Auction highlights rare cabinetmaker piece
Author: Richard Brewster | Posted: 2nd June, 2017
A rare walnut and gilt bronze mounted what-not by renowned Parisian cabinetmaker Gabriel Viardot (1830-1906) is a major furniture attraction at auctioneer Phil Caldwell’s forthcoming on site sale of the contents of one of Brighton’s most elegant period mansions.
Featuring a comprehensive collection built up over more than 30 years, the auction at 161 Church Street, Brighton contains a range of furniture items including a large 2.3-metre high eight-door Victorian style mahogany library bookcase, a queen size colonial style four-poster bed and a cedar dining table and Federation chairs.
Starting his career in 1849 as a wood sculptor, Viardot specialised in the production of “Chinese-Japanese genre” furniture for which over the years he won medals at various World Fairs.
Viardot’s exhibition success continued to grow and he finally won a gold medal at the 1885 World Exhibition of Antwerp – after which he was promoted to the rank of Knight in the Legion of Honour.
By this stage, Viardot’s business employed 90-100 workers, sculptors and cabinetmakers, many of whom he directly educated.
His 1885 success was followed by two more gold medal victories at the 1889 Paris World Exhibition and the 1900 World Fair.
The auction contains modern and traditional investment art including works by Australian artists Pro Hart, David Bromley, John Olsen, David Boyd, Howard Arkley, William Dobell, Fred Williams, Hugh Sawrey, Ernest Buckmaster, Albert Namatjira and Robert Johnson.
Bromley’s Belinda, a large oil and acrylic on canvas, Pro Hart’s Fight at the Waterhole and Boyd’s Children and Cockatoo in Bush Landscape are among the art highlights.
Exquisite gilt overmantel mirrors are another feature along with rare porcelain such as Royal Worcester (including a Davis plaque), Sevres, Dresden and Moorcroft, of which a 2005 Moroccan myths design vase is a good example.
The extensive number of clocks on offer – including French chateau mantel timepieces, 1740s Boulle bracket versions and an impressive grandfather clock – is enough to sate the appetite of even the most avid collector.
Jewellery and watches are other attractions featuring major diamond, opal and gold pieces with certificates – the highlight an award winning 34-carat black opal and Cartier diamond.
Antiquity buffs will be impressed at the range of jade, ivory, bronze, porcelain and pottery items from ancient China and Egypt including large carved ivory tusks, a Tang pottery elephant and fat lady, and early large jade quan yin.
Classical garden furniture is yet another offering including a fountain, urns and bronze sculptures such as the modern abstract Infinity.