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Adam and Eve

  • Object:

    Powder flask

  • Place of origin:

    Austria (or South Germany, made)

  • Date:

    ca. 1600 (made)

  • Artist/Maker:

    Unknown

  • Materials and Techniques:

    Carved staghorn with silver-gilt mounts

  • Museum number:

    234-1854

  • Gallery location:

    Medieval & Renaissance, Room 62, The Foyle Foundation Gallery, case 7

This flask formed part of a garniture of firearms similarly decorated and probably made for display rather than use. It is carved in relief with Adam and Eve on either side of the tree of Life. Behind the root of the tree is the figure of a stag. The figures of Adam and Eve are derived from an engraving of 1504 after Dürer (1471-1528). The quartered arms, accompanied by the initials I.Z.W., are probably those of a member of the zu Welsberg family, of the Tyrol (quarterly argent and sable). The eagle displayed near the bottom is also probably that of the Tyrol. The flask is therefore likely to be Austrian, or perhaps South German. The use of the Dürer engraving as a source for the figures implies that this piece dates to the time of the Dürer revival in the early seventeenth century.

Physical description

Carved in relief with Adam and Eve on either side of tree of Life. The back is plain, the background is gilded, the mounts silver gilt. Behind the root of the tree is the figure of a stag; at the top is a coat of arms with the letters I.Z.W.; Below are figures of a merman and a mermaid, and an eagle, which may be a heraldic device. The background of the figures appears to have traces of gilding. At the sides are two male herms with their arms crossed; the back is unworked.

Place of Origin

Austria (or South Germany, made)

Date

ca. 1600 (made)

Artist/maker

Unknown

Materials and Techniques

Carved staghorn with silver-gilt mounts

Marks and inscriptions

'I.Z.W.'
in the coat of arms

Dimensions

Height: 27 cm whole, Width: 12 cm, Depth: 5.8 cm, Weight: 0.52 kg, Height: 17.9 cm horn alone

Object history note

Acquired in London in 1854.
The figures of Adam and Eve derived from an engraving of 1504 by Albrecht Dürer (1471-1528). The use of the Dürer engraving as a source for the figures implies that this piece dates to the time of the Dürer revival in the early seventeenth century. Because the family for whom this powder flask was almost certainly made was Tyrolean, it is likely to be Austrian, or perhaps South German.

Historical context note

This flask, which is decorated with the arms of the Welpsberg family of Tyrol, formed part of a garniture of firearms similarly decorated and probably made for display rather than use.

Descriptive line

Powder Flask, carved staghorn with silver gilt mounts, with Adam and Eve, Austria (Tyrol) or South German, ca. 1600

Bibliographic References (Citation, Note/Abstract, NAL no)

Longhurst, Margaret H. Catalogue of Carvings in Ivory. Part II. London: Victoria and Albert Museum, 1929, p. 87, and ill. plate LXXV
Inventory of Art Objects Acquired in the Year 1854. In: Inventory of the Objects in the Art Division of the Museum at South Kensington, Arranged According to the Dates of their Acquisition. Vol I. London: Printed by George E. Eyre and William Spottiswoode for H.M.S.O., 1868, p. 26
Kuhn, Dr. Exhibition Catalogue: Katalog für die Ausstellung der Werke älterer Meister. Part II: Katalog der Kunst und Kunstindustrie-Ausstellung alter und neuer deutscher Meister. Munich, 1876, p. 101
Patterson, Angus. Fashion and Armour in Renaissance Europe. Proud Lookes and Brave Attire. London, V&A Publishing, 2009. ISBN 9781851775811 (hbk.)
p. 392
Trusted, Marjorie, Baroque & Later Ivories, Victoria & Albert Museum, London, 2013
Trusted, Marjorie, Baroque & Later Ivories, Victoria & Albert Museum, London, 2013, p. 392, cat. no. 385

Production Note

Carved in relief with Adam and Eve on either side of the tree of Life. Behind the root of the tree is the figure of a stag. The figures of Adam and Eve are derived from an engaving after Dürer. The quartered arms, accompanied by the initials I.Z.W., are probably those of a member of the zu Welsberg family, of the Tyrol (quarterly argent and sable). The eagle displayed near the bottom is also probably that of the Tyrol. This flask formed part of a garniture of firearms similarily decorated and probably made for display rather than use.

Materials

Staghorn; Silver-gilt

Techniques

Carving; Relief; Gilded

Subjects depicted

Eagle; Merman; Coat of arms; Mermaid; Figures; Tree; Stag

Categories

Christianity; Containers; Myths & Legends; Sculpture; Sport; Tools & Equipment; Religion

Collection

Sculpture Collection

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