Sotheby’s London will present the most important and complete group of 18th century Meissen animals and birds ever to appear at auction on 1st May 2013
Sotheby’s London will present the most important and complete group of 18th century Meissen animals and birds ever to appear at auction on 1st May 2013. From the aristocratic Collection of Sir Gawaine and Lady Baillie, this remarkable offering comprises over 140 different figures, almost all of which were created at Meissen during the 1730s and 1740s under the legendary Johann Joachim Kändler.
Together they exemplify the revolutionary animated and lifelike modelling for which this pioneer of porcelain sculpting was celebrated. The collection was started in the 1930s by the Anglo-American heiress Olive, Lady Baillie (grand-daughter of William Whitney), who bought many of the pieces for her home, Leeds Castle in Kent.
She passed the passion for Meissen on to her son, Sir Gawaine Baillie, Bt., who with his wife Margot, built it into the most extensive collection of Meissen creatures in private hands. With estimates ranging from £1,000 – £150,000, the works will be offered together with a selection of furniture and decorations from the West Sussex House designed by Sir Gawaine and Lady Baillie, their home for over 40 years.
In total, the sale is expected to achieve in excess of £1.8 million.
Henry House, Sotheby’s Senior Director and Head of Furniture and Decorative Arts department commented: “The sale of Sir Gawaine and Lady Baillie’s collection will be an historic landmark for the Meissen market. Here we have the most comprehensive group of birds and animals, from the most sought after period in the porcelain manufacturer’s history, when the great Johann Kändler was Court Sculptor to Augustus the Strong (1694/7-1733), Elector of Saxony and King of Poland.
“Most of the figures are extremely rare and several are unpublished. Others, including two remarkably observed guinea fowl were important commissions for the King’s Japanese Palace in Dresden, a fantastic menagerie of porcelain beasts. The auction represents a wonderful opportunity for collectors. ”