & Co. adorn this online offering with estimates ranging from £150 to £6,000.

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UK Export Ban Placed on Ironwork Railings from Chesterfield House

Posted in Art Market by Editor on April 8, 2017

Press release (4 April 2017) from Gov.UK’s Department for Culture, Media & Sport:

Ironwork railings, possibly by Jean Montigny, from Chesterfield House, London; perhaps made in the 1720s (for the 1st Duke of Chandos’s house, Cannons, in Edgware) and then modified in the 1740s; wrought and cast iron with gilt iron and gilt bronze embellishments.

A set of ornate 18th-century ironwork railings is at risk of being exported from the UK unless a buyer can be found to match the asking price of £305,000. Culture Minister Matt Hancock has placed a temporary export bar on the railings that once surrounded the residence of the 4th Earl of Chesterfield to provide an opportunity to keep them in the country. Made of wrought and cast iron with gilt iron and gilt bronze embellishments, they are among the most highly decorated examples in Britain and illustrate how ornate ironwork was used to show social status in the 18th century.

Built in the 1740s, Chesterfield House was one of the grandest and most famous addresses in London and the railings were intended to impress guests and be viewed from the ground floor reception rooms. The demolition of this great London mansion in 1937 was the catalyst for the foundation of The Georgian Group, which celebrates its 80th anniversary in 2017.

Minister of State for Digital and Culture Matt Hancock said: “More than 80 years after Chesterfield House was sadly torn down, these lavishly decorated railings are a reminder of the opulence of the 18th-century London elite and the wonderful craftsmanship of the time. I hope that a buyer comes forward to help keep them in the UK so that we may enjoy their beauty and learn more about the fascinating ironwork techniques used at the time.”

The set of railings is believed to have been supplied by Jean Montigny, a French Catholic immigrant who specialised in wrought iron, for the 1st Duke of Chandos’s remarkable house, Cannons, in Edgware, in the 1720s. They were then acquired for Chesterfield House, London, for which they were modified in the late 1740s. The decision to defer the export licence follows a recommendation by the Reviewing Committee on the Export of Works of Art and Objects of Cultural Interest (RCEWA), administered by The Arts Council.

RCEWA member Philippa Glanville said: “Admired for more than 250 years for their design and craftsmanship, this set of railings vividly demonstrates how noblemen adorned the exteriors of their London palaces as richly as their interiors. These are rare survivors and exemplify the peak of wrought ironwork, one of the glories of eighteenth century patronage in Britain.”

The RCEWA made its recommendation on the grounds of the railings’ outstanding aesthetic importance and their significance for the study of British patronage of the highest quality ironwork, as well as of metalwork design, decorative techniques, and subsequent structural and decorative modifications.

The decision on the export licence application for the railings will be deferred until 3 July 2017. This may be extended until 3 October 2017 if a serious intention to raise funds to purchase them is made at the recommended price of £305,000 (plus VAT of £61,000). Organisations or individuals interested in purchasing the railings should contact the RCEWA.

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Auction Results | Givaudan Collection at Piguet

Posted in Art Market by Editor on March 21, 2017

Press release, via Art Daily:

Givaudan Collection
Piguet Auction House, Geneva, 15 March 2017

Lot 794: Jean-Honoré Fragonard, Man Pointing to a Skull, red chalk.

The prices for the Givaudan Collection soared this week at Piguet Auction House in Geneva. A red chalk drawing by Jean-Honoré Fragonard (1732–1806) sold for six times its low estimate, fetching CHF 267,500, the highest price seen at auction for the last decade (lot 794 estimated at CHF 40,000–60,000). This result is the third best price ever achieved for a red chalk drawing by Fragonard, the first and second being for works sold at Sotheby’s before the economic downturn of 2008 (one fetching €391,063 in 2007 and the other €286,534 in 1998). Another star lot from this collection, the spectacular pair of Louis XV Meissen porcelain candelabras, sold for CHF 158,000 at five times its low estimate (lot 586 estimated at CHF 30,000–50,000). The paintings, furniture, silver, and works of art from the collection totalled 55 lots altogether and fetched over one million Swiss francs (CHF 1,095,000).

The Givaudan Collection was part of the Spring Sale at Piguet Auction House, which finished Thursday evening with an end result of CHF 3.9 million. The Jewellery and Watches sale fetched CHF 1.5 million alone. The Wine and Spirits sale saw an almost clear round selling 92% of lots auctioned. Around 500 lots over the four days of auctions were sold at less than CHF 300, providing many an opportunity for a little indulgence at a low price.

Collectors and enthusiasts alike went into battle in the saleroom and over the telephones to be a successful bidder on pieces from this important collection from Xavier and Leon Givaudan’s estate. Having settled in Geneva over a century ago, the Givaudan brothers made their fortune in the production of synthetic perfumes, soaps, and chemicals. Consulting only the most renowned Parisian dealers and galleries, their collection began to take shape at the beginning of the 20th century. Furthermore, thanks to the research carried out by Piguet Auction House specialists, certain pieces were traced all the way back to their 18th-century origins.

French and American collectors were the most forthcoming in their bidding on the drawings and paintings while the Swiss and German collectors went to battle over the bronzes and works of art. Two clients in particular entered a bidding war over the telephones which saw a red chalk drawing by Jean-Honoré Fragonard reach CHF 267,500. The red chalk drawing which includes a skull is annotated in French “he has been what I am: what he is I will be soon.” Discovered by Bernard Piguet in the previous owner’s shoe cupboard, this red chalk drawing has now become the third most expensive work of its kind by the artist in the world. First and second place are held by drawings sold at Sotheby’s before the economic downturn of 2008 (red chalk drawing sold for €391,063 in 2007 and another for €286,534 in 1998).

Lot 793: Louis Léopold Boilly, Conjugal Tenderness.

Just minutes later, two other red chalk drawings by Hubert Robert (1733–1808) fetched CHF 82,700 and 94,800. Their provenance had been traced uninterruptedly from the present owner right back to the artist himself (lots 803 and 804 each estimated at CHF 15,000–20,000). The married couple sharing an intimate moment in La tendresse conjugale (Conjugal Tenderness) by Louis Léopold Boilly (1761–1845) moved one client to bid CHF 121,600 by telephone before finally becoming its next owner (lot 793 estimated at CHF 60,000–80,000).

During Wednesday afternoon’s auction, the Louis XV candelabras took centre stage. Veritable works of art in themselves, these important Meissen porcelain figures after a model by J.J. Kändler are set in ornate ormolu mounts (ca. 1740). Selling at five times their low estimate, these finely crafted candelabras fetched CHF 158,000 (lot 586 CHF 30,000–50,000).

At Christie’s | Collection of Boniface de Castellane and Anna Gould

Posted in Art Market by Editor on March 9, 2017
Francesco Guardi, Piazza San Marco with the Basilica and the Campanile, ca. 1770–80, oil on canvas, 70 × 102 cm. The painting sold for $7.1million.

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Press release from Christie’s:

Boniface de Castellane and Anna Gould: ‘A Way of Life’, Sale 14636
Christie’s, Paris, 7 March 2017

On 7 March 2017, Christie’s Boniface de Castellane and Anna Gould: ‘A Way of Life’ auction [Sale 14636] realised a total of €14,266,563 / £12,342,004 / $15,155,370. These exceptional results reflect the relevant choices Boni made when furbishing his legendary Palais Rose with the most exquisite works of art.

Interior of Diane de Castellane’s Apartment (Christie’s Images Ltd, 2017).

Lionel Gosset, Head of Collection sales, Christie’s France: “Continuing Christie’s long history of offering prestigious collections at auction, we are honoured to have paid such a beautiful tribute to this important collection. Its celebrated provenance and the pristine quality of its works have attracted bidders from nineteen countries across five continents, establishing once again Christie’s France’s leadership in selling collections with success.”

Connoisseurs, collectors, and institutions, such as the Sèvres Museum (lot 145) and Lyndhurst—Anna Gould’s childhood home in the state of New York (lots 2, 6, 10, and 16)—have acquired 96% of the sale, demonstrating continued interest in high quality 18th-century pieces. The Palais Rose’s famous Boulle furniture achieved strong prices, as illustrated by the Louis XVI pair of meubles-à-hauteur-d’appui by Etienne Levasseur and Adam Weisweiler that sold for €818,500 (lot 132) and the Louis XIV console attributed to André-Charles Boulle that sold for €506,500 (lot 140). Important decorative art from the period also performed very well, as shown by the Sèvres porcelain ‘vases’ that realised €206,500 against a presale estimate of €80,000–120,000 (lot 52) and a George III clock attributed to James Cox that achieved €290,500 (lot 89). Art Déco works by Cartier where among the highlights of the sale, as the Mystery Clock achieved €686,500 against a presale estimate of €150,000–200,000 (lot 18) and the Jardin Japonais desk set achieved €1.118.500 (lot 19), a new record for an object by Cartier sold at auction. Finally, leading the sale was the magnificent View of Piazza San Marco with the Basilica and the Campanile by Francesco Guardi (lot 46), for which determined bidding resulted in a total of €6,738,500 / £5,829,476 / $7,158,309, making it the highest price achieved by far for an Old Master painting sold at auction in France over the past two decades.

The pre-sale press release from Christie’s is available here»

Emily Selter provided a brief preview of the auction and profile of the “Ultimate Paris ‘It Couple’,” for Town & Country (21 February 2017).

TEFAF Maastricht 2017 Opens March 10

Posted in Art Market by Editor on March 4, 2017

TEFAF Maastricht
Maastricht, 10–19 March 2017

The 30th edition of TEFAF Maastricht welcomes 270 internationally renowned exhibitors to the Fair including five young and recently established dealers to TEFAF Showcase. As the world’s leading fine art and antiques Fair, TEFAF Maastricht provides an unrivaled meeting place for the best dealers in the world, attracting major international private and institutional collectors. Through the careful selection of its exhibitors, TEFAF enables visitors to make unexpected connections across disciplines creating a marketplace for the highest level of collecting at all of its Fairs. TEFAF Maastricht 2017 takes place March 10–19 at the MECC (Maastricht Exhibition and Congress Centre), Maastricht in The Netherlands.

TEFAF Maastricht is divided into nine sections (TEFAF Antiques, TEFAF Classical Antiquities, TEFAF Curated, TEFAF Design, TEFAF Haute Joaillerie, TEFAF Modern, TEFAF Paintings, TEFAF Paper, TEFAF Showcase) with the selected dealers presenting over 7,000 years of art history under one roof. The Fair looks forward to welcoming 18 new exhibitors in 2017, who will both strengthen and extend the range of objects being shown at the Fair.

More information is available here»

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From a press release (27 February) from Tomasso Brothers Fine Art:

Paul Heermann (1673–1732), Saturn and Ops, white marble; 139.5cm (55in) high, 66cm (26in) wide, 53cm (21in) deep.

Paul Heermann (1673–1732), Saturn and Ops, white marble; 139.5cm (55in) high, 66cm (26in) wide, 53cm (21in) deep.

Among the highlights offered by Tomasso Brothers Fine Art is a remarkable Saturn and Ops by Paul Heermann (1673–1732), the German late Baroque sculptor to the Courts of Bohemia and Saxony. Ops, the Roman goddess of abundance and fertility, is depicted with her consort Saturn, the early Roman god of agriculture, forming an allegorical representation of Summer and Winter. Related works by Heerman include two busts of Winter: one in the Staatliche Kunstsammlungen Dresden and another at the J. Paul Getty Museum in Los Angeles.

Working with his uncle Johann Georg Heermann, the Electoral Saxon sculptor, Paul Heermann executed his most important, late seventeenth-century project, the spectacular grand staircase on the external façade of the Troja Castle in Prague, where another depiction of Saturn is prominently positioned. The present sculptural group was recorded at the historically important Schloss and estate of Rittergut Lucklum, Germany, by 1806, where it remained in situ until the late twentieth century. It will be offered with a price in the region of €2million.

The gallery’s essay on Saturn and Ops is available as
a PDF file here»

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UK Export Ban Placed on a George III Barometer

Posted in Art Market by Editor on February 26, 2017

Press release (23 February 2017) from Gov.UK’s Department for Culture, Media & Sport:

Wheel barometer, ca. 1770–80, 43 × 14 × 2.25 inches. Dial, silvered, signed ‘Whitehurst Derby’ with 3-inch scale for 29-31 inches of mercury subdivided into hundredths and inscribed for changeable, rain, fair. Case: mahogany, carved with leaves, column (housing the tube) with acanthus leaves at base, and urn finial. Made by Whitehurst of Derby.

Wheel barometer, ca. 1770–80, 43 × 14 × 2.25 inches. Dial, silvered, signed ‘Whitehurst Derby’ with 3-inch scale for 29-31 inches of mercury subdivided into hundredths and inscribed for ‘changeable’, ‘rain’, ‘fair’. Case: mahogany, carved with leaves, column (housing the tube) with acanthus leaves at base, and urn finial. Made by Whitehurst of Derby.

A rare Georgian barometer is at risk of being exported from the UK unless a buyer can be found to match the asking price of £160,000. Culture Minister Matt Hancock has placed a temporary export bar on the George III mahogany wheel barometer to provide an opportunity to keep it in the country. The piece is one of a small number of its design known to have been made by the renowned Whitehurst family of clockmakers, from Derby. It is one of only nine of this type known to exist, none of which are known to be in a UK public collection.

During the reign of King George III natural philosophy had become increasingly popular, with scientific instruments finding their way into the homes of the elite classes. The ornate decoration of this instrument indicates that it was intended for this purpose. The possible association of the barometer with John Whitehurst makes this item of particular interest. As a clockmaker, instrument maker, and natural philosopher, he was a member of the Lunar Society, became Stamper of Money Weights at the Mint, was painted by Joseph Wright, and was elected a Fellow of the Royal Society.

Minister of State for Digital and Culture Matt Hancock said: “This beautiful barometer is more than just an instrument: it also gives us a glimpse into the 18th-century home and the increased interest in natural philosophy at the time. As a rare and important item associated with a significant regional workshop, this fine piece offers an intriguing possibility for further study. I very much hope that we can keep it in the UK for this purpose.”

The decision to defer the export licence follows a recommendation by the Reviewing Committee on the Export of Works of Art and Objects of Cultural Interest (RCEWA), administered by The Arts Council.

RCEWA member Christopher Rowell said: “The scientifically sophisticated design of this rare Whitehurst barometer is matched by the high quality of the carved mahogany case. No other Whitehurst barometer of this model is in a British public collection, and its retention in this country is therefore highly desirable.”

The RCEWA made its recommendation on the grounds of the barometer’s outstanding significance to the study of the Whitehurst family’s work. The decision on the export licence application for the barometer will be deferred until 22 April 2017. This may be extended until 22 July 2017 if a serious intention to raise funds to purchase it is made at the recommended price of £160,000 (plus VAT of £2,000). Organisations or individuals interested in purchasing the barometer should contact the RCEWA.

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At Auction | Fourteen Lots of Porcelain from the ‘Geldermalsen’

Posted in Art Market by Editor on February 6, 2017

exhib_slideshow_exhibition_at-worlds-end_geldermalsen-triptych

Diane KW, The Geldermalsen Triptych: The Harvest, The Catastrophe, The Politics, 2013; found Chinese porcelain shards with digital ceramic transfers (Groninger Museum). The large basin shards in this triptych work recount their history from the order and production of decorated porcelain pieces (The Harvest), to the shipwreck (The Catastrophe) and loss of the porcelain, to the storm of controversy after the sale of the salvaged pieces (The Politics). The triptych was part of the exhibition At World’s End—The Story of a Shipwreck: Works by Diane KW (Honolulu Museum of Art, January — April 2014).

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21143854810An upcoming auction in Atlanta recalls a 1752 shipwreck, a 1986 auction and monograph, a 1992 article, a 2014 exhibition, and lots of questions about looted artifacts. There’s a measure of wry tragedy in the fact that this week’s sale takes place at Great Gatsby’s Auction Gallery. In a Borgesian universe, one might imagine a litany of items with similarly dubious histories on offer at the gallery. Please, someone write that story! It would make for a fabulous reading at a HECAA luncheon. Or maybe it would work as a theme for structuring a conference panel. Wanted: proposals with rapacious villains, international stakes, ethical quandaries, and plenty of misinformation (‘alternative facts’ to use the current jargon), all as reception history for material that is of genuine scholarly significance. –Craig Hanson

George L. Miller, “The Second Destruction of the Geldermalsen,” Historical Archaeology 26 (1992): 124–31.
Abstract: This review of C. J. A. Jörg’s book on the Chinese porcelain from the Dutch East India Company ship Geldermalsen, which sank in 1752 [The Geldermalsen: History and Porcelain (Groningen: Kemper Publisher, 1986)], addresses some broader questions involved in the destruction of shipwreck sites for commercial profit. These questions grew out of the issue of what relationship scholars should have with those who destroy sites and acquire objects from them. The first part of the article is a review of Jorg’s book, followed by a commentary on the problems that collecting from looted sites raise.

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Blue and white porcelain cups and saucers recovered from the shipwrecked Geldermalsen in 1985
(Great Gatsby’s Auction Gallery, Atlanta)

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From the auction press release, via Art Daily (5 February 2017). . .

When the Geldermalsen ship crashed into a reef and sank in the South China Sea during its return journey to the Netherlands in January of 1752, it claimed the lives of eighty crew members who went down with the vessel’s precious cargo of tea, textiles, gold, silk, lacquer, and porcelain. As part of the fleet of the powerful Dutch East India Company commissioned for the Zeeland division, the loss of the mighty Geldermalsen hardly went unnoticed.

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The press release mistakenly dates the Christie’s auction to 1985. While the catalogue was released in December of 1985, the auction itself took place in April and May 1986. Image from a 2011 article on Hatcher from China.org.cn.

Over two hundred years later, a successful salvage expert named Captain Michael Hatcher would excavate the ship and its contents, giving new understanding of eighteenth-century trade demands and the rise of porcelain’s availability. Great Gatsby’s Auction Gallery will offer fourteen lots of blue and white porcelain from this incredible salvage from the personal collection of one of the expedition’s private backers. The auction is slated for February 10, 11, and 12, with 11am start times all three days, online and in the firm’s Atlanta gallery at 5180 Peachtree Boulevard.

Hatcher, along with his partner Max de Rham, a marine geophysicist, led a successful team of divers who unearthed the precious bounty that would catapult its already famous hunter into superstardom. ‘The Nanking Cargo’, as it became known by its sale at Christie’s Amsterdam in April of 1985 [sic], contained a massive trove of the aforementioned blue and white porcelain, which was originally potted in China’s Jiangzi province bound for European markets. The sheer scope of this find shed light on the true nature of the market’s demands, as traditional experts had always believed the records kept by the DEIC [Dutch East India Company, or VOC] had exaggerated their shipments of porcelain. Safely protected underwater by the tea loosely packed in wooden crates, the porcelain in the Nanking Cargo represented the range of influence eastern artisans had over western tastes during the eighteen century.

Hatcher and his team had the untouched archives of the DEIC in Holland to thank for locating the whereabouts of this famous—and suspicious wreck. Due to the nature of the disaster—in well chartered waters by one of the world’s most esteemed shipping companies—the DEIC spent weeks interrogating the survivors who had made it to present-day Jakarta on two open boats. Not only was an entire cargo worth of precious porcelain and trade goods missing, but so was the gold, at first believed to be hidden by the survivors. With such detailed records on hand, Hatcher would embark on months of searching, believing his efforts to be worthless until they unearthed the treasure from a three foot layer of silt and coral.

The excitement generated by the find was evident during the first frenzied days of the cargo’s namesake auction at Christie’s Amsterdam. International interest—both financial and historical—had taken hold and this caught the attention of the Chinese government, who tried unsuccessfully to bring the porcelain back to its country of origin. Maritime salvage laws permitted the cargo to go across the auction block, where it broke numerous records and raised a staggering $20 million USD.

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UK Export Ban Placed on Mughal Flask and Huqqa Set

Posted in Art Market, museums by Editor on January 28, 2017

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Silver huqqa set made up of five separate parts: 1) globular base, ht. 16.9 cm; 2) tobacco bowl, ht. 9 cm and 3) its cover, ht. 7 cm; 4) ring, ht. 5 cm; 5) mouthpiece, ht. 6.5 cm, North India, ca. 1750.

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Press release (18 January 2017) from Gov.UK’s Department for Culture, Media & Sport:

Culture Minister Matt Hancock has placed a temporary export bar on Clive of India’s huqqa set and flask to provide an opportunity to keep them in the country. The Mughal ruby and emerald flask and the sapphire and ruby huqqa set are both at risk of being exported from the UK unless a buyer can be found to match the asking price of £6,000,000 for the flask or £240,000 for the huqqa set.

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Wine flask made of jade, lined with silver and set with rubies and emeralds; 25.3 × 11.2 cm, India, 17th century.

It is believed that Robert Clive, also known as Clive of India, was presented with the flask as a gift following the Battle of Plassey. Clive was governor and commander-in-chief of India and became famous for his victory over the Nawab of Bengal during the battle in 1757. The flask itself is incredibly rare and there is no other object like it anywhere in the world, let alone in Britain. It has a silver interior and a gold exterior decorated in jade, emeralds and rubies. Clive of India also brought the huqqa set back to the UK from India. Set with white sapphires and rubies, it was part of an original collection at the imperial court in Delhi. The huqqa set is considered to be an extremely rare survival as such lavish courtly objects were often broken down for their component parts. It isn’t known how Clive of India acquired the set, but smoking was widespread in India at the time and had become popular amongst the British living there as well. In fact, the British often had themselves portrayed in paintings reclining against brocade-covered bolsters on a terrace, peacefully smoking.

Minister of State for Digital and Culture Matt Hancock said: “These treasures are not only exquisite, they provide us with a glimpse into the fascinating lifestyle and traditions of the Mughal Court and the British presence in India at the time. I hope that we are able to keep these unique artefacts in the country to learn more about this extraordinary history.”

The decision to defer the export licence follows a recommendation by the Reviewing Committee on the Export of Works of Art and Objects of Cultural Interest (RCEWA), administered by The Arts Council. The RCEWA made its recommendation on the flask on the grounds of its close connection with our history and national life, its aesthetic importance and its outstanding significance for the study of Mughal political and technical history, the consumption of wine and gift-giving in Mughal India, Clive of India and the British expansion in India. The RCEWA made its recommendation on the huqqa set on the grounds of its close connection with our history and national life and on the grounds of its outstanding significance for the study of Mughal court arts, gold and silver-smithing, jewel-setting, enamelling, and the place of tobacco in the social etiquette of early modern India and its adoption by British administrators in the later 18th century.

Sir Hayden Phillips, Chairman of the RCEWA said: “Apart from the intrinsic quality of these objects, and their outstanding importance for scholarship, the Reviewing Committee was unanimous in its recognition of their emblematic significance for our history and national life. Robert Clive was an outstanding and, indeed, controversial figure, but absolutely central to the creation of British rule in India. His statue, gazing out towards St James’s Park, stands guard at Clive Steps as they lead to the Foreign Office and The Treasury; a tellingly symbolic location for what he contributed to our history.”

The decision on the export licence application for the flask will be deferred until 17 May 2017. This may be extended until 17 November 2017 if a serious intention to raise funds to purchase it is made at the recommended price of £6,000,000 (plus VAT of £1,200,000). The decision on the export licence application for the huqqa set will be deferred until 17 April 2017. This may be extended until 17 July 2017 if a serious intention to raise funds to purchase it is made at the recommended price of £240,000 (plus VAT of £48,000). Organisations or individuals interested in purchasing the flask or huqqa set should contact the RCEWA.

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Note (added 24 February 2017) — This ban comes thirteen years after “an earlier attempt to send” the objects “from the UK to Qatar,” as reported by The Art Newspaper (February 2017), p. 10. “After the Qataris withdrew the export licence applications in 2005, they were required to keep the objects in the UK and so lent the flask and huqqa to the V&A. Last year, the museum learned that the loan agreement would not be renewed. Qatar Museums wants to display them in Doha’s Museum of Islamic Art.”

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At Sotheby’s | Americana from the Caxambas Foundation

Posted in Art Market, museums by Editor on January 8, 2017

From Sotheby’s:

The Americana Collection of George S. Parker II from the Caxambas Foundation, Sale N09605
Sotheby’s New York, 19 January 2017

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Lot 2089 — Queen Anne Carved and Figured Mahogany Block-and-Shell Kneehole Bureau Table, Providence, Rhode Island, ca. 1765 (estimate 300,000–500,000 USD).

The Collection of George S. Parker II from the Caxambas Foundation, previously on loan at the Chazen Museum of Art at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, will be offered on Thursday, 19 January 2017. The notable collection includes American and English furniture, silver, paintings and prints, with examples from some of the most distinguished artisans. Furniture highlights include a pair of Philadelphia side chairs attributed to Martin Jugiez; a rare Rhode Island Queen Anne shell-carved, block-front dressing table; an exceptional Philadelphia high chest of drawers attributed to John Pollard; and an important armchair by the same maker once owned by Charles Thomson. Great American portrait painters represented in the collection include John Singleton Copley, Gilbert Stuart, Thomas Sully, and John Trumbull among others. Finally, Mr. Parker’s silver collection comprises several examples from London silversmith Paul Storr and other English makers, including Ebenezer Coker and David Willaume.

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