An immensely rare and important garniture of five Meissen Augustus Rex vases, circa 1734, is to be sold at Bonhams, New Bond Street, London on December 7. It is estimated to sell for £300,000-500,000 ($790,805)
This is an extraordinary five-vase garniture, comprising a central ovoid vase and cover, two smaller ovoid vases and covers and two bottle vases. It is likely that the five were originally part of a garniture of seven vases.
The fact that these five have stayed together since the 18th century is exceptional. They were created for the use of the Elector of Saxony and King of Poland, Augustus III, and are marked with the AR monogram (for Augustus Rex).
Three of the five Meissen Augustus Rex vases,
The Meissen factory was owned by Augustus and in the late 1720s and early 1730s produced huge quantities of porcelain for an elaborate porcelain palace on the banks of the Elbe River in Dresden, known as the Japanese Palace.
This ambitious project was never completed, and some of the pieces produced for the palace were later removed for the use of Count Brühl, the powerful Prime Minister of Saxony.
These vases remained in Count Brühl's family until they were sold at auction in 1926. After this they were in two distinguished private collections in Switzerland.
For the last thirty years they have been on display in the Getty Museum in California. This garniture is exceptional for its highly detailed and original Oriental-style decoration, monumental impact and unbroken and impressive provenance.
These vases remained in Count Brühl's family until 1926
Nette Megens, Bonhams European Ceramics Specialist, comments, "this may be the last opportunity to purchase a garniture of five Meissen Augustus Rex vases, one of the few to remain together from the 18th century.
"It is a rare reminder of the grandeur of 18th-century Dresden, and in particular, of the splendour of Meissen porcelain that was designed for royal palaces."