Catherine the Great: An important pair of Louis XVI silver circular dish covers (cloches) and dishes from the Ekaterinoslav and Moscow Services covers by Robert-Joseph Auguste, Paris 1782-83, dishes by Louis-Joseph Lenhendrick, Paris 1777-78 (4)
Lot 151
Catherine the Great: An important pair of Louis XVI silver circular dish covers (cloches) and dishes from the Ekaterinoslav and Moscow Services
covers by Robert-Joseph Auguste, Paris 1782-83, dishes by Louis-Joseph Lenhendrick, Paris 1777-78 (4)
Sold for £37,500 (US$ 62,233) inc. premium
Auction Details
Catherine the Great: An important pair of Louis XVI silver circular dish covers (cloches) and dishes from the Ekaterinoslav and Moscow Services covers by Robert-Joseph Auguste, Paris 1782-83, dishes by Louis-Joseph Lenhendrick, Paris 1777-78 (4) Catherine the Great: An important pair of Louis XVI silver circular dish covers (cloches) and dishes from the Ekaterinoslav and Moscow Services covers by Robert-Joseph Auguste, Paris 1782-83, dishes by Louis-Joseph Lenhendrick, Paris 1777-78 (4) Catherine the Great: An important pair of Louis XVI silver circular dish covers (cloches) and dishes from the Ekaterinoslav and Moscow Services covers by Robert-Joseph Auguste, Paris 1782-83, dishes by Louis-Joseph Lenhendrick, Paris 1777-78 (4) Catherine the Great: An important pair of Louis XVI silver circular dish covers (cloches) and dishes from the Ekaterinoslav and Moscow Services covers by Robert-Joseph Auguste, Paris 1782-83, dishes by Louis-Joseph Lenhendrick, Paris 1777-78 (4) Catherine the Great: An important pair of Louis XVI silver circular dish covers (cloches) and dishes from the Ekaterinoslav and Moscow Services covers by Robert-Joseph Auguste, Paris 1782-83, dishes by Louis-Joseph Lenhendrick, Paris 1777-78 (4) Catherine the Great: An important pair of Louis XVI silver circular dish covers (cloches) and dishes from the Ekaterinoslav and Moscow Services covers by Robert-Joseph Auguste, Paris 1782-83, dishes by Louis-Joseph Lenhendrick, Paris 1777-78 (4) Catherine the Great: An important pair of Louis XVI silver circular dish covers (cloches) and dishes from the Ekaterinoslav and Moscow Services covers by Robert-Joseph Auguste, Paris 1782-83, dishes by Louis-Joseph Lenhendrick, Paris 1777-78 (4) Catherine the Great: An important pair of Louis XVI silver circular dish covers (cloches) and dishes from the Ekaterinoslav and Moscow Services covers by Robert-Joseph Auguste, Paris 1782-83, dishes by Louis-Joseph Lenhendrick, Paris 1777-78 (4)
Lot Details
Property of a Belgian Nobleman
Catherine the Great: An important pair of Louis XVI silver circular dish covers (cloches) and dishes from the Ekaterinoslav and Moscow Services
covers by Robert-Joseph Auguste, Paris 1782-83, dishes by Louis-Joseph Lenhendrick, Paris 1777-78
Covers finely chased with a continuous band of elongated oblongs within frosted surrounds above a band of small lobes, each applied with a large pine cone finial resting on frosted acanthus calyx, these are prick-dot engraved "No 2" to inside rim edge and stamped "2" to the rim, the presentories of shaped outline with reeded borders, prick-dot engraved on reverse "EKC :2" and stamped "2", height 17.5cm, diameter covers 28.5cm, the dishes 31.8cm, weight 143oz. (4)

Footnotes

  • Provenance:

    Ordered for Catherine the Great
    Re-called to Winter Palace, St Petersburg, by Tsar Paul the First
    Disposal by The Soviet Government
    Probably with Jacques Helft, circa 1928.
    A European Nobleman thence by descent.

    Literature:

    Baron A de Foelkersam, Inventaire de l'argenterie conservée dans les garde-meubles des palais impériaux, (Saint Petersburg, 1907).

    Jacques Helft, Treasure Hunt: Memoirs of an Antique Dealer (London 1957).

    Gérard Mabille, Orfevrerie Française des XVI XVII XVIII Siècles, Catalogue raisonné des collections du Musée des Arts Décoratifs et du Musée Nissim de Camondo, (Paris 1984).

    Claire le Corbellier, "Robert-Joseph Auguste, Silversmith – and Sculptor?," Metropolitan Museum Journal 31, p211ff

    Yves Carlier, Chantal Bouchon, Sylvie Legrand-Rossi and Anne Foray Carlier, introductory essays to the exhibition: Dessins d'orfèvrerie de l'atelier de Robert-Joseph Auguste (1723-1805) November 2011 to April 2012


    Catherine the Great's desire for monumental and extensive table services as an expression of her wealth and her appreciation of western taste is most spectacularly shown in the famous Orloff Service by Jacques-Nicolas Roettiers Various tureens and plates from this service were in the collection of Jaime Ortiz-Patiño and sold in 1992; for examples of gold boxes from this collection, see lots 1, 2 and 31. From 1776, Catherine's agents ordered twenty-two further services for the Gubernatorial capitals newly created in her reorganisation of the administration of the Russian Empire. Five were from Russian silversmiths and the rest from outside the empire: Paris, London and Augsburg. In Paris, they turned to Roettiers successor Robert-Joseph Auguste, for four; Ekaterinoslav (1776-1778), Kazan (1778), Nijni-Novgorod (1778-1779) and Moscow (1782-1783). For the former, Auguste had to enlist the aid of Louis-Joseph Lenhendrick, who had collaborated on the Orloff Service.

    Robert-Joseph Auguste (1723–ca.1805) was a sculptor and royal goldsmith to Louis XV and Louis XVI of France, whose coronation crown he made. Unusually for the time, Auguste appears to have worked outside the normal guild system; he was made master in 1757 but very little of his production of the next ten years still exists, five gold boxes through the 1760's. The recall of plate during the reign of Louis XVI means that little of Auguste's work made for French patrons survives, however we are fortunate that he had magnificent orders from foreign courts including Count de Creutz, a Swedish Ambassador, King George III and Catherine the Great. Auguste was an excellent exponent of the new Neoclassical style, radically different to the flamboyant and naturalistic Rococo that had passed in the middle of the century and an evolution of the Classical style; with fewer references to architectural forms. The designs of the services show a little more restraint than that for the Sachsen-Teschen Tureen by Jacob Ignatz Wurth sold in these rooms on 13 June 2013, ex lot 151.

    The services were re-called to St Petersburg on Catherine's death by her successor, Tsar Paul the First. The next full published assessment of the remnants is by Baron A de Foelkersam, in 1907. Sadly his detail for the present services is not as extensive as for the Orloff service, but he does include the bill for Moscow service: 232,200 livres (including commission) for 2351 marks (18,808oz) of silver. He also provides a tally of pieces that were melted for bullion through the 19th century.

    In the aftermath of the Revolution, the new Soviet Government sold some of the remnants of the services along with other treasures from the Imperial collections. Jacques Helft recounts: "It was during this same year [1926] that I secured from the Trade Representatives of the USSR at Berlin, a large consignment of French Goldsmiths' work," which included the Orloff table service (Helft, p.29).

    It is possible that the present lot came from this consignment, as is suggested by evidence from the ledgers in the archives of Helft's client, Count Moise Nissim Camondo, published by Sylvie Legrand-Rossi. In July 1929, Moïse de Camondo bought from Helft, for 250 000 francs a pair of rectangular tureens by Auguste (1782) and a pair of round tureen covers by the same maker and date and two round plates by Louis-Joseph Lenhendrick (1777). In November of the following year, Camondo exchanged the latter pair and 40 000 francs for a second pair of the rectangular tureens (Les Arts Décoratifs, musée Nissim de Camondo, inv. CAM 256 and 257). Further, Helft had, the year before, given to the Louvre a dish and cover with the identical combination (Musée des Arts Décoratifs, don Jacques et Yvon Helft, 1928, inv. 26750 and 26751). It is also possible that the present lot are two of four tureens illustrated in a photograph of a showcase of Auguste's work in the 1926 Louvre, L'exposition d'Orfèvrie Française Civile. The cloches were purchased, in Paris, by the present owner's parents.

    Helft gives a clue as to why the dispersal of the Imperial silver took so long: "I had dazzling hopes of success when my clients should come to inspect all these wonders; but as it happened the reception was guarded and cool." p. 29. Indeed, in 1942, after he had been forced to move to New York, he was still offering the Orloff Dish Covers and Moscow verrières sold to Ortiz Patiño, see plate 5.

    At first glance the covers and dishes sit well together, despite the difference in dates and makers, probably because Auguste and Lenhendrick cooperated on the Ekaterinoslav service. The dishes can easily be assigned to this service with their prickdot engraved "EK2," as well as their date and maker. The covers must come from the Moscow service with their continuous bands of shallow flutes around the side rather than being separated into four panels, see illustration.

    The numbering of the pieces is somewhat unexpected and may have been added later by the Hermitage; it appears to be by type of dish or cover rather than to keep covers and bases together. The present lots are incuse stamped "2" on both dishes and covers. The two pairs of rectangular compotiers and covers from the Moscow Service in the Musée Nissim de Camondo each have 1 to the base and 3 to the cloche. Other platters and plates sold recently have been marked "EK1," whilst the dessert plates from Ortiz Patiño Collection were marked "No3." This eccentricity may give a hint as to how the covers and bases became mixed either whilst in the Imperial Collection or at the point of sale by the Soviets.
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