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Mediaeval and Renaissance furniture

“The Object of Art is, in itself, an ambassador of an era: it embodies its customs, its taste. Bearing witness to it is the least we can do, and it is one of the essential aspects of our profession.”

— Grégoire de Thoury

The Furniture, Sculptures & Art Objects department covers several centuries of artistic creation, including the High Period. This specialty encompasses works created between the end of Antiquity and the beginning of the Renaissance. It includes furniture (chairs, chests, buffets, wardrobes), statues (virgins, Christs, saints…), and objects (chalices, tin, carved ivory, reliquaries…) from the Middle Ages, the Renaissance, and the 17th century, originating from France, Flanders, the Netherlands, the Germanic countries, the Iberian Peninsula, and Italy. These highly attended auctions by our collectors have allowed us to reach international buyers. Recently, the department sold an imposing tapestry “Imperial Hunts and Flights” by Emperor Maximilian I in the Forest of Soignes.

The High Period Throughout Time…

The High Period refers to all furniture and art objects from the Gothic Middle Ages to the 17th century, including the Renaissance. This broad typological period embodies a unique taste that can be broken down as follows:

Before the 14th century, it generally involves medieval art, examples of which can be found in auctions through the presence of silverware, Gothic ivories, and rare large chests.

The 14th century saw the development of the Marian cult, at the heart of medieval piety, often illustrated in our High Period auctions by statues representing the Virgin Mary. These High Period Virgins can be from Champagne, Lorraine, or Burgundy, and the pre-auction expertise precisely determines the sculpture’s entire history and value. Rare furniture also appeared during this period.

The 15th century was the glory period of Gothic art, with the highly emblematic “plis de serviettes” furniture being one of the essentials in High Period auctions. Objects are still rare for this period, while sculpture takes a prominent place in the catalog, becoming more spacious and monumental, evolving towards the ornate style, which flourished even more at the end of the 15th century. Furniture also saw the appearance of windowed chests, dressers with religious scenes, and stalls.

At the beginning of the 16th century, the “First Renaissance” introduced the first objects that are generally found in the High Period discipline, with the emergence of new typologies from the Italian peninsula, importing furniture and art objects from European courts. These novelties translated into the emergence of cabinets in precious wood, credenzas, Italian-style tables, and elaborately carved wooden ceremonial armchairs, testifying to the magnificence of their original owners.

The Great Names of the High Period

Like many artists of his time, Hugues Sambin possessed numerous qualities that our expertise can discern: carpenter, sculptor, engineer, architect, decorator, engraver. He is credited with several houses in Dijon, including the Hôtel Marc Fyot, the Milsand house, the gate of the Palace of Justice, a two-door cabinet at the Musée des Arts Décoratifs in Paris, and another piece of furniture at the Musée de la Renaissance in Écouen. We have relatively little information about Sambin’s life, and several works are attributed to him, but few are authenticated with certainty. Hugues Sambin, Adrouet du Cerceau, as well as Bernard Palissy and Léonard Limosin, are all artist names that may be found in our auction room during one of our High Period dedicated sales.

Although considered to end in the 17th century, the High Period typology also includes in our auction catalogs religious sculpture art objects, wooden works depicting holy figures such as the Virgin Mary, Saint Mary Magdalene, or Saint Catherine; as well as numerous Christian devotion objects such as under-glass objects, gilded wooden candlesticks, and brass items.

The 19th century also saw a renewed interest in medieval and humanist periods of the Renaissance with the troubadour and neo-medieval styles, which led to an abundant production of High Period copies that can also yield pleasant surprises in the auction room.


Good to know

our High Period department organizes two auctions per year in Paris. Aguttes Auction House can take charge of dispersing a private collection entirely related to the High Period style. It offers sellers personalized communication in line with the collector’s spirit. The support for these collection sales is entirely tailored. The teams then choose the best dispersion strategy, which can rely on various types of auctions or online sales. The collection can be integrated into specialized department sales in a dedicated section, for example. However, more often, and depending on its importance, the collection is presented in a dedicated catalog or a separate publication with a visually designed identity specifically for it. The geographic location of the auction is determined based on its relevance. The sales can take place at the Aguttes auction house in Neuilly-sur-Seine or any other location in France or abroad.

Our specialist is available to appraise your assets and provide you with professional expertise and advice for selling or investing. Discover our sales calendar and our offices.

The auction house has a unique communication power and provides sellers with modern and targeted tools for effective international exposure. We pay particular attention to the production of the sales catalog, both in its design and content, whether in print or entirely digital format. During our campaigns, we mobilize buyers from our portfolio in all specialties and potential buyers.



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    Why Aguttes?


    More than 14 specialized departments

    Personalized accompaniment

    Large and agile organization for the management of "top lots" and particular collections

    International records

    More than 60% of buyers are foreign

    Culture of excellence

    More than 150 lots sold at more than 100 000€ in 2022

    Frequency of sales

    4 annual auctions by specialty

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