Iconic ‘Pulcino’ bird by Alessandro Pianon sets new UK auction record

5/07/2019     News Stories & Press Release, Decorative Arts & Modern Design

Alessandro PianonAlvar AaltoJules WabbesPhilip and Kelvin Laverne


LONDON: A high selling rate of lots and bullish bidding throughout ensured success at Roseberys London’s sale Design: Decorative Arts 1860 to the Present Day. The popular June auction contained pieces by a roster of famous designers active from the mid 19th century through to the present day and encompassed decorative arts from the distinctive and diverse styles of Gothic Revival, Arts & Crafts, Art Nouveau and Art Deco, in addition to studio ceramics and modern design of the post-war decades.

 After the sale, Fiona Baker, Head of Department, commented: “We had such a positive feedback from clients about this sale as we had something for everyone and not surprisingly the sale was 80% sold. We offered objects from 1880 to the present day, and had representation from some of the best names in 20th Century design, form Galle, Majorelle, Daum and Lalique, Edward Barnsley, George Jensen, Edgar Brandt and Carlo Bugatti, Edmund Dr Waal, Bernard Leach and Lucie Rie, Gio Ponti, Alvar Aalto, Max Ingrand, Piero Fornasetti, Charles and Ray Eames and Jules Wabbes to name a few. There were three private collections at the core of the sale with some attractive additions from various owners.  With estimates of £100 to £8000-12,000 this multi material and period sale attracted many interested buyers who made the effort to turn up and bid in person against commission bids, telephones and three online platforms. We look forward now to our next sale in November.

One of Alessandro Pianon’s (1931-1984) trademark 'Pulcino' Murano glass birds in textured dark orange with applied glass eyes and copper legs, drew intense bidding before it was knocked down for £3,300, well in excess of the £600-1000 estimate. The birds were made for the leading Venetian glass-making firm Vistosi in the c.1960s. “This iconic range of birds designed by Alessandro Pianon for Vistosi have always been popular but the unprecedented interest in this orange example meant it ended up selling for a new auction record for this model in the UK,” said Fiona Baker. (Lot 260)

 Another star piece was this fine cabinet by the influential Italian artist and designer Carlo Bugatti (1856-1940). It came from a private collection majoring on Art Nouveau and Art Deco creations and sold for £11,000. The walnut, ebonized wood, pewter and brass inlaid and hammered brass cabinet dated to c.1900 – a period of great success for Bugatti when his furniture designs were triumphing at European decorative arts exhibitions.Born in Milan, Bugatti trained in the Italian city at the Brera Academy of Fine Arts and was greatly influenced by the early exponents of the ‘New Art’ and their reaction against the heavy, ornate Baroque and Rococo styles fashionable in the mid 19th century. As a stylist, Bugatti was highly individualistic, although he drew inspiration from Gothic, Moorish and Oriental influences and particularly the work of Eugene Viollet-le-Duc, the French architect who dramatically reshaped Notre Dame in the 1860s. A number of Bugatti’s works are still extant (some in museums but primarily in private collections) and sell well whenever they come to market, as this result shows. (Lot 54)

 The high demand for quality furniture continued with an extremely rare and sought-after piece by icon of Finnish design, Alvar Aalto (1898-1976). This early model of an ‘A803’ birch cabinet, made for Finmar in c.1935, seldom comes to auction, with this particular example in entirely original condition. It drew strong bidding from collectors and dealers alike reaching a hammer price of £5,000. Although Aalto’s work includes furniture, textiles and glassware, as well as sculptures and paintings, he regarded himself primarily as an architect - seeing painting and sculpture as "branches of the tree whose trunk is architecture." (Lot 294)

 C.A Llewellyn Roberts

A c.1970 wengé low table by Belgian designer Jules Wabbes (1919-1974) surpassed high estimate selling for £6,500. Wabbes’ furniture was made in limited runs, combining expensive materials with exemplary craftsmanship. In this particular example, the designer used solid wenge blocks for the table top, utilising the natural grains to create a striking visual effect. Born in Saint-Gille in Brussels, Wabbes began his career as an actor and after several other jobs, eventually opened an antiques and decoration shop in Brussels. At the end of his career, he was widely considered the most accomplished designer of the second half of the 20th century. A committed modernist, he started to create his own furniture and was chosen by several Belgian administrations to design and create functional furniture. All his works are based on the expression of pure quality and is especially famous for his office desks, tables and casts. (Lot 305)

Smashing their pre-sale auction estimate of £1,500-2,500 to reach £6,000 hammer was a pair of 'Chan' Chinoiserie side tables, c.1970s, by father and son duo, Philip and Kelvin Laverne.These highly decorative and distinctive limited edition works, depicting a continuous figural court scene to the circumference, combined functionality with both artistry and skill. Such pieces continue to yield strong results at auction. (Lot 293)  

Katherine Pleydell-Bouverie
In the ceramics section were two well preserved small vases by Katherine Pleydell-Bouverie (1895-1985), one of the most important studio potters of the 20th century whose work has enjoyed a resurgence in the past few years.These were particularly fine considering their small size and were decorated with exquisite fluting. The pair sold over estimate at £520 with plenty of interest from online bidders. (Lot 143)

No quality offering of British studio pottery would be complete without Dame Lucie Rie (1902-95), best known for her record-breaking flared porcelain bowls and immaculate sgraffito decoration. The sale had a group of her domestic wares from a West Country private collection comprising three cups and two saucers. Estimated at £150-200, the group raced away to £1600 with bids from the internet, telephones and a determined bidder in the room. (Lot 175)  Lucie Rie

A set of striking C.A. Llewellyn-Roberts brass panels of Zodiac signs Cancer, Libra and Scorpio drew stiff competition before they sold at £3,200. The trio had originally formed some of the lift grills at Selfridges in c.1928 when the department store was one of the most glamorous in London. It placed enormous importance on interior decoration to impress its customers. (Lot 42)



For further information please contact Peigi Mackillop peigimackillop@roseberys.co.uk +44 (0) 20 8761 2522




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