January 26, 2019 09:00 AM EST Asheville, North Carolina


Jewel Encrusted Silver Figure of Ice Skater

probably Continental, late 19th/early 20th century, silver figure with blue jacket of single cut sapphires and red pants of single cut rubies, freshwater seed pearls on skates and collar, mounted on silver champleve enamel decorated silver base with quartz top, unmarked, .800 or better fine, faint O.R.L incised on bottom, 3-1/2 in. height, with glass dome and wood stand

Exhibited: "The Art of Figure Skating Through the Ages", Fenimore Museum, Cooperstown,, New York, April 1 - December 31, 2017.

In 1813, French skating enthusiast Jean Garcin wrote a book titled Le Vrai Patineur ( The True Skater ). Garcin and his group of friends made a fetish of wearing red jackets. The group was called Le Gilet Rouge. This bronze, supposedly made years later, was the work of an artist who misinterpreted the red jacket and had the skater wear red pants, but the hat is recorded among others in the prints in the book. In describing the scene of crowds on the frozen Canal de l'Arsenal in Paris, Garcin recorded:

. . . men of every age and class were there, the most experienced competed in agility, whilst others clung desperately either to their neighbors or to their valets in an attempt to keep their balance. Garcin's book played a significant role in recording several known figure skating moves in a series of colored plates. Garcin's book provided titles for various moves: renommée ("fame"), sauté du Zéphyre ("the Zephyr's leap"), pas d'Apollon (“step of Apollo”), Roi de Rome ("King of Rome"). The one shown here is “pas d’Adonis.” It is the earliest known bronze sculpture of a skater performing a “codified” move, meaning a position common in dance but not yet in skating. Please note the extensions of arms and legs and the lean and turn of the body.

Provenance:The Skating Collection of Dick Button, New York


base likely a marriage, cracks and repairs to quartz surface, one ruby missing, one sapphire replaced, two pearls missing, tarnish to silver

Estimate: $1,500 - $2,500
Price Realized Including Buyer's Premium

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