Johann König’s gouache on vellum of the martyrdom of St Sigismund of Burgundy sold for €109,000 (£95,615) at Ivoire Troyes.

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It was pursued to €109,000 (£95,615) in the French city on October 1, a multiple of its €10,000-15,000 estimate, selling to a European collector.

König was a master of small-scale, highly detailed cabinet paintings particularly of mythological and historical subjects, sometimes executed on copper. He was born in Nuremberg but worked in Augsburg and also travelled to Italy in the early 17th century where he is thought to have met Adam Elsenheimer.

The gouache on offer in Troyes, which was painted on vellum applied to panel, measures 8½ x 6¼in (21.5 x 16cm) and is signed and dated Johannes König Fecit 1618.

The subject of the multi-figure scene is the Martyrdom of St Sigismund, king of the Burgundians, who converted to Christianity with his family and founded the monastery of St Maurice.

When Burgundy was invaded in 524 by the sons of King Clovis, Sigismund and his family were killed. He was beheaded and his body thrown into a well, which is the scene depicted in König’s painting.

In the mid-14th century Sigismund’s relics were brought to Prague and enshrined by the Holy Roman Emperor who made him the patron saint of Bohemia.

Portrait joins clock


This portrait of Jean Benjamin de la Borde, premier valet de Chambre to Louis XV of France, by Carmontelle was pre-empted at €43,000 (£37,720) at Ivoire Troyes by the Château de Versailles.

Another small-scale, sought-after work in the auction was the 10 x 6in (25 x 15cm) chalk and watercolour profile portrait of Jean Benjamin de la Borde, composer and premier valet de Chambre to Louis XV, by Louis Carrogis or Carmontelle (1717-1826) which was previewed in ATG No 2561.

The portrait also depicts a famous astronomical clock by Claude Simeon Passemant which Louis XV acquired for Versailles. The watercolour too will now be heading to the same place as it was pre-empted at the auction by the Château of Versailles at the fall of the hammer for €43,000 (£37,720), a multiple of its €8000-12,000 estimate.