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Auction PR Publicity Announcements News and Information

Sotheby’s London to Auction Porcelain, Furniture & Decorative Arts from The Evill / Frost Collection

Sotheby’s London announced that the auction of Porcelain, Furniture & Decorative Arts from The Evill/Frost Collection on 16th June 2011, will offer an exceptional Regency gilt-bronze, brass inlaid table, which is believed to have been commissioned by His Majesty’s Government, c.1815, for the drawing room of Napoleon Bonaparte’s home in exile on St Helena, Longwood House (estimated at £30,000-£50,000). Also featured in the auction is a beautifully painted and richly gilt Sèvres tea service, formerly in the collection of the great actor, director and theatre manager David Garrick, who purchased it in Paris in 1764 (estimated at £20,000-£30,000).

Also among the items to be sold in the three-part Evill/Frost Collection auction (estimated to realise a total in excess of £12 million pounds), is an unusual palisander and marquetry Chinoiserie metamorphic table previously on display in the Brighton Pavilion (estimated at £15,000 – £25,000) and a Tournai milk jug from the extraordinary Duc D’Orléans dinner service, dispersed at the time of the Revolution (estimated at £8,000 – £12,000). The Evill/Frost Collection comprises British paintings, sculpture, furniture and porcelain collected by Wilfrid Evill between 1925 and 1960, and then vigilantly maintained by his ward, Honor Frost, in the extraordinarily theatrical setting of her Marylebone home. The Collection as a whole represents a window for the collectors of today to look into a past world, and the dispersal of this collection offers those same collectors opportunities that appear perhaps only once in a lifetime – to acquire the very best. The objects will be sold by the executors of the Honor Frost estate in order to benefit charitable causes relating to marine archeology.

Henry House, Sotheby’s Head of Furniture and Decorative Arts, UK, said: “The Evill/Frost Collection provides a wonderfully eclectic survey of the very best in decorative art, with French Porcelain and Regency Furniture superbly represented

The superb table from Napoleon’s home on St Helena was probably commissioned by His Majesty’s Government for the deposed Emperor’s place of exile. Attributed to the great English early 19th Century cabinetmaker George Bullock, it can be interpreted as a fascinating piece of design propaganda.

Henry House said: “This table and its association with Napoleon Bonaparte, one of the greatest figures in European History, represents an extraordinary commission by the British Government for the exiled Emperor. It wonderfully reflects a British notion of honour that was accorded a defeated foe – providing the very best for a great military figure who was essentially under house arrest. We have superb materials crafted into an object that represented cutting edge British design by an important designer, George Bullock. It captures not only these qualities, but a moment in British history and, perhaps, the national psyche of the time.”

An engraving held by the Musée National des Château de Malmaison et Bois Préau, shows the Emperor on his deathbed, with what appears to be the same table at the foot of his bed.**

A further highlight of the sale is an exceptional porcelain tea service commissioned from Sèvres by England’s greatest actor, director and theatre manager, David Garrick, in 1764. Estimated at £20,000-£30,000, the service is cased for travel in a fitted green, silk-lined kingwood box.

Philip Howell, Head of Sotheby’s Ceramics Department said: “Wilfred Evill built up one of the greatest collections of porcelain in England. A complete Sèvres tea service of this calibre is an incredibly rare find and this one, with its highly decorative and vivid pattern, commissioned by the great theatrical legend, David Garrick is a wonderful reflection of its original owner’s personality.’

Garrick visited Paris three times. On his final trip in the autumn of 1764, returning from a European tour with his wife Eva Maria, he purchased the service from France’s finest manufacturer. The porcelain is flamboyantly decorated and richly gilt with a red and blue ‘hop trellis’ pattern. In mint condition, the rare set comprises a teapot and cover, a hot milk jug and cover, a sugar bowl and cover, a footed milk jug, six cups and saucers. The slop bowl – a rarity at this date – was probably included as a special request by Garrick and his wife, for the English custom of taking tea.

A further highlight is a rare palisander and marquetry Chinoiserie metamorphic table banquette c. 1825 (estimated at £15,000 to £25,000). The extraordinary table, which at a touch can be converted into a sofa, is believed to be Italian and from the workshops of one of the finest 19th Century designers, Gabrielle Capello. Commonly known as Il Moncalvo, he was renowned for his sophisticated, often whimsical marquetry, use of contrasting dark and light woods and revelry in finely carved detailing. Honor Frost loaned the table to The Royal Pavilion in Brighton, where it was displayed in the King’s Bedroom, and later to the Victorian Gallery at the Brighton Museum and Art Gallery.

A lost treasure from the fabled Duc D’Orléans dinner service, dispersed at the time of the French Revolution will also be offered. The Tournai porcelain milk jug, c.1787 is estimated at £8,000 – £12,000.

In 1785, upon his father’s death, Philippe the new Duke of Orléans became the head of the House of Orléans, one of the wealthiest families in France and Premier Prince du Sang, the most important personage of the kingdom, after the King’s immediate family. As such, he was next in line to the throne, should the main Bourbon line die out.

The jug was part of an extensive service comprising 1593 pieces ordered by Philippe from the Tournai factory in 1787. The service is distinguished by its borders with named bird vignettes, copied for the most part from Buffon’s L’Histoire Naturelle des Oiseaux. Other rare survivors from the service are in the V&A, the Musées d’Art et d’Histoire Royaux Brussells and the Royal Collections, which provided pieces from the service for the banquet at Buckingham Palace during President Obama’s State Visit on 24th May 2011

*Estimates do not include buyer’s premium.

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