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Swedish Silver - The Late Baroque (circa 1700-1720)

[Silver In The Middle Ages (circa 1050-1520)]  [The Renaissance (circa 1520-1650)]  [The Baroque (circa 1650-1700)]  [The Late Baroque (circa 1700-1720)]  [Period Of Fredrik I (circa 1720-1750)]  [The Rococo (circa 1750-1775)]  [The Gustavian Era (circa 1775-1810)]  [Empire (circa 1810-1830)]  [The Period Of Eclecticism (circa 1830-1895)]  [The Jugend Style Or L'Art Nouveau (circa 1895-1910)]  [Modern Developments]  [Silver Marks]  [More Articles On Silver] 

( Originally Published 1951 )

At the beginning of the eighteenth century, the French feeling prevailed, although there were still traces of the German Baroque. Many articles also had reached such perfection of form and decoration that they were not further influenced. Then what might be described as a "classical chastening of the baroque" appeared in the designs of Jean Brain, Daniel Marot, and others.

The magnificent candelabra, which was designed by Petter Henning for the Cathedral in Stockholm in 1702, reveals both German and French Baroque influences. A new definitely French type of candlestick for one candle was introduced in 1701. It was usually made with a very low, octagon-shaped base, a baluster stem, and a relatively high holder, as in the pair by Christopher Richter (1689-1708) of Stockholm. These do not carry a year mark, but were probably made at the beginning of the century. On the smooth upper surface of the base a simple "Berain-braid" is engraved, but it is another characteristic motif of the time that dominates, the gadroon border, named for the round French pleat or godroh used on ruffs and ruchings. Sometimes these pleats were uniform, sometimes alternately wide and narrow.

Coffee and tea were introduced at the Swedish court about 1700 and in the next twenty years became very popular. However, when silversmiths received orders to make vessels for the new beverages, they had no traditions to go on. They therefore used foreign designs for tea and coffee services, and these, perhaps more than any other articles of silver, show French influence.

A teapot made by Johan Nutzel (1676-1715) Of Stockholm for Queen Hedvig Eleonora in 1699 was, according to available records, the first of its kind to be made in Sweden. It has not been preserved, and little is known about its design. In the Lobe treasure, however, is included a handsome teapot marked 1707. It was made by the Stockholm master smith, Johan Schenck (1697-1710). The decoration is typical of the times: an embossed acanthus and ribbon ornament on the upper part, a fluted border around the base.

Some years later, Andreas Wall (1720-1764) designed one of the most beautiful teapots of this period. It was his masterpiece, and was shown to the Silversmith's Guild in the capital on October 4, 1720. It is now in the Hallwyl Museum. The piece is richly decorated and formed with skill and imagination. Scrollwork and scenes from the Metamorphosis by Ovid blend with ribbon ornamentation.By 1705, silversmiths were turning out one masterpiece after another in tea and coffee services. In this late baroque period, many small octagonal or round boxes and chests were also made and decorated in the earlier lavish style. The new restraint was, however, expressed by Petter Bernegau 1706-1733) of Stockholm, in a covered oval box resting on four lion's paws. On the cover is a symmetrical ribbon-andleaf design; and on the sides, tiers of gadroons.

Chased trays remained popular and continued to be made in large numbers. The ornate German Baroque style prevailed, and the trays, if anything more lavish than before, were the only articles made in this otherwise outmoded style. Dramatic scenes were surrounded by wide, intricately designed frames covered with fanciful bird and fruit motifs, and other still lifes. Sometimes there were also narrow gadroon borders or Berain-braids, as on a tray from 1705 by the Gothenburg master, Hans Sprinckborn (1693-1715).

The taste for purer forms and simple decoration, which appeared toward the end of the seventeenth century, grew steadily after i7oo. Tankards were almost always left smooth and plain. Contrast was provided by spherical feet and an engraved cover, as in the piece by Johan Wallman (1712-1739). It is marked in Varberg 1719. The engraved scale motif an the handle may be considered the signature of this craftsman.

Even large, round bowls were ornamented only on handles and footrests. In 1703 an anonymous Stockholm silversmith designed a bowl with an embedded silver horseshoe. The shoe, made by Petter Henning, had been lost by the horse which King Karl XII rode, at his coronation on December 14, 1697.

Goblets and cups of the period were also very plain, although not so simply designed as the pieces in the royal gift to the Czar. Usually there was a narrow gadroon border around the base, an undulating line at rim and base, and sometimes an engraved monogram in a calligraphic style.

In unaffected style is a group of square candlesticks which were a popular type from about 1685 to 1715. Such a holder was designed in 1707 by the Stockholm master, Donat Feiff the Younger (1682-1717). The square base and columnar shaft are characteristic English and Dutch designs.

The so-called Renaissance spoon, of 1550 to 1700, had as its prototype the medieval spoon but with an engraved pattern. In a degenerate form it remained in vogue well into the eighteenth century. In the early 1700s, the modern spoon appeared with oval bowl and flat handle. In its earliest form, it had a reinforcing ridge underneath the bowl, and was known as the "rattail" spoon.

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