Wednesday - 03 September 2014

On the £7500 scent of James Giles

03 June 2014Written by Roland Arkell

Trading from the Arts Museum in Cockspur Street, the famous James Giles (1718-80) china and glass decorating atelier produced an enormous diversity of bijouterie for the London luxury trade.

The Giles business ledgers for 1771-76 still survive, recording orders for some 50,000 pieces of Worcester porcelain and the purchase of glass from William Parker's Glass Warehouse in Fleet Street for £234.

This and other documentation (much of it relating to Giles' various bankruptcies and two Christie's auctions of his stock in trade) suggest that around a fifth of his workshop's output was in gilded and enamelled glass.

This 3in (8cm) high cobalt blue scent bottle, c.1760-70, offered by Rowley Fine Art at the Tattersalls in Newmarket on May 27 is a particularly good example. Decorated in both gilt and polychrome enamel to the facet cut body, it retains both its original rocaille-chased gold cover inscribed Amour Sans Fin and a fitted shagreen case. Consigned from a deceased estate, it was in decent condition save some small losses to the enamel, two small chips to the body and a dent to the cover.

With seven telephone bids on the lot, as well as bidding over the internet, the £300-500 'here to go' estimate proved wide of the mark. It sold at £7500 to a UK private collector against underbidding from a dealer acting for a US client.

The buyer's premium was 19%.

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