View 1 of Lot 134. ATTRIBUTED TO THE ALBERGHETTI FOUNDRY | MORTAR.
View 1 of Lot 134. ATTRIBUTED TO THE ALBERGHETTI FOUNDRY | MORTAR.
134

ATTRIBUTED TO THE ALBERGHETTI FOUNDRY | MORTAR

Estimate:

7,000 - 10,000 GBP

ATTRIBUTED TO THE ALBERGHETTI FOUNDRY | MORTAR

ATTRIBUTED TO THE ALBERGHETTI FOUNDRY | MORTAR

Estimate:

7,000 - 10,000 GBP

Lot sold:

21,250

GBP

ATTRIBUTED TO THE ALBERGHETTI FOUNDRY

active 16th century

MORTAR


bronze

with a customs label to the interior

height: 16.8cm., 6⅝in.; diameter: 17.7cm., 7in.

Cast in Northern Italy, circa 1550-1580.


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Alfred Beit (1853-1906) or Otto Beit (1865-1930), purchased between 1904 and 1913

Thence by descent to Lady Beit (1915-2005), by whom donated to the Alfred Beit Foundation in 2005

Its sale, Christie's, London, 7 December 2006, lot 139

Wilhelm Bode, Catalogue of the Collection of Pictures and Bronzes in the Possession of Mr. Otto Beit, London, 1913, p. 113, no. 255, as 'Workshop of Leopardi'

Made using the lost-wax method, mortars were cast by specialist foundries that produced a range of functional bronzes. Used for grinding food and medicine since Antiquity, mortars were produced in increasing numbers in Europe in the medieval and Renaissance period and became more elegantly proportioned as time progressed.


This finely cast and richly decorated bell-shaped mortar may be associated with the Alberghetti foundry, a family of utilitarian bronze casters active in northern Italy, primarily in Ferrara, Florence and Venice. Three mortars formerly in the Samuel H. Kress collection and now in the National Gallery of Art, Washington, share the present bronze’s dolphin handles and various decorative motifs (see Pope-Hennessy, op. cit.). Compare also several mortars associated with the foundry in the Victoria and Albert Museum, with foliate garlands and friezes of acanthus leaves (see Motture, op. cit.). Note, in particular, inv. no. 345-1889, with a corresponding lion passant and scratching hind.


RELATED LITERATURE

John Pope-Hennessy, Complete Catalogue of the Samuel H. Kress Collection: Renaissance Bronzes, London, 1965, pp. 154-155, nos. 566-568, figs. 592, 594, and 597; Peta Motture, Bells and Mortars, Catalogue of Italian Bronzes in the Victoria and Albert Museum, London, 2001, pp. 111-116