1
1
A Dutch embroidered, raised work and applique metal thread floral coffer, together with other accessories
first half 17th century
JUMP TO LOT
1
A Dutch embroidered, raised work and applique metal thread floral coffer, together with other accessories
first half 17th century
JUMP TO LOT

Details & Cataloguing

Important Furniture, Silver, Ceramics and Clocks

|
London

A Dutch embroidered, raised work and applique metal thread floral coffer, together with other accessories
first half 17th century

comprising of a coffer, two pairs of gloves and further keepsakes: Coffer: with each of the four panels and the curved coffer top finely worked with couched gilt-metal trailing stems with various raised flower-heads (including tulips) and leaves, the cream silk satin ground applied with scattered gilt-metal spangles and purl-work, supported by blue ribbon when opened, the right hand side panel of coffer lifting to reveal a lower section drawer lined with salmon pink silk and with a velvet covered section at one end for placement of rings, the drawer panel decorated with the same running pattern on cream satin ground with scattered spangles and purl highlights, with central brass hoop handle, the coffer top opens to reveal a central recess, all sides and inside of lid covered with salmon silk lining, and applied with silver-gilt braid with interspersed spangles to the innner side edges, including the curved edges of the lid, the corners of the braid with silk tufts, all embroidered panels are edged in gilt-metal braid, base of coffer covered in marbled paper, applied with later applied silver rampant lion feet, later silvered lock-plate and centred lid handle; with key; enclosing small love tokens comprising of a small looped and filigree gilt-metal, silk ribbon, enamel and seed-pearl wreath, incorporating seed-pearl initials `N', `A' & `H' (approx. 8cm. diameter), a small gilt-metal, garnet, seed-pearl posie (approx. 6cm. long, 3cm. at widest), and three delicate foliate letters, `S', `'I and `A', worked in fine metal and polychrome silk threads (approx. 9cm. long); together with two pairs of fine early 17th century gloves, circa 1630 both worked from leather and decorated gilt-metal, spangle and silk embroidered gauntlets (approx. 32cm and 30cm. long respectively)
(Qty)


Coffer: Total height with feet 23cm. (without feet 19.5cm. high), 26cm. wide, 16.5cm. deep; 9in.,10in.,6½in.
Read Condition Report Read Condition Report

Provenance

By repute a marriage gift to Matheus Prim and Anna (neé Lulis), married 14th February 1619;
Thence by repute through family descent primarily through eldest daughter; from Anna Prim to daughter Mrs Mangolt (1645-1715); her daughter, Susanne Starck (1665-1736), Marie Fahlmer (1701-1780), Johanna Kath Schlosser (1744-1821), Cornelia Henriette Franziska Hasenclever (1781-1850); Auguste Hasenclever (1810-1868), then to her sister Bertha Schroder (neé Hasenclever) (1820-1877), her daughter Cornelia Räcke-Langenheim (1849-1941). Family letters revealed that instead of being inherited by Cornelia Räcke-Langenheim's daughter Erna Czak, the aunt Nella, sold it in the 1930's to her sister in law, Hilda Brandl (of Klagenfurt, Austria), who later gave it to Ilse von Räcke in October 1939. Family note in 1971 disclosing that coffer was in the possession of Ilse von Räcke. Family member, Maria Renate Czak (b.10 January 1943), daughter of Erna Czak, received the coffer back on 10th January 1993;
Thence obtained by present owner

Literature

Thomasina Beck, Gardening with Silk and Gold, A History of Gardens in Embroidery, Published by David and Charles, 1997, Chp. 1, Elizabethan Gardens, pp. 12-39, discusses the importance of the resemblance of the garden to the embroidery and the inspiration behind the designs of both. Beck, op.cit., Chp. 2, Stuart Gardens, pp. 40-63, elaborates upon the theme, and Cabinets of Curiosity, pp.54-57, discusses and illustrates a cabinet of mid 17th century, worked with panels of raised work Biblical figures, which opens to reveal an extraordinary miniature orchard with delicate flowers including the tulip. The cabinet is lined using the salmon pink silk, silver braid and a section of marbled paper. Several English examples of cabinets survive and from the mid 17th century onwards the fascination with exotic horticulture and plant collections, and presentation in gardens and embroidered representations of the `living beauties, rare plants, flowers and fruits' continued, with the influence of the new French formal and more unified gardens having an influence later in the century. 

Mary M Brooks, English Embroideries of the Sixteenth and Seventeenth Centuries, in the Collection of the Ashmolean Museum, London, 2004, for discussion on collectors, makers, sources and stitches, and illustrations of the specific pieces in the collection. 

Ebeltje Hartkamp-Jonxis and Hillie Smith, European Tapestries in the Rijksmuseum, Amsterdam, 2004, Floral Table Carpets: A Dutch product, pp.273-297, with specific reference to 16th and 17th century, Flowers and their roots, pp-276-277, and Botany, symbols and decoration, pg.277.

Theresa I. Macquoid, The Leverhulme Art Collections, Vol. III, English Furniture, Tapestries and Needlework, 1928, pp.115-148, Introduction interestingly mentions the introduction of the colour scarlet in the 17th century to Europe, by the Spanish from Mexico originally in 1518, and improved for use as a dye by a Dutchman. See also pg. 136, pl.114, for text and colour images of embroidered casket together with pairs of gloves and muff cover, the later having similar flower heads linked to single metal-thread stem. 

Andrew Morrall and Melinda Watt, , English Embroidery from the Metropolitan Museum of Art, 1580-1700, `Twixt Art and Nature', Yale University Press, 2009, Chp. 2, Kathleen Staples, Embroidered Furnishings: Question of Production and Usage, pp.23-37, includes discussion of the roles of the amateur and professional embroiderer, and the individualism of the interpretation by both. Chp. 3, Susan North, An instrument of profit, pleasure, and of ornament: embroidered Tudor and Jacobean dress accessories', The embroidered gift, pg.52-55, discusses the importance of dress accessories in courtship, including the exchange of gloves.  Exhibition catologue entries: Interior Furnishings, pp.202-207, items 47-51, for examples of cushion covers, circa 1600 with the profile floral motifs including tulips, carnations and grapes, with scrolling and metal-thread stems on spangled grounds.

Anna Pavord, The Tulip, London, Bloomsbury, 1999, for comprehensive historic discussion of the history of the exotic tulip and the Dutch originating `Tulipmania'.

Jennifer Potter, Strange Blooms, The curious lives and adventures of John Tradescants, Atlantic Books, London, 2007, Chp. 3, To the Low Countries, pp.25-39, discusses the specific encounters in the Netherlands in the pursuit of horticultural knowledge and the politcial situation at the end of the 16th century into 17th century.  During Tradescants horticultural tour through the Northern Netherlands 1611, it was noticed with interest that burghers had taken as their emblem, a fruitful and abundant garden, a Dutch maid, a hat of liberty and a rampant lion, and it was an image recorded and reinterpreted in Willem Buytewech's, Allegory of the Deceitfulness of Spain and the Liberty and Prosperity of the Republic, 1615, as many merchants (burgher) families could take up coats-of-arms, many of which were adopted while the Netherlands was a Republic (1581-1806). See also Simon Schama, The Embarassment of Riches, London, Collins,1987, for discussion of the emergence of the Dutch nation at this time.

Lanto Synge, Art of Embroidery, History of Style and Technique, The Royal School of Needlework, London, 2001, Chapter Five, The Seventeenth Century, pp.110-159, Embroidered Pictures and Stumpwork, pp.131-143, discusses the technique, manufacture and subject matter of these panels, illustrating examples of which were used used on mirrors or made up into the caskets.

Peter Thornton, Seventeenth-Century Interior Decoration in England, France and Holland, Yale University Press, 1978, Chp. II, The spread of the French ideal, pp.25-51,  pg.41. discusses the influence of Sir Henry Wotton (1568-1639), English Ambassador to the Venetian Republic in 1604 onwards, as the central figure in cultural developments in England and the Netherlands. Interestingly, illustrated under discussion of the court at The Hague, is a portrait of a Dutch girl in an interior setting, possibly by Bartolomeus van der Helst (1613-70), depicting a high table covered with fringed velvet and showing luxury items such as a silver handled brush, silver candlestick, jewellery and a coffer on small ball feet, of virtually identical shape to the offered coffer (though not embroidered), with gold chains, pearl necklaces appearing from the slightly open top, pg.41, pl.47.

Anthony Wells-Cole, Art and Decoration in Elizabethan and Jacobean England: The Influence of Continental Prints, 1558-1625, Yale University Press, 1997, Part II, Chp.5, The Influence of Netherlandish Prints – Ornament Prints, and Chp. 14, Embroidery, pp.235-300. For example, Johann Sibmacher's pattern book of 1604, re-issued by James Boler, as The Needle's Excellency, in 1631.

 

Catalogue Note

There was a great demand for rich materials and elaborately ornamented pieces and also a fascination in the natural world in the 16th and 17th century.  Pattern books emerged which had a great influence on design. Embroidery of the 17th century became increasingly more elaborate, and with regard to small caskets, culminating in very finely worked raised work figural and floral examples. The intense interest in gardens extended from the physical elaboration of garden designs, to the collections of plants within them, their evocation as embroidered panels, and as the perfect decoration so finely worked as silk and metal thread flowers and trails on luxurious costumes worn by males and females alike. 

European printers were all influenced by each other. In the 16th century `herbals' were initially the source for inspiration for floral motifs, which were supplied as patterns by the print sellers and merchants. Designers and embroiderers had access to numerous printed sources for inspiration, including natural history complications and various specifically design related sources, of biblical, mythological subjects, and emblems. Many were Continental sources, Italian, French, German and Flemish and dating from the late 16th century.  Albums and pattern books were observed and used for inspiration from the 16th cenutry throughout the 17th century. Noteable examples are the very influential needlework pattern book, Les Singuliers et Nouveaux Pourtaicts, (1587 through to 1623, reprints necessary due to its popularity) by Federico Vinciolo, an Italian pattern designer and lace maker attached to court of Henry II of France.  Others include Henrich Stacker's Blumenbüchlin (Munich, 1593), and Adrian Collaert' Florilegia (Antwerp, c.1600), Pierre Vallet's, Le Jardin du Roy très chrestian Henri IV (Paris 1608), and Crispin de Passe II's Hortus Floridus, (Arnhem/Utrecht 1614/1615) with its simplified outlines of flowers, useful for embroidery. Many new exotic flowers arrived in Europe at the beginning of the 17th century, including the crown imperial, crocus, hyacinth, narcissi, lily and the tulip, several of which arrived into European gardens as gifts. John Parkinson's, Paradisi in Sole Parasisus Terrestris (A garden of all sorts of pleasant flowers), 1567 – 1629, followed in format the herbals of John Gerard, 1597, and revealed in particular, the discrepancy in print, of the scale of motifs used together and found in embroidery. Parkinson also described the tulip as `outlandish', and tulipmania never reached the same heights in England as in the Netherlands. Not all the flowers in the print books existed, some were imaginary. Marked satin panels with the designs could be purchased, worked by the embroiderer in the techniques and colours she desired, and then could be brought back to the merchant to be made up into the caskets which could be individualised to the requirements of the client with regard to the contents of the casket.

 

Important Furniture, Silver, Ceramics and Clocks

|
London