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Post Lot Text
A CARVED OVAL IVORY CANISTER TOWER
BY ACHILLES AGAMEMNON (?) HERMANSREYT, 1657
Composed of nine turned compartments in increasing sizes and surmounted by a finial with an additional compartment, on two turned feet, the underside engraved 'HOC OPVS CENTRALE INGENIO SVO PRIMVS EXTVLIT. .M.DC.LVII. SVAQ MANV PERFECIT ACHILLES AG : AB HERMANSREYT.', also with an inventory mark painted in black ink 'E71', the inside of the base with a textile label printed 'St.E 13207'; chips, cracks, losses and repairs; contained within a parcel-gilt pressed leather and red velvet-lined traveling case with a paper label to the underside inscribed in ink 'ASYO/$VAY'
The compartmentalised ivory tower offered here is exceptional for three factors; for its size and complexity, for the survival of its elaborate 17th century travelling case and, finally, for being lengthily inscribed by its maker, Achilles Ag[amemnon?] Hermansreyt. To date, no other works by him are known to exist, however it would be reasonable to suggest that any artist working to this standard would have created other pieces. Although Hermansreyt proclaimed in his inscription that he invented the model (ingenio suo), it is likely that he drew influence from other earlier compartmentalised towers such as the two simpler, and smaller, versions in the Kunsthistorisches Museum, Vienna and the Bayerisches Nationalmuseum, Munich, each dated to 1610 (for an illustration of the Vienna tower carved by Hans Wecker see the Kunsthistorisches website and for the Munich example see Munich, Der Residenz, Um Glauben und Reich - Kurfürst Maximilian I, 12 juin. - 5 oct. 1980, II, no. 276c.).
For a general discussion on the history of 17th century ivory carvings see note to lot 659.