the casket of pentagonal form, the side panels applied with naturalistically modelled tree trunks, branches, vines, and rocks, the hinged lid with a hunting scene of a deer surrounded by hares and foxes, the left front side panel signed in Cyrillic Liberich; the matching bronze and hardstone desk set comprising an inkwell with pen-rest, a pair of candlesticks, a small box, cover, matchbox holder, ashtray, and large table lamp base (not illustrated)
Born in St Petersburg in 1828, Nikolai Liberich studied sculpture at the St Petersburg Academy, specialising in animal figures, particularly horses and bears. Many of his groups were cast in silver as well as bronze, the latter usually at the Woerffel foundry in St Petersburg. Although the present casket lacks foundry marks, the quality and crispness of the casting suggest the same manufactory. Variations of the bear with tree trunk theme can be found throughout Liberich's work. The casket, possibly a humidor, seems to be a unique model, possibly made as a special commission.
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