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789
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Details & Cataloguing

From Earth to Fire

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A hardstone, parcel-gilt and enamel tazza, Frédéric-Jules Rudolphi, circa 1850
the fluted shallow bowl centred by a circular plaque with an engraved mountain goat against a pale blue taille d'épargne background, the rim with silver vine tendrils against a blue enamel ground, the silver-gilt underside and foot with mauresque decoration in striking blue and white enamel, the foot, baluster stem and rim further applied with vine branches of silver and garnet grape clusters with translucent green enamel leaves, maker's mark, French control mark
11.9cm., 4 3/4 in. high
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Literature

Associated Literature:
Silke Hellmuth, Jules Wièse und sein Atelier. Goldschmiedekunst des 19. Jahrhunderts in Paris, Berlin, 2010
John Culme, Nineteenth Century Silver, London, 1977

Catalogue Note

After the sudden tragic death of the famous jeweller Charles Louis Wagner, resulting from a shooting accident at his chateau in Saussaye in 1841, his chef d’atelier Frédéric Jules Rudolphi (1808-1876) continued the business of his former partner, bringing ‘to London in 1851 a wide range of work from jewellery to silver and gold eggcups and a chased silver paperweight, ‘St George and the Dragon’ set in rubies, pearls, emeralds, lapis lazuli etc.’ (John Culme, Nineteenth Century Silver, p. 203). The Copenhagen-born goldsmith succeeded Mention & Wagner, the partnership which Charles Louis Wagner and Augustin-Médard Mention had formed in 1829 (see note on lot 799). In 1842, Rudolphi replaced the letters of the maker’s mark of Mention & Wagner with his own initials F&R, whilst the feather and the wheel in the lozenge remained. A few years later, he won the Council Medal at the Great Exhibition in 1851, but the majority of the objects still very much resembled the style of his master Charles Louis Wagner, who was influential for a whole generation of goldsmiths. Just like him, Rudolphi was interested in the combination of different materials and techniques, and the striking blue enamel on the underside of the bowl of the tazza in the present lot closely resembles decorated surfaces on tazze, cups and bowls from the hand of Wagner. With his interest in niello and enamel, Wagner had found a suitable partner in the renowned enameller Louis-Hippolyte-Auguste Lefournier (1802-1859), with whom he developed an alloy of silver and platinum in 1839, which highly improved the adhesion of the enamel on the surface and was also less expensive than the previously used pure silver, and was hence soon used by most artists of the time. Examples of Rudolphi’s extraordinary objets d’art combining renaissance, gothick or oriental styles with gold, silver, enamel and jewels, can be found in the most important private collections and museums worldwide, such as the musée du Louvre and the Victoria and Albert Museum. The latter purchased a chased parcel-gilt and oxidised silver perfume bottle by Rudolphi (inv. nr. 919-1844) at the Exhibition of Industrial Art in Paris in 1844 as one of their earliest acquisitions. Following the early influence of Charles-Louis Wagner, Rudolphi became a jeweller and goldsmith in his own right, recognised and admired by his contemporaries, as well as by European royalty and nobility, among them Prince Frederick Carl of Prussia (1801-1883), who commissioned Rudolphi to make a jewelled clock.

From Earth to Fire

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London