News and Interesting New Arrivals of Antique Silver by Helga Matzke European Silver

After an intensive and for us successful TEFAF Maastricht art fair, we would like to inform you on our manifold projects and our newest antique silver acquisitions.

Exhibition Projects

The couple Matzke senior enjoy a long-lasting relationship with Wawel Castle in Cracow, where they had given objects on loan in the past. This year as well our firm also gave three outstanding silver treasures from the Renaissance on the occasion of the reopening and presentation of the Kasimir Room in the castle’s Crown Treasury. For more information please see here.

Kasimir Room – Crown Treasury, Wawel Castle, Cracow (new presentation)

Helga Matzke was especially interested in cross-over projects where one can discover old and contemporary art in a surprising and poetic way. In Martina Tauber we have found a first-class colleague in the organization of such projects. Martina Tauber Fine Arts is currently running its third group exhibition in salon style under the title “The Last Unicorn”. We are particularly pleased to present a beautiful, silver-gilt Renaissance tankard alongside first-class works by contemporary artists. The team of Martina Tauber Fine Arts accompanies this exhibition with an interesting program of “Salon Talks” on June 5th and 26th as well as July 10th. You can find more information about this event here.

Renaissance Tankard, Silver-Gilt, Braunschweig c. 1590, Maker: Hans Pawell and 

Rem Denizen, un., 2014, Walnut, process blue ink, ca. 240 x 60 x 20 cm

New Acquisitions

Helga Matzke European Silver possesses a one of a kind collection of tankards and beakers. We are thus very happy to have enriched our collections with two Silesian and one Augsburg objects.

The first object is an interesting and rare silver-gilt tankard made in Jawor, dated “1596”. What makes the tankard special is the beautifully embossed décor, the inset coin and medallion each on the lid and on the bottom as well as the inscription on the rim of the standing ring. The saying “wem schat [schadet] mein Unglück”, loosely translated as “who is harmed by my misfortune” appears on jetons (made of copper) from Graeflich-Mansfeld of the same period. The exceptional decoration with typical Renaissance ornaments (for instance the thumb rest, formed as a naked mermaid), the interesting iconographical programme with the Saxon thaler and the medallion and finally the rarity of this early work from Jawor make this tankard the absolute silver highlight for any collection.

Jawor Tankard silver gilt 16th century

Rare Silesian Renaissance Tankard with a Saxon Coin and a Medal, Silver-Gilt, Jawor 1596

We show moreover a new, later Silesian piece of silver through this silver-gilt roemer (or rummer/wine goblet) made in Wroclaw. Made c. 1712 by Gottfried Koerner, the roemer is very well proportioned. The six-lobed bowl and its prunts in the form of shells give it a very nice shape and appearance, which can be found also in such goblets made in Southern Germany.

Silesian Wine Goblet “roemer”/”rummer”, Silver, partly-gilt, Wroclaw c. 1712, Gottfried Koerner

A following new acquisition is a finely engraved, Augsburg baroque beaker with a lid and standing on three ball feet made by Johann Christoph I Treffler in 1697/9. The particularity of the beaker lies not only in the elaborate way it has been made, its good proportions and nicely held gilding, but also in the three engraved cartouches. These show each a landscape with staffage in various actions. This kind of decoration with landscapes, architectonical settings and richly engraved corpus was very popular in the seventeenth century.

Silver Gilt Beaker, Cover, Feet, 17th century

German Silver Gilt Beaker with a Cover and Three Ball-Feet, Decorated with Elaborate Engraved Landscapes, Augsburg 1697/9, Johann Christoph I Treffler  

Originating from the same period, we show furthermore a salt cellar which also demonstrates this love of baroque for landscape. This is a Nuremberg salt, silver partly-gilt and embossed of the maker Heinrich Gottfried Anton Hammon, made c. 1685/9. The richly embossed foot is standing on a wavy-formed ring, which is decorated with three medallions showing cityscapes. These are worked quite in details and are left in white silver. Among these three cityscapes, there are flowers and fruits embossed. The gilded throat of the salt is left smooth and the deep bowl is richly decorated on the exterior side with stylised acanthus leaves. The bowl is further accentuated with a wavy ring, which imitates the ring of the foot.

antique Silver salt cellar, baroque

Salt-Cellar with Three Cityscapes, Silver, Partly-Gilt, Nuremberg c. 1685/9, Maker: Heinrich Gottfried Anton Hammon

Next to these silver artworks, we are happy to show other historically interesting and exceptional silver objects like a fine George II silver punch bowl, made in London 1724/5 by Richard Bayley. The silver punch bowl is left with a smooth surface which is finely decorated on the front with a coat of arms of the family Clavering (for Sir James Clavering).

Punch was a popular alcoholic drink in England since the early seventeenth century. The popularity of it lied certainly also in its ingredients. The punch was a mixture of citrus fruits, spices, sugar, spirits and water. The origin of the word “punch” lies most probably to the Hindi word “pac” meaning “five” and making thus reference to the five ingredients of the alcoholic beverage used initially in India.

Spices, sugar and spirits brought the connection to the West and East Indies as well as to the British interest over these areas. This explains also its wide acclaim since the early modern period in Britain.

Punch stayed popular for almost 250 years and could be drunk hot or cold. In the Americas, during the eighteenth century, punch was a favourite alcoholic drink as well. Relatively late, in the nineteenth century, French gentlemen also showed a preference to punch over wine, as is reported also by Brillat-Savarin (1825, p. 168).

george II Silver punch bowl

Fine George II Silver Punch Bowl, London 1724/5, maker: Richard Bayley

Lately, we have also successfully enriched our “Collector’s items” category with Prussian objects. A Prussian silver-gilt chamberlain key, Berlin c. 1800, offers a nice symbol of property and power. The key of the chamberlain was a high-ranking sign of the dignity for such a person. This key was purely honorary in the 18th and 19th centuries. In the Prussian court, many different known personalities had the function of a chamberlain; one very known was the French philosopher Voltaire, who was at the court of Frederick II.

chamberlain key, silver

Prussian Chamberlain Key, Silver-Gilt, Berlin c. 1800 (office of Frederick Wilhelm III of Prussia)

Last but not least, a snuff box (tabatière) from Potsdam, silver gilt, c. 1770 by the maker Christian Friedrich Mueller is a perfect for the collector of boxes or objects connected to tobacco. The box has arectangular form and shows typical Rococo ornamentation. Its decoration is based on architectonical buildings possibly depicting parts of the Sanssouci palace and the New Palace in Potsdam.

Snuff Box (Tabatière) with Architectural Settings, Silver, Partly Gilt, Potsdam c. 1770, maker: Christian Friedrich Müller

We would be very delighted, if we could surprise you with our new acquisitions. Please contact us, if you would like to know more on one of the here presented objects or on other ones from our broad collections.

We wish you a relaxing and interesting summer. We will be working during this period as well in order to prepare a very interesting and special project in the next spring. You will be soon kept informed concerning it.

With all best regards,

Your Helga Matzke Team