Published: November 6, 2001
NEW YORK CITY – Prominent collectors, designers and dealers from around the world converged at Doyle New York for an auction of English and Continental furniture and de-corations on Wednesday, October 17. The sale offered an outstanding selection of fine and decorative arts from the Seventeenth through early Nineteenth Centuries, includ-ing furniture, Chinese export porcelain, Georgian silver, chandeliers, rugs and Old Master paintings.
The star of the sale was an important English Axminster rug from Wilton Workshops that brought $126,625 from a New York bidder.
The Axminster carpet featured in the sale was woven in England at the Wilton Workshops during the second quarter of the Nineteenth Century. The intricate paisley pattern is a mix of neutral and jewel tones bordered by a pale saffron rosette and vine border. The strong design is rare for this period when most fine carpets reflected more of a French influence.
The carpet had been in the same family for more than a century, and once graced the living room of a grand apartment on Quai Wilson in Geneva, Switzerland. The large, square size 17’4″ by 16’9″ indicates that it was most likely made to order, and its remarkable condition serves as a testament to the excellent workmanship of its manufacture.
Estimated at $80/100,000, competition was heavy for this piece, and as a result it eventually hammered down at $126,625.
A special section of the sale was devoted to Asian works of art. Showcasing this segment was an extensive Chinese export porcelain dinner service in the “Rockefeller” pattern. Originally called the ‘Palace’ pattern, it became known as the “Rockefeller” pattern in the Twentieth Century after Nelson A. Rockefeller purchased a large service of the same pattern. The collection consisted of approximately 186 pieces of gilt and enameled porcelain, circa 1790-95, decorated with Chinese mythological and history scenes in the cavetto. Offered in 25 lots, the collection surpassed its preestimate of $129/197,000, selling for $286,645 in total.
Another achievement of the day was a Louis XVI gilt-bronze mounted kingwood console desserte by one of the most important Eighteenth Century ebenistes, Jean-Henri Riesener (1734-1806). Riesener’s pieces are distinguished for their architectural lines, finely executed adornments in chiseled bronze and exquisite marquetry.
His elaborate commodes and secretaires of the 1770s were transitional in style with a definite curvaceousness both in form and decoration. By the 1780s, his style had progressed to equally sumptuous pieces in a more severe and rectilinear Neo-classical style. The piece offered in the sale dates from 1780-85 and is a perfect example of the more restrained and proportioned output of his atelier. After much competition, a French bidder purchased the piece for $115,625.
English highlights included a pair of George II gilt-wood mirrors with a carved frame of scrolling leafage and rosettes surmounted by griffin heads that realized $30,550. Also performing well at $28,200, was a set of 25 George III style mahogany dining chairs, ideally suited for a boardroom or baronial dining room. Standing out among the Italian furniture was a handsome Baroque walnut bureau bookcase that was successfully bid to $17,625, and a pair of Rococo Lacca Povera consoles that achieved $15,275.
The sale also featured more than 100 lots of Old Master paintings and drawings. Among the highlights were a luxurious “Floral Still Life” by French painter Antoine Monnoyer (1670-1747) that garnered $10,575, “Figures Amongst Classical Ruins” from the Circle of Antoine Pierre Patel that sold for $17,625, and a French School Equestrian Portrait of Napoleon” that realized $8,812.
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