A gold-ground 'famille-rose' enamelled copper 'European-subject' snuff bottle Imperial, Qianlong incised four-character mark and of the period, palace workshops, Beijing, 1770–1779 (the panels: European, possibly England, circa 1770–1780)
Lot 141
A gold-ground 'famille-rose' enamelled copper 'European-subject' snuff bottle Imperial, Qianlong incised four-character mark and of the period, palace workshops, Beijing, 1770–1779 (the panels: European, possibly England, circa 1770–1780)
Sold for HK$ 4,200,000 (US$ 541,462) inc. premium

Lot Details
A gold-ground 'famille-rose' enamelled copper 'European-subject' snuff bottle Imperial, Qianlong incised four-character mark and of the period, palace workshops, Beijing, 1770–1779 (the panels: European, possibly England, circa 1770–1780) A gold-ground 'famille-rose' enamelled copper 'European-subject' snuff bottle Imperial, Qianlong incised four-character mark and of the period, palace workshops, Beijing, 1770–1779 (the panels: European, possibly England, circa 1770–1780)
A gold-ground 'famille-rose' enamelled copper 'European-subject' snuff bottle
Imperial, Qianlong incised four-character mark and of the period, palace workshops, Beijing, 1770–1779 (the panels: European, possibly England, circa 1770–1780)
5.89cm high.

Footnotes

  • Treasury 6, no. 1112

    銅胎畫琺瑯西洋人物鼻煙壺
    御製品,刻「乾隆年製」楷款,北京宮廷作坊,1770~1799
    (嵌板:歐洲式,或作於英國,約1770~1780)

    A gold-ground famille rose enamelled copper 'European subject' snuff bottle

    ('Gold-Clad Exemplar')

    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 1770–1780
    Bottle: Imperial, palace workshops, Beijing, 1770–1779
    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, March–April 1972, p. 40
    Newsletter, December 1972, p. 22
    Stevens 1976, no. 943
    JICSBS, Summer 1984, front cover
    Christie's International Magazine, September–October 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, September–October 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, October–November 1984
    Creditanstalt, Vienna, May–June 1993
    Hong Kong Museum of Art, March–June 1994
    National Museum of Singapore, November 1994–February 1995
    British Museum, London, June–October 1995
    Israel Museum, Jerusalem, July–November 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.

    銅胎畫琺瑯西洋人物鼻煙壺

    黃金壺身,平唇,平斂底,突出圈足,圈足底完全接觸地面; 兩正面嵌入歐州來的銅胎畫琺瑯洋人肖像 ; 底刻"乾隆年製"楷款
    嵌板:歐州式,或作於英國,約1770–1780
    壺:御製品,宮廷作坊作,北京,1770–1779
    高:5.89 厘米
    口經/唇經:0.6/1.4 厘米
    蓋: 黃金,鏤刻形式化的花紋;原件

    狀態敘述:框緣磨掉了點鎏金,不引人注目,嵌板呈一般性的抓痕與磨耗,肉眼較難察覺;此外,出坊狀態

    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, March–April 1972, p. 40
    Newsletter, December 1972, p. 22
    Stevens 1976, 編號 943
    JICSBS, Summer 1984, front cover
    Christie's International Magazine, September–October 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, September–October 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, October–November 1984
    Creditanstalt, Vienna, May–June 1993
    Hong Kong Museum of Art, March–June 1994
    National Museum of Singapore, November 1994–February 1995
    British Museum, London, June–October 1995
    Israel Museum, Jerusalem, July–November 1997

    說明:
    只有嵌板框子是鎏金銅,此外,壺身全部是黃金。畫琺瑯彩錶專家 Ozvaldo Patrizzi 先生認為,這一對嵌板可能英國作的,可定期為1775~1780,但他也警告,它們是獨一無二的,很不容易鑒定。 同類的西洋嵌板,參閱本壺的英文說明。
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