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A trio of superb objects from Fine Interiors | 30 April 2019

The recent auction of Fine Interiors featured an interesting selection of decorative objects and here we present three highlights from the recent sale which represent the diversity of objects which can be found in our Fine Interiors auctions. 

This Louis XIV rosewood and kingwood medal cabinet opens to reveal thirteen narrow fitted lined drawers (est. £2,500-3,000; sold for £5,000). The cabinet is bound in brass and was created using the technique of parquetry. In parquetry wood is used throughout the design, albeit different species, it is seen in both flooring and furniture and dates from the mid to late 1600s. The stellar inlay here is a popular parquetry form, along with squares, triangles and lozenges; the grain, colour and tone of the wood create their own individual design within the confines of the star motif. The long reign of Louis XIV, 1661-1715, witnessed a brilliant flourishing in the arts, across literature, the visual arts, music, dance and opera, and, of course, the creation of the spectacular Palace of Versailles. Medal cabinets of this period are relatively rare compared to other forms of boxes and this example generated international interest from an educated group of collectors.

This large French gilt bronze figural group depicts Chiron instructing Achilles in archery. Chiron holds an arrow, a lyre sits at his feet, and a serpent lies coiled at the feet of Achilles. The work is inspired by Jean-Baptiste Regnault’s Education of  Achilles by Chiron, exhibited at the Salon of 1784, and now in the Louvre, Paris. Regnault is renowned for his large historical paintings and his school was for some time the main rival to that of Jacques-Louis David – considered the pre-eminent painter of the  era.  The group here was cast after the model by François Rude (French 1784-1855), the sculptor best known for La Marseillaise, created 1833-6, which at nearly 13 metres high adorns the Arc de Triomphe in Paris. Lot 254 in the April auction is somewhat more on a domestic scale, at nearly half a metre high, however, with its fine modelling and classical theme it makes an extremely imposing statement. The market for classical sculpture remains strong with a range of buyers from sculpture collectors to those who  are attracted to the decorative impact that these pieces can deliver. Classical sculpture undoubtedly works effectively in a range of settings, from a traditional country house to a more contemporary styled interior. Objects reflecting a Grand Tour taste remain enduringly popular and it is easy to see why.

The very fine early Victorian silver-mounted green glass claret jug is by E.,J., E & W Barnard and dates from 1839 (est. £2,00-2,500; sold for £2,500). The body is cut with overlapping and ever increasing crescent-shaped swags down to a star-cut base. The silver mount is an elegant celebration of the vine and demonstrates its fluid, decorative properties. The silversmiths here can trace their origins back to Anthony Nelme in around 1680 and the Barnard name and members of the family were first associated with the business in 1773. At the time of the jug’s manufacture the firm operated from premises on Angel Street, near St. Paul’s, London. Barnard was a key manufacturer of sporting, presentation, ecclesiastical and military silver ware which entailed a thorough understanding of historicist form and ornament and styles of the past. The company’s clients included Rundell, Bridge and Rundell, Elkington & Co., Garrard & Co. and the Goldsmiths’ Company. The appeal of this jug was not only down to the fine silver mounting but the startling green glass body colour providing a dramatic contrast to the more traditional clear glass claret jugs we are used to seeing. This example has a far more dramatic, contemporary feel.

All sold for prices include buyer’s premium at 25%.

After François Rude (French 1784-1855), large French gilt bronze figural group depicting Chiron instructing Achilles in archery | est. £3,000-5,000, sold for £3,625 | Provenance: The Collection of Sir Jeremy Lever

The fine early Victorian silver-mounted claret jug at Moor Park Mansion

Detail of the fine silver mounting