A Magnificent Viennese Enamel Centrepiece
Vienna, circa 1870, Hermann Böhm
Copper with polychrome painted enamel decoration, the stem and base silver, partially gold-plated also with polychrome painted enamel decoration. Pointed oval shaped bowl and domed oval shaped foot, faceted column stem, flanked by two hippocampi and two sea monsters tamed by putti, sexfoil foot mount. Official hallmark of Vienna "A" (R. 7863), masters mark "HB" (Neuwirth, 1976, vol. I., p. 60, no. 12, p. 116). Minor restoration, minor damage. Height 34.5 cm. The inner and outer walls of the bowl and the foot painted in polychrome enamel: white bordered oval cartouches with mythological scenes - Bacchus and Bacchantes, Europe and the bull, Pan and Syrinx, Mercury and Cupid, the Ring of Polycrates, Cupid and Psyche (and others), surrounded by scrolled grottesque decoration with putti, birds and mythical creatures on gold-coloured ground. The underside of the foot with black scrolled decoration on white ground. The stem supported on each end by platforms with pierced and engraved scroll decoration and putti heads, the foot mount with pierced and engraved scroll decoration, female busts, angel and ram heads and also set with almandines. Hermann Böhm , alongside Hermann Ratzersdorfer (gold and silverware factory, founded 1866), was one of the best-known Viennese manufacturers of precious gold and silverware with semi-precious stones and enamel in the late 19th Century (Mundt, 1981, pp. 318-321). He not only created "art objects in gold, silver, enamel, rock crystal and lapis lazuli" but also "jewellery in the antique style" and "enamel and antique imitations", which were exported to "England, Belgium, France, Italy, Switzerland and America". He took part in the Vienna World Fair in 1873 ("Tournament shield with weapons in antique style, various rococo pieces, and other jewellery in Limoges enamel") where he was awarded a medal of merit (Neuwirth 1976, p. 116). Literature: Neuwirth, Waltraud, Lexikon Wiener Gold- und Silberschmiede und ihre Punzen 1867 - 1922. Vienna 1976. - Mundt, Barbara, Historismus. Munich 1981, p. 318 - 321.