Continental Furniture: Christie’s offered a concentration of furnishings from Continental Europe on December 12, kicking off with a select 114-lot, separately catalogued morning session devoted entirely to French furniture, with a larger 240-odd lots drawn from across the European spectrum in the afternoon.
The morning section, the last sale to be conducted by Lord Hindlip before his retirement, was certainly the stronger, with 84 per cent of the lots changing hands and two seven-figure and over a dozen six-figure prices helping the auctioneers to a net total of £9.17m.
Leading the list at £2.4m was this Louis XVI console desserte by Martin Carlin, one of only two in existence
mounted with Sèvres porcelain plaques, that are thought to have been a special commission from the factory by the marchand-mercier Dominique Daguerre. Last under the
hammer as part of the celebrated M. Akram Ojjeh collection in 1979, when Sotheby’s sold it for Fr1m, the console was at Harewood House until 1951. Recorded in an 1894 Harewood inventory, it was acquired for the house by Edward, Viscount Lascelles presumably when in Paris following the Treaty of Amiens in 1802.
Things were more sluggish in the auctioneers’ afternoon sale, where only just over half the lots changed hands, the highest price coming from the works of art section via the pair bronze groups.
Sotheby’s main Continental furniture sale of the autumn took place on December 11 and, as so often with these December events, there was a notable price for a Roman marble table top. A 5ft (1.5m) wide, late 16th century example, decorated with a rich variety of coloured stones on a black ground set on a part 16th century lion monopodia base, provided the sale with its top price when it sold on low
estimate for £300,000.
Arguably the keenest bidding in the sale, however, was seen when this pair of 3ft 13/4in (96cm) high French campana-shaped urns in patinated and gilt bronze by Pierre Philippe Thomire was taken to £220,000, getting on for three times the estimate.
Their imposing size, at 3ft 13/4in (96cm) high, and rich brown patination, plus an estimate that was not over-ambitious at £70,000-100,000, prompted a determined telephone battle.
Overall the event was characterised by a noticeable lack of Americans and a generally selective response from the predominantly European buyers, with 62 per cent of the 132 lots changing hands for a total of £2.41m.
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