An important silver and agate box. Josef Hoffmann, Wiener Werkstätte 1911
Josef Hoffmann ( Pirnitz 1870-1956 Vienna) was one of the founders of the Vienna Secession, an artists’ group…
An embossed oval silver box with domed hinged cover, raised on four bifurcated feet. The cover’s flat plain rim extends slightly over the box. The cover is embossed in high relief with a scene of a mother with three children, one sitting on her lap and one on each side. The child on the right holds a sling in his right hand, while his left is swung around a lamb’s neck. The child on the left offers a bowl of fruit while another basket of fruit stands at their feet. On the left two doves sit beside a tree, the background is embossed with further trees and a house is engraved on the right. This pastoral scene depicts Mary with the children as Caritas.
The border of the cover is decorated with various flowers and leaves and finely stippled branches. The sides of the box are embossed with a pair of cherubs amongst scrolling flowers. The decoration of this box is a fine example of the abundant Dutch flower-style from the third quarter of the seventeenth century.
Claes Schoon’s date of birth is unknown, but we know that he died in Amsterdam in 1702. In 1663 he was registered as an associate of Casparus Waterloo. Casparus was a son of the painter and engraver Anthonie van Waterloo. Three years later Schoon acquired the citizenship of the city of Amsterdam and established himself as an independent silversmith. Around 1666 he married Femmetje Jans Bris, the daughter of the taylor Jan Jans Bris.
Only a few pieces of Schoon are known. The Rijksmuseum in Amsterdam owns two salts by his hand. In a beautifully embossed dish of Schoon, also from 1666, the flower-style is used in combination with cherubs (Frederiks Vol I no. 202).
In the literature it is mentioned that Schoon produced small silver. However, knowing at least three important silver objects- the salts, the dish and this box, it may be concluded that Claes Schoon is a more than able producer of larger silver objects.
Private collection, The Netherlands
Claes Claesz. Schoon, Amsterdam, 1666
h. 9 cm, d. 12,9, d. 16,6 cm