Massive Russian Vase Draws Massive Bids at Bonhams New York A spectacular Russian vase thought to have been included in the wedding dowry belonging to a daughter of Czar Nicholas I, was undeniably the most coveted lot of Bonhams’ November 20th sale of European
News-Antique.com - Dec 03,2008 - Gilt-bronze mounted porcelain vase sells in Bonhams New York Auction of European Furniture and Decorative Arts
A spectacular Russian vase thought to have been included in the wedding dowry belonging to a daughter of Czar Nicholas I, was undeniably the most coveted lot of Bonhams’ $1.6-million November 20th sale of European Furniture and Decorative Arts in New York City.
Taking place at Bonhams’ Madison Avenue showrooms, the nearly 250-lots sold featured an exceptional array of fine European furniture, decorative arts, silver, rugs, and carpets. With widespread word of the many important pieces to be offered, the sale attracted a crowd of private collectors and members of the trade to the auction house’s salesroom, competing with a bank of numerous international phone bidders.
More than surpassing pre-auction expectations, the massive Russian vase easily took top lot position. Created by the Imperial Porcelain Factory at St. Petersburg, the beautifully detailed urn resided in a Dutch family collection since the 1920s and was only recently rediscovered and identified by Bonhams specialists on the West Coast, where the family now resides. The body is finely painted with luxurious floral garlands and is applied with elaborate gilt-bronze foliate mounts attributed to the Felix Chopin workshop. A strikingly similar vase which was commissioned for the dowry of Grand Duchess Aleksandra (1825-1844) for her wedding to Prince Fredrich Wilhelm of Hessel-Kassel is now in the museum collection at Schloss Fasanerie, Eichenzell -- leading to the speculation that this vase was also created for one of the Czar’s daughters. Carrying a pre-sale estimate of $150/250,000, the vase more than doubled its top estimate, fetching a final total of $528,000.
A fine Continental gilt-bronze and enamel-mounted ebonized cabinet also touched off a round of competitive bidding. Featuring a balustraded cornice with a gilt-bronze floral scroll central mount flanked by gilt-bronze figures and enamel plaques finely painted with mythological scenes, the exquisitely detailed piece fetched $96,000.
Also garnering a great deal of attention was a pair of George IV silver covered entree dishes on Sheffield-plated warming stands. Made by famed silversmith Paul Storr and fashioned of approximately 145-troy ozs. of weighable silver, the lot performed well, drawing $31,200.
A round of enthusiastic bidding took place for a Louis XV style gilt-bronze mounted rouge griotte marble jardinere. Dating from the late 19th century, the ovoid shaped vessel features ram's head handles and gilt-bronze leaf tip and egg-and-dart-cast rims, standing on a square marble plinth. The lot brought a final price of $25,200 against an estimate of $15/20,000.
Another Louis XV style piece performing strongly was a gilt-bronze mounted marquetry vitrine cabinet by Prosper-Guillaume Durand. Stamped “G Durand” and exhibiting excellent craftsmanship, the piece sold for $22,800.
Not to be overlooked was a fine Regénce armoire. From the second quarter of the 18th century the lovely tulipwood and kingwood piece exceeded expectations, bringing $19,200 - well over its top estimate of $12,000.
“Very spirited local, national and international bidding was seen in a variety of categories,” states Director of Bonhams New York