On 3 May 2023, Dreweatts are pleased to be hosting an auction of Piet Jonker Garden Statuary and Ornament. This auction comprises 326 lots with estimates ranging from £700-60,000 (+fees) and provides a superb opportunity for those seeking an unusual and impressive pieces for the garden.
Piet Jonker has a renowned and deservedly respected eye for high quality garden ornament and architectural pieces. The collection offered here encompasses all areas of estate ornamentation from complete structures, impressive classical sculptures and various fountains as well as cast iron urns, planters, and benches. Ahead of the auction, Dreweatts Specialist, Ashley Matthews picks out his favourite pieces from the collection.
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French Cast Iron Vases
Starting with a look at garden ornamentation, Lot 8 is an unusual pair of French cast iron vases, dating from the third quarter of the 19th century, probably around 1870. These classic campana shaped urns feature a typical everted rim but also flanking handles which in this case are formed as dragons. These handles appear to be modelled after those which appear on a vase designed by Claude Ballin for the Parterre du Midi, Versailles. At 81cm high these vases would look at home raised atop gate piers or flanking a flight of garden steps. The vases are estimated at £4,000-6,000 (+ fees).
Lot 8: ‡ An unusual pair of French cast iron vases with winged dragon handles, third quarter 19th century | Est. £4,000-6,000 (+ fees)
Works by Will Guhl
Lots 18-22 are five lots by the Swiss designer Willy Guhl (1915-2004). Dating from the 1960s and 70s these would lend a touch of modernism to any exterior and appear to be designed to stand on a patio or veranda. Lot 22 comprises two similar ‘diabolo’ planters of hourglass form. The tops could be filled with bedding plants or used as a funky take on the traditional herb garden.
Lot 22: Ω Willy Guhl (Swiss 1915-2004), two similar eternit (fibre cement) 'diabolo' planters, circa 1960 | Est. £2,000-3,000 (+ fees)
A Limestone Wellhead
We then have Lot 46, a carved limestone wellhead, in the form a stylised column capital. It dates from the late 19th century and appears to be comparable to the type available from JP White at the end of the 19th century. It appears to have been influenced by a 15th century model, an example of which is carved from Istrian stone and can be found in the Italian gardens at Hever Castle, Kent. It features a wrought iron superstructure and could be fitted, if wished, above a well shaft and lined and used as a decorative and unusual ornamental pond. It stands an impressive 235cm high and would surely make a standout feature in any courtyard.
Lot 46: ‡ A carved limestone wellhead, late 19th century | Est. £6,000-9,000 (+ fees)
An Armillary Sundial
No garden can surely be without a sundial, which will be especially important with the long summer days now just around the corner. Amongst the several offered, the stand out example is Lot 107. This features a Dutch 18th century bluestone pedestal which is carved with rococo motifs as well as stylised tulips. It is unsurprising to learn that this was removed from an Amsterdam canal house garden. It has been later fitted with a white and gilt armillary sphere and stands 174cm high overall.
Armillary sundials are valued for their ability to keep track of time more accurately than a standard garden sundial. They are usually designed, and this example is no different, with a fixed gnomon that is aligned with the Earth's rotational axis that casts a shadow on the register. This example also features a weather vane to the top to indicate wind direction to the user.
Lot 107: ‡ A carved bluestone pedestal, Dutch, 18th century | Est. £5,000-7,000 (+ fees)
A Carved White Marble Neoclassical Bench
Lot 146 is a stunning example of seat furniture on offer in this sale. This is a rare and impressive sculpted and carved white marble bench in Neoclassical taste, dating from late 19th century and produced in Italy, it is probably from a Florentine workshop. It features a rectangular back carved in relief with Bacchus in triumphal procession, with the arms carved as reclining satyrs with musical pipes, and is supported on bold leaf and acanthus carved supports. Less than a dozen such benches are currently known to exist and they appear to incorporate elements from the past including the dynamic shape of the Bacchus throne marble chair now displayed in the Louvre (Ma 389) , Annibale Carracci's "Triumph of Bacchus" from the ceiling fresco of the Galeria Farnese, Rome (1597-1601) together with the more figural composition approach to furniture of the celebrated sculptor Andrea Brustolon. However, this lot is notable among all the comparable examples for the distinctive design of the musician arms. These conform with the Venetian taste at the time and are redolent of the work being executed at the same time in wood by Francesco Toso.
Lot 146: ‡ A rare and impressive sculpted and carved white marble neoclassical bench, late 19th century Italian, probably Florentine | Est. £30,000-50,000 (+ fees)
A Carved Marble and Wrought Iron Mounted Rotunda
Lot 157 is a carved marble and wrought iron mounted rotunda, of late 20th century manufacture. This magnificent garden feature incorporates a wrought iron openwork dome, formed of segments of scrollwork, with a finial above a relief moulded frieze decorated with stylised flowers and foliate scrolls. Supported on six Corinthian order capitals and spiral fluted columns on square section plinths, it is joined by a semi-elliptical seat. It stands at an impressive 450cm high and is estimated at £25,000-35,000 (+ fees).
Lot 157: Ω A carved marble and wrought iron mounted rotunda, late 20th century | Est. £25,000-35,000 (+ fees)
There is a strong offering of garden and interior sculpture and ornament, amongst which several lots of animal sculpture stand out. Lot 229 can be seen as something of an ironic twist on garden ornament, whilst often seen as a gardener’s enemy the garden snail is actually an important part of the ecosystem and what better way to celebrate this than having an over-sized model perhaps emerging from the undergrowth or in a shady spot itself offering a habitat for other creatures to hide. It stands, on its one foot, at 118cm long overall.
Lot 229: Ω A sculpted limestone model of a garden snail, late 20th century | Est. £2,500-3,500 (+ fees)
Sculpted White Marble Lions, After Antonio Canova
Lot 238 is a stunning pair of sculpted white marble lions, loosely after the manner of Antonio Canova. These were carved by Danilo Cervietti in Italy in the second half of the 20th century. Portrayed sleeping and alert respectively, each are signed by the artist to their plinth bases. The larger example is 33cm high, 79cm long, and 26cm wide.
Danilo Cervietti established his studio and workshop with his son Franco in Pietrasanta, Italy in 1962. The workshop has gone on to produce work in collaboration with Botero, Koons, Mitoraj and Bruno Lucchesi.
Lot 238: Ω Danilo Cervietti (Italian, 20th century), a pair of sculpted white marble Canova lions, second half 20th century | Est. £10,000-15,000 (+ fees)
Classical sculpture also makes up a large part of this collection, a particular favourite is Lot 265, a sculpted white marble model of a maiden. Believed to be a representation of Persephone, the maiden is portrayed standing and turning, with a band of fruit in her hair and carrying a floral bouquet. She is stood atop a circular socle base and stands at 153cm high.
Persephone was the Goddess queen of the underworld, abducted as the wife of Hades. Her mother, Demeter, goddess of the harvest, despaired at her disappearance and searched the world for her. Upon learning of Zeus’s part, she refused to allow the earth to fruit until Persephone was returned to her. Zeus consented but because Persephone had tasted the food of Hades – pomegranate seeds – she was forced to spend part of the year with Hades in the underworld – her annual appearance heralding the spring and her disappearance again bringing the winter.
Lot 265: ‡ A sculpted white marble model of a maiden, 19th century | Est. £12,000-15,000 (+ fees)
The Four Arts
Continuing on the theme of classical sculpture, we have Lot 314, a set of four classical maidens depicting the four arts. Each is portrayed standing, draped and holding an attribute, respectively representing Music, Painting, Theatre, and Literature. These would enhance any formal garden perhaps interspersed with box hedging around a courtyard to create a ‘garden room’, highlighting ones appreciation for the arts.
Lot 314: Ω A set of four sculpted limestone models of maidens representative of the arts
second half 20th century | Est. £40,000-60,000 (+ fees)
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Wednesday 3 May, 12 noon BST
Donnington Priory, Newbury, Berkshire RG14 2JE
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The auction will be held at Dreweatts Donnington Priory salerooms in Newbury (UK) and will be conducted in GB Pounds Sterling / £. All lots are stored and can be viewed by appointment at Piet Jonker (Netherlands), NOT Dreweatts.
VIEWING: Lots will be available to view by appointment as follows:
Friday 28 April: 11am - 5pm CET
Saturday 29 April: 11am - 5pm CET
Sunday 30 April: 11am - 5pm CET
Monday 1 May: 11am - 5pm CET
Tuesday 2 May: 11am - 5pm CET
Please note there is no viewing on the morning of the sale.
Piet Jonker B.V.
1396 JC Baambrugge
To book an appointment to view, please contact Piet Jonker: +31 (0) 294 29 37 77 | email@example.com | www.pietjonker.nl