Christie’s will offer Bayreuth: A Connoisseur’s Collection of English Silver and Gold Boxes, with eight lots showcased in The Exceptional Sale and a standalone private collection sale comprising 201 lots, on July 6 and 7 respectively, as highlights of Classic Week in London.
The collector’s passion for over 40 years, the philosophy and rigour that has driven the creation of the Bayreuth Collection has been one of quality, be it for condition, provenance, rarity or even novelty, as illustrated by a captivating pendant incorporating a rare medallion commissioned by Queen Charlotte (1744-1818) as a gift to close friends who had remained loyal during King George III’s illness, to celebrate the King’s ‘recovery’ in 1789. It is estimated at £3,000-£5,000.
With estimates ranging from £1,200 to £250,000, the collection will be on public view for all to enjoy from 1 to 6 July in London.
Harry Williams-Bulkeley, Christie’s International Head of Silver, commented: “This collection presents the market with an extraordinary selection of the very best silver and gold boxes sold in London, New York and Geneva over the last 30 years. It has been formed under the disciplined and passionate eye of a collector with boundless energy and enthusiasm, allied with a scholarly curiosity to delve deeper into specialised fields. It is a reflection of true connoisseurship in its most enriching form. It is evident that behind the collection there is an innate understanding of the imagination and the creative skill of the craftsman, and an erudite appreciation of its ownership, from celebrated collectorsand great country houses including Chatsworth, Belvoir Castle, and Stowe House.”
Queen Charlotte’s announcement that the King had recovered was greeted with widespread celebrations, and Parliament presented addresses of congratulation to the King on March 10, the date commemorated on the medallion. The medallion was presented by Queen Charlotte on March 19, 1789. It was later converted into a locket surmounted by an enamelled crown, set with diamonds, rubies and emeralds. King George III was subsequently diagnosed as having porphyria.
This medallion converted into a locket pendant will be in the Collection sale on July 7. A similar unmounted medallion is illustrated in G. de Bellaigue, ‘Huzza the King Is Well!’, The Burlington Magazine, June 1984, vol. 126, no.975, p. 331, fig. 10.
The eight lots offered from The Bayreuth Trust in The Exceptional Sale on July 6 are led by a set of four exemplary George II silver two-light candelabra, mark of George Wickes, London, 1733, estimated at £150,000-250,000; an important Charles II silver-gilt toilet service, unmarked, circa 1670, estimated at £100,000-150,000 and a set of twenty-four George I silver dinnerplates from the Winnington Service, mark of Robert Cooper, London, 1719, with an estimate of £70,000-100,000.
An impressive selection of Freedom boxes within the collection include a George III enamelled two-colour gold freedom box with mark of James Morisset, London, 1797, offered alongside other presents awarded to Vice Admiral and Third in Command, the Hon. William Waldegrave on 1st June 1797 for the Battle of St. Vincent, estimated at £70,000-100,000.