S389: Tankard and cover
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© The Holburne Museum of Art, Bath
|Title||Tankard and cover|
|Object type||In category: Metalwork » Drinking vessel » Tankard|
Eissler, Johann (active 1665-1708) (known) - Gold/silversmith(s)
|Place of origin||Europe » Northern Europe » Germany » Germany|
33.0 cm height whole
25.0 cm width whole
16.0 cm depth whole
69.0 ounces whole
|Materials & techniques||
Animal material » Ivory
Metal » Silver-gilt
Rock/ Mineral » Other gemstones, rocks and minerals
|Description||Ivory tankard with silver-gilt mounts. The main body consists of an ivory sleeve around a silver body with a silver-gilt lining. The ivory is carved in high relief with the Rape of the Sabines. The silver-gilt domed foot and rim are embossed and chased with garlands of flowers and fruit and set with cameos, intaglios and semi-precious stones. The harp-shaped silver-gilt handle is decorated with leafy scrolls, matting and is surmounted by a female herm. The domed cover has a bifurcated thumb piece and is surmounted by an ivory figure of a Roman soldier carrying off a Sabine woman; it is similarly embossed and chased with garlands of fruit and flowers and set with a cameo, intaglios and semi-precious stones.|
|Marks and inscriptions||
This tankard an example of Baroque design and workmanship at its most elaborate. Various precious materials have been combined in its formation: gold, silver, ivory and semi-precious stones. The cameos and intaglios mounted on the foot, rim and lid are earlier than the tankard and range in date from classical antiquity, through to the sixteenth- and seventeenth-centuries.
The mounts are struck with the sponsor’s mark of Johann Eissler (active 1665-1708). Eissler was a successful Nuremberg goldsmith. Other ivory tankards bearing his mark are known including two in the Green Vaults treasury in Dresden.
This kind of grand display object was enormously popular with nineteenth-century collectors. The chased decoration on the rim around the top of the tankard was added at that time. Many of the early pieces of silver acquired by Sir William Holburne were similarly given further decoration during the nineteenth century to accord with contemporary taste and make them more attractive to collectors.
Sir William Holburne’s silver inventory valued this tankard at £100 in 1864. This was far higher than any of his other pieces of silver and suggest that it was one of his most treasured possessions. This may account for the tankard's curious absence from the 1862 and 1867 exhibitions; perhaps it was thought to be too valuable to lend? The same inventory failed to recognise the hallmarks and the piece was described as Italian. By 1882, however, it had been correctly identified as Nuremberg work. Nuremberg was a major centre of metalwork production from the fifteenth to the seventeenth centuries and its wares were exported throughout Europe. This tankard is struck with a nineteenth-century Dutch import mark.
A. Butcher and E. J. C. Smith, A Catalogue of Silver at the Holburne Museum, Bath, 1996, p.47, no.347
P. Bishop, Holburne Museum of Art , Souvenir Guidebook, 1999, p.48
|Muse theme||The Art of Collecting
The History of the Holburne Collection » Sir William Holburne and his Collection » Arranging the Collection: Sir William at Home
The History of the Holburne Collection » The Collection » Silver
|Method of acquisition||Bequest|
|Provenance||Sir T. W. Holburne (1793-1874); by whom bequeathed to Mary Anne Barbara Holburne (1802-1882); by whom bequeathed to the Museum|
Title of exhibition: Centenary Exhibition of Silver in the Holburne Collection
Title of exhibition: Townhouse Treasures: Sir Thomas William Holburne of Bath