La La Land-scapes – March 2017

22nd March 2017
A cut paper diorama of the Grand Duke of Hesse & by Rhine hunting with liveried attendants and hounds. c1870

Coming back from Florida, a mere week before the razzmatazz of the Oscars, has focused my attention on the various contenders for best picture -‘La La Land’, ‘Lion’, ‘Hell or High Water’, ‘Hidden Figures’, ‘Manchester by the Sea’, ‘Hacksaw Ridge’, ‘Fences’, ‘Moonlight’ and ‘Arrival’. Initially I was just going to find landscapes in different media; lacquer (as on the Dutch Chinoiserie commode below), ceramics, pietra dura and micro mosaic, embroidery, marquetry, painted and 3-D, as shown in the rare and unusual German cut paper and dried plant diorama in a glass case, above, which we exhibited in Palm Beach.

But as the list unfolded I scented a challenge – could Wick Antiques connect something to each nomination? ‘Lion’ of course was simple, we have myriad bronze lions, but my favourite depiction is the 19th century Japanese embroidery above. ‘Hell or Highwater’ should perhaps be ‘Hell and Highwater’ as that is how it must have been in the heat of a naval battle such as the Battle of Camperdown (here painted by Charles Dixon). ‘Hidden Figures’ is about the space race so a celestial globe would have covered that – however Charlie suggested these 19th century French bronzes by A. Richard as Harlequin is wearing a mask, although that does not decieve Colombine as his diamond patterned costume gives him away!

‘Manchester by the Sea’ is in the USA but it was named by merchant and inventor Samuel Blodget for Manchester in England, which we covered in the December newsletter. However ‘Hacksaw Ridge’ is set in Okinawa, Kyushsu, which is famous for its lacquerware, especially with the addition of mother-of-pearl, so I have included a detail from the lacquer table from Chatsworth we sold from ‘Masterpiece’ a few years ago. I thought the hardest link to find would be for ‘Fences’ but then this poignant photograph of geishas by H. G. Ponting caught my eye. Perfect! These girls appear to be protected by the railings, but in reality they were imprisoned in the ‘floating world’. ‘Moonlight’ on the other hand was really tricky until I remembered this unique ‘tidal’ grandfather clock in a Gillows case. As the tides are controlled by the moon you can see a small window showing the height of the water just below the rotating sphere of the moon. Finally we await the ‘Arrival’ of our latest container from New York. It is full of wonderful things including the carved hardwood Japanese desk and chair, above, which was sold 100 years ago from the Foreign Art Building of the Panama California International Exposition of 1915-1917. It comes with full documentation from the Japanese Exhibit Association under the supervision of ‘Kyosan.Kai Inc., Representatives of Leading Manufacturers and Art Collectors of Japan, San Diego, California’.

Dates for your Diary
Masterpiece London 29th June – 5th July 2017

Having previously supplied Harrods antiques department for 22 years, Charles Wallrock of Wick Antiques offers his expertise and professional knowledge to help you buy and sell your antiques.

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