Overview

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A GERMAN SILVER-GILT CUP
These lots have been imported from outside the EU … Read more THE PROPERTY OF A FAMILY (LOTS 401 TO 454)
A GERMAN SILVER-GILT CUP

MARK OF MELCHIOR BAIR, AUGSBURG, 1602-1606

Details
A GERMAN SILVER-GILT CUP
MARK OF MELCHIOR BAIR, AUGSBURG, 1602-1606
On domed foot, with baluster stem applied with three brackets, the gourd-shaped bowl chased with three oval landscape scenes of a wolf, lion and camel, with fruits and flowers between, marked on foot
12 in. (30.5 cm.) high
25 oz. 15 dwt. (801 gr.)
Special Notice

These lots have been imported from outside the EU for sale using a Temporary Import regime. Import VAT is payable (at 5%) on the Hammer price. VAT is also payable (at 20%) on the buyer’s Premium on a VAT inclusive basis. When a buyer of such a lot has registered an EU address but wishes to export the lot or complete the import into another EU country, he must advise Christie's immediately after the auction.

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Giles Forster
Giles Forster

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Lot Essay

The present cup is chased with motifs and scenes influenced by the work of a number of Nuremberg engravers, such as the goldsmith, artist and printmaker Wenzel Jamnitzer (d.1585), the printmaker and sculptor Peter Flötner (d.1546) and especially Paul Flindt (1567- c.1730). The ornamentation on Southern German goldsmiths' work of the early 17th century is generally inspired by nature. Organic cartouches and interlaced scroll ornaments surround scenes, which often feature landscapes and wild beasts.
Melchior Bair who was born and trained in Nuremberg before settling in Augsburg, naturally drew upon the repertoire of designs and pattern books of Nuremberg engravers. The background landscapes on this cup, with traditional buildings and the highly detailed animals are especially reminiscent of Flindt's designs, as demonstrated by the two illustrated engravings of a wolf and a lion. Paul Flindt was himself the son of a goldsmith and was apprenticed in the trade before turning to printmaking; the majority of his prints are of designs for cups, plates, candlesticks and ewers, which he published in Vienna in 1592 and 1593, and a third in Nuremberg in 1594.
The three animals, a camel, a lion and a wolf symbolise the three continents, Africa, Asia and Europe. This iconography was employed by the goldsmith Jonas Silber on the trilobe base of his celebrated Weltschalle (Dish of the World) with reliefs representing the continents of Africa (an elephant), Asia (a camel) and America (a chimera) and the figure of Europe inside the cup. This dish is thought to have been created for Emperor Rudolph II to symbolise his imperial realm (see J. Chipps Smith, Nuremberg, A Renaissance City, 1500-1618, Austin, p. 83, fig. 52).

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