Lot 27
  • 27

A German parcel-gilt silver display vase, Nicolas Ostertag, Augsburg, 1689-1692

120,000 - 180,000 GBP
314,500 GBP
bidding is closed


  • silver, iron
fitted with embossed female personifications of Autumn and Winter, siren and shell handles,  enclosed by embossed and chased acanthus interrupting appliques of fruit and flowers, detachable cover, marked on cover, body, stem, foot and handles, also with post 1893 French import marks and  Museum für Angewandt Kunst (MAK) painted red painted inventory reference GO 1946 (foot) and GO 1964 (sic) 36034 (body)


Possibly Rastatt palace
Possibly Rastatt palace church Zum Heiligen Kreuz 1739/40
The Catholic church St Stephan, Karlsruhe from 1813-1881
The antique dealer J & S Goldschmidt, Frankfurt a.M, 1881
Mayer Carl (Karl) von Rothschild  Frankfurt a.M (1820-1886).
By family division to Adèle-Hannah (1843-1922) eldest daughter of Mayer Carl
Emma Budge née Lazarus, Hamburg (1879-1937)
The forced sale of her estate: Paul Graupe, Berlin, Die Sammlung Frau Emma Budge Hamburg, 27-29 September 1937, lot 216 (Reichsmark 2700)
Purchased at the auction by Ernst and Emma Böhm and bequeathed by them in 1942 to the Museum für Angewandte Kunst (MAK) Vienna
Restituted to the heirs of Emma Budge by the MAK in 2013


Badische Kunst- & Kunstgewerbe-Ausstellung zur Feier der silbernen Hochzeit  Ihrer Königl. Hoheiten des Grossherzogs & der Grossherzogin. Unter dem Protektorat Sr. Kgl. Hoheit des Erbgrossherzogs, Abth. II., Ausstellung kunstgewerblicher Erzeugnisse der Vergangenheit, Karlsruhe 1881



Gustav Kachel, Marc Rosenberg, Katalog der Badischen Kunst- & Kunstgewerbe-Ausstellung zur Feier der silbernen Hochzeit Ihrer Königl. Hoheiten des Grossherzogs und der Grossherzogin. Unter dem Protektorat Sr. Königl. Hoheit des Erbgrossherzogs, Abth. II., Karlsruhe 1881, S. 162, Nr. 1665.
Marc Rosenberg, Alte Kunstgewerbliche Arbeiten auf der Badischen Kunst-und Kunstgewerbe-Ausstellung, zu Karlsruhe, 1881...Frankfurt, 1882,  `Kapellenraum’, and illustrated together with its pair (Spring and Summer), on the consecutive page.
Ferdinand Luthmer and others, Verzeichniss des Bestandes der Freiherrlich Carl von Rothschild’schen Sammlung auf der Günthersburg, 9 December 1886, Theil 1, no 131a. 
Marc  Rosenberg, Der Goldschmiede Merkzeichen, Frankfurt a.M., 1922, no. 738 (a or b).
Helmut Seling, Die Augsburger Gold-und-Silberschmiede 1529-1868, Munich 2007, no. 1843, under Aus der Literatur übernommene Werke.
Gerhard Egger, Profane Goldschmiedegefäße des 17.und 18. Jahrhunderts aus dem Österreichisches Museum für angewandte Kunst in Wien. In Alte und Moderne Kunst. 26 (1981) 174/175, pp. 11 and 12, illus.

Catalogue Note

As a display of power, the use of large items of silver furniture such as this vase was an indispensable part of European court ceremonial at the end of the 17th century. Other vases by Nicolas Ostertag are recorded such as three made for the Duke of Anhalt Dessau. The most complete surviving group, seven vases, representing The Four classical Elements were made in Augsburg by Albrecht Biller, to decorate a chimney mantlepiece for Landgrave Charles of Hesse-Cassel  around 1700.  (Museumslandschaft Hessen Kassel B II.1-7). It is possible that the current vase and its pair were commissioned by Louis William Margrave of Baden (1655-1707) Turkenlouis, commander-in-chief of the imperial army, for his new palace,  Schloss Rastatt, although they subsequently spent many years in a church.

The vase now offerred for sale, together with its pair were included in the 1881 Karlsruhe exhibition - organised in honour of the silver wedding of Grand duke Friedrich I. (1826-1907) and Grand duchess Luise (1838-1923) of Baden and including numerous loans from private and public collections – as no. 1665 in cabinet XXIII, can be traced back with certainty to 22 October 1813. They appear in records at this moment as part of the disposable stock of liturgical equipment for churches in Baden, with the request that they be made available for the just-completed neo-classical Catholic parish church of St Stephan in Karlsruhe, built by Friedrich Weinbrenner from 1808 and inaugurated in 1814 1. Carl Friedrich of Baden (1728-1811) who had united the two margravates of Baden-Durlach and Baden-Baden, was a generous benefactor to the catholic parish of Karlsruhe and had given it a number of important items. In 1808 for example on the laying of the cornerstone of St Stephan he presented the church with a gold and enamel chalice made exactly 200 years earlier, given then to the treasure of the dome in Speyer by dean Adolf von Wolff-Metternich.  The so called Wolff-Metternich chalice was also exhibited at the exhibition in 1881 and later also became the property of Mayer Carl Rothschild and is now a treasure of the Metropolitan museum, New York (acc. no. 17.190.371).  Carl Friedrich had acquired the chalice and many other items of church property as part of the dissolution of clerical states and cloisters which occurred in 1803 and 1806 as a result of the French Revolution and subsequent wars.
The vases remained at St. Stephan from 1813-1881 when the written records of communication between various church authorities show that there was interest in selling them. The church needed money and an antique dealer  called Falk, (also probably wrongly referred to as as Frank)  Der Antiquar Frank zum russischen Hofe in Frankfurt who had seen them before the exhibition had offered 20,000 Marks for the pair.
They are referred to by the church authority with their exhibition and cabinet number, so there is no doubt as to their identity. The painter Georg Gimbel in Baden-Baden, whose own collection was acquired by the Grand duke for the public museums, after his death, advised that the price was very good and they should take it. None the less the Church tried to get more from the dealer, who sent an agent to Karlsruhe to explain that this was his final offer. On 11th October 1881 the Katholischer Oberstiftungsrath sent a report to the Erzbischöfliches Capitels-Vicariat Freiburg pressing for permission to sell the vases, because Falk/Frank was pushing to take delivery by 17th October. They repeated the existing argument of excellent price and need, but revealed new reasons why they should be allowed to sell. The new argument was that the vases were not religious and had previously stood in a palace.   They are described disparagingly as having mythological figures, and formerly stood in the palace of Rastatt .  Dieselben scheinen ursprünglich keine kirchliche Bestimmung gehabt zu haben, sind mit mythologischen Figuren ausgestattet u. sollen früher im Schlosse zu Rastatt gestanden haben.   This argument won over the Erzbischöfliches Capitels-Vicariat who recommended selling on 13 October for reasons which included the profane character of the vases. Surprisingly, soon after this, the church in Karlsruhe did sell a church treasure, the Wolff-Metternich gold and enamel chalice already mentioned. The vases though which were finally sold on 19th October 1881 did not, for some reason go to Falk/Frank. They were bought by the Frankfurt dealer J & S Goldschmidt for the same amount 20,000 Marks that had already been offerred2.  J & S. Goldsmith were undoubtedly agents for Mayer Carl Rothschild whose estate they helped divide after his death in 1886 .

There is no definite proof that the vases stood in the Palace of Rastatt as the church authorities in Karlsruhe stated, but there is some evidence that is was so. Firstly it is clear that they were not originally intended for church use.  Secondly the margravate of Baden Baden which included Rastatt, and Baden Durlach where Karlsruhe lies, were united in 1771 under the Margrave of Baden Durlach, with his court in Karlsruhe. Records made in 1772, but referring back, have revealed a pair of vases in the Rastatt palace church Zum Heiligen Kreuz that correspond with the current vase.  The weight of these 2 grosse silbern zier vergoldte orne, which regularly appear in the inventories with six other vases, tally with the current example quite accurately. It appears also that the Rastatt silver treasury was sending vases to the palace church, perhaps when they became unfashionable, as two are recorded added to the group of vases already in the church in 1768, so aus der Silber Camer gegeben worden sind. 3

At Karlsruhe in 1881, this vase was exhibited with its pair. Together they represent the Four Seasons (not the Continents as they have been described). After purchase by Mayer Carl, they were separated by family division, on his death in 1886. One vase was left to Mayer Carl’s eldest daughter Adèle-Hannah (1843-1922), the other to his third daughter Laura-Therèse (1847-1931). They are clearly identifiable, but not distinguishable, as no. 131a in the Ersten Theiles and no. 133a in the Dritten Theiles,  two of the five catalogues dividing  Mayer Carl’s works of art,  of well over 500 mostly German silver pieces, at Gunthersburg (the Frankfurt country house) into equal portions amongst five of his daughters. They are described by the committee which created the portions and included the distinguished academic Ferdinand Luthmer and Julius Goldschmidt founder of the Frankfurt dealership, J & S Goldschmidt as: 

131a Grosse Vase, Silb. theilw. Verg., mit aufgelegten Ornamenten, und 2 ovalen Medaillons mit alleg.  Darstellungen, beide Henkel Sirenen, Schalen tragend, Durchm. 45cm., Höhe 61cm.

133a Grosse Vase, silb.theilw.verg., mit aufgelegtem Ornament, 2 ovale Medallions mit alleg. Darstellungen, 2 Henkel Sirenen mit kl. Schalen. Durchm. 45cm., Höhe 61cm 

It appears that the portions laid down in the catalogues were not strictly adhered to by Mayer Carl’s daughters.  Initially the Frankfurt property remained in situ until the death of Mayer Carl’s wife Louise (1820-1894), when a degree of rearranging occurred by agreement amongst the sisters (including division of the portion left to Hannah-Louisa , 1850-1892 who had died before her mother).  It is not altogether surprising therefore to find a group of about 15 items from the portion left to Adèle-Hannah appearing at auction in Paris in 1911 amongst the property of her sister Bertha Clara, Princess de Wagram (1862-1903), which occurred following the death of her husband the prince (1836-1911). Although Emma Budge was buying at the time and subsequently owned three items from the 1911 sale, Adele-Hannah’s vase does not appear to have been included.4

Similarly a group of at least ten items which had been left to Laura Therese (1847-1931) became the property of  Emma-Louise (1844-1935) and are recorded following her death  in a document made for estate duty purposes of the property in  her London house at 148 Picadilly5.  Amongst these `A large vase’ is recognisable as one of the pair by its description and reference `No. 133A’ the same reference used in the Gunthersburg division intended for Laura Therese. This vase was sold at Sothebys on 27th April 1937, The Celebrated Collection….removed  from 148 Picadilly, W.I, ..by order of Victor Rothschild, lot 184 `A Great Cup..’,  to Theodore Fischer of Galerie Fischer Luzerne, for £105.  The same vase now recognisable as the Spring/Summer example was advertised for sale by J. Kugel, Paris, in Weltkunst 61, number 19, October 1991, p. 2753. It is not known when Emma Budge acquired Autumn/Winter, although three items from the 1911 Paris auction already mentioned, which like the vase had been left to Adele-Hannah appeared in the Emma Budge sale in Berlin in 1937 .

1Ref. Erzbischöfliches Archiv Freiburg (EAF) B22/12265 1804-1833 and B22/12266 1844-1955

2Amtsbezirk Karlsruhe. Dekanat Ettlingen. Pfarrei: Karlsruhe. Rubrik Kirchen- und Stiftungsverwaltung. Betreff. Die Vermögensverhältnisse des Kath. Kirchenfonds St. Stephan, Archiv St. Stephan, Karlsruhe.

3Ref. Erzbischöfliches Archiv Freiburg (EAF) B22/22439; Inventarium über die Schloss-Kirche und dazu gehörigen Capellen 1772. Generallandesarchiv Karlsruhe (GLA) 46/4464/25;  Acta die gestiftete Einkünfte in der HofKreuzKirch zu Rastadt, und dazu gehöriger Ornamenten und aller kirchlichen Erfordernissen und derselben Anschaffung und Unterhaltung betr.  Confer. Acta des Collegii Patrum piar. Scholar. Fundation, Einrichtungen p.p. betr.  De Ao 1736 bis 1777 1788, 1806 (GLA 220/696);  Inventar über den zu der Schloßkirche zu Rastadt gehörigen Kirchenornat  von 1768 (GLA 220/697)

4 Orfèvrerie Allemande, Flamande, Espagnole, Italienne, Pierres Dures Montées, Ivoires et Bois sculptés, Des XVe, XVIe, XVIIe et XVIIIe, Provenant de l’ancienne collection de feu M. le Baron Carl Mayer (sic) de Rothschild (De Francfort) Galerie Georges Petit, 12 and 13 June 1911.
Lots 16, 84 and 87 in this 1911 sale, (given to Adele Hannah in 1886 and recorded in the 1886 catalogue of her portion as nos. 211, 136b and 91a) were lots 251, 213 and 200 in the Budge sale of 1937.  Lot 251 from the Budge sale a large early 17th century French salt with medieval enamel appliques is in the Ashmolean Museum, from the Michael Welby bequest. Lot 200, a shell on Turkish prisoner supports, is in the Augsburg Museum, following restitution to the Budge estate and lot 213, a large cup is location unknown.

5A copy of this document is kept at the Rothschild Achive in The City of London. In the Estate of the late Emma Louise Lady Rothschild; An inventory and Valuation of the Works of Art, Jewellery, Furniture and Pictures etc. at 148 Piccadilly W.I, made for the purposes of Estate Duty. Sothebys gratefully thank the staff at the Rothschild archive for their kind help with the cataloguing of this lot.