Christie's to auction royal pieces from Rothschild collection
May 2, 2019: Collected, preserved and treasured over generations, the Rothschild family is parting with some of its royal pieces to auction them at Christie’s. This landmark sale comprises of approximately 57 lots, each with exceptional provenance, including important European furniture, works of art and old master paintings. Holding some beautiful stories behind them, most of these pieces were collected by Baron Gustave de Rothschild (1829-1911).
Hailed by many a social climbers, the Christie’s auction personifies the spirit of le goût Rothschild – meaning the ‘Rothschild taste’ – that has influenced many European and American interiors since the 19th century. With estimates ranging from £10,000 to £2.5 million, select highlights will be on view in Hong Kong from May 24-27, followed by the London preview which opens to the public on 29 June. The auction will commence in London on July 4, 2019.
Charles Cator, Deputy Chairman of Christie’s International said, “The Rothschild name is synonymous with collecting at the very highest level, with many of the world’s greatest works of art having a Rothschild provenance. Their fabled name is added to the extraordinary roll call of illustrious owners of these masterpieces, so many of them Royal, from Louis XV and Marie Antoinette to William Beckford and Prince Demidoff.”
The main highlight of the sale is a pair of royal Flemish tortoiseshell, brass and pewter inlaid marquetry and giltwood cabinets, which were commissioned in Antwerp in 1713 for Philip V King of Spain, the second son of the Grand Dauphin and grandson of Louis XIV (estimate: £1.5 – 2.5 million). Also part of the sale is a Louis XVI ormolu-mounted mahogany table à écrire, circa 1780, commissioned by the unpopular Queen Marie Antoinette of France, and created by Jean-Henri Riesener, the Queen’s favoured cabinet-maker (estimate: £600,000-1,000,000). Giving it proven authenticity is Marie Antoinette’s garde-meuble brand which was applied to her personal furniture after 1784.
Traditionally from the Spanish Royal family, and part of a very small group of luxurious 18th furniture incorporating Sèvres porcelain plaques is a Louis XVI ormolu, Sèvres porcelain and marquetry guéridon, circa 1782-83, by one of the most famous ébénistes of the late 18th century, Martin Carlin (estimate: £400,000-600,000). An important German silver-gilt double-cup, mark of Hans Beutmuller, Nuremberg, 1594-1602, was in the collections of both Baron Mayer Carl von Rothschild and Baroness James de Rothschild, and is now up for auction (estimate: £200,000-300,000).
A Venetian rectangular parcel-gilt, gilt-bronze and rock crystal casket from 1600 belonged to the renowned collector and author William Beckford in the early 19th century (estimate: £100,000- 150,000). The casket is made of precious rock crystal and shows off Islamic-inspired lacquer decoration. When this casket was sold in the celebrated Fonthill Abbey sale of 1823, it was said to have come from the collection of Pope Paul V Borghese, who could have commissioned it himself.
The Rothschild collection also includes some legendary old master paintings, including Jean-Honoré Fragonard’s vibrantly coloured and masterfully executed Dans les blés, which is a masterpiece of the artist’s full maturity (estimate: £700,000-1 million). It is an outstanding example of the artist’s small-scale ‘boudoir’ pictures, that are recognized as his most original and lasting contribution to the history of art.