PROPERTY OF THE LATE EDMUND L. DE ROTHSCHILD ESQ. CBE, TD, FROM EXBURY HOUSE, EXBURY, HAMPSHIRE
The ivory drum on the present tankard belongs to a group of carvings decorated with Bacchic processions inspired by Pieter Paul Rubens or a painter from his circle. The swooning figure of Bacchus, leaning on a satyress or nymph as he is lead forward in a pageant of his playful followers is repeated in several known ivories. Examples from the group, which have originated from Flanders, Germany and France, are in several major collections, including: the Victoria and Albert Museum, the Herzog Anton Ulrich-Museum in Brunswick and the Städtische Kunstsammlungen, Augsburg.
The closest comparison, however, is a carving formerly in the Hever Castle Collection (sold in these rooms 6 May 1983, lot 312) which is signed by the sculptor and goldsmith Bernard Strauss of Augsburg and dated 1656. The main difference between these two compositions is the appearance of the two beautifully carved nursing satyresses by a tree in the Rothschild tankard. These plump maternal figures, however, do appear on the Brunswick drum. The comparable and confident use of high relief on both the Hever Castle and Rothschild drums may suggest that Strauss was also responsible for the latter. The figures in both have similar, animated faces and a sense of weight. The maker's mark on the present tankard differs slightly from the mark only tentatively ascribed by Rosenberg (op.cit.) to William Schröder.
Mark Rosenberg, Der Goldschmiede Merkzeichen, Frankfurt am Main, 1923, no. 3280; C. Scherer, Die Braunschweiger Elfenbeinsammlung. Katalog des Herzog Anton Ulrich-Museums in Braunschweig, Leipzig, 1931, p. 113, no. 359; O. Beigbeider, Ivory. Pleasures and treasures, New York, 1965, pp. 107-9; Les ivoires. Évolution décorative du Ier siècle a nos jours, Paris, 1966, p. 166
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