On July 4th, The Exceptional Sale auctioned off the Maharaja of Patiala’s banqueting service. This has set a world record price for an English dinner service sold at auction.
The sale raised an estimated £1.9 million for the banqueting service alone.
The Maharaja, in honor of the tour of India in 1922 by Prince Edward, Prince of Wales and later king Edward VII and the Duke of Windsor, commissioned this. The Maharajas status, as well as fortune, meant that he was the first person in India to own an aircraft, for which the Patiala Aviation club was founded.
Robert Copley the Deputy Chairman of Christies UK, international Head of furniture in London, said, "The sale has produced very strong results that are based on the evenings sale, the appeal of the pioneering sale means that European furniture and decorative arts are highly admired when exhibited beside old masters, impressionists, modern and contemporary art in London, these have toured to Moscow, Hong Kong and Monaco."
One of the exceptional pieces furniture pieces, by David Roentgen, one of the most celebrated German cabinet makers of the late 18th century, fetched a personal record-making price of £625,875. These cabinats have been decorated with Roentgens trademark marquetry, like mosaiques, and mounted with jewel-like ormolu mounts.
Additionally, a Saxon enameled gold and hard stone snuffbox by Johann-Christian Neubeur (1736-1808) was sold for £625,875. It was a very unusual piece because of the rarity of the stone. Lapis –lazuli had to be imported from Afghanistan, a hardstone used by Neuber not found in Saxony.
Mere days later, on July 10th, was the Modern British Art Evening Sale, featuring 37 lots, brought in £9,870,725. It included masterpieces of 20th century British sculpture, as well as works by leading artists of the genre including L.S. Lowry, Ben Nicholson, Elisabeth Frink, Lynn Chadwick and Barbara Hepworth.
The top lot was Curved Form (Bryher II) by Dame Barbara Hepworth (1903-1975), which fetched £2,413,875.
Happy shopping for the summer, and keep at the auctions and exhibitions in mind, as they are there all summer.