A SILVERED BRASS TEA SERVICE
A SILVERED BRASS TEA SERVICE

DESIGNED BY JOSEF HOFFMANN 1910/1911, MANUFACTURED BY THE WIENER WERKSTÄTTE, CIRCA 1923

Details
A SILVERED BRASS TEA SERVICE
DESIGNED BY JOSEF HOFFMANN 1910/1911, MANUFACTURED BY THE WIENER WERKSTÄTTE, CIRCA 1923
comprising:
Samovar, Teapot, Sugar Basin and Cover, Cream Jug, Spirit Burner and Cover, oval Tray, rosewood handles, Tray with original Wiener Werkstätte lace doily
14¼in. (36.3cm.) length of Tray; 9½in. (23.5cm.) height of Samovar
each piece stamped with designer's monogram and WIENER/WERK/STÄTTE, spirit burner and cover additionally stamped with large numeral 1 (8)
Provenance
Joseph Fischer, thence by descent

Lot Essay

Model Nos. M1881 (Samovar), M1882 (Teapot), M 1883 (Milk Jug), M1884 (Sugar Basin), M 3236 (Tray).
MAK archive WWWMB 34, p. 1881 records that 26 copies of the samovar were made 1911 - 1920, and three further copies were made in 1923. The original material is recorded as brass; it is not indicated how many were made in silvered metal.
The design of the present samovar is a slight variant of the 1910/1911 original where the aperture for the spirit burner was at the side of the samovar, and the handles of both vessels parallel. (See Hoffmann's original drawing, MAK archive ref. K.I. 12019/1, reproduced above.) In the present example the opening for the spirit burner is located at the end of the samovar; this modification would seem to be a purely practical one - to prevent heat from the burner scorching either the handle of the kettle, or the hand of the user. It is suggested that the last three samovars made at the WW were to this variant design, and were very specifically recorded for this reason.
cf: Viennese Silver. Modern Design 1780 -1918, Michael Huey, ed., Neue Galerie exhibition catalogue, New York, October 17, 2003 - February 16, 2004, No. 84, p. 145.
See also: Waltraud Neuwirth, Wiener Werkstätte. Avant Garde, Art Deco, Industrial Design, 1984, p. 116, No. 80.

The Baden architect Joseph Fischer (b. 1893) was a great admirer of Josef Hoffmann, and a frequent visitor to the Wiener Werkstätte. He studied architecture in Vienna in 1918 under Adolf Loos, and married Margarethe Löbl in 1921. His work as independent architect in Baden won him much acclaim and although modernist in style, he was also a fierce defender of Baden's Beidermeier heritage.
In 1945, to avoid detection by Russian troops this tea service and other family treasures were placed in a metal trunk and buried for safekeeping in a specially constructed artificial wall at the family home in Baden. It was not until the Russians finally left the region in the 1950s that the family were able to retrieve their still-buried possessions.
Fischer's daughter married Herbert Christian Fries, nephew of sisters Ella Fries von Pereira-Arnstein and Lyda (née Fries) Wittgenstein, wife of Hermann. (See lots 26, 27 and 28.)
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