Sunday, June 9, 2013

Gifts of Grandeur: The Berquin Lilacs, 1900

Berquin, circa 1900
Acquired by Queen Mary in 1924
Crown Copyright
The Royal Collection 
Image Courtesy of Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II

The workmaster Berquin created this exquisite sculpture of glass, hardstone, porcelain and gilt metal in 1900. The lovely object features a hardstone and glass branch of lilacs set into a square vase of porcelain.

The vase is adorned with gilt metal mounts which hint at the coming Art Deco style. This was one of the many glorious objects collected by Queen Mary throughout her lifetime. She happened upon this piece in 1924 and added it to the Royal Collection. The curators of the Royal Collection simply and plainly indicate that the sculpture was “acquired” by Queen Mary in 1924, so, I have a feeling this was one of Her Majesty’s many, “I think that would look lovely at Sandringham” moments wherein she shook down some unsuspecting hostess for her bric-a-brac. God love her. 

Today, the piece is still displayed in its original glass case upon its wooden, stepped base.

1 comment:

Keely Brown said...

Years ago,I was told by an antiques collector in Buckinghamshire that Queen Mary was fond of visiting a particular family in the area, where she would practice her notorious (albeit genteel) "shake down" techniques. To counter this, her hosts would hide some of their most valued possessions out of sight before the Royal Visit!

The lady who told me this charming story was a close friend of the family in question (or may have been related, I can't recall), and so had personal knowledge of the Royal Pilferings...

Lovely photos as always, Joseph!