LONDON.- In June 1802 Tsar Alexander I met Queen Luise of Prussia, wife of King Wilhelm III, during a state visit. The Tsar was so enchanted by the young Queen that upon his return to Russia, he instructed his vice-chancellor, Graf Victor Pavlovitch Kotschubej to commission an opulent collection of state gifts for her. Queen Luise, a famous beauty, cherished and beloved by her people, was renowned for her generosity and charitable deeds. She was regularly engaged in important political negotiations on behalf of her husband, due to her intelligence and charm.
In amongst the hoard of treasures gifted to Luise and presented by the Tsar in 1803, was a pair of Russian Imperial guéridon tables attributed to the Russian court cabinet-maker, Heinrich Gambs, after a design by the Royal Academician Andrej Voronikhin.
Documents in the Leningrad state archives support the delivery of a number of these gifts on the 12th October 1803 from St Petersburg to the Königlichen Palace in Berlin. The most magnificent of the presentation were the guéridon tables partnered with a full length Psyche mirror, which has since been lost.
Over 40 years after the gifts were presented and upon leaving Royal ownership, the pair of tables parted into separate collections. Now, for the first time since leaving the estate of Queen Luises daughter, Princess Luise of the Netherlands, the pair has been reunited and will go on sale at Masterpiece London, offered by Mallett.
Although the Königlichen Palace does not survive today, the lavish ensemble was clearly recorded in a watercolour by Leopold Zielke (d. 1861) entitled A View of King Friedrich Wilhelm IIIs Study in the Königlichen Palais, Unter den Linden. The pair of tables is clearly visible on the left- hand side of the room framing the mirror.
The tables each feature a circular Russian malachite top framed within an exceptionally drawn gilt-bronze guilloche. The base is constructed of mahogany with a lioness mask in drapery and the legs are mounted with a gilt-bronze female mask with patinated bronze bat wings.