A 19th century French enamel and gilt metal parfum brulé, signed Ch(arles) Lepec, 1873,
Lot 50
A 19th century French silver-gilt, gilt bronze and enamelled nef parfum brulé, signed Ch(arles) Lepec, 1873,
Sold for £26,400 (US$ 41,236) inc. premium

Lot Details
A 19th century French silver-gilt, gilt bronze and enamelled nef parfum brulé,
signed Ch(arles) Lepec, 1873,
the bow with elaborately enamelled dragon figurehead, the stern with a figure of cupid sitting atop a scroll mount hung with rose garlands extending down both sides of the hull, supported by a stiff leaf mount, the starboard side of the hull painted en pleine with a band of multi-coloured dragon scales extending from the figurehead and becoming gilt foliate scrolls on a purple ground with the artists signature in a floral burst above a depiction of Venus reclining on a 'dragon boat' being pulled by a triton through the water, with a geometric band below in Etruscan red, black and white, the port side with a putto holding the torch of love, another resting on a cloud with an angel scattering stars, all on an inverted baluster stem painted with red fishscales on a circular base painted with mask heads within laurel frames separated by blue bell husks and formal foliage with a gilt metal foot raised on sixteen ball feet, height 9.6cm, length 11.5cm.

Footnotes

  • Charles Lepec (1830-after 1885) trained as a painter under Hipolyte Flandrin. He showed his paintings at the Salon from 1857-9 but, in 1861, he began experimenting with enamel. By 1866, he was ready to enter at the Salon a monumental 6 foot high shield depicting Clémence Isaure, now in the Musée d'Orsay (Inv OAO 712).

    His entries at the 1867 Exposition Universale in Paris included a magnificent nef similar in design to the present lot, though much grander in size, now in the Badisches Landesmuseum, Karlsruhe. The nef is illustrated on page 169 of the 1868 Art Journal's Illustrated Catalogue of the exhibition with the caption: "The object we now engrave is a 'gold cup in the form of a nef - a boat' It has been bought for a large sum by Mr Alfred Morrison (but not more than its worth)." The Art Journal's commentator Hain Friswell has fulsome praise for Lepec: "Of the enamels of M. Charles Lepec, it is not too much to say they are the most admirable as well as the most attractive Art-objects in the exhibition."

    Mr Alfred Morrison (1821-1897) was the son of a wealthy draper and amassed a huge and important collection of rare objects, paintings and autographs at his Fonthill estate and his London home, 16 Carlton Terrace. He was the most important of English Lepec's patrons, often buying through his dealer Robert Phillips of Cockspur Street. Many of Lepec important works were, initially, in English collections.
Auction information

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