The high art of bijouterie, fine watches and tabatières is defined by the concentration of great richness in a small form. A snuff box once owned by Duke Christian Ludwig II of Mecklenburg-Schwerin (lot 501, estimate € 20/25,000) encapsulates this principle: Made of gold and mother of pearl, the inside of the lid is adorned with a painting by Johann Harper, Swedish painter to the Prussian court. His large ceiling painting ‘Flora and Genii’ in the vestibule of the Sanssouci Palace has been extensively restored there for several years. The painter’s speciality, however, lay in the smallest format, the miniature.
One can easily understand why the Christian-Ludwig II of Mecklenburg-Schwerin, who was particularly appreciative of art, decided in Harper’s favour when he commissioned a series of four tabatière with each lid decorated to the inside with a member of the ducal family. No effort seemed too great for the passionate art lover Christian Ludwig II, and the goldsmith Louis Bruyette Witwe was appointed to create the gold and mother of pearl boxes. He entrusted the portraits of the princely family members, however, to the art of Johann Harper. The box with the portrait of the Elector Prince is one of the highlights of the auction on 16th November.
One of the most illustrious names in haute joaillerie of our time is the French house Van Cleef & Arpels, represented in the auction by several pieces. The ‘Barquerolles’ necklace set with 41 brilliant-cut diamonds, is combined with the ‘Genre Cambridge’ pendant, set in entourage form with an oval ruby cabochon and embellished with 16 graduated brilliant-cut diamonds (lot 722, estimate € 25/30,000). From the same house are the ‘Mona’ armband with rubies and diamonds (lot 723, estimate € 12/15,000), and a pair of matching ear clips of the model ‘Genre Cambridge’ (lot 724, estimate € 10/12,000).
The post-1940 jewellery section offers various high-carat pieces, including the most valuable lot in the auction, a three-stone with a 10.34 ct emerald-cut diamond solitaire (lot 676, estimate € 90/120,000).
Like diamonds, some watches seem to transcend time. The carousel savonette by A.Lange & Söhne (lot 795, estimate € 10/15,000) is one example. The movement, built in the classic design of a pocket watch, makes this piece a rare collector’s object: instead of a tourbillon, a carousel was used, a contemporary development in the art of watchmaking in the year that it was created, 1909.