Lot 10
  • 10

German, Upper Rhine, circa 1690

40,000 - 60,000 GBP
bidding is closed


  • Cup and cover
  • the silver marked for Georg Fridenberger and dated 1690
  • turned ivory with silver gilt mounts, with later, resin finial
  • German, Upper Rhine, circa 1690


Sotheby's London, 8th July 1993, lot 204


Brussels, Musée Maison d'Erasme, Anatomie des Vanités, 2008


A. Vanautgaerden (ed.), Anatomie des Vanités, exh. cat., Musée Maison d'Erasme, Brussels, 2008, p. 91

Catalogue Note

This impressive ivory goblet closely relates to a covered cup turned by Emperor Leopold in 1618 when he was Archduke of Austria, now preserved in the Danish Royal Kunstkammer at Rosenborg Castle in Copenhagen (see fig. 1). While that cup has three registers of gadrooning and features a high conical base rather than the boldly gadrooned base seen here, the dense stacking of turned features on the stems and the overall compositions are similar. Another German 17th century covered cup of similar form, including a lobed foot, is in the Bayerisches Nationalmuseum, Munich (Maurice, op. cit., p. 71)

The lathe made it possible for artists to achieve sculptural forms which would be impossible to create by hand; the operator applied tools to subtract material from a solid medium rotating rapidly on an axis powered by a treadle or a flywheel.  Innovations to this basic process in the late 16th century vastly widened the formal possibilities: multiple axes, elliptical motion, elaborate rotating chucks, and complex cutting tools allowed for the production of spiraling, asymmetrical, undercut, and often paper-thin elements.

Georg Fridenberger obtained his poinçon in 1680. During the latter part of the 17th century, Strasbourg silversmiths worked very closely with the silversmiths of both Nuremberg and Augsburg, often completing their apprenticeships in those cities and therefore showed strong German influences in their work. See Hans Haug, L'Orfèvrerie de Strasbourg dans les Collections Publiques Françaises, Paris 1978. The interaction between these cities was such that it is difficult to establish definitively whether the present turned ivory cup and cover was made in Strasbourg or indeed Nuremberg.

E. v. Philippovich, Elfenbein, Munich, (revised edition) 1982, p. 424, fig. 374; K. Maurice, trans. D. A. Schade, Sovereigns as Turners, Material on a Machine Art by Princes, Zurich, 1985, p. 71, fig. 71; B. Gundestrup, Det kongelige danske kunstkammer 1737, Copenhagen, 1991, pp. 261-262, DKK 23.81