A GIFT OF BARON MAYER CARL VON ROTHSCHILD
These double-cups became very sought after in the 19th century being seen as perfect examples of German Renaissance silversmithing. As such they were avidly collected by the Rothschild family, especially by Baron Mayer Carl von Rothschild (1820-1886) who owned several including one of the oldest known, now in the collection of the Musée National de la Renaissance, Château d’Ecouen (illustrated in M. Bimbenet-Privat and A. Kugel, Chefs d’Oeuvre d’Orfèvrerie Allemande Renaissance et Baroque, Dijon, 2017, p. 83).
Beutmüller’s double-cup was bequeathed by Mayer Carl to his daughter Laura Thérèse (1847-1931) who married Nathan James Edouard (1844-1881), also an avid enlightened collector. James Edouard ‘hunted’ only for the best works of arts to furnish his home, l’hôtel Tolstoï on avenue de Friedland, Paris. Mayer Carl von Rothschild had himself built, over forty years, a Goldschatz in his Frankfurt palace on Untermainkain, which comprised over 5,000 precious metalwork objects dating from the late Gothic to the Baroque period.
HANS PETZOLT'S GOTHIC REVIVAL
This important double-cup is in the Gothic style, which was revived in Nuremberg by the goldsmith Hans Petzolt (1551-1633) towards the end of the 16th century. Double-cups first appeared in the 15th century serving as ceremonial gifts used for important diplomatic and trading negotiations, but also as wedding gifts; in the latter case, they were either fitted with medallions featuring the coats-of-arms of the couple or engraved with male and female virtues. Hans Petzolt was a prolific maker. Between 1595 and 1616, he produced a total of sixty-four lobed cups and eighteen pineapple cups for presentation by the Nuremberg city council to visiting dignitaries, as recorded in the city archives. He also worked for the Emperor Rudolph II in Prague. Several other leading Nuremberg makers, contemporaries of Petzolt, embraced this Gothic revival style including amongst others Hans Kellner, Christoph Jamnizter and Hans Beutmüller (1588-1622). Beutmüller is believed to have trained in Venice before moving to Nuremberg where he became master in 1588. In 1620 he is recorded as working with Hans Petzolt for the Heilig Geist Spital (The Hospital of the Holy Spirit), proving a work connection between the two men.
Beutmüller and his brother Caspar ranked amongst the most highly regarded Nuremberg goldsmiths. Marc Rosenberg (Der Goldschmiede Merkzeichen, Frankfurt, 1925, p. 148, no. 4055) records four other similar double-cups dated 1600 by Beutmüller; another identical double-cup dated 1603-1609 is now in the Sir Arthur and Rosalinde Gilbert Collection at the Victoria and Albert Museum (inv. 948-1907). It measures 45.5 cm. high and weighs 1,500 gr., but is parcel-gilt with silver applied ornaments. Similarly Beutmüller's brother Caspar also made several identical double-cups, such as lot 24 in the sale of the collection of Baron Carl Mayer de Rothschild, Paris, June, 12-13 June 1911.
WOLFGANG NICOLAUS GRÜNTHALER ZU KREMSEGG
The son of Wolfgang Grünthaler (1502-1576), a Habsburg administrator who had been ennobled in 1535, Wolfgang the younger (1565-1630) was the twentieth child in a family that would eventually include twenty-five children. Wolfgang senior had served on a number of councils administrating mining concerns and the minting of money in Bohemia. He also held a position of responsibility relating to the administration of coinage in Linz. Joseph F. Patrouch in his book A Negotiated Settlement: The Counter-Reformation in Upper Austria Under the Habsburgs, Boston, 2000, p. 64 records the father's achievements. His career began in the service of a Spanish nobleman, Gabriel de Salamanca, Count of Ortenburg. An advantageous marriage to Anna Enenklin (d.1553), an Innsbruck noblewoman, inheritance from his family and his service as a councillor to the Emperor enabled him to purchase the castles of Kremsegg, Ottsdorf and Dietach in the area between Wels and Kremsmünster in northern Austria. He was sympathetic to Lutheran teachings which led to some friction with the Abbot of Kremsmünster, however Wolfgang senior was buried in the abbey church of Kremsmünster in 1576.
Wolfgang the younger was educated at Tübingen University and was registered at the north Italian universities of Padua, Sienna and Bologna between 1585 and 1587. He married Apollonia von Oedt (1574-1621) in 1592. He fought for Emperor Rudolf II against the Turkish forces in Hungary. His and his brothers' service was recognised by their elevation in the ranks of the Austrian nobility. He served as councillor to Emperor Ferdinand II. Between 1625 and 1626 he was involved in the suppression of the Upper Austrian peasant uprising. He was captured and temporarily imprisoned with Abbot Ignaz Krafft, Karl von Fuchs and the rector of the University of Vienna Martin Hafner Grünthal in Castle Steyr, during the insurgency. They were freed by General Gottfried Heinrich zu Pappenheim (1594-1632).