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Print - Varii Generis Opera Aurifabris
  • Varii Generis Opera Aurifabris
    Birckenhultz, Paul, born 1561
  • Enlarge image

Varii Generis Opera Aurifabris

  • Object:


  • Place of origin:


  • Date:

    c. 1600

  • Artist/Maker:

    Birckenhultz, Paul, born 1561 (designer)
    Birckenhultz, Paul, born 1561 (engraver)

  • Materials and Techniques:


  • Museum number:


  • Gallery location:

    Prints & Drawings Study Room, level D, case EO, shelf 7, box A

Paul Birckenhultz’s designs make extensive use of grotesque strapwork, as is exemplified in this set of works by him from around 1600. It reflects the German artist’s interest in the relatively newley discovered tradition of ancient Roman grotesque painting, which had widely influenced design techniques in the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries.

Physical description

Frieze design with a triangular ornament attached. Vegetal arabesques throughout with two doves at the centre of the frieze holding a spiralling acanthus vine with a crown framed by two cherub heads over a larger cherub head in the centre. On either side, two ovoid features.

Place of Origin



c. 1600


Birckenhultz, Paul, born 1561 (designer)
Birckenhultz, Paul, born 1561 (engraver)

Materials and Techniques



Height: 9.4 cm cut to, Width: 13.6 cm cut to

Object history note

Birckenhultz’s series of frieze-like designs with horizontal hatching seem to have been intended for use in the decoration of cups or various types of dinnerware. Looking at a silver cup made in Germany from around the same time, it is easy to get a sense of how such designs could have been implemented. V&A inventory number 150-1872 shows an ornate vessel featuring intricate floral designs in three dimension akin to the Birckenhultz engravings shown in this series.

Descriptive line

Paul Birckenhultz (after), one from a series of six plates showing designs for tableware ornaments with flower decorations on a horizontal hatched background. German, 1600.

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

Hollstein, F.W.H. 1957. German engravings, etchings and woodcuts, ca. 1400-1700 Vol. IV, Beischlag-Brosamer. German Engravings, Etchings and Woodcuts, Ca. 1400-1700. Amsterdam: Hertzberger.

Subjects depicted

Crown; Arabesque; Doves; Cherub; Acanthus


Ornament prints


Prints, Drawings & Paintings Collection

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