Louis XVI Sevres vases shatter estimate by 77.7% in London


A pair of Sevres vases from the reign of King Louis XVI smashed estimates on July 4, at Sotheby's aptly named Treasures, Princely Taste auction in London.

Sotheby's Sevres vases louis xvi
The epitome of princely taste

The magnificent "vases medici" soared past their £1m high estimate by 77.7%, achieving a final realisation of £1.7m ($2.7m). Had the pair (created circa 1790) been made just a few years later, they would have comfortably taken the title of the most valuable 19th century French porcelain ever auctioned, which was set by a similar pair of Sevres vases in June.

Following closely behind the top lot was a similarly lavish item, this time originating from reign of the British king George III. The spectacular musical elephant clock, made by Peter Torckler of London, was once owned by the eccentric King of Persia, Shah Nasir al-Din Qajar. Qajar commissioned the clock after seeing a similar piece in the home of the Rothschild family, which reportedly still remains in their collection today.

Going to auction with a pre-sale valuation of £1-2m, the clock, which typifies the inventive items produced in London towards the end of the 18th century, sold within estimate at £1.6m.

Another impressive sale was seen by a pair of Chinese celadon vases, which featured Qianlong porcelain with gilt mounts attributed to renowned French metal worker Pierre Gouthiere. Once belonging to Baron Lionel de Rothschild, they sold 92.4% above the £300,000 high estimate at £577,250.

Overall, the sale realised £9.5m ($14.9m), with 44% of the works sold realising prices in excess of their pre-sale high estimate. It marks the third year of Treasures, Princely Taste auctions at Sotheby's, with the impressive results promising more for the future.

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