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Masterworks Sale at Sotheby's New York on 1 February 2013 as part of Old Masters Week
The Emerald Jewel of the Lost Atocha Treasure. A Renaissance Colombian Emerald-Set Gold Jewel Recovered from the Shipwrecked Spanish Galleon Nuestra Señora de Atocha. Early 17th Century, width 1 11/16 in.; 4.3 cm. Est. $150/250,000. Photo: Sotheby's.

NEW YORK, NY.- Sotheby’s sale of Masterworks will be held in New York on 1 February 2013 as part of Old Masters Week. The exhibition will be on view beginning 25 January 2013. The auction will be highlighted by The Morgan Aldobrandini Tazza (est. $400/800,000), an important Italian Renaissance silver-gilt tazza circa 1560 – 1580, previously in the collection of Cardinal Pietro Aldobrandini (1571 – 1621), one of the great collectors and patrons of late Renaissance Italy. Upon his death in 1621, his collection, including this tazza, was passed on to his sister Olimpia, wife of Giovanni Grancesco Aldobrandini, and it remained with her descendants for almost two centuries. In the 19th century this tazza was owned by important collectors including Charles Scarisbrick and Frédéric Spitzer. In 1901 it was purchased by J.P. Morgan and remained in the Morgan family until 1982. This work is one of a suite of twelve Emperor tazze, which were kept together until sold separately at auction in 1861 in London.

A further highlight is a Safavid carpet, Isphahan, Central Persia (est. $500/700,000), coming from the collection of Gordon P. Getty. This richly colored carpet with its spiral-vine and palmette design belongs to the group of carpets believed to have been woven in Isphahan during the Safavid dynasty (1502 – 1732). The earliest examples of the spiral-vine carpets are characterized by the use of silk in the foundation, an unusually wide variety of colors and superbly delineated drawing, as in this present lot. The most well-known carpets that belong to this early group are the pair of “Emperors’ Carpets,” one of which is in the Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York, and the other in the Museum of Applied Arts, Vienna. This carpet was formerly in the collection of Edmond de Rothschild (1845 – 1934). Similar rugs are in the collection of the Victoria and Albert Museum, London and formerly in the collection of Mrs. Nelson A. Rockefeller which sold at Sotheby’s New York in 1988.

Also included in the sale is a magnificent Renaissance Colombian Emerald-set gold jewel recovered from the shipwrecked Spanish galleon Nuestra Señora de Atocha from the early 17th century (est. $150/250,000). The Atocha was commissioned by the Casa de Contractación, a Spanish government agency which attempted to regulate Spanish exploration and colonization efforts, and was named for Our Lady of Atocha, whose shrine in Madrid was regularly visited by Spanish kings. The ship was constructed in Cuba and, after ill-fated attempts to depart the shipyard which necessitated repairs, she finally crossed the Atlantic and arrived in Spain late in 1620. In Cartagena, Colombia and Portobelo, Panama, the galleon was loaded with the belongings of the noble families and other passengers making the return journey to Spain with the armada. The fleet set sail for Spain with goods and passengers on September 4, 1622 in the midst of hurricane season. Both the Atocha and the Santa Margarita only sailed as far as the Florida Keys before they hit a squall and sank along the reefs. In the 1960s Mel Fisher, a diver with an interest in salvaging shipwrecks, began exploring the waters off of Florida searching for Spanish ships lost in the area. In 1985, his team uncovered the main hull of the Atocha and its hidden treasure, including silver and gold objects, bullion, scientific instruments, and hundreds of rough cut emeralds and gem-set gold jewelry. Of the items recovered from the shipwrecked galleon, this stunning jewel is one of the most important. The size and quality of the stone combined with the masterful goldsmith's work are evidence that this jewel was made for a person of noble standing in Spanish society.

A Magnificent Pair of Empire Silver Soup Tureens, Covers, Stands and Liners, Henry Auguste, Paris, 1804 Estimate $400/600,000

The designs of these tureens can be attributed to Jean-Guillaume Moitte (Paris 1746–1810), a source frequently used by Auguste. Through his career, Auguste was making pieces for an international clientele including William Beckford and Frederick, Duke of York, brother to the Prince Regent.

A Rare Pair of Louis XV Carved Giltwood Fauteuils
Attributed to Jacques-Jean-Baptiste Tilliard circa 1765
Estimate $300/500,000

This rare pair of Louis XV carved giltwood fauteuils attributed to French furniture maker Jacques-Jean-Baptiste Tilliard circa 1765 was part of a salon suite formerly in the collection of the Marchioness of Waterford.

A Rare and Important Royal German Neoclassical Porcelain, Ormolu and Gilt Metal Mounted, Parcel-Gilt and White-Painted Guéridon circa 1829-1831
Estimate $250/350,000

This guéridon was commissioned by Friedrich Wilhelm III (1770 – 1840) King of Prussia (1797 – 1840) as a gift for Maria Anna of Bavaria, Queen of Saxony. This guéridon with its prominent anthemia demonstrates the influence of the French Empire style on international design and the oeuvre of the architect and designer Karl Friedrich Schinkel (1781 – 1841). The guéridon is being sold by the Estate of Micheline Muselli Lerner, who was married to Oscar winning lyricist Alan Jay Lerner.

A Fine and Rare Pair of George III Chinese Soapstone-Mounted Padouk, Rosewood, Mahogany and Bamboo Cabinets-on-Stands circa 1765
Estimate $250/350,000

The Chinese bamboo veneer panels incorporating carved soapstone figures and objects were made throughout the Qianlong period during the Qing Dynasty in the 18th century. A number of examples exist in the Imperial Chinese Collection, now at the Palace Museum, Beijing. The design of the cabinets relates directly to ones found in Chippendale’s Director. The present cabinets were formerly housed at Newton House in Devon, where the Quicke family has lived since the 1550s.

Two Important George II Gray Painted Oak Hall Settees in the Manner of William Kent circa 1740
Estimate for Each Lot $100/150,000

Each of the two settees have reputed provenance of Rushbrooke Hall, Suffolk, and they were probably originally commissioned by Sir Jermyn Davers, the M.P. for Suffolk, who altered the existing Tudor mansion, which was the ancestral seat of the Jermyn family in the mid-1730s.

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