A spectacular pair of vases, made by the Sevres factory for King Louis-Philippe, set a new world record for 19th century French porcelain at Christie's yesterday (June 7).
The auction was held to celebrate 500 years of decorative arts in Europe, with the Sévres vases featuring as top lot. The sale achieved over $4.3m in total at Christie's New York showroom, with French royal and imperial porcelain leading the bids.
The vases were created for Louis-Philippe to be presented to the landscape artist Paul Huet in 1844.
The magnificent vases, which both carry the king's "LP" monogram, form one of just two pairs ever made in their form and are the only pair ever likely to come to auction. The second pair, dated 1852, are currently housed in the Mobilier national gallery in Paris.
The rarity of the Sevres vases was highlighted by the impressive increase on estimate which they achieved in the sale. Going to auction with a valuation of $50,000-70,000, the vases saw an 1,189% increase, selling for $902,500.
The Sévres factory at Versailles became the leading porcelain factory in Europe and served as the royal producer following the decline of the prestigious Meissen factory in the mid-1700s.
Following the Sévres vases came another lot from the royal factory, a pate-sur-pate tea service delivered to Louis-Philippe's successor, Napoleon III, following his successful coupe-d'etat in 1851. The six-piece set, featuring the crowned "N" cipher of the emperor, sold for $60,000 - 20% above the high estimate of $50,000.
Paul Fraser Collectibles has a fantastic selection of items from Napoleon III's more illustrious uncle, including an authentic strand of hair from the head of the Little General.