Christie’s announces the second Centuries of Style: Silver, European Ceramics, Portrait Miniatures and Gold Boxes sale on November 17, 2009, presenting collectors and connoisseurs with an incredible opportunity to add to their collections with a wide-range of important, rare, and unique treasures with exceptional provenance. This follows the inaugural sale in June, which presented works of art from multiple genres and demonstrated the continued strength and international demand for top quality lots across all of these categories.
A very fine and rare Prussian enameled gold box by Daniel Baudesson (1716-1785), marked, Berlin, 1758. Estimate: £150,000-200,000. Photo: Christie’s Images Ltd 2009
The sale includes over 190 lots of silver dating from over five hundred years, comprising examples from the 16th to the 21st century. Among the highlights of the silver section of the sale is a highly important pair of George III silver-gilt candlesticks, made by Charles Aldridge in 1787, after a Roman 1st century AD lamp-stand (estimate: £60,000-80,000). Recent research by Christie’s has identified these candlesticks as being from the collection of William Beckford, and designed after the bronze lamp-stand from Herculaneum sold by his cousin Sir William Hamilton to the newly created British Museum in 1772 . These exceptional candlesticks throw new light on the collecting tastes of these two extensively studied English collectors. Part of Hamilton’s mission to Naples was to acquire classical works of art that could be used as prototypes by the aspiring artists and artisans of his day, and the success of this mission surely finds its ultimate expression in these candlesticks. Until the appearance of these candlesticks Beckford was assumed to be buying regular domestic silver at this date rather than his purchases of more exotic pieces in the early 19th century for which he is well known, and they pre-date by a generation similar objects that were to be inspired by the architect Thomas Hope and others.
Probably the most important single group of silver by Georg Jensen to be sold in London in recent years is also on offer in the sale, from a Private European Collection. Almost forty lots will be presented, including a Danish wine-cooler, cover and liner designed by Georg Jensen (estimate: £25,000-35,000). In pristine condition, measuring fourteen inches high, and weighing 130 ounces, the wine-cooler is among the largest and most spectacular pieces of Jensen in the collection and indeed one of the tour de forces of Jensen’s oeuvre.
Not only does the silver section of the sale exemplify pieces of extraordinary quality from over five centuries, there are also works from a variety of regions around the world with a wide range of estimates including: a George III Irish silver tea-urn, mark of John Laughlin, Dublin, 1773 (estimate: £3,000-5,000); a rare Dutch silver cake-basket in the English taste made in Rotterdam in 1764 by Arthur Annesley, a London silversmith who fled to Holland following his bankruptcy two years earlier (estimate: £5,000-7,000) and a German silver-gilt cup formed as a rearing horse, mark of Erhard Ellers, Torgau, circa 1670 (estimate: £20,000-30,000).