The distinctive enamelling of Georg Strauch (1613-1675) shows a fine use of numerous colours and the combination of figural scenes and floral ornament as would be expected from as artist who trained and practised as a miniature painter. Yvonne Hackenbroch noted in 'German Silver of the Seventeenth and Eighteenth centuries', The Connoisseur, 1977, vol. 195, p. 54 that his work is found on works by Augsburg and Nuremberg goldsmiths, on canisters and other objects such as book bindings. The present lot is one such example, as is a binding in the collection of the Musée Condée, Chantilly, illustrated in Schneeberger, Les Peintres sur
émailgenevois au XVIIe et au XVIIIe siecle, Geneva, 1958, p. 94, fig. 13.
A gold and enamel chalice with related decoration is in the Royal Danish Collection, Rosenberg Castle Copenhagen. Two other works are illustrated in K. Tebbe et al., Nürnberger Goldschmiedekunst 1541-1868, Nuremberg, 2007, vol. 2, figs. 512, 513, a pair of canisters and covers, by Matthäus Ströbel, Nuremberg, 1611/1664 (Germanisches Nationalmuseum, Nuremberg), and a tankard by Andreas Berckmann, Nuremberg, 1657 (Hessiches Landesmuseum, Kassel). Berckmann was also the maker of a pair of German engraved silver globe cups dated 1655 (sold Sotheby's, New York, 16 October 1996, lot 158). The engraving was signed with the initials GS probably for Georg Strauch. Further work by him can be found in the Musée de la Renaissance, Château d'Ecouen, France; a pair of canisters made by the Nuremberg goldsmith Johann Höffler 1658-1659 inset with enamel plaques of fruit and flowers and oval cartouches enclosing female figure emblematic of the Virtues. A canister in the collection of the Metropolitan Museum, New York, illustrates the collaboration of Straub, from the protestant Nuremberg, with the goldsmiths of Catholic Augsburg. The canister by Isaac Lotter is inset with six plaques of enamelled with birds and flowers.
Only only two copies of the book bound within the binding are known in recorded collections. Originally published in Nurnberg, Josua Wegelin's Andachtige Versohnung mit Gott, of 1654 can be found in the Bibliotheque Nationale, Paris and the National Library of Stockholm.
Grace Whitney Hoff
A celebrated philanthropist and Francophile, Grace Whitney Hoff was the daughter of the Detroit lumber magnate David Whitney Jr.(1830-1900). The family were originally of English stock and had left for America in 1635. Having been widowed at a young age she remarried Standard Oil's chief executive in France John Jacob Hoff in 1900 and honeymooned in France. She lived there for the greater part of her life, first leasing and then buying Chateau de Bréan near Paris and also the medieval Chateau de Peyrieu in the Rhone where she displayed much of her celebrated art collection and library, Special vitrines in the hall protected her finest books and bindings. C. Patch, Grace Whitney Hoff, The Story of An Abundant Life, Cambridge, 1933, p. 71.