A PAIR OF IMPORTANT GERMAN SILVER WINE-COOLERS FROM THE KHARKOV SERVICE
VAT rate of 5% is payable on hammer price and at 1… Read more PROPERTY FROM THE COLLECTION OF THE LATE BARON MAX VON BUCH (LOTS 352-358)
A PAIR OF IMPORTANT GERMAN SILVER WINE-COOLERS FROM THE KHARKOV SERVICE

MARK OF JOHANN CHRISTIAN NEUSS, AUGSBURG, 1781-83

Details
A PAIR OF IMPORTANT GERMAN SILVER WINE-COOLERS FROM THE KHARKOV SERVICE
MARK OF JOHANN CHRISTIAN NEUSS, AUGSBURG, 1781-83
Cylindrical and on spreading lobed foot, the lower body with foliage band below applied swags, with two ram's mask handles and ribbon-tied husk rim, engraved underneath with Cyrillic inventory numbers, the base and rim stamped with further numbers, each marked underneath
10 3/8 in. (26.1 cm.) high
158 oz. (4,924 gr.) (2)
Provenance
Ordered on behalf of Catherine the Great of Russia for use in the Governor's palace in Kharkov.
Recalled to St. Petersburg by her successor Paul I (r.1796-1801).
Presumably sold by the Soviets, circa 1930.
Literature
Baron A. de Foelkersam Inventaire de l'Argenterie conserve dans les garde-meubles des Palais Impériaux, St. Petersburg, 1907, vol. 2 p. 154 (8 coolers under No.1, for bottles' Weight 1 pud, 8 funt, 21 zolotniks' where they are incorrectly dated 1735-1736).
A. Gruber, Gebrauchssilber des 16. bis 19. Jahrhunderts, Fribourg, 1982, p. 224-225, no. 318.
Special notice

VAT rate of 5% is payable on hammer price and at 17.5% on the buyer's premium.

Brought to you by

Mary O'Connell
Mary O'Connell

Lot Essay

This extraordinary pair of wine-coolers, originally from a set of eight, once formed part of the Gubernatorial service used in Kharkov, second largest city of the Ukraine. While the service would no doubt have numbered hundreds of pieces when it was originally delivered only some 126 pieces of it remained in 1907 when Baron A. de Foelkersam published, in St. Petersburg, his Inventaire de l'Argenterie conserve dans les garde-meubles des Palais Impériaux. He notes that in 1841, 'all the liners for terines [sic] and coolers' were sent to be melted. In addition to displaying Catherine the Great's power, authority and wealth, the Gubernatorial services were, according to Foelkersam, ordered to avoid the expense and risk of shipping extensive silver services to be used on her progresses around Russia.

Foelkersam notes that Catherine the Great's secretary, A. V. Khrapovitskii, mentions 13 services, including Nizhnyi Novgorod, Kazan, Ekaterinoslav, Moscow, Iaroslavl, Tula, St. Petersburg, Perm, Riga, Tver and Kharkov, in his diary, edited and published by N. Barsukov in 1874.

While several of the services were ordered from Paris, others were ordered from London and Augsburg. The Augsburg services had the advantage of being cheaper, as the standard of the metal used there was lower then that used in Paris or London. The cooperative nature of the Augsburg manufacturers is indicated by at least nine different makers working on the Kharkov service. Incidentally none of these were working in 1735-36 but all were recorded as such in 1781-83 and clearly Foelkersam misidentified the earlier Augsburg date letter.

While the Kharkov service has the marks of several Augsburg makers, no doubt under the direction of a single retailer who would have been given the commission by the Russian court, it was Johann Christian Neuss, one of the leading silversmiths working in Augsburg in the last quarter of the 18th century, who was given the task of producing the wine-coolers as they were such an important and visible part of the service. Neuss, born in 1740, becoming a master in 1766, was a leading German follower of the neo-classical style as is evident in the present coolers as well as other examples made for the Riga service. While typically German in design and construction the style of the coolers is very much inspired by the French silversmith Robert-Joseph Auguste who supplied silver to the Russian court with silver for the Nijni-Novgorod and Ekaterinslav service, not to mention many other Royal houses of Europe.

A pair of wine-coolers from the same service are in the collection of the Kremlin Armoury, Moscow, (one of which is illustrated in C. Emmendörffer, C. Trepesch et al, Zarensilber, AugsbUrger Silber aus dem Kreml, Munich, 2008, p.268, cat. No. 67) and are recorded in H. Seling, Die Augsburger Goldschmiede, no. 2,550. An example, from a private collection, possibly one of the present examples, is recorded (B. Kommer, Zirbelnuss und Zarenadler Augsburger Silber für Katharina II. von Russland, Munich, 1997, p.71, fig. 23) and a further example is in the collection of the Hermitage.

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