O Estado Portugues, em vez de comprar Tiepolos de segunda categoria quando pressionado pelos jornais, deveria gastar o seu dinheiro em obras como esta. Um par de salvas em prata dourada feitas para D.Maria I por Robert-Joseph Auguste e que sairam de Portugal na heranca da segunda mulher de D. Pedro IV, Amelia de Leuchtenberg. Na Sotheby’s de Paris, a 17 de Maio.
O Museu de Artes Decorativas em Paris tem em exposicao um gomil e lavanda deste servico e lembro-me dos dealers londrinos S.J.Phillips terem outro (?) par de salvas deste servico ‘a venda em Maastricht ha dois ou tres anos.
AN IMPORTANT PAIR OF FRENCH SILVER-GILT SALVERS, ROBERT-JOSEPH AUGUSTE, PARIS, 1784
Engraved with the arms of Portugal, berried leaf borders on three leafy scroll supports, the undersides engraved, No. 18 väg. 97L
and No. 23 väg 96 ½ L
ESTIMATE 150,000 – 200,000 EUR
1784 ordered by the Portuguese crown under Queen Maria I on I November for the projected visit of the King of Spain, in 1785.
1807 probably taken to Brazil by the Portuguese crown under the prince regent later Joao VI (1767-1826);
1834 probably inherited from Joao’s son Pedro I (1798-1834), Emperor of Brazil by his second wife Amalia of
1873 bequeathed to her sister Josefina , Queen of Sweden and Norway (1807-1876).
1876 inherited by Josefina’s son Oscar II, King of Sweden and Norway (1829-1907)
2000, Sold Uppsala Auktionskammare, Uppsala, Sweden, 12 October, lot 585
The salvers were ordered by João António Pinto da Silva, Keeper of the Treasury to Queen Maria I of Portugal. The order is recorded in a letter to the minister responsible for Portuguese court proceedings in Paris, D. Vicente de Souza Coutinho on 1 November 1784. Pinto da Silva had already in April 1784 written to Souza Coutinho ordering for the Queen (translation) , two toilet services…which will be made of very precious silver-gilt of good taste. Souza Coutinho replied a month later saying these had been ordered…from Auguste, the best goldsmith in the country and perhaps even in Europe…this man who is now extremely wealthy enjoying the confidence of the court is able to perfectly satisfy what is demanded for Her Majesty’s Commission. Auguste’s wealth, and the confidence placed in him by the French court was extremely important to the Portuguese who had lost money and kept painful memories from the insolvency of Auguste’s
predecessor, Francois-Thomas Germain. The French court was party to this confidence-building and ostentatiously invited Robert-Joseph Auguste, accompanied by his son Henry to present his Toilette for the Portuguese queen at court in Paris3, (Gazette de France, 13 February 1785). 1785 was the year of a double marriage between the Royal houses of Spain and Portugal. Gabriel of Spain with Mariana of Portugal, and her brother Joao with Gabriel’s niece the ten-year-old Carlota of Spain. The former met for the first time in Portugal on 23rd May 1785 and the latter were married in Portugal about two weeks later on 9th June . In anticipation of these events Pinto da Silva had written from Portugal in November of the previous year to Souza Coutinho in Paris saying…you can well imagine what will be required here to accommodate so many and such distinguished guests…in these terms Our Venerable Sovereign wishes that you should also send: Eight or ten ewers: 12 large Salvers (our emphasis) which can hold up to six large Water Glasses on each: And 12 of the same, but small that can carry up to two glasses, or three of the same. This Silver it seems to me Should be all gilt;..4 Three of the smaller 12 salvers mentioned by Pinto da Silva are still in Portugal, in the Museu Nacional de Arte Antiga and the Palácio Nacional da Ajuda. 6 further examples of the smaller size and 7 of the larger (including the salvers now offered for sale) were recorded in the inventory taken following the death of Queen Josephina of Sweden in 1876.5
Although the precise detail of the salvers’ journey to Sweden is not clear, it appears that they may have gone first to Brazil. Leonor d’Orey does not specify exactly which silver other than `The French dinner service’ 6 was taken by the family when Queen Maria, then very ill with Porphyra, escaped to Brazil under the regent in 1807. The French troops which invaded Portugal had a reputation for looting and it seems likely that as much of the treasury would have been taken as possible. The regent prince Joao who became Joao VI King of the united Kingdom of Portugal, Brazil and the Algarve in 1816 returned to Portugal in 1821 bringing with him an unspecified quantity of the royal plate but leaving some behind in Brazil at the court of his son , who at the age of 24 became Pedro I, Emperor of Brazil under a divided Portuguese and Brazilian crown. Pedro I married as his second wife Empress Josephine’s granddaughter Princess Amelia of Leuchtenberg (1812-1873). She inherited the salvers in addition to a quantity of other plate connected to the Brazilian court, presumerably from her husband, in Portugal where they were living at his death in 1834.
At Princess Amelia’s death this property was left to Amelia’s sister Joséphine (1807-1876) in Sweden, who had
become Queen Josefina, consort of King Oscar I of Sweden and Norway (1799-1859). At the death of Queen
Josefina an inventory was taken, when it is thought the stippled weights and numbers were added. At that time 13 of the original 24 salvers which had been ordered for the Spanish visit of 1785 were recorded, 7 of the larger size (numbers 17-23) and 6 of the smaller (numbers 24-29). Josefina outlived her eldest and the salvers passed on her death to her second son who was then Oskar II, King of Sweden and Norway (1829-1907). Two of the smaller sized salvers numbered 24 and 28, were sold at Bukowski’s, Stockholm, 31 October-3 November 1989, lot 705. Four salvers remain in the Swedish royal collections, numbered 17,20, 22 and 29 Sothebys also thanks Susann Silfverstolpe and Patrik Ljungcrantz for their help with this catalogue entry.
1Leonor d’Orey, The silver service of the Portuguese crown, Portuguesa, 2003. ISBN 972-9010-245-2, p. 39
2 op cit. p. 39
3 Information kindly provided by Yves Carlier
4 op cit. p. 39
5 Information kindly provided by Lars Ljungström
6 op cit. p. 44