A pair of Sevres ice buckets that once belonged to King Louis Philippe of France (1773-1850) have provided one of the many highlights at Bonhams' Fine European Ceramics and Glass auction, which was held yesterday (December 12) in London.
The ice buckets, which were the most valuable element of the king's famed "Service pittoresque", sold for £9,375 ($15,118) - comfortably within the £8,000-12,000 estimate. They were gifted by Louis-Philippe to his daughter, Queen Louise of Belgium, in 1832 and this is the first time they have been offered for auction.
By 1832, Louis had been on the throne for just two years, after spending much of his life in exile. The lavish lifestyle was short lived, after he abdicated to Surrey, UK in 1848.
The ice buckets were decorated by one of the main painters at the Sevres factory - Jean-Baptist Gabriel Langlace - during the early part of the 18th century. Depicting scenes from the Palais Royal and Chateau de Neuilly, they were intended for use at the Tuileries Palace.
Important Sevres pieces such as this are usually met with strong results at auction, with a spectacular pair of Louis XVI vases selling for $2.7m - a 77.7% increase on estimate - at Sotheby's in July.
Also featuring in the sale was a rare pair of Meissen sphinxes, which were modelled by Ernst August Leuteritz and date to 1855-1865. The figures sold for £18,750 ($30,229) as the second most valuable lot of the sale.
The auction follows Bonhams' December 5 sale of the Marouf Collection - one of the world's most important amassments of Meissen porcelain, which has bought the exquisite brand to the attention of collectors once again.
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