The fragile, exquisite glass collection of Barbara Wirth

On 23 October 2020, by Anne Doridou-Heim

By responding with nearly €1 million in sales, the market decidedly honored the choices of Barbara Wirth: the gardener with a passion for antique glass.

France, late 16th/early 17th century, conical glass standing on a blue and white enameled gadrooned knot, surmounted by gilded fleur-de-lys discs and blue enameled glass fili, the cup decorated with twists and foliage in white and yellow enamel, gilt metal glass holder, h. 22 cm, diam. 10.7 cm.
Result: €88,400

It was an exceptional collection in terms of both rarity and historicity, and the market positively melted before these creations, mainly from the 16th and 17th centuries, greeting most of them with splendid bids where estimates were often multiplied by three or four, and producing a final result of €971,139. Among the pieces in the spotlight was this conical glass: a French piece from the late 16th or early 17th century, thus dating from the reign of Good King Henri (Henry IV), when France was taking its revenge on Italy in artistic terms. A remarkable object in every way, including its hammer price: €88,400. The same went for the €37,700 fetched by a "magelei" cup with a gilt rim, a Venetian or Venetian-style creation, and €31,200 landed a glass with an octagonal bowl, molded in the Netherlands in the 16th century. The astonishing sum of €49,400 went to an early 17th century enameled cylindrical goblet, decorated with an initial and a crown: a rare type of glass in this collection, as the collector mostly chose pieces with stems. The one slight disappointment concerned the institutions. Only the Centre des Monuments Nationaux, bidding on behalf of the Palais de Tau in Reims, pre-empted, at €13,000, a rare bottle with a long neck (h. 44 cm) bearing the seal of the coronation of Louis XV and produced in Champagne in around 1722. It would have been fitting if an early 18th-century gilded cut-out cardboard model of the royal chapel at Versailles, which sold for €19,500, had made its way back to the palace it once adorned.

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