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…
A cylindrical pierced and engraved silver marriage casket raised on three plain bun feet. The flat cover has a central medallion with a Frisian accollee coat-of-arms surrounded by a pierced winged angel’s head, two women’s heads wearing flowers in their hair, two pelican-like birds and a grotteschi. The sides of the casket are pierced and engraved with scrolling bands and various figures, including a naked woman with a fish tail, various heads, a wrapped baby and egret, a bird and a snake. The smooth base is engraved with a decorative band around the feet and is struck with the maker’s mark.
Jan Melchers Oostervelt (circa 1583-1667) obtained his master’s proof in 1611. In 1623 he was granted the title ‘iron-cutter of the mint’ before becoming ‘warden of the mint’ in 1638. A warden tested the alloy and silver standard of the coins.
For the decoration of this exceptional marriage casket Oostervelt used an ornament print by the well-known engraver Han Janssen. This print, with the theme ‘earth’, belongs to a series of the four elements.
Private collection, The Netherlands
Jan Melchers Oostervelt, Leeuwarden, circa 1630
height 54 mm.