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Christie's announces highlights included in the Spring edition of The Collector sales in London
The Collector Sales X Lulu Lytle of Soane Britain. © Michael Sinclair.

LONDON.- Christie’s Spring edition of The Collector sales in London will collaborate with Lulu Lytle of Soane Britain on 22 and 23 May, following a dynamic stand-alone sale Reshaped: Ceramics Through Time on 21 May, the first auction of its kind to bring together ceramic artworks from a broad span of cultures and time. Together, the week of auctions provides a rich celebration of craftsmanship across media and periods.

The series of three Collector sales comprises an array of 17th, 18th and 19th century decorative arts and furniture spanning: English Furniture, Clocks & Works of Art & Portrait Miniatures (22 May); European Furniture, Works of Art & Ceramics (22 May), and Silver & 19th Century Furniture, Sculpture & Works of Art (23 May). Reshaped: Ceramics Through Time celebrates the versatility of ceramics as a medium for creative artworks from Ancient times to the 21st Century.

Giles Forster, Decorative Arts, Christie’s London: “Christie’s specialists’ expertise enables them to identify the qualities that makes an object special - ‘The Collector’ sales have been created to bring together such discoveries - every lot exhibits brilliant design realised by exceptional craftsmanship. Each lot retains a certain ‘something’ which distinguished it as special when it was made one or two hundred years ago – highlighting why it is still treasured and transcends time to be desirable and relevant today. I admire Lulu Lytle’s design ethos at Soane Britain because she acknowledges good design always stands the test of time – looking back as well as forward, she creates entirely new designs often inspired by the best antiques, and always of timeless elegance. It was great fun putting together these photoshoot images as a foretaste of the room Lulu is designing for The Collector auction preview – identifying not just how one object is special, but how it compliments another is the true test of a beautiful interior.”

Lulu Lytle, Founder & Creative Director of Soane Britain: “Celebrating fine craftsmanship is at the heart of Soane Britain’s ethos, so we are delighted to collaborate with Christie’s to create an atmospheric and inspiring setting for this season’s Collectors Sales in King Street. Drawing on such a rich mix of furniture and objects from 17th century German silver and French faience to 18th century Beauvais tapestries and Chinese lacquer commodes, enabled me to choose some extraordinary pieces, characterised by a shared artistry, quality and elegance.”

In addition to lots that were part of a separate pre-sale shoot at the newly opened Pitzhanger Manor & Gallery – designed and built between 1800 and 1804 by Sir John Soane, one of Britain’s most influential architects – further highlights from across The Collector Sales include:

The Collector: English Furniture, Works of Art & Portrait Miniatures – 22 May
A remarkable George III mahogany architect’s desk by Gillows, 1778, is an early documented piece of furniture by this important firm (estimate: £6,000-10,000). Having been delivered to Colonel John Myddelton of Gwaynynog Hall, Denbighshire in 1778, it continued to have an interesting life in the 19th century, with Beatrix Potter (1866-1943), one of the world’s best-loved children’s authors and illustrators, a frequent visitor to Gwaynynog Hall. While there she made numerous sketches and watercolours of the rooms at Gwaynynog. It is tempting to imagine Beatrix Potter sitting and writing at this desk on one of her many visits to the house. An elegant pair of George III grey-painted and parcel gilt armchairs were made by the greatest English furniture designer Thomas Chippendale, circa 1775(estimate: £30,000-50,000). Chippendale’s unsurpassed mastery of material, technique and restrained design is highly admired and sought after today. It appears that these chairs have a Royal beginning: they were likely part of a suite of seat furniture made for Prince William Henry, Duke of Gloucester and Edinburgh (1743-1805) and intended for his London residence, Gloucester House, Park Lane, or for one of his country seats, St Leonard’s Hill, Cranbourne Lodge (both Berkshire) or Bagshot Park.

A portrait miniature of Admiral Thomas Cochrane, 10th Earl of Dundonald (1775-1860) by George Engleheart (1750/52-1829), signed and dated 1812, has an estimate of £7,000-10,000. The Admiral, nicknamed Le Loup des Mers by Napoleon, was a swashbuckling officer in the British Navy and a radical politician who strove for an end to government corruption and better pay for members of the British Navy, especially those wounded in conflict. Disillusioned, and disgraced from being implicated in a fraud on the Stock Exchange, Cochrane became a mercenary freedom fighter and successfully led the rebel navies of Brazil and Chile in their battle for independence. Seen as the founder of the Chilean Navy, Cochrane is celebrated every year on Independence Day. He was the inspiration behind C.S. Forester’s Horatio Hornblower and the Hollywood film Master and Commander starring Russell Crowe.

The Collector: European Furniture, Works of Art & Ceramics – 22 May
A pair of Louis XVI ormolu-mounted bleu du roi Sèvres porcelain three-light candelabra, the design by Simon-Philippe Poirier, probably modelled by Philibert Choulet, the ormolu probably by Jean-Claude-Thomas Duplessis, circa 1770-80 (estimate: £40,000-60,000). These superb candelabra are rare and elegant examples of bronzes d'ameublements produced in the late 1770s to the specifications of the foremost Parisian dealer in luxury goods of the time, the marchand-mercier Simon-Philippe Poirier (c. 17201785). With the use of rare Sèvres porcelain bodies, the design and its execution, they exemplify Poirier's incessant quest for innovative inventions and superlative luxury. only two other examples of the model are recorded.

A Louis XV ormolu-mounted parcel-gilt and Chinese red lacquer bombe commode by Francois Garnier, mid-18th c entury (estimate: £50,000-80,000). This commode with its striking red Chinese lacquer, which depicts occidental courtiers on a horse-drawn carriage, typifies the fashion for furniture mounted with exotic and rare lacquer which was controlled by the marchand-merciers in France in the 18th century. A Louis XVI ormolumounted Chinese crackle-glaze celadon porcelain vase, the mounts attributed to Jean-Claude-Thomas Duplessis, circa 1775, the porcelain Kangxi Period (1662-1722) (estimate: £30,000-40,000). The bold and beautifully chased mounts of the present vase are closely related to those of the celebrated Saxe-Teschen celadon vase and cover with mounts attributed to the maître fondeur Jean-Claude-Thomas Duplessis (d. 1783). With its Guan-type celadon glaze it is demonstrative of the highly successful marriage between East and West seen through the combination of the Chinese porcelain and finely chased Parisian mounts.

The Collector: Silver and 19th Century Furniture, Sculpture – 23 May
Furniture highlights within the sale include a French 'Japonisme' ormolu-mounted rosewood vitrine-cabinet by Édouard Lièvre, circa 1880, embellished with his signature dragon mounts and a pagoda-inspired crest (estimate: £200,000- £300,000). Sculpture highlights include an ethereal marble of Cléopâtre, circa 1890, by the Art Nouveau sculptor Francois-Raoul Larche, believed to be a portrait of the celebrated actress and artist’s muse Sarah Bernhardt (estimate: £15,000-£25,000). Silver highlights feature a German silver-gilt cup, with the mark of Melchior Bair, Augsburg, 1602-1606 which is part of a large collection of German and Swiss silver offered in this sale (estimate: £20,000-30,000). It is chased with cartouches featuring a camel, a lion and a wolf symbolising the three continents, Africa, Asia and Europe, inspired by the Southern German engraver Paul Flindt. A set of six William and Mary silver-gilt stands, London, circa 168, is the work of a yet unidentified silversmith whose work is of high quality and is typified by the inventiveness of the engraved ornament of foliage, often inhabited by animals, figures, cherubs and grotesques (£40,000-60,000).

Reshaped celebrates the versatility of ceramics as a medium for creative artworks from Ancient times to the 21st Century. Sparking new visual 'conversations' between works that were produced in very different contexts and eras, the sale will illustrate how ideas can weave through time, being reshaped and remodelled into different artworks along the way. Works by artists such as Kees van Dongen, Pablo Picasso, Fernand Léger, André Derain and Maurice de Vlaminck and by living Contemporary artists such as Felicity Aylieff, Bouke de Vries, Enrique Perezalba, Hitomi Hosono, Michelle Ericksson and Kate Malone sit alongside beautiful pieces from Antiquity to the Italian Renaissance, from medieval Arabic cultures to 17th and 18th century Europe, from Japan and China. The sale comprises 69 lots with estimates ranging from £1,500 to £100,000.

Dominic Simpson, Head of Ceramics Department, Christie’s London: “This sale presents a fascinating opportunity to consider how works relate to each other, even if they were made in completely different eras and in different places. Ideas run like threads through time, weaving their way through the centuries, emerging in different ways, reshaped into different works. The sale highlights how related ideas run through what are usually seen as different and unconnected pieces from different cultures. There are a great many connections and putting pieces opposite each other has demonstrated these connections in such a powerful and enlightening way.”

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