NEW YORK, NY.-
On May 21, Christies
Important Silver sale will present 186 remarkable examples by Paul Storr, Tiffany & Co., Buccellati, Georg Jensen, Gottfried Bartermann, Asprey & Co. and Cartier. The sale will present a stunning group of wildlife inspired pieces, led by an Important Louis XV Silver-Gilt Écuelle (estimate: $70,000-100,000) includes a Pair Of Large Silver-Gilt And Gem-Set Lions Retailed By Asprey & Co., 20th Century (estimate: $30,000-50,000), and three 20th century Italian Silver Models Of A Lobster, the first by Buccellati ($20,000-30,000), the second signed Gianmaria Buccellati (estimate: $20,000-30,000), and the third with the mark of Lisi, Florence (estimate: $20,000-30,000). This selection also includes a Silver Ice Bowl And Ice Spoon, by Gorham Mfg Co., Providence, 1870 (estimate: $15,000 $25,000), which, with its icicle and polar bear iconography, relates to the 1867 purchase of Alaska from Russia for $7.2 million.
Among the sales top lots, is an Important Louis XV Silver-Gilt Écuelle (estimate: $70,000-100,000), made for the duc de Penthièvre, Grand Huntsman of France. Born Louis Jean Marie de Bourbon (1725-1793), the duc was the son of the Comte de Toulouse, the legitimized son of Louis XIV and Madame de Montespan, and one of the richest men in Europe at the time. On his father's death in 1737, the twelve-year-old duke inherited numerous titles and positions, including Admiral of France, Marshal of France, and Grand Huntsman (Grand Veneur). The iconography on the écuelle, based on hunting scenes by the artists Oudry and Snyders, suggests that its use was reserved for the hunting-party lunches that were held in the fields and woods on hunting days.
Penthièvre's position as sole heir to Louis XIV and Madame de Montespan allowed him to live in grand style, both privately and in his apartments at the royal residences of Fontainebleau, Marly, and Compiègne, in addition to Versailles. It was his popularity as a philanthropist that spared him from the revolutionary murders taking place around him at the time of his death on March 4, 1793. His daughter and sole heir, the duchesse d'Orléans, was arrested a month later; some of her inherited possessions were seized
and sold, and some were restituted to her. Interestingly, the Penthièvre-Orléans service, taken from her in 1794, was deemed as too fine to melt by the revolutionary government. It seems likely, then, that the exceptional artistic quality of this écuelle was responsible for its survival.