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Mayer, Johann Daniel
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Mayer, Johann Daniel

Augsburgo, 1662, 1675

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1662 - 1675. Aquamarine, Amethyst, Zircon, Emerald, Gold, Silver gilt, Ruby, Topaz, Turquoise, Sapphire, Polychrome jasper agatatized, White beryl. Room 079B

The vessel is made up of five parts of multicoloured jasper, possibly from Bohemia, and five mounts of silver gilt, enamelled gold and precious stones. The body is made up of a deep scallop shell carved with gadroons and a flat cover, also gadrooned, decorated with a mount with overlays of enamelled sprays of polychrome flowers enriched with rubies and diamonds. Similar but narrower mounts surround the stem, whose knop is decorated with elongated ovals. The foot is another inverted scallop shell, with a mount as broad as that on the lip, decorated with turquoises, amethysts, sapphires and topazes. Inspired by models from the Miseroni workshop, there are similar pieces thought to have been made in Germany, but without covers, at the Museo degli Argenti in Florence, Rosenborg Castle in Denmark, the Grünes Gewölbe in Dresden, and the Musée du Louvre and the Musée d’Histoire Naturelle in Paris.

The 1689 Versailles inventory states that it had forty-one stones decorating its mounts. Thirty-two remained in 1839, and only thirty survive today. At the apex of the piece was an enamelled figure of Neptune riding a dolphin that guided the snail. It can be seen on the photographs taken before it was stolen in 1918 along with many of the mounts.

The mount is inspired by French engravings, and especially the series of François Le Febvre (act. 1635-57), published in 1635 and 1657, and the engravings of Jacques Vauquer (1621-86) between 1631 and 1686. The figures are contemporary with the piece, since the enamelling on the snail is the same as that used for the flowers, and the jasper shell belongs to the same vein as the bowl, indicating that the cup was designed together with the cover and the figures. The mounts are very similar to those of O119, another piece of German origin in the Dauphin’s Treasure.

The Museo del Prado has the photograph by Juan Laurent y Minier: Grand vase en jaspe fleuri, montures d’or émail et pierres précieuses, règne de Louis XIII , c. 1879. Museo del Prado, HF0835/22 (L. Arbeteta, in press).

Technical data

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Case for shell-shaped jasper bowl with a snail on the cover
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Inventory number
Mayer, Johann Daniel
1662 - 1675
Chased; Enamelled; Carved
Aquamarine; Amethyst; Zircon; Emerald; Gold; Silver gilt; Ruby; Topaz; Turquoise; Sapphire; Polychrome jasper agatatized; White beryl
Height: 23.4 cm.; Width: 19.7 cm.; Base/bottom: 13.7 cm.; Weight: 1044 g.; Ancho base: 12.5 cm.; Bottom of the base: 9.8 cm.
Tesoro del Delfín
Royal Collection

Bibliography +

Angulo Íñiguez, Diego, Catálogo de las Alhajas del Delfín, Museo del Prado, Madrid, 1989 (ed.rev), pp. 98-99.

Arbeteta Mira, Letizia, El tesoro del Delfín: alhajas de Felipe V recibidas por herencia de su padre Luis, Gran Delfín de Francia, Museo Nacional del Prado, Madrid, 2001, pp. 132-133.

Arbeteta, L. Azcue, L., El Tesoro del Delfín, Museo Nacional del Prado, 2018, 2018.

Other inventories +

Agates, cristaux, procelaines, bronzes, et autres curiositez qui sont dans le Cabinet de Monseigneur le Dauphin a Versailles. Núm. 11.

Inv. Felipe V, La Granja, Tesoro del Delfín, 1746. Núm. 16.

Inv. Gabinete Historia Natural, 1776. Núm. 53.
Vaso hechura de concha...

Inv. Real Museo, 1857. Núm. 53.
Alhajas y efectos preciosos que se hallaban colocados en el Gabinete de Historia natural y trasladados al Real Museo de Pintura y Escultura de S. M., en virtud de Rl. orden de 11 de Mayo de 1839 [...] 53. Un vaso hechura de concha con su base y tapa y pie de piedra Diáspero, guarnecida dicha base, tapa y pie de plata dorada, y sobrepuestas unas piezas de oro, sin dos que le faltan, unas flores, cartones y cintas esmaltado de relieves de colores: en la concha su Delfin de oro tambien esmaltado, y encima de el un Neptuno de plata dorada, y en la tapa un caracol de oro esmaltado de colores, en la cascara de dicha piedra sobrepuestos cuatro engastes de oro, y en ella cinco rubies, cuatro Zafiros, cinco esmeraldas, un crisolita, tres amatistas una de ellas blanca, dos Jacintos, un granate y[..]

There are no temporary exhibitions related to this work

Location +

Room 079B (On Display)

Update date: 26-06-2020 | Registry created on 26-11-2015

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