Portrait of Cosimo III de Medici c.1646; ...

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JUSTUS SUSTERMANS (1597-1681) was first recorded working for the Medici in Florence in October 1621. He then worked continuously for the Grand Dukes until his death 60 years later in 1681. Sustermans was particularly favoured by Cosimo III’s mother, Vittoria della Rovere whom he painted on multiple occasions, including a large double portrait of Vittoria with her young son Cosimo, from which this portrait was based (Image 7)).

Under the employment of the Medici, Sustermans ran a large studio to create official state portraits of the Grand Duke and Duchess and their family. This portrait, a particularly fine studio example, would almost certainly have been commissioned by the Grand Duke and gifted to an ally or relation. It has since been in the same private noble collection until now.

Cosimo III de Medici was the eldest son of Grand Duke Ferdinando II and his wife Vittoria Della Rovere and ruled as from 1670 to 1723, the longest reign of all the Medici Grand Dukes. He was married to Marguerite Louise d’Orléans, a granddaughter of Henri IV of France, by proxy on the 17th of April 1661, and his new wife entered Florence on the 20th June that year, however the marriage was unhappy from the start. In an attempt to distract Cosimo from his marital woes, his father sent him on a European tour travelling to Tyrol, Amsterdam and Hamburg.
Whilst in Amsterdam he met with Rembrandt and was well received by the artistic community. He returned to Florence in May of 1668.

On returning his marriage continued to deteriorate and in September that year, his father once again sent him to Europe. This time Cosimo went to Spain, Portugal and England where he met with Charles II and Samuel Pepys who described him as ‘a very jolly and good comely man’. On his return to Florence, he passed again through Amsterdam where he bought a self-portrait of Rembrandt and arrived back in Florence in November 1669. Sustermans painted many portraits of Cosimo III, many of which still remain in Florence (Image 8)). Although Cosimo was an educated and affable ruler, the dramatic economic decline seen in Florence in the 17th century and the fact his three children had failed to produce grandchildren, left the Grand Dukedom in a state of despair. He died in 1723 leaving Florence as one of the poorest states in Europe, his son Gian Gastone was the last Medici Grand Duke, dying only 15 years after his father.

SIZE: 29.5 x 25.5 inches canvas. 34 x 30.25 inches inc. frame.
PROVENANCE: Noble Collection, Italy.

Ming Dynasty Attendant Figure (1368-1644)

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A fine large ceremonial figure of the Ming Dynasty (1368-1644). The head, as is usual, is detachable. Sancai (three colours) glazed figures in particular are distinguished by their dress, for each wears a unique robe and hat, and as Chinese statuette art prescribes, the faces are created with individual features. Glazed in a rich forest green, Ming statuette art reflects the attempt to restore purely “Chinese” artistic genres with a healthy injection of Confucian aesthetic, political, and moral standards. Realistic depictions of daily life became popular themes among artists who were often patronized by the court. Under Xuande’s reign (1426-35), the art industry flourished, producing many exquisite porcelain and ceramic pieces. This figure is a product of the artistic revival that occurred throughout the Ming. This Ming attendant depicts an aspect of Chinese political and social life. Tributary processions were common protocol at this time, the emperor requiring Provincial lords to pay tribute and tax on a regular basis. Processions were also held for funerals, marriages, and rituals differing in grandeur depending on the status of the individuals involved and nature of the ceremony, So it was appropriate for such figures to be placed in a tomb to wait upon the deceased in the Afterlife and to indicate his high status.
This is a beautiful and evocative item of great age.
SIZE: Height 18.5 inches, width of base 5 Inches.
PROVENANCE: Purchased from the specialist dealer 'Ancient World' in 1996, and in the same private collection from then. Discovered in Beijing and brought into this country in 1995, when China opened to the outside world,

Portrait of Gervais Nevile c.1720; attributed ...

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Oil on canvas in good quality period frame (damaged on the reverse of the right hand bottom corner, but barely visible from the front).

This fine quality portrait may be of Gervais Nevile, born c.1676 at Wellingore Hall, Kesteven, Lincolnshire. His parents were Bryan Nevile (1640 - 1754) and Martha Ellis (1652 - 1710).
His first marriage was in the 1690s and he married for a second time in June 1711 and his wife, Honora, bore him nine children, of whom only three survived. Honora was the daughter of Dr. John Richards MD of Chelsea (1655-1697/8).
(Our thanks to Christopher Richards for the bigraphical information).

The Neviles of Aubourn Hall and Wellingore Hall, are an ancient Lincolnshire family, who descend in the male line from Gilbert de Nevile, mentioned in the Doomsday Book and an ancestor of the Nevills, Earls of Westmoreland.

JONATHAN RICHARDSON Snr (c1665 - 1745 was the leading native-born portrait painter of the first forty years of the century. He and Jervas were in rivalry with Kneller and Dahl. Jervas excelled with women's portraits Richardson was best with men. His works were sound, solid, good likenesses, and unpretentious.

SIZE: 36 x 32 inc. frame

By descent through the Nevile family of Aubourn and Wellingore.
Verso: old handwritten label "Living Room. No. 4"

(Image 4 shows Aubourn Hall today, and Image 5 Wellingore Hall).

Portrait of a Young Gentleman c.1685; Attributed ...

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Oil on canvas in later giltwood frame.

The fashionable and expensively dressed sitter looks confidently out of the frame as if surveying his extensive lands.
His high wig (from which fashion came the expression 'big-wig' for someone important), his silks, his sword and particularly his stance, all make this the archetypal Baroque portrait.
The pose and treatment of the material are typical of Kerseboom. The hugely expensive lace is depicted with great care and skill.
This type of portrait was usually on a larger scale e.g. 50 x 40 inches; the fact that this is 'in small' suggests that it was for the 'cabinet'...the intimate room for favoured possessions that was so fashionable during the Baroque period. Perhaps painted for a wife or lover?

JOHN (JOHANN) KERSEBOOM (working 1680s - 1708) Born in Solingen, the Rhineland; came to England in the 1680s he quickly acquired a large portrait clientele. His patterns derive from Lely and Kneller, but his heads have recognisable individuality. He charged £16 10s for a framed 50 x 40 in 1694.

SIZE:canvas size; 20 x 16 inches.
24.25 x 20 inches inc. frame.
PROVENANCE: Private Collection.

Portrait of a Member of the Palmes ...

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Oil on canvas in gilded oakleaf frame.

The sitter, depicted with a feigned stone oval, wears a faux Roman military tunic beneath his cloak; this was called 'elevating the sitter' and was intended to give the portrait a timeless Classical quality, as was his silk drape....this despite his fashionable full wig and cravat! Lely, and others, used this motif on many occasions.

The PALMES family of Naburn Hall, York, and the cadet branches of Lindley Hall, North Yorkshire; Ashwell, Rutland; and Carcraig in Ireland, are an ancient English aristocratic family, noted for their adherence to Catholicism. The Palmes family of Naburn are directly descended from Mary Boleyn and her daughter, Catherine, who is generally believed to have been the daughter of Henry VIII of England while Mary was his mistress. Mary's sister, Anne Boleyn, afterwards became the second wife of Henry VIII and the mother of Elizabeth I of England:
The family were originally seated at Taunton Deane, Somerset, where Manfred de Palma/Palmes had by the "Gift of Milo Earl of Hereford & Constable of England, 53 Oxgangs of Land and 25 Messages in the Lordship of Taunton Dean". Manfred was "known to be living in the sixth year of the reign of King Stephen, 1140 AD".

The Palmes family of Naburn can trace its ancestry through a maternal line to Robert de Todeni (died 1088), a powerful Norman baron. Todeni's importance is reflected by the 80 estates in 11 counties that he was granted by William across England. His principal Lordship was at Belvoir where he built his home, Belvoir Castle, before establishing Belvoir Priory in 1076. Among Todeni's many estates was Naburn. In 1226, William Palmes of Taunton acquired the Lordship of Naburn through his marriage to Matilda, daughter or sister of Richard de Watterville; a direct descendant of Robert de Todeni from whom the land had passed to the Wattervilles. From then on, the estate continued to descend uninterrupted from father to son within the Palmes family until 1974, on the death of Commander George Bryan Palmes. The Palmes family were said to have been "unique in being able to boast an unbroken heritage". Edmund Burke described the family as "one of serious antiquity".

SIR PETER LELY (1618 - 1680) was the most important portraitist in the reign of Charles ll, although he had painted portraits throughout the Commonwealth. Principal Painter to the King, he painted everyone of importance, maintaining a busy and active Studio to help with the huge demand for his portraits. Members of his Circle, and his Followers, many of them talented artists in their own right, emulated his style to supply this constant market.

SIZE: 37.25 x 32.25 inches inc. frame.
PROVENANCE: By descent through the Palmes family to a branch now resident in Kent.

Portrait Bust of Sappho c.1900 by HL ...

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A superb and rare terracotta Art Nouveau portrait bust of Sappho, the famous Ancient Greek poetess, sculpted by HL Blasche. There are plaster versions of this sculpture, but the terracotta ones are most uncommon.
Sappho was greatly loved for her personification of love and affection, and her creativity. Her poetry was so rhythmical, usually accompanied by music and dance, that it gained the reputation for being the Divine Inspiration of the Muses.
She was born on the Aegean island of Lesbos

about 615 BC. To the Greeks Homer was the Poet and Sappho was the Poetess. Plato called her The Tenth Muse.
Those who know the language of ancient Greece have long ago convinced us that much of the beauty of Greek lyric verse is lost in English translation.
The Greeks' appreciation of the poetry of Sappho gave her the recognition as one of the greatest of women poets and the greatest of all lyric poets.
She was married and the mother of a child but her poetry reveals her sexual attraction to women. Our English word for sexual love between women is derived from Lesbos the name of the island where Sappho lived. Her imagery and the intensity of her poetry transcends sexual reference; it is poetry lifted to an ethereal plain. It is said that Sappho's use of every word has a perfection and inimitable grace.
This bust, 24 inches tall, beautifully sculpted and painted, was made by Reps & Trinte of Magdeburg, Saxony in c. 1900. It bears their pre 1910 mark; 'R & T Mgdbg Gesetzl Geschibz'.
The company was founded by Carl Reps in 1889 and made artworks in terracotta, marble and bronze. They exhibited at the St. Louis World's Fair in 1904.

SIZE: 24 inches tall.
PROVENANCE: In a Yorkshire Private collection since 1973.

Portrait of Ernst Casimir, Count of Nassau-Dietz, ...

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Oil on panel.

This 17th century portrait is based on the main version by Wybrand de Geest in the Rijksmuseum, which is 78 x 51 inches; this superb painting is a rather more manageable 24 x 17 inches.

ERNST CASIMIR I (22 December 1573 – 2 June 1632) was a Count of Nassau-Dietz and Stadtholder of Friesland, Groningen and Drenthe. He was the 11th child of John VI, Count of Nassau-Dillenburg, and Countess Elisabeth of Leuchtenberg. After the death of his father, his counties Nassau-Dillenburg, Nassau-Siegen, Nassau-Dietz, and Vianden were divided among his five living sons. Ernest Casimir followed him as Count of Nassau-Dietz. In 1631, he inherited the small county of Spiegelberg near Lauenstein.

Ernest Casimir was primarily known as an outstanding military leader during the Eighty Years' War. He served under Maurice of Nassau, Prince of Orange, in the siege of the cities of Steenwijk and Oldenzaal, and Frederick Henry, Prince of Orange, during the Siege of Groenlo and the Siege of 's-Hertogenbosch. As Stadtholder of Groningen, he founded the Nieuweschans fortress in 1628. Although he owned little in Friesland, he was popular there, and people granted his heir the right to rule after his death.

He was killed by a bullet at the siege of Roermond while he was inspecting the trenches in June 1632. His son, Henry Casimir I, succeeded him as count of Nassau-Dietz and as Stadtholder of Friesland, Groningen and Drenthe.

WYBRAND SIMONSZ. DE GEEST (16 August 1592 – c. 1661) was a Dutch Golden Age portrait painter from Friesland. He was born and died at Leeuwarden. He learned painting from his father, Simon Juckesz, a stained glass worker. He studied later with Abraham Bloemaert. From 1614 to 1618 he travelled in France and Italy on a Grand Tour. In 1616 he met up with Leonard Bramer in Aix-en-Provence. While in Rome he became a member of the painters' circle known as the Bentvueghels. He earned the nickname 'De Friesche Adelaar', or "the Frisian Eagle".

De Geest married Hendrickje Fransdr Uylenburgh in 1622, a niece of Saskia van Uylenburgh, the wife of Rembrandt. In 1634, just before his own marriage, Rembrandt visited De Geest's studio. In 1636 the Frenchman Charles Ogier, secretary to Cardinal Richelieu visited De Geest, to view his large collection of curiosities and coins.
De Geest was the most important portrait painter of Friesland and painted numerous portraits of the well-to-do citizens of his day, many of which survive in the Fries Museum. Perhaps the most intimate portraits he painted were those of his direct family. De Geest influenced Jacob Adriaensz Backer, and his students were Jan Jansz. de Stomme, and Jacob Potma. His sons Julius and Frank also became painters.

SIZE: 29 x 22.5 inches including the frame.
PROVENANCE: English Private Collection for many generations.


Portrait of a Lady c.1680; Attributed to ...

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Oil on canvas in a reproduction frame.
This is a charming portrait of a handsome woman of mature years; mature she may be, but she is very aware of the high fashion of the time. The very latest hair style, the plunging neckline and of course, that hallmark of the Baroque, pearls.
The sitter is depicted within a feigned carved stone oval that was used often by Lely.
The sitter, her identity forgotten, has for years been known as 'The Irish Lady'...why so called has also been forgotten!

MARY BEALE (1633-1699) was born in Barrow, Suffolk, the daughter of John Cradock, a Puritan rector. Her mother, Dorothy, died when she was 10. Her father was an amateur painter, and member of the Painter-Stainers' Company, and she was acquainted with local artists, such as Nathaniel Thach, Matthew Snelling, Robert Walker and Peter Lely. In 1652, at the age of 18, she married Charles Beale, a cloth merchant from London - also an amateur painter.

She became a semi-professional portrait painter in the 1650s and 1660s, working from her home, first in Covent Garden and later in Fleet Street. Mary Beale was not the only female painter in England, but her name alone has survived as that of the only woman to make a successful living, and to enjoy a flourishing practice as a portraitist.

The family moved to a farmhouse in Allbrook, Hampshire in 1665 due to financial difficulties, her husband having lost his position as a patent clerk, and also due to the Great Plague of London. For the next five years, a 17th-century two storey timber-framed building was her family home and studio.
She returned to London in 1670, where she established a studio in Pall Mall, with her husband working as her assistant, mixing her paints and keeping her accounts. She became successful, and her circle of friends included Thomas Flatman, poet Samuel Woodford, Archbishop of Canterbury John Tillotson, and Bishops Edward Stillingfleet and Gilbert Burnet.
She became reacquainted with Sir Peter Lely, now Court Artist to Charles II. Her later work is heavily influenced by Lely, being mainly small portraits. Her surviving works, however, suggest far more the artist who was a close friend of Sir Peter Lely and widely reckoned to be Van Dyck's most accomplished copyist. Her grasp of Lely's colouring is evident, but the pleasant and direct manner in which she treats her sitters is entirely her own.
Mary Beale died in 1699 in Pall Mall, and was buried at St. James's, Piccadilly in London. Her husband died in 1705.
SIZE: 37 x 32 inches inc. frame.
PROVENANCE: The Blue Boar Hotel, Maldon, Essex.

Original Pratts Road Map 1930.

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Pratts High Test Plan of Watling Street and Principal Roads from Dover to Holyhead.
This attractive highly collectable vintage map shows the route of the old Roman road of Watling Street "A.E. Taylor" printed at lower left corner and published in 1932.
Alfred Edward Taylor was commissioned to create a series of maps of the United Kingdom and Ireland to encourage people to drive around the country, preferably using the premium petrol and oil...Pratt's High Test.
In many cases these towns and villages are accompanied by a beautiful little illustration of the town's high street or other notable landmark.

Taylor designed many decorative maps for Pratts Oil (which became Esso), clearly acknowledging an inspiration of historic road, itinerary strip and route maps such as those by John Ogilby and earlier. It is a bright and colourful depiction of the route that features a decorative cartouche and compass, literary quotes and pictographs of places of interest. Copies are held by the National Trust (UK) and Norman B. Leventhal Map Center (USA), the Victoria and Albert Museum, and many other significant collections because of it wide appeal and decorative form.
Dotted across the maps are amusing observations and literary phrases... the whole thing has great charm.

SIZE: 34.75 x 22.5 x 1 inches framed.
PROVENANCE: One family since new.

Portrait of Louis XIV as a Child ...

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Oil on canvas in a period carved and giltwood frame.
Louis was born on 5 September 1638 at St Germain-en-Laye. He became king at the age of four on the death of his father, Louis XIII.
While Louis was a child, his mother, Anne of Austria, served as regent, assisted by Louis XIII's chief minister, Cardinal Mazarin.
Louis's early years were marked by a series of rebellions against his mother and Mazarin, which were known as the 'Fronde'. These created in him a lifelong fear of rebellion, and a dislike of Paris, prompting him to spend more and more time in Versailles, southwest of Paris. In 1660, he married Maria Theresa, daughter of Philip IV of Spain.
When Mazarin died in 1661, the 23-year-old Louis decided to rule without a chief minister. He regarded himself as an absolute monarch, with his power coming directly from God. He carefully cultivated his image and took the sun as his emblem, and was known as The Sun King. Between 1661 and 1689, he built a magnificent palace at Versailles and moved his government there from Paris in 1682.
In the early part of his reign, Louis worked with his finance minister, Jean-Baptiste Colbert, to tighten central control over the country, reviving the use of regional royal officials, 'intendants' and carrying out other financial and administrative reorganisation. Louis also expanded the French army and navy.
Louis's reign was marked by aggressive French foreign policies. After the death of his father-in-law, Louis claimed part of the Spanish Netherlands and launched the War of Dutch Devolution (1667-1668). In the Second Dutch War, he failed to crush the Dutch, led by William of Orange, but made significant territorial gains.
In 1685, Louis, a devout Catholic, revoked the Edict of Nantes which had allowed freedom of worship to French Protestants (Huguenots). Around 200,000 Huguenots, many of them skilled craftsmen, fled to Holland and England.
The last three decades of Louis's reign were marked by almost constant warfare. France was now the dominant power on the continent and other European nations felt threatened by this supremacy. The War of the League of Augsburg (1688-1697), followed by the War of the Spanish Succession (1701-1714) severely strained French resources. In the War of the Spanish Succession, for the first time in nearly a century France consistently lost battles, most notably at Blenheim in 1704 and Ramillies in 1706.
Louis XIV died on 1 September 1715, shortly after the Peace of Utrecht which ended the War of the Spanish Succession. As his eldest son and grandson had died before him, his great-grandson succeeded him as Louis XV.
CHARLES BEAUBRUN (1604–1692) was a French portrait painter active in Paris between 1630 and 1670.
He was born at Amboise, a member of a distinguished family of painters.
He studied under his uncle Louis Beaubrun (d. 1627). He and his cousin Henri Beaubrun (II (1603–1677), were portrait painters in the courts of King Louis XIII and Louis XIV of France. Some of his work is jointly attributed to Henri. His youngest brother, Michel Beaubrun (d 1642), was also a painter. Charles died at Paris in 1692.
SIZE: 32 x 27.5 inches framed.
PROVENANCE: The Collection of the late Anne, Lady Winnington of Brockhill Court, Worcestershire, and London.

Ming Dynasty Terracotta Funerary Table from China, ...

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A rare Ming dynasty terracotta funerary table from 15th-16th century China. This table was made with terracotta during the Ming Dynasty and displays a variety of elements of food and drink. This small item is a typical Chinese altar, painted in green with tempera. Modelled and painted miniature food and drinks are arranged on it. Called Mingqi, these kinds of terracotta models were traditionally placed in the Chinese burials for the wealthy deceased, in order to assist the them in the afterlife, a practice that dates back to the Neolithic Period.
Mingqi: sometimes referred to as "spirit objects" are Chinese burial goods. They included daily utensils, musical instruments, weapons, armour, and intimate objects such as the deceased's cap and bamboo mat. Mingqi also could include figurines of soldiers, servants, musicians, polo riders, houses, and horses.
Mingqi served to provide the deceased with necessities and comforts in the afterlife. The deceased person's corporeal spirit was said to remain in the realm of the tomb while the ethereal spirit ascended to heaven. To appease the deceased's corporeal spirit mingqi that were relevant and liked by the deceased were placed in his tomb. Upon placing mingqi in the tomb, humans, according to the Confucian ideal, were harmonizing the cosmos by striking a balance for the comfort of the deceased who is also comforted in heaven.

Although this item is in the earlier Han Dynasty style (206 BC–220 AD), it is probably Ming Dynasty (1368–1644) . Chinese potters often used an earlier style as a mark of respect to their ancestors.

SIZE: height 7 inches. width 10 inches. depth 6.5 inches.
PROVENANCE: With certificate of authenticity from antiquities specialist Vanessa Purcell & Co. 28th April 1995.

Pair of walnut chairs c.1760

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A pair of chairs, their design strongly influenced by Thomas Chippendale. They are made of walnut at a time when that native timber was going out of fashion, being replaced by the more expensive tropical mahogany. It is not as if the chairmaker or purchaser were unaware of the fashions in furniture: the toprail, with its beautifully reeded ears, and the Gothic influence in the splat show that. The design is graceful and fluid, the toprail flows beautifully into the splat and the uprights, the work of a fine craftsman.
They are provincial or country Chippendale, made and used in many prosperous county towns, having a real charm, beauty of line and are very sturdy and usable.
As is to be expected in chairs over 250 years old, the years have left some marks .. but only a few. Image 5 shows where a splat has been broken and repaired and on the front rail of Image 1 two indentations are present. The chairs are perfectly suited for everyday use.
DIMENSIONS: Height 37 inches; width 21.5 inches; seat depth 15.75 inches.
PROVENANCE: Private collection in a Georgian country house, South Devon.