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HOLTZAPFFEL: AMATEUR TURNING IN IVORY
The art of ornamental turning dates from at least the 15th Century, when it is believed to have originated in Bavaria. By 1792, the passion for mechanical hobbies encouraged the Alsatian John Jacob Holtzapffel (1768-1835) to set up his lathe manufacturing business in London at 118 Long Acre. Holtzapffel was the most prolific of several lathe manufacturers and his firm manufactured 2557 lathes, many specifically designed for ornamental turning. Many of his clients included the nobility and monarchy of Europe, for example an ornamental Holtzapffel lathe [no. 2,487] was supplied in 1911 to the Earl Poulett, Hinton House, Hinton St. George, Somerset and sold anonymously at Christie's South Kensington, 28 July 1999, lot 12 (£16,675). One of the most famous amateur turners was the Empress Maria-Feodorovna, wife of Emperor Paul III of Russia, whose collection of decorative objets is preserved at the Palace of Pavlovsk, St. Petersburg (E. Ducamp (ed.), Pavlovsk: The Collections, Paris, 1993, pp. 9-13, figs. 1, 14-24). In England in the late 19th Century, Antony Gibbs (1841-1907) of Tyntesfield, Bristol was another notable amateur turner of objects in ivory.