Lot 222
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Estimation :
150000 - 200000 EUR
Result with fees
Result : 243 750EUR
RARE DESSERT PLATE OF THE PARTICULAR SERVICE CALLED "DES QUARTIERS GENERAUX". "The Great Frederick and his greyhounds in the gardens of the Palace of Sans-Souci in Potsdam. "Very rare Sevres plate from the Emperor's private service called "des Quartiers généraux", taken by the Emperor Napoleon I during his exile in St. Helena. Marli decorated with a frieze of swords linked by a series of laurel leaves and enriched with stars, on a green chrome background. The background is painted by Swebach of a view of the façade of the Palace of Sans-Souci on the garden side. King Frederick II is sitting on the terrace, playing with three dogs. In the background, one can see the windmill of the Park. Engraved on the back with the figure "LL" interlaced and numbered "N°68", hollowed mark "LD 7". Diameter: 23,3 cm. B.E. Work of the Imperial Manufacture of Sevres. March 1808. History of the service: Paid 65 449 francs, the particular service of the Emperor included in addition to a biscuit tableware and a coffee tray, a service for appetizers and desserts in which we find the 72 dessert plates known as "des Quartiers généraux". This one cost 425 francs, which was a record for the time. Napoleon's instructions, taken up by Daru, were that "among these drawings, there should be no battles or names of men, but that on the contrary, the subjects should offer only very indirect allusions that awaken pleasant memories". At the time of the 1st Restoration in 1814, Louis XVIII took possession of the service, removed the markings of the Imperial Manufacture of Sevres, affixed his monogram (the double L) and had the plates numbered. After Waterloo, the Emperor took 70 (or 60) plates from his service to Saint Helena, including ours. Some of the plates of the service were given by the Emperor himself, in particular to the ladies of St Helena. The inventory drawn up at the Emperor's death mentioned "54 Sevres porcelain plates for dessert" and his will stipulated: "[...] I charge the count of Montholon to keep these objects and to give them to my son when he will be sixteen years old...". We know the difficulties Montholon will have in passing on these objects to Napoleon's son. After the refusal of the Austrian monarchy to carry out the wishes of the deceased, Montholon will keep these plates then will give some of them, in particular to the son of Las Cases. History of the plate: We know that this plate was painted by Swebach in March 1808. The composition of the background is based on a drawing by Denon (sometimes attributed to Benjamin Zix) of the façade of Sans Souci, on the garden side, from a book of 101 drawings. The view, wider than ours, also shows the great Frederick and his dogs. The difference with our drawing is that it is inscribed "SANS-SOUCIE" (sic) on the façade. An annotation "Done" in pencil on the drawing shows that it was preparatory, either to a larger work or to our plate. The theme respects well the imperial will "of very indirect allusions which awaken pleasant memories", such as Napoleon I's well-known admiration for the Great Frederick. The rest is more obscure, as is often the case with plates from this service. The plate was given to one of the companions in exile after the Emperor's death. It was found on the art market by a Napoleonic collector, mixed with other plates in a very disparate lot. Purchased, not to say saved, it was found with plate n°45 "The Frigate La Muiron landing at Ajaccio with General Bonaparte in October 1799". Related pieces: -The Napoleon Foundation and the Château de Fontainebleau nowadays preserve the largest collections of plates from this exceptional service. A few rare plates are kept in private hands, including one from the collections of the Napoleonic Museum of the Princely Palace of Monaco, representing the imperial tents on the island of Lobau (1809) and the one representing the frigate Muiron at Ajaccio (1808). The Louvre Museum has another plate from the same service (no. 38), showing a more distant view of the Palais de Sans-Souci, by Robert. Gift of Mrs Pardee in 1969 (OA 10354). Bibliography: - We refer to the extremely complete article by Bernard Chevallier in "Trésors de la Fondation Napoléon. Dans l'intimité de la Cour impériale", p.127 and following. - On the plates brought to St. Helena, Bernard Chevallier, Le mobilier et la vaisselle de Napoléon à Sainte-Hélène, "Sainte-Hélène, île de mémoire", p.114. Condition report : Good condition. A slight scratch (1 cm) on the painted decoration, to the right of the great Frederick on the front of the Palace. FROM NAPOLEON'S QUARTIERS GENERAUX SERVICE (1808) USED ON ST HELENA SEVRES DESSERT-PLATE FEATURING FREDERICK THE GREAT WITH HIS GREYHOUNDS AT SANS-SOUCI
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