Silver, Parcel-Gilt Beaker with Cover on Three Ball-Feet, Dresden
The present beaker is raised on three cast, ball-feet, which are half-plain half-fluted. The body is standing on the feet bulged and is partly adorned and partly left plain. The lower part of the beaker is richly embossed with lines directed towards the left. In the space between the lines, lower sections engraved with small rings. The upper part of the beaker is left plain and the profiled edge is decorated with a gilt ring. The cover is slightly vaulted and repeats the décor on the corpus. A ball – half-fluted, half-plain – serves as a fine finial. The beaker is gilt inside and has on the outside still traces of the original gilding.
The ball-feet conform to a decorative motive which was quite popular during the baroque. Based on this, the beaker is to be dated around 1700.
The marks are ligated on the bottom. There is also a later, old, punched engraving, most probably being the name of the owner, as well as with a date: “Franz Joachim Harmsen 1784”. Franz Joachim Harmsen was a German-Baltic merchant in Courland/Kurzeme (today Latvia). He was born in 1762 was in Liepāja since 1788 merchant and citizen. Since 1790, he was city elder (in German “Stadtältester“) of the Great Guild. In 1803, he moved to Riga where he died in 1819.
Liepāja was a sea and trading town in Courland being the only city of this region where the merchant class was eligible to have council competency. The engraving of the owner on the bottom of this beaker serves thus as an interesting material testimony of the activities of the merchants in the harbor city of Liepāja, but also of the representative function of objects made of silver.
The mark „IWM“ belongs to the maker Johann Michael Winkelmann or Johann Michael Wecker, as it is mentioned in Rosenberg. Johann Michael Winkelmann became a master maker in 1690 and is mentioned until 1724. Johann Michael Wecker became a master maker in 1716 and is mentioned until 1743 or 1749. In Rosenberg, there are several vessels from these two makers mentioned.
Rosenberg, Marc, Der Goldschmiede Merkzeichen (Band 2): Deutschland D – M, Frankfurt a.M.: Frankfurter Verl.-Anst., 1923
Holzhausen, Walter, Goldschmiedekunst in Dresden: Prachtgefäße, Geschmeide, Kabinettstücke, Tübingen: Verlag Ernst Wasmuth, 1966
Zu Franz Joachim Harmsen: http://genealogie.libau-kurland-baltikum.de/Harmsen-1/harmsen-1.html (last visit: 20.4.2017)