DescriptionAn Imperial Prussian Hermann Julius Wilm Silver and Cut-Glass Centerpiece, with Cypher of Queen Augusta, Wife of Kaiser Wilhelm I, Berlin, Germany, circa 1865
Marks: (standing bear), C, 14 LOTH, WILM
16-1/2 inches high x 15 inches wide (41.9 x 38.1 cm)
330.67 troy ounces
PROPERTY FROM THE COLLECTION OF CAROLYN AND STARKE TAYLOR, DALLAS
Koopman & Son, London, England;
Acquired from above, 1984.
The centerpiece surmounted by removable crystal and silver bowls, crystal bowl with bright-cut coiled snake around perimeter with guilloche-style cut base, silver bowl with figural cast and raised relief grape, leaf, and scrollwork applied to rim, removed to reveal flared secondary collar and wine cooler liner, rim of body with bold scrollwork and chasing to surface, obverse with figural Prussian Reichsadler (eagle with crown) mount, wings outstretched with talons gripping scrolled ledge, flanked by grape vines, leaves, and bunches, faux reticulated banding to Bacchanalian figurehead between two convex ovoid cartouches within pebbled and foliate frames, full-figured bacchanalian handles of semi-nude woman embracing adult mountain lion and cub perched on her arm drinking from vessel, the other with full-figured man clad in fur clothing wrestling with mountain lion and two cubs, reverse with cast and applied monogram A surmounted by crown, below to cartouches and figurehead, terminating on figured base with large scrolled shell feet encircled by sweeping leaves and waterfalls.
Notes: There are marks to a scrolled foot on the base for Hermann Julius Wilm (1812-1907). Wilm was a premier jeweler and later decorations maker for the Prussian military in Berlin and made several items for the Prussian Imperial Crown during his lifetime. One of his more notable works is a silver model of "Victory," bestowed upon Wilhelm I and his wife upon the king's silver jubilee in 1886. This piece predates 1886, as the Prussian government enacted a law which abolished the use of individual marks on silver items. Silversmiths were instructed to use the national mark (reichsmark) of a crescent moon and crown mark, which represented the entire German state. These marks would be used in conjunction with the stamped numerical purity of the item. In the 19th century, Germany and Austria-Hungary used the Lothige system of silver purity denoting measurements of 15,14,13, and 12 equating to .9375, .875, .8125, and .750 fineness.
Good condition, numerous chips to underside and rim of crystal bowl, rim separation and pin dents to removable bottle liner, pin dents to cartouches, some mounts with movement, some scratching to interior of removable top bowl from contact with crystal bowl, otherwise displaying scratches and wear commensurate with age and use.
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