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Christie’s announces sale of an Iberian Private Collection Part I: Important Gold Boxes & Objects of Vertu

A George II gold snuff-box By Francis Harrache (fl. 1738-1754), marked, with the London date letter for 1757. 3 in. (76 mm.) Wide, 5 oz. (167 gr.). Estimate: £50,000-70,000. Photo: Christie’s Images Ltd 2011.

LONDON.- Christie’s announces the upcoming auction An Iberian Private Collection with Part I: Important Gold Boxes & Objects of Vertu on 8 December 2011 and Part II: Furniture, Silver, Jewellery, Paintings, European, Chinese and Islamic Ceramics on 9 December 2011. This eclectic collection, which spans the 16th to the 21st century, reflects the exquisite taste of a passionate collector and includes exceptional golden splendors which will appeal to both serious collectors and individuals looking for luxurious gifts in the festive season.

This superb collection was formed over five decades by a visionary connoisseur, known for his refined taste and expertise and a prominent figure in the art world since the 1960s. The sale is led by precious materials, notably gold which is present in all forms, from raw nuggets, gold leaf and ingots to elegant jewellery, engraved gold boxes and chased ornaments. Nearly 250 gold boxes and objects of vertu form Part I of the sale, with opulent and sophisticated designs, outstanding provenance and craftsmanship by the most renowned goldsmiths. Fine silver pieces, Chinese and European porcelain, Islamic Iznik ceramic and luxurious French and Iberian furniture are amongst the many other highlights of this collection which is remarkable in its breadth, diversity and quality. The two-part sale is estimated to achieve in the region of £2.5 million and comprises over 600 lots, with estimates starting from under £1,000. Top highlights include:

A George II gold snuff-box by Francis Harrache (1738-1754) is an elegant example of guilloché or engine-turning engraving (estimate: £50,000-70,000). Very much in the French taste and unlike other gold boxes by Francis Harrache, this example was produced in 1757; it is a timeless classic.

This fine Louis XV enamelled gold snuff-box by Jean Fremin (1738-1786), Paris, epitomises the skill and craftsmanship of the Parisian goldsmiths that were working during the reign of Louis XV. Created in 1759/1760, it is enamelled with a parrot, an example of the popularity that exotic birds in decorative scenes enjoyed on gold boxes during the 1750’s and early 1760’s (estimate: £200,000-300,000).

A large Chinese export Monogrammed part-dinner service from the late Qianlong period, circa 1785-1795, reflects the quality of the porcelain on offer. It includes various tureens, sauce boats, and a large series of plates, decorated in blue enamel and gilt with the monogram JLF in a shield (estimate: £20,000-30,000).

A George III brass mounted satinwood amaranth and painted sideboard, with its mirrored back, rich shimmering satinwood surface and elegant lines would be a superb dining room piece set with decorative silver, porcelains or glassware. Of the late 18th century, possibly by George Simson, it is estimated at £20,000 to £30,000.

A Portuguese Silver Flagon is a rare and large example of Portuguese silver from the 17th century – amphora-shaped and with the front engraved with a coat of arms within foliage mantling (estimate: £50,000-80,000).

This Portuguese silver-gilt salver, circa 1530-40 comes from the de Sousa family of Prado, descendants of an illegitimate son of King Alphonso III of Portugal (estimate: £70,000-100,000). The coat of arms and feet probably date from the 18th century.

Peaches, grapes, nectarines, strawberries, cherries, corn, a pomegranate and other fruit hanging from a blue ribbon in a niche is an opulent still-life by important Antwerp artist Joris van Son (1623-1667). The poet Cornelis de Bie described its fruits as so naturalistic that they would tempt a pregnant woman – alluding to the symbolism of fecundity and prosperity evoked by the painting (estimate: £20,000-30,000 ).

Among the select array of 19th century pictures, A Parisian Beauty, 1889, by Polish artist Emile Eisman-Semenowsky (1857- 1911) reflects the collector’s taste for charming and romantic feminine portraits. The pink hues soften the whole picture, estimated at £3,000-5,000. Other 19th century portraits in the sale include works by Spanish and British artists.

The star lot among the jewels is this Art Deco pavé-set diamond, sapphire, ruby and onyx bracelet, of oriental design, circa 1925, estimated at £10,000 – 20,000.

This Iznik pottery flower vase, Ottoman Turkey, circa 1590, is an extremely rare example. The shoulder has been pierced with a band of holes for the stems of flowers with cobalt-blue, red and green arabesques, peonies and cypress trees painted on the white ceramic. Only four other similar examples are known to exist of this design (estimate: £30,000-50,000).

A dozen lots by René Lalique (1860-1945) are offered in this collection, of which Bacchantes Vase, no 997, designed 1927, is the top lot (estimate: £1,000-1,500). Executed post-1945 in clear and frosted glass, it represents the female form, while other examples in the sale depict fish, birds, ducks and flowers. These exquisite vases and glass ornaments reflect the collector’s keen taste for 20th century decorative arts.

This Chinese gold ingot from the Qianlong Period, circa 1750, bears a double-gourd-shaped seal reading Yuanji and two seals reading bao, the underside stamped twice with the characters ding yuan, and weighs 11.83 oz (estimate: £20,000-30,000 ). [ARTDAILY]

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