Vienna, first quarter of the 19th century
wood, mother of pearl, fire-gilt bronze (ormolu)
two flames candlestick made of
fire-gilt bronze (ormolu)
two sails, each one made of
one piece of mother-of-pearl
miniature painting of a view of Vienna from
“Spinnerin am Kreuz” (Viennese stone monument)
original fire gilded wick scissors (ormolu)
Höhe 22 in.
In the first half of the 19th century, Vienna was, besides Paris and London, a center for internationally sought after mother-of-pearl works of the highest quality.
This special object in the form of a sailboat shows the incredible craftsmanship and the cooperative interaction of some of the greatest master craftsmen, such as mother-of-pearl workers, chiselers, carpenters, decorative metalworkers, gilders, etc., who assembled all the individual pieces to create a perfect piece of art.
The descriptions of the 1830 Arts and Crafts Fair in Leipzig mention a light screen made of mother-of-pearl in the form of a ship. They could be referring to this showpiece: „But in no winter have the Viennese gallantry manufacturers been more innovative, the clockmakers more diligent, the works in mother-of-pearl (mother-of-pearl being the most popular) more baroque, […] the most beautiful, but also the inexpensive clocks, tortoiseshell and mother-of-pearl works of the Viennese, […]. Newly found, a ship made of mother-of-pearl, whose sails form an artistically painted light screen for 36 thalers […]. „1 (The portal of a hunting castle was estimated at 34 thalers in 1830.)
1 Allgemeine Zeitung from 19.7.1830, Munich, no. 200, p. 362.