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.
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