Lancashire antique collectors wondering whether to hold on to their ebonised furniture might be interested to know that a lacquered secretaire-à-abattant – which once belonged to the Royal Mistress of King Louis XV, Mme de Pompadour – was the top-selling lot at an auction, realising £3,177,250.
The evening sale, held by Christie’s on 6th December at the King Street auction room, was devoted to masterpieces – or Chefs-D’oeuvre – previously in the collection of Monsieur and Madame Riahi. The sale, which included several magnificent antique cabinets, bureaux and secretaires, realised £19,842,600 in total, plus seller and buyer premiums.
A secretaire-à-abattant is a type of drop-front desk with extra drawers or drawers beneath, often highly decorated. The example sold at Christie’s was by 18th century eboniste Bernard II van Risamburgh (often shortened to BVRB), a Parisian master craftsman who produced outstanding desks, commodes and other furniture in the Rococo style. Mounted in ormolu and exquisitely decorated in Japanese lacquer, there was good evidence to suggest it was once in the Pompadour collection, the auction price being a world record for a BVRB piece.
As well as reflecting the increased interest in European decorative arts, the sale also paid homage to the passion and dedication of Djahanguir Riahi, who amassed his collection over 50 years. It is possible to buy museum quality Rococo antique desks in Preston , by visiting a good antique dealer. Unlike at auctions, there are no high commissions to pay – or wealthy buyers from Russia and China to bid against, as was the case on 6th December.
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