Martin Malfait (working dates 1569-1608) and Michel Michaelis (1606-1627)'s maker's marks, have been confused in the past (see Karin Tebbe et al. Nürnberger Goldschmiedekunst 1541-1868, Nuremberg, 2007, nos. 551 and 580). Neither of these goldsmiths are recorded making animals by the authors of Nürnberger Goldschmiedekunst, but a model of a partridge attributed to Michel Michaelis, Nuremberg, circa 1620, formerly in the Sidney J. Lamon collection, was sold at Sotheby's, Monaco, 7 December, 1991, lot 717.
Two identical models of the horse, by the Nuremberg goldsmith Jacob Fröhlich, 1560/70, are in the Kunsthistorisches Museum, Vienna, formerly at Schloss Ambras, and the Hermitage St. Petersburg (see op. cit. no. 249). These two are on a very small base and stand up because the animals' tail acts as a separate support. The horse in the current lot is constructed in the same way, so that its tails should act as an extra support. A fourth model, of the same size as the other three, but where the collar appears to be tooled into the metal rather than applied to it, by Thomas Stör the younger, Nuremberg, circa 1635 was sold at Sotheby's, Zurich, 18 November 1977, lot 102.
The horse in the present lot has been tested for impurities in the silver. Against a data bank of English silver, these impurities are consistent with alloys datable to between 1500-1600.
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