Thursday, November 15, 2012

More on Lacca Povera

A red Lacca Povera bureau cabinet,
Venetian, first half of the 18th century,
from the collection of Dodie Rozekrans.
Sothebys auction NO8818, lot 309.
Sold:  $122,500.
Somehow the original essay on Lacca Povera that was intended to be the current post appears as if it were published a week earlier;  in case you missed it, it can be seen here.  But while we're on the topic, I thought you Devoted Readers would enjoy seeing this bureau cabinet from the collection of the late San Francisco-based socialite Dodie Rosekrans sold at auction in 2011.  This Venetian piece is Baroque in overall form, dating from the first half of the 18th century, but the concave sides of the base and the mid section reflect the coming Rococo style.  The pagoda top and oriental scenes identify this as being in the "alla cinese" taste.  For more about the lady and the sale, see the post from the archives of  The Style Saloniste by Diane Dorrans Saeks.

A Lacca Povera bureau cabinet in the bedroom
of interior designer Ann Getty.
A detail from a photo by Lisa Romerein from
by Diane Dorrans Saeks,
published by Rizzoli, October, 2012.
And speaking of author Diane Dorrans Saeks, one of this season's stand-outs in new design books promises to be ANN GETTY INTERIOR STYLE.  Although I have not yet seen the book, the preview photos reveal an insightful look at the lavish interiors created by the socialite and philanthropist Ann Getty, who founded her own interior design firm Ann Getty Associates in 1995.  (A lady of great taste and a fortune to match, Mrs. Getty and her husband were valued clients of Parish-Hadley during my tenure there, although the Gettys worked on multiple residences with other design firms as well).

But back to the Lacca Povera technique, various European lacquer manufacturers' formulas differed in coloring and thickness of varnish, among other traits.  While other Italian states tended to work with limited color palettes and forms, Venetian pieces were produced in a wider range of colors and forms.  There was a 20th century revival of the technique that continues today, but the 18th century pieces are generally the most valued.


  1. Ah! Mystery solved. Lacca Povera's recent post seemed to come out of
    nowhere. How could I have missed it? Am relieved to find that it wasn't
    just another "senior moment". And what an interesting post that was
    (and is, in part two). It's a subject that is seldom referred to. Fascinating.

    1. Toby, it's kind of like Cher's old song "If I Could Turn Back Time." But a chance to see a couple of great Lacca Povera bureau cabinets from two swell San Francisco ladies is always a welcome bonus, no? Thank you for commenting.

  2. These two pieces are indeed quite a cut above, and are sumptuous. From the photographs it is quite difficult to differentiate them from their Chinese and Japanese counterparts.

  3. When I saw that cabinet in the Ann Getty book my heart raced at 200 miles a minute. I would have paid anything to have it sitting in my bedroom. One of the most beautiful pieces I have ever seen. Of course, dummy me thought it was an old Chinese piece. Thanks for enlightening us. Can't wait to use this tidbit next time the subject comes up!

    1. Julietta, you may also drop that it was formerly owned by Pope Pius VI, (according to the author's notes) if you like. Thank you for commenting.

  4. Were any photographs of Parish-Hadley's work for the Gettys ever published? Thank you.

    1. The Getty residences were not pictured in the Parish-Hadley book nor the Albert Hadley book, but I hope you'll look forward to seeing more here in future posts.


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