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Private European Collection at Sotheby's

LONDON, ENGLAND.-On Wednesday, 7th December, around 40 pieces of important furniture from a Private European Collection will be offered by Sotheby’s in London in a sale of Important Continental Furniture. The distinguished and stylish collection of rare pieces is predominantly French in taste, but also includes Italian and Russian pieces.

Highlights from the collection include an extremely important pair of Russian Imperial gilt bronze mahogany tables, neoclassical in design. The tables were made for the Palace of Tsarskoe Selo, one of Catherine the Great’s residences, and are marked with their Imperial inventory numbers. The tables have had an illustrious provenance since leaving the Imperial collections, having been bought by the Baron de Redé from the Stroganoff collection in 1931, and then sold by the Baron at Sotheby’s Monaco in 1975, when they entered the collection of the current owner. The pair is estimated at £100,000-200,000.

Further highlights include a stunning set of 12 enamel portraits dating from the 19th century, executed in the manner of Leonard Limousin, the celebrated 16th century enamel artist. The present portraits, featuring subjects including François I (1494-1547) and Queen Claude of France (1499-1524) (estimate: £15,000-20,000), echo similar examples that are in the Rothschild collections.

Also with Imperial provenance is a set of four ‘X’frame carved giltwood stools with the Royal inventory marks of the Palais des Tuileries and Palazzo Montecavallo (now the Quirinal Palace), where they were used by Napoleon I and his court. The stools are among the well-known models of seat furniture by Jacob Desmalter, other examples of which are in important collections including Versailles, Grand Trianon, Compiègne and Malmaison. The set of four stools is estimated at £60,000-100,000. Furthermore, the sale also includes a pair of boulle marquetry encoignures, which are believed to have come from the estate of the celebrated 18th century financier, Michel Bouret, and which were made by Joseph Baumhauer, ébéniste privilégie du roi. Boulle marquetry had become fashionable towards the end of Louis XV’s reign, and Baumhauer was one of only two cabinet-makers who were commissioned by the marchand Claude-François Juillot to produce pieces after the designs of André-Charles Boulle. Joseph’s clientèle included not only the French aristocracy, but also Austrian and Russian clients, which is confirmed by the presence of several important pieces of furniture in the Hermitage.

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