A gold-ground 'famille-rose' enamelled copper 'European-subject' snuff bottle Imperial, Qianlong incised four-character mark and of the period, palace workshops, Beijing, 17701779 (the panels: European, possibly England, circa 17701780)
A gold-ground famille rose enamelled copper 'European subject' snuff bottle
Polychrome enamels on copper, and cobalt-blue, turquoise-blue, and iron-red enamel on gold; with a flat lip and recessed flat foot surrounded by a protruding flat footrim; the two main sides with inset European panels, each enamelled on copper and of an identical design of a woman seated in front of foliage and an architectural detail with what appears to be a musical score open on her lap; the gold bottle chased in relief with a formalized floral design on a ring-punched ground; the base with a band of formalized lotus petals, filled with turquoise-blue and iron-red enamel above a footrim of double-unit leiwen ('thunder pattern') design filled with dark blue enamel; the neck with a similar band above a band of formalized lingzhi filled with turquoise-blue enamel; the foot inscribed in engraved, regular script Qianlong nian zhi ('Made during the Qianlong period') Panels: Europe, possibly England, circa 17701780 Bottle: Imperial, palace workshops, Beijing, 17701779 Height: 5.89 cm Mouth/lip: 0.6/1.4 cm Stopper: gold, chased with a formalized floral design; original
Condition: the rim of the frame with the gilding worn away a little all around, but not obtrusive; minor, usual scratches and abrasions to the panels of enamel, invisible other than under magnification; otherwise, in workshop condition
Lot 141 Provenance: Arthur Loveless Edmund F. Dwyer Christie's, London, 12 October 1987, lot 161 (front cover illustration)
Published: Perry 1960, p. 145, no. 158 Architectural Digest, MarchApril 1972, p. 40 Newsletter, December 1972, p. 22 Stevens 1976, no. 943 JICSBS, Summer 1984, front cover Christie's International Magazine, SeptemberOctober 1987, p. 28 Antiques Trade Gazette, 7 November 1987, p. 18 JICSBS, Autumn 1987, p. 2 JICSBS, Winter 1987, p. 27 Christie's Review of the Season, 1988, p. 392 Arts of Asia, SeptemberOctober 1990, p. 90 Kleiner 1994a, plate 3, bottom left Kleiner, Yang, and Shangraw 1994, no. 11 Kleiner 1995, no. 14 JICSBS, Autumn 1995, p. 23, fig. 7 Hanhai, Beijing, 1 September 2003, illustration accompanying lot 1966 Chen Tao 2002, p. 7, no. 9 Dai Zhongren 1998, p. 107, no. A084 JICSBS, Autumn 2005, p. 7, figs. 11 and 12 Treasury 6, no. 1112
Exhibited: Los Angeles County Museum, OctoberNovember 1984 Creditanstalt, Vienna, MayJune 1993 Hong Kong Museum of Art, MarchJune 1994 National Museum of Singapore, November 1994February 1995 British Museum, London, JuneOctober 1995 Israel Museum, Jerusalem, JulyNovember 1997
Lot 141 Commentary Both the source of the enamel panels and the metal in which they are set have been matters of fluctuating opinion. To Lilla Perry, the mounts were gilt bronze, as they were for Kleiner and most of those earlier publications that did not ignore the issue altogether, including the Christie's auction catalogue. To Bob Stevens, a stickler for testing materials, it was gold as it was, oddly, in the early newsletter article of 1972; so at some stage, presumably, Dwyer recognized it to be gold. In fact, the immediate frame for the enamelled panels are gilt-bronze, not gold; but the rest of the bottle is solid gold;
The origin of the panels was rarely dealt with in earlier publications. The groundwork simply did not exist to do so at that stage of our research into the field. At one stage the panels were catalogued as eighteenth-century Chinese, while the date of the bottle itself was questioned in a caption dating it as 'eighteenth or nineteenth century' (JICSBS, Winter 1987, p. 27). It is only quite recently that the panels have even been identified as European. Even Christie's, as late as 1987, while noting there semblance of the panels to French work, pointed out the rarity of identical panels in French enamelling and suggested it might have been inspired by a locket cover or snuffbox from France that caused an imperial craftsman at the court to produce two identical copies. In fact, as rare as identical panels may be in French enamelling, they are equally rare in Chinese palace enamelling of the Qianlong period. The style of the European dress might indicate a mid-eighteenth-century date, and we are grateful to Ozvaldo Patrizzi, the leading expert on enamelled watches, for his suggestion that the panels may be English, dating from about 1775 to 1780, but with the caveat that such panels are very much 'one of a kind and rare', making them difficult to identify with confidence. Related bottles inlaid with European panels are known in gilt bronze, although they are extremely rare. One was in Hanhai, Beijing, 1 September 2003, lot 1966, which was re-offered in Hanhai, Beijing, 12 December 2005, lot 2711. The panel designs are different, but probably from the same workshop, as is the surrounding bottle, which has no inlaid enamels. The style of the Hanhai bottle suggests that it may be depicting the fashions of the mid-eighteenth century, perhaps from about 1740 to about 1765. The original stopper is also of a different shape, with a pronounced finial. The mark is of similar style, although horizontal and not quite as neatly written. There is even a vague chance that it was ordered from Guangzhou. Otherwise, there is related bottle with Chinese panels, their origin uncertain from the illustration, in a gilt bronze surround from the Qianlong period in Fuller 1970, pl. 19, while another with Chinese panels is in the Baur Collection (Stevens 1976, no. 987). Another gilt-bronze bottle with inset enamel panels that may be Chinese is in JICSBS, Autumn 2005, p. 6, fig. 8.
The Qianlong emperor must have been unusually impressed with these particular panels to have set them in gold. The workmanship is extraordinary, with a standard of metal-chasing, enamel filling, and calligraphy unsurpassed in Qing art. There are no other recorded imported panels set in gold; only gilt bronze is used for the rare examples of imported panels being incorporated into other forms of objects, largely confined to a series of small boxes. For an extremely rare cloisonné enamel snuff bottle on a gold ground, now in the Marakovic Collection, see JICSBS, Spring 1987, front cover, top left.
來源： Arthur Loveless Edmund F. Dwyer Christie's, London, 12 October 1987, 拍賣品號 161 (front cover illustration)
文獻： Perry 1960, p. 145, 編號 158 Architectural Digest, MarchApril 1972, p. 40 Newsletter, December 1972, p. 22 Stevens 1976, 編號 943 JICSBS, Summer 1984, front cover Christie's International Magazine, SeptemberOctober 1987, p. 28 Antiques Trade Gazette, 7 November 1987, p. 18 JICSBS, Autumn 1987, p. 2 JICSBS, Winter 1987, p. 27 Christie's Review of the Season, 1988, p. 392 Arts of Asia, SeptemberOctober 1990, p. 90 Kleiner 1994a, plate 3, bottom left Kleiner, Yang, and Shangraw 1994, 編號 11 Kleiner 1995, 編號 14 JICSBS, Autumn 1995, p. 23, fig. 7 Hanhai，北京，1 September 2003, illustration accompanying 拍賣品號 1966 Chen Tao 2002, p. 7, 編號 9 Dai Zhongren 1998, p. 107, no. A084 JICSBS, Autumn 2005, p. 7, figs. 11 and 12 Treasury 6, 編號 1112
展覽： Los Angeles County Museum, OctoberNovember 1984 Creditanstalt, Vienna, MayJune 1993 Hong Kong Museum of Art, MarchJune 1994 National Museum of Singapore, November 1994February 1995 British Museum, London, JuneOctober 1995 Israel Museum, Jerusalem, JulyNovember 1997
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