Museum quality Sevres vase finds its way to Melbourne auction

Author: Richard Brewster | Posted: 9th March, 2023

Melbourne auctioneer Christian McCann is positive that a 19th century museum quality Sevres vase on a matching base (lot 16), totalling 2.4 metres high, will end up overseas following his forthcoming art and antiques auction from 12pm Sunday March 19 at 7 Harper Street, Abbotsford.

“It’s more suited to the Palace of Versailles than an Abbotsford auction room,” he said. “I’ll be very surprised if it remains in Australia.”

Featuring a classically draped sleeping maiden in a garden landscape and signed by Morant, this spectacular vase – a magnificent example of what Europe’s leading porcelain manufacturer in the latter half of the 18th century could produce and carrying a $40,000-$60,000 catalogue estimate – was brought more than 100 years ago from France to Melbourne by ancestors of the current Malvern vendors who are now downsizing.

From the opening lot, the comprehensive auction contains items to interest all collectors and auction goers – including a superb French art nouveau gilt bronze and ivory figure of a lady in traditional attire (lot 7), one of several sculptures in the sale.

At a $6000-$8000 catalogue estimate, a fine pair of 18th century French lidded vases with maiden handles and hand painted hunting scenes (lot 87) is another quality porcelain find – although many of the remaining porcelain auction entries carry much more affordable figures.

Clocks are always popular with collectors and a 19th century French three-piece ormolu salon clock (lot 32) should prove no exception.

Unusual is an exceptional 19th century French ormolu and Verde lyre shaped salon clock with a finely detailed mask and floral wreath decoration (lot 61).

Furniture also is a big drawcard in this auction and there are several pieces to attract buyers.

One is an outstanding 19th century French boulle ladies writing bureau with an upper central display section and drawers (lot 25). The cabinet is supported on cabriole legs with ormolu mounts.  

Another is a quality 19th century French serpentine shaped kingwood centre table with floral marquetry inlay (lot 48) with a catalogue estimate of $10,000-$15,000.

Other worthwhile furniture pieces include a 19th century French two-door boulle pier cabinet (lot 27) and an exceptional English Regency flamed mahogany open mirror back bookcase (lot 114).

Among the art on offer is Australian artist David Boyd’s (1924-2011) painting entitled Figures in Landscape (lot 75).

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