Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Egyptian Revival Paris porcelain inkwell pastille burner

Egyptian Revival Paris porcelain inkwell pastille burner
Faith was not on my side. As I spilled hot coffee on the monitor that connects my Internet. Three and a half hours before the auction would go off on this early 19th century Egyptian Revival piece of Old Paris porcelain. I thought Oh well I will just go downtown and use my laptop at a cafe to bid on this piece before the auction end. I arrive at the cafe 30 min before the auction end and was having a problem connecting my laptop to the Internet. I finely get connected but now I can't log on to the Internet, as the minutes tick away a lose this item. Latter that night my monitor dries out and my Internet is back on, this rare piece of porcelain worth $5,000. at the right show only sells for the opening bid of 85,00 euro $104.00 dollars. So goes my life. I was mad for days and I sill AM.

Side view



Rare Egyptian Revival Old Paris porcelain figure of a kneeling Egyptian woman holding a dish pastille burner {burning pastille a solid aromatic substance that was burned like incense} circa 1805 1810. This piece is a inkwell and a pastille burner, a rare combination. The Egyptian woman is semi nude with skirt, headdress and jewelry. One each side of her are shells one for ink the other sand. and above the shells attached to her side skirt are white shell shaped jars for holding the quail pen. She is on a nice round base that is painted in mat blue with neoclassical gold gilt tracery painted all around. The woman has more European features then Egyptian, you can see this in her profile making this lovely piece a French ideal of Egypt.

Back view

This type of item became popular in Europe after Napoleon Bonaparte's unsuccessful military expedition to Egypt in 1798. Napoleon a propagandist bought back Egyptian artifacts to France that resulted in an explosion of information on the country and prompted more strictly archaeological interpretations of the Egyptian Revival style in the Arts. Also this piece is attributed to the Darte-frères French porcelain manufacturer .

This elegant swan cup with saucer was made by the Darte Freres Manufactory
The Darte Freres Paris porcelain factory was started in 1801 by Louis-Joseph and Jean-Francois and quickly gained a reputation for producing beautiful hand decorated hard paste porcelain wares in the Empire and classical styles specializing in tea services, cabinet plates, and vases. The factory was not long-lived, but was a favorite and under royal protection of Emperor Napoleon’s mother. Darte-frères was appointed supplier of porcelain to the Empress Joséphine de Beauharnais. The Creole Empress Josephine kept a flock of swans at the Chateau de Malmaison, her favorite residence outside of Paris, and used their image on many of her personal possessions. Darte-frères made elegant swan shaped cups with saucers for the Empress. Darte-frères famous for "Old Paris" porcelain from 1801 to 1833.

Portrait of the Empress Joséphine

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Today's purchases, porcelain from Marie Antoinette's factory

18th century shell shaped dish from Marie Antoinette's factory

 Three pieces of 18th century porcelain from French Queen Marie Antoinette's porcelain factory in Paris known as Fabrique de la Reine located on Rue Thiroux. I have been collecting porcelain from this 18th century porcelain factory since the mid 1990's. One day I will do a blog on my collection. First piece is a shell shape dish hand painted with scattered Puce colored flowers with interlocking Loral leaf and gold gilt trim. The color Puce was a very popular color during the time of Louis XVI and Marie Antoinette. In French, puce literally means "flea, and the usual coloration of a flea is dark reddish-brown or dark purplish-brown; specifically, it is the color of the belly of a flea. Madam De Guillebon's now famous book 'Porcelain of Paris" has a shell shaped dish like this on page 95. I also bought a pair of porcelain dinner plates in a different pattern then the shell dish but still painted with scattered blue & puce flowers in the same pattern as the shell dish on page 95 in De Guillebon's book.

Pair of dinner plates from Marie Antoinette's factory

 HISTORY. Andre-Marie Leboeuf established an hard paste porcelain factory in the rue Thiroux in 1778. His wares immediately met with such phenomenal sasuccess that in the following year he was heavily fined for trenching upon the privileges reserved to Sevres in the matter of certain processes and the style of decoration. Of all the factories that may be considered as competitors with Sevres, Leboeuf's was the one of which the Sevres management had most cause to be jealous and apprehensive. If Leboeuf's work is closely compared with that of Sevres, it can be seen at a glance why the authorities of the latter establishment were greatly disquieted.

French Queen Marie Antoinette

Crown A mark of the Paris rue Thiroux factory

 After his uncomfortable experience with Sevres and the police authorities, Leboeuf secured the protecting patronage of the Queen Marie Antoinette, who gave him the right to mark his china with her monogram or A initial. She gave him further encouragement by ordering from him some of the china for her dairy at Versailles, and also various choice pieces which she gave to her friends as presents. From this royal patronage and the great popularity his work enjoyed, Leboeuf's china came to be known as "Porcelaine a la Reine." After the Revolution the works passed into other hands. Both the letter A, in underglaze blue, and A beneath the Queen's crown, in either red or gold on-glaze, appear as marks on this truly beautiful china.

Milk dish made by Rue Thiroux for Marie Antoinette's dairy at Versailles sold for 65,000. euro

Monday, June 21, 2010

Mobile Alabama plantation desk I bought part two

1820's Mobile, AL made Federal plantation desk

 I have place the Mobile AL plantation desk in a corner of my parlor. Across from another plantation desk made in Baltimore also from the 1820's. I have not seen the back of the desk until I moved it and was happy to find straight saw marks on the one piece yellow pine back board. All of the wood was hand hewn and hand sawed with a straight saw backing up my 1820's date for the desk as furniture and almost anything made of wood was cut mostly by circular saws after 1830 in America. Above the desk is a Old Paris porcelain Pompadour pink caribelle with 18th century scene painted on front. Pair of Old Paris porcelain vases with Meissen flowers on both sides. Mid 19th century portrait above of a woman in it's original Rococo Revival frame.

Mid 19th century Old Paris porcelain and portrait

Early 1830's Rococo Revival mahogany chair attributed to New York cabinetmaker Charles Baudouine covered in French Louis Philippe style Lyon silk

 The diminutive size of this plantation desk would suggest that it was made for one of the small farm/plantation homes dotted around the city of Mobile. Such as the O'Donnell farm, a raised Federal center hall house. Many of these country homes provided food for the local market in Mobile. they were sometimes built on land from old Spanish land grants. Few of theses home survive in Mobile today. I remember seeing the Old abandoned O'Donnell farm as a child. It was not far from the house where I live now but sadly the home was burned in the early 1990's. Although my home is a turn-of- the century bungalow, the scale and size of the rooms in my house are about the same in some of the antebellum farms that surrounded Old Mobile.

Miller/O'Donnell farm house Mobile, AL 1835

  Family history says this desk was used on Mobile Al steamboats during the antebellum period and after the civil war. And also use by captions in this family in the early 20th century up until fairly recently. The size would be perfect for the small offices on antebellum steamboats.

The slant writing surface has it's original age old sage green felt that has split with the 160 plus years expansion & contraction of the wood under the felt in the damp & humid weather of the Gulf Coast . On display on the surface. 1850's Old Paris porcelain inkwell of a huntsman resting with his hound by his side. The pen would had rested on the deer antlers on the front. Below this is a $100 blank note from 1852 from James Robb & Camp bankers of New Orleans, LA. Singed by James Robb one of the richest men in New Orleans at the time and connaisseur of European Old Master paintings. Under the $100. bank note a $5 dollar bank note from the Canal Bank New Orleans mid 19th century. In the middle 19th century French documents from the first half of the 19th century, to the side Alabama Confederate twenty-five and fifty cents with portrait of my ancestors on them. Both date from 1863. Above the money a Empire period Old Paris porcelain coffee cup and saucer painted in burgundy and etched gold gilt acorn and oak leaf motif with griffin handle circa 1810. Above the cup is a exquisite rare German porcelain biedermeier period gentleman pipe made of porcelain, silver, ebony, bone, tortoise shell & woven human hair. Beautifully hand painted with a 1830's period biedermeier scene of a well dressed woman holding a Love letter to her heart visible in the background is a draped dressing table with mirror and open window to the other side. She has just receive the letter and flowers on the dressing table.The one of a kind museum quality pipe could have been made for the gentleman that was courting this lady. Her brown hair was woven and used in the pipe. Over the documents a French oval miniature plaster-of-paris head of Christ under domed crystal in a brass frame circa 1850.

Open desk


Alabama Confederate money with ancestors portrait on them 1863. German bidermeier pipe circa 1830 and Empire Old Paris porcelain cup & saucer 1810.

1850's Old Paris porcelain inkwell. New Orleans bank notes and French documents

  1850's hand colored Lithograph of a boy in dress by Lilly Martin Spencer from a mobile, Al estate looks over my Old Paris porcelain.

Sunday, June 20, 2010

18th century German Mourning Chocolate pot I got today

1790 Limback chocolate pot with 18th c Chinese export cups

 The latest addition to the family is a very rare museum quality late 18th century porcelain Chocolate pot made by the Limbach porcelain factory in the Thuringia region of Germany. Circa 1790. This rare pot is painted with sentimental mourning scenes of widow and children at a grave {possibly a husband- father} . This rare piece would have been a commission piece by a wealthy person. This piece is quit rare as porcelain of this time was very expansive to own, personalized commissioned morning pieces of porcelain are even rarer. The Limbach porcelain factory was founded in 1762 and made porcelain until about 1850. 18th century Thuringia porcelain is very rare now and extremely hard to find.


 Neoclassical shaped chocolate pot with Greek handle. Hand painted memorial medallion on both sides. One side shows a miniature round painting of woman and children strewing flowers by a Neoclassical urn with inscription in German with beautiful landscape in background. Bordered in black for mourning with gold gilt olive branch at the top. The other side depicting lady in classical dress making flower wreaths seated under a tree with basket by her side. The girl also making flower wreaths and the boy holding one up. Stone with inscription in front and church in distance. The pot is trimmed in delicate gold gilt with scattered gold sprigs. It is marked on the bottom with the Limbach pink clover leaf.


  The region of Thuringia in Germany had quit a few porcelain factory's by the end of the 18th century. They were known as Thuringia porcelain. Some of the factorys were Gotha, Wallendorf, Limbach, Volkstedt, Rauenstein, Kloster Veilsdorf plus many more. The Wallendorf and Volkstedt factory's are the only two that are still making porcelain today. The porcelain of this region has a grayish tent to the paste and tends to be not as fine in quality as more well known German factory's such as KPM and Meissen. Pieces from Thuringia have personal charm that is missing in some of the bigger well known German factory's. This is mostly because this porcelain was not made for Royalty or aristocrats but for the growing bourgeoisie. This charm is what makes them very collectible.

Mourning family making flower wreaths

My best friend Don who lives in New Orleans found this piece in a shop for me. The dealer had bought it at a market in New York city. Because of the mourning scene { He knows I collect early mourning items} He called me and describe the pot. It is in perfect condition but missing it's lid. Because of the age, quality, rare factory and mourning scene I decided to buy this piece of porcelain unseen. It just arrived today, over a month after I bought it, brought to me by friends visiting New Orleans.  
Leaving flowers at the grave

Saturday, June 19, 2010

Mobile Alabama plantation desk I bought today part one

Mobile Alabama made plantation desk

 New addition to the family. Just paid off my antebellum plantation desk today. This piece is as good as it gets when it comes to Deep South, Southern made antebellum furniture that has been in the same family with family oral history. This fabulous piece is made of solid and veneer Cuban crotched flamed Mahogany. The secondary woods are cypress, yellow pine & poplar. The piece dates from the 1820's-1830's. And by family oral history was made in Mobile Al and used on Steamboats in the 19th century and steamships during the 20th century by the male descendents of a prominent Mobile family of Captains. This piece is in the late Federal style. It has it's original finish and patina and has never been refinished. The two upper paneled faux Cuban crotched flamed Mahogany doors with working lock and original key pulls down to make a slant writing surface with it's original sage green felt. Revealing the inside fitted with compartments, pigeon holes and document compartments each with a scalloped design, One drawer base on beautifully turned Sheraton legs. One of the inside drawers is singed with one of the owners name. Mobile, Al, Oct 1902. This piece also has a hidden compartment. The classical cornice lifts up to reveal a space to store stuff on the top of this desk. I will have this desk restore to how it would have looked originally. The old alligator wax will be removed keeping the original finish of the wood and rewaxed. The chipped veneer repaired using Cuban Mahogany veneer from old frames dating from the 1840's and the turn-of-the century pulls taken off and replaced with period mahogany turned ones.

Writing surface with it's original sage green felt. Revealing the inside fitted with compartments, pigeon holes and document compartments each with a scalloped design

The classical cornice lifts up to reveal a space to store stuff on the top of this desk.

Friday, June 18, 2010

18th century Sèvres porcelain cup I got today

18th century Sèvres porcelain cup 1764 & saucer 1765

 I'm happy to add to my collection a mid 18th century French Louis XV Sèvres porcelain cup & saucer. Both pieces delicately hand-painted with garden sprigs of scattered flowers and saw-tooth gold rims. The cup with a date mark 'L" for the year 1764 and artist marks for Painter: André-Vincent Vielliard. French, 1717-1790, active at Sèvres 1752-1790. A saucer with date letter "M" for the year 1765 and artist marks for Jean-Jacques Pierre le jeune, flower painter 1758-1802.

18th century still life, Louis XVI fan & engraving with Louis XV Sèvres cup

 It's interesting that theses two pieces in the same style of sprig garden flowers with gold gilt saw-tooth border trim were made at different years and painted by different decorators but artist at the Sèvres factory continually made stock items that were offered for sell to rich aristocrats that happen to stop by the factory. Many set's of Sèvres porcelain have different date marks on them because they continually made items in different patterns plus commission pieces would also some time take year to complete ad also date over a period of time.


Brief history of The manufacture nationale de Sèvres.

In 1740, the Vincennes manufactory was created,in the Chateau de Vincennes. French king Louis XV took an intense interest in porcelain due to his mistress Madame de Pompadour and moved the operation in 1756 to even larger quarters in the Paris suburb of Sevres near Madame de Pompadour's Bellevue Palace.This new building, 130 meters longer, was built between 1753 to 1756 with Lindet as architect. It became a royal factory in 1759. From the outset the king's clear aim was to produce Sevres Porcelain that surpassed the established Saxony works of Meissen and Dresden. The Sevres Porcelain manufactory always seemed to be in dire financial straits despite the incredibly fine works it produced. In fact, the king's insistence that only the finest items be created may have contributed to the difficulties. Only a limited number of European nobility could afford the extravagant prices demanded for such works.

The Sevres Procelain Factory produced items under the name of "Royal" and thus the well-known Sevres Mark was born. King Louis XV even mandated laws that severely restricted other porcelain production in France so as to retain a near monopoly for his Sevres Porcelain. The king even willingly became chief salesman for the finest of his products, hosting an annual New Year's Day showing for French nobility in his private quarters at Versailles. He eagerly circulated among potential buyers, pitching the merits of ownership and policing the occasional light-fingered guest. By 1800, the Sevres Porcelain Works were practically out of business due to the economic devastation of the new French Republic. Alexandre Brogniart was director between 1800 to 1847 resurrected Sevres Porcelain. Brongniart presided over monumental progress for Sevres Porcelain, catering not only to Napoleon himself, but at last to include the more financially profitable mid-priced market in the emerging middle class.


Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Old Paris porcelain coffee set & Free Woman of color plate

Chinoiserie Coffee and Tea Service, c. 1820. Made by Denuelle


 At The Art Institute of Chicago in the European Decorative Arts Gallery 232. Is this exquisite Coffee and Tea Service, c. 1820. Made by Denuelle Porcelain Manufactory Paris, France (1818-1829) Hard-paste porcelain, dark blue (bleu royale) ground, polychrome enamels and gilding. This set is beautifully decorated in Royal blue background color with colorful Chinoiserie décor fairyland of foliage and buildings, in etched gold gilt with polychrome enamel animated Chinese mandarin figures. This set is top of the line some of the finest porcelain of this period coming out of Paris and equal to the more famous Sèvres Porcelain Manufactory. Denuelle was famous for his Chinoiserie painted porcelain, a French term, signifying "Chinese-esque", He was also noted for his tortoise-shell grounds on porcelain. He was the supplier by special appointment to the Duchesse de Berry and from 1834-1848 he bore the title of supplier to the Queen.



 Also by this factory is a wonderful cabinet plate I came cross some years ago decorated with a beautiful rare painting of a Free woman of color from Barbados. This plate is one from a set of plates Denuelle painted showing the people of the world in there costumes. Most of them copied from engraving as this plate was copied from a 18th century engraving. This plate has fine engraved Neoclassical gold gilt border that Denuelle was known for.

The Barbados Mulatto Girl

Detail of The Barbados Mulatto Girl

18th century engraving Denuelle copied onto the plate

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Coffee service for two Tête-à-tête

Egyptian Revival porcelain Tête-à-tête Austria, Vienna, 1794-1809

Egyptian Revival porcelain Tête-à-tête Austria, Vienna, 1794-1809 made by the Imperial Manufactory. This beautiful set of porcelain is on display in the Boston Museum of Art. Widespread fascination with Egypt inspired European ceramic factories to produce Egyptian-style wares during the late eighteenth century. For this coffee service. The Vienna factory freely mixed ancient Egyptian motifs such as sphinxes, crocodiles, and hieroglyphs and even based the coffeepot's shape on an ancient canopic jar, or funerary vessel. All theses fanciful models fell into favor after Napoleon Bonaparte's military expedition to Egypt in 1798 resulted in an explosion of information on the country and prompted more strictly archaeological interpretations of the Egyptian Revival style in the Arts.

Canopic jar, or funerary vessel shape coffee pot

Note gold gilt crocodile handle of sugar bowl

Etched hieroglyphs into the gold gilt of the cup

Egyptian Revival porcelain Tête-à-tête Austria, Vienna, 1794-1809 made by the Imperial Manufactory

Sunday, June 13, 2010

The Londonderry Vase 1813

France, Sèvres

Designed by Charles Percier (French, 1764-1838)

Decoration Designed by Alexandre Theodore Brongniart (d. 1813)

Painted by Gilbert Drouet, flowers and ornament, (1785-1825)

and Christopher Ferdinand Caron, birds, (active 1792-1815)

Manufactured by Sèvres Porcelain Manufactory

Hard-paste porcelain, gilding, ormolu mounts

Detail of Painting by Gilbert Drouet, flowers and ornament, (1785-1825)

Artist Christopher Ferdinand Caron painted the birds, (active 1792-1815)

This vase exhibits some of the finest floral decoration of the Empire period.

This time last year I was taken a cross country drive from Baltimore to San Diego and stopped in Chicago along the way. I'm happy I did I got a chance to see this wonderful extraordinary large Sèvres porcelain vase. It represents the great achievements of the Sèvres factory during the Napoleonic period. Napoleon himself ordered the Sèvres porcelain vase as a sumptuous dignitary gift which would demonstrate the supremacy of fin fine French craftsmanship. This vase exhibits some of the finest floral decoration of the Empire period.

Originally commissioned by Napoleon around 1805, the vase was not released by the factory until 1814, after he had been exiled. The vase was used as a diplomatic gift by the newly restored Bourbon King, Louis XVIII, when he ordered his foreign minister, Talleyrand (1754-1838), to present it to the English Viscount Castlereagh, second marquis of Londonderry, on the eve of the Congress of Vienna.

The Londonderry Vase was one of the most ambitious undertakings of the imperial porcelain manufactory at Sèvres. With its commanding contours, monumental size, symmetrical decorations, and unabashed splendor, the vase is a superb example of the Empire style, inspired by Roman imperial art. Designed while Napoleon was emperor by his chief architect Charles Percier a neoclassical French architect, interior decorator and designer, who worked in a close partnership with Pierre François Léonard Fontaine, but produced after the Restoration, it was presented by Louis XVIII to the second marquess of Londonderry on the eve of the 1814 Congress of Vienna.                                      
Detail of ormolu mounts

Detail of ormolu mounts



Height: 137.2 cm (54 in.)