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London International Exhibition of 1862 by Ludwig Friedrich Jakob Lautz, Signed and dated 1857
Ludwig Friedrich Jakob Lautz (German, 1823-99)
Signed and dated 1857
Covered cup and cover in carved ivory, gilt-metal liner
h 23.5 " w 7.0 " d 6.75 "
SIGNED WITH INITIALS ON SLEEVE LFJL AND DATED1857 59.7 x 18 x 17.2 cm
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This fine and intricately executed cup is a masterpiece of ivory carving and certainly must be one of the most significant objects produced in this medium in the 19th century. It was exhibited at the London International Exhibition of 1862 and is illustrated by Waring, op.cit. Vol II, plate 110 where it was described as being "of most remarkable workmanship...carved with a copy of Sir Edwin Landseer's (1802-73) "Deerstalkers" round the body of the cup." While the extremely high relief scene is imbued with all of the characteristics of Landseer, there does not seem to be a painting by Landseer that has come to light with this title or identical scene. There are, however, many similarities in the subject matter with a work by Landseer entitled "The Death of a Hart in Glen Tilt" of 1824-30, in the collection of the Duke of Atholl at Blair Castle, see Jackson-Stops, op.cit, p. 602.
In using a very familiar German form found primarily in silver design, that of the "PokaV\ Lautz has very skillfully married the past with a style and taste that was briefly in vogue in mid-19th century Britain, derived from the culture of the Scottish Highlands (or Scottish Baronial). The interest in Scotland was in large measure spurred on by the historical novels of Sir Walter Scott and Queen Victoria and Prince Albert, who visited the picturesque highlands frequently and eventually built Balmoral Castle (completed 1856), with interior decoration partly inspired by the Highlands. Landseer was a leading visual exponent of this sporting culture, with much of his work depicting figures out in the wilderness either hunting or hiking and dressed in bonnets and kilts, mostly in paintings but also in his designs for the decorative arts, see Jackson-Stops, op.cit., pp. 610-611.
Lautz was forced to leave his native Germany due to the upheavals of the revolutions of 1848 and settled in London where, at the Great Exhibition of 1851, he exhibited an ivory cup inspired by a painting by Wilhelm von Kaulbach, for which he received an honourable mention by Queen Victoria. The present whereabouts of this cup are unknown. After brief stays in Brussels and Paris he returned to Germany in 1854, where he participated in the first German Industrial Exhibition in Munich, where he won a medal for his ivories. One can only presume that Lautz was aware of the Royal family's interest in Scotland and the contemporary building of Balmoral, which was being furnished at about the same time this cup was being made. Apparently so because it is stylistically in keeping with the Queen's tastes, and this tour de force may have been produced with the intention of once again capturing her attention; perhaps it was in the hope that she may acquire it for her personal collection.
International Exhibition 1862, London.
Waring, J.B. Masterpieces of Industrial Art, Vol. II, Plate 110.
Ritchie, Carson I.A. Modern Ivory Carving, 1972, p. 112. In a brief description of this cup, the author writes that one of the figures is depicting Prince Albert, and the hunting scenes are copied by paintings of Sir Edwin Landseer. The illustration is an engraving taken from the Illustrated London News.
Gervase Jackson-Stops, The Treasure Houses of Britain, Exhibition Catalogue, National Gallery of Art,Washington,1985.
P.W. Hartmann, Elfenbeinkunst, 1998-1999, p. 238.
Ivory, An International History and Illustrated Survey, Harry Abrams Inc., publishers, New York, 1987, p. 138