A cased set of eighteen Royal Copenhagen plates with classical scenes after Thorvaldsen given to Sir Andrew Buchanan by King Fredrick VII of Denmark, circa 1850

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Lot 121
A cased set of eighteen Royal Copenhagen plates with classical scenes after Thorvaldsen given to Sir Andrew Buchanan by King Fredrick VII of Denmark, circa 1850

Sold for £ 12,562 (US$ 16,283) inc. premium
A cased set of eighteen Royal Copenhagen plates with classical scenes after Thorvaldsen given to Sir Andrew Buchanan by King Fredrick VII of Denmark, circa 1850
Each with a circular medallion reserved on the burgundy ground finely painted in imitation of cameo with a classical scene after Thorvaldsen on a puce background, one plate with a profile portrait bust of Thorvaldsen facing dexter, enclosed by a border of pearls within gilt dots reserved on a burnished gilt band, a similar band around the edge of the well, the gilt-edged rim with gilt hexagonal floral motifs, each inscribed on the reverse in black with the subject and 'efter Thorvaldsen'on the reverse in black enamel, in a wooden case with three tiers lined in chamois, the cover with a metal plate engraved with the monogram 'AB' below a coronet, 20.6cm diam., wave marks in underglaze-blue, impressed numerals, seven with painters' marks B. in black and H. in puce, one with painter's mark H. in puce

Footnotes

  • Provenance:
    Given by King Frederick VII of Denmark to Sir Andrew Buchanan, 1st Bart. (1807-1882), Envoy Extraordinary to the King of Denmark, in 1858;
    Thence by descent to the present owner

    The subject of each plate - with the exception of the portrait plate of Thorvaldsen - is inscribed in black enamel on the reverse followed by 'efter Thorvaldsen:

    Thorvaldsen efter Christensen
    Retfardighed
    Amor og Venus
    Minerva
    Hÿrdinden med Amoriner
    Amor med Hunden
    Jorden
    Jupiter og Diana
    Natten
    Amor og Ganÿmedes
    spillende Genier
    Vinter
    Efteraar
    Sommeren
    Amor paa Svanen
    Rÿtter of Alexandertoget
    Amor Lövebetvinger
    Kunsten og den lÿsbringende Genius


    The portrait profile bust of Thorvaldsen is based on the Thorvaldsen Medal of 1838 by Christen Christensen (1806-1845) (fig. x). Thorvaldsen's designs were widely known through numerous print series, which probably served as the source for the Royal Copenhagen manufactory.

    The architect and Professor at the Royal Academy in Copenhagen, Gustav Friedrich Hetsch (1788-1864), was the guiding spirit at the Royal Copenhagen manufactory during the first half of the 19th century and was likely responsible for commissioning this remarkable set of plates. In 1828, he was engaged by the manufactory as artistic advisor and designer, having recently returned from Paris where he had been an assistant of Napoleon's architect, Charles Percier. Hetsch was responsible for introducing the Empire style to Copenhagen. He visited the Berlin and Sèvres manufactories in 1829, where he made drawings of their designs and sought to emulate the quality and fashionable taste of both manufactories in Copenhagen. Between 1831 and 1843 he published a series of design booklets including porcelain. He was influenced by Karl Friedrich Schinkel and Bertel Thorvaldsen; he met the latter in Rome in 1812. Hetsch initiated the biscuit porcelain reproductions of famous models by Thorvaldsen in 1824, which became a great commercial success for the manufactory from the 1830s and were shown to great acclaim at the Great Exhibition in London in 1851. The opening of the Thorvaldsen Museum in Copenhagen in 1848 further stimulated interest in the sculptor's works and may have the occasion for the commissioning of the present lot.

    See footnote to lot 118 for a brief summary of the career of the British diplomat and envoy extraordinary to the king of Denmark between 1853 and 1857, Sir Andrew Buchanan. Sir Andrew was instrumental in the Copenhagen Convention of 1857, by which the Sound Dues - the toll exacted by the Danish Crown from ships passing through the straits of Øresund since 1439 - were abolished. In a letter dated 15th September 1857, Sir Andrew Buchanan wrote to the Foreign Secretary, Lord Clarendon, informing him that the king of Denmark "wishes to present me with a snuff box, a China Vase or some other object, in testimony of his satisfaction with the result of the abolition of the Sound Dues in which I took a part.." and seeking his opinion as to the propriety of accepting such a gift, notwithstanding that Lord Westmoreland and Sir H. W[...] had both accepted similar gifts from the king [BU 49/1]. In his reply of 21st September, Lord Clarendon wrote that he saw no objection to Sir Andrew accepting the gift (having himself received a tapestry from the French Emperor the previous year), adding, "but don't let it appear in the newspapers if you can prevent it" [BU 5/36]. On 1st November 1858, the Danish Prime Minister and Foreign Secretary, Carl Christian Hall, wrote to Sir Andrew Buchanan, by then posted to Madrid, confirming the gift of a vase decorated with a portrait of the king, as well as thirty-six plates decorated with designs after Thorvaldsen. Hall notes that the gift will be sent via the Danish consul in Hamburg to the consul in Alicante by the steam ship 'Barcelona', requests that Buchanan supply the consul with his address and assures him that the consul will ensure that the gift enters the country free of customs duties (Buchanan Papers, Bu 33/69, University of Nottingham).
Contacts
A cased set of eighteen Royal Copenhagen plates with classical scenes after Thorvaldsen given to Sir Andrew Buchanan by King Fredrick VII of Denmark, circa 1850
A cased set of eighteen Royal Copenhagen plates with classical scenes after Thorvaldsen given to Sir Andrew Buchanan by King Fredrick VII of Denmark, circa 1850
A cased set of eighteen Royal Copenhagen plates with classical scenes after Thorvaldsen given to Sir Andrew Buchanan by King Fredrick VII of Denmark, circa 1850
A cased set of eighteen Royal Copenhagen plates with classical scenes after Thorvaldsen given to Sir Andrew Buchanan by King Fredrick VII of Denmark, circa 1850
A cased set of eighteen Royal Copenhagen plates with classical scenes after Thorvaldsen given to Sir Andrew Buchanan by King Fredrick VII of Denmark, circa 1850
A cased set of eighteen Royal Copenhagen plates with classical scenes after Thorvaldsen given to Sir Andrew Buchanan by King Fredrick VII of Denmark, circa 1850
A cased set of eighteen Royal Copenhagen plates with classical scenes after Thorvaldsen given to Sir Andrew Buchanan by King Fredrick VII of Denmark, circa 1850
A cased set of eighteen Royal Copenhagen plates with classical scenes after Thorvaldsen given to Sir Andrew Buchanan by King Fredrick VII of Denmark, circa 1850
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