LA COLLECTION DE MADAME ET MONSIEUR X
Furniture illustrated in this catalogue are of the utmost quality and originality. One of the most intriguing aspects of this collection is the way it combines the most varied of objects in the most creative of ways and yet the collection comes across as entirely natural and harmonious. So, the most elegant of French eighteenth-century commodes in red-lacquered wood and decorated with a magically animated chinoiserie landscape seems to enter into some sort of dialogue with its Genoese companion in violet wood with its characteristic four-leafed clover design between the chiselled and gilded bronze mounts and handles. A small carved and gilded nineteenth-century centre table in a late-Baroque style with a round polychrome geometrically-patterned marble top upon a central stand decorated by squirrels sits next to another similar table with a malachite top.
There’s a jolly little theatre divan in red velvet that brings to mind the music of Ponchielli or Respighi and a pair of gilt-metal twentieth-century statues of snakes with twisting bodies that sit magnificently next to two large and spectacular nineteenth-century Chinese beds, the first one in red-lacquered wood with exquisitely carved gilt relief panels and the second in a Takarabune (Treasure Ship) shape in red-lacquered and gilt wood. This bed is extraordinary with its prow crowned by a phoenix: the culmination of eclectic and exotic extravagance.
As is only right, there are works of art that are a little less fanciful. Works of art that are imbued with the greatest formal and executive quality: a silver centrepiece by Robert Garrard, from 1842, is decorated with a group comprising a soldier on a horse beside an obelisk with the motto “Pro aris et focis” proudly inscribed. The seventeen dancing figures in biscuit are emblematic of the Art Nouveau and are from the celebrated series known as Du Jeu de l’écharpe, created in Sèvres from 1900 and then copied by ceramic manufactories all over Europe.
Last but not least, the jewellery in the collection is resplendent in all its sparkling elegance: a domed platinum ring, with a cabochon ruby, an emerald and diamonds by David Webb, and a further ring by the very same London jeweller, in platinum, yellow sapphire, emeralds and diamonds. From about 1950, there’s a brooch in the shape of a Moor’s bust from the Venetian workshop of Attilio Codognato. The head is made of ebony, the turban in lapis-lazuli, the earrings with a flower pattern made of diamonds and the dress in round rubies and sharp, bright diamonds: a true example of the higher echelons of jewellery, possessing a rare yet delicate elegance