A FINE AND LARGE SPECIMEN MARBLE AND HARDSTONE TABLE TOP CENTERED BY AN ARMORIAL MICROMOSAIC RONDEL, POSSIBLY BY VINCENZO RAFAELLI

Carlton Hobbs rondel 1 A FINE AND LARGE SPECIMEN MARBLE AND HARDSTONE TABLE TOP CENTERED BY AN ARMORIAL MICROMOSAIC RONDEL, POSSIBLY BY VINCENZO RAFAELLI

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The present tabletop is a particularly fine example of the superlative effect created by the combination of fine stone inlay and micromosaic.  Although both techniques are associated with Roman workshops, it is not until the mid nineteenth century that they are combined on tabletops, and even then such examples remain rare. It has been posited that this top could be the work of Vincenzo Raffaelli (1783-1865), son of the most famous Roman worker of micro-mosaics, Giacomo Raffaelli, who is credited with taking the art form to renewed levels of complexity in the late-eighteenth century, carefully refining the range of colors and decreasing the size of the minute tiles (tessarae) used. Hot enamel of varied color, was pulled to form long strands and then cut into tiny pieces to make tesserae of the kind seen in the central panel of the present piece. The most complex works in micromosaic contained “more than 5,000 tesserae per square inch” and would take several years to complete. Although Giacomo died in 1836, Vincenzo continued his father’s workshop successfully into the mid nineteenth century, the period from which the present tabletop dates.

Hangings Ahead Of Their Time

Carlton Hobbs HangingA Hangings Ahead Of Their Time

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This extraordinary pair of hangings, with unusual stylized orange tree and sunflower pattern, evoke the Aesthetic movement of the late 19th century. However, after close technical inspection, curatorial opinion has clarified almost beyond doubt that they are, in reality, from the early eighteenth century and possibly of Genoese manufacture.

A Park Landscape by Jan Van Bunnick

Carlton Hobbs Bunnick A Park Landscape by Jan Van Bunnick

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An Exceptional Cabinet From a One-of-a-Kind Furniture Suite

Carlton Hobbs Chifflot a An Exceptional Cabinet From a One of a Kind Furniture Suite

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The present cabinet belongs to the only known suite of furniture produced by the French craftsman named Chifflot. All the pieces are signed and dated, including the cabinet, which was made in 1846-47. A related armoire, 1848 (figure 1), was sold in the art trade 2001; a bedside cabinet, 1853 (figure 2), and dressing table, 1859 (figure 3), were sold in 2002; an; and a day bed, 1853, is currently in the art trade.

Carlton Hobbs Chifflot 1 An Exceptional Cabinet From a One of a Kind Furniture Suite

Figure 1

Acting Of Themselves—A Musical Automaton Clock with Tightrope-Walker and Musicians in the ‘Turquerie’ Taste

Carlton Hobbs Automaton A Acting Of Themselves—A Musical Automaton Clock with Tightrope Walker and Musicians in the Turquerie Taste

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The present automaton clock, made in France in the second quarter of the 19th century, contains as its main spectacle a remarkable mechanical group comprised of a Turkish acrobat and musicians, designed to imitate human movements, in this case on a miniature scale. It is all the more remarkable for the fact that the substantial base is beautifully inlaid with references to the Turkish and Islamic world, and we know of no other examples of automata that incorporate this conceit.

The Triumph Of Love Over Adversity

This unusual French 19th century patinated and gilt-bronze centerpiece represents Cupid, or as the ancient Greeks knew him, Eros.

Carlton Hobbs cupid 1 The Triumph Of Love Over Adversity

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It is more in keeping with classical sculptures that present the god as an athletic young adult, such as the Farnese Eros in the Archaeological Museum in Naples, found in Pompeii in the late eighteenth century and likely to be a copy after a Greek original (figure 1). Antonio Canova’s Psyche Revived by Cupid’s Kiss in the Louvre of 1787 also presents an athletic adolescent version of the god that has been considered a milestone in the emergence of what would become nineteenth century romanticism.

And The Winner Is…

This large watercolor of a krater, executed in Lyon in the mid-19th century, is currently being featured on our stand at TEFAF Maastricht.

Carlton Hobbs Krater 1 And The Winner Is...

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An Extraordinary Patinated And Gilt Bronze Tea And Coffee Service

11047 01 1024x587 An Extraordinary Patinated And Gilt Bronze Tea And Coffee Service

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In its early introduction to Europe, “tea drinking was a socially prominent activity reserved for the upper class, and it required teawares that reflected this fashion and the position one held in society.” This remarkable tea and coffee service is distinguished not only by its unusual design, but also it’s mode of manufacture. Each of the body pieces is made in the technique of the silversmith, whereby they were beaten over wooden formers, rather than cast. To this end, numerous tiny hammer marks can be detected on the gilded interiors.

A WEDGWOOD & TOFT DISPLAY CABINET FOR THE PARIS EXPOSITION UNIVERSELLE, 1878

Carlton Hobbs Toft Cabinet A WEDGWOOD & TOFT DISPLAY CABINET FOR THE PARIS EXPOSITION UNIVERSELLE, 1878

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This monumental cabinet bears the signature of Charles Toft (1832–1909), Chief Modeler at the Wedgwood ceramics manufactory from 1877 to 1888. Born in Hanley, Stoke-on-Trent, Toft was the son of an engraver and began his career as a modeler for Minton in the 1850s and later studied at Stoke Art School 1860-64. He taught modeling at Birmingham School of Art between about 1868-1873 and was appointed chief modeler at Wedgwood’s from 1877 to 1888.

Carlton Hobbs Toft Cabinet 1 A WEDGWOOD & TOFT DISPLAY CABINET FOR THE PARIS EXPOSITION UNIVERSELLE, 1878

Figure 1

Centuries Of Celebrating With Fireworks

We’re very close now to ringing in the new year, and for many that celebration will include a display of fireworks!

Fireworks are generally recognized as originating in China as early as the 7th century. By the 14th century they had made their way to Europe, where they were rapidly developed in Italy and Germany before spreading throughout the rest of the continent. It was discovered that the effects of firework displays were amplified by placing them on  floats in water, where more light and noise would be reflected back towards the audience, and they grew ever more elaborate, employing the work of carpenters, metalworkers, masons, and painters in their construction. By the mid-17th century the science and art of pyrotechnics had developed to create some of the most amazing spectacles, used for entertainment on an unprecedented scale in Europe.