Bamberger Kunst und Antiquitäten GbR

The 25th Bamberg Art and Antiques Fair takes place from 24 July to 24 August 2020 in the World Cultural Heritage of Bamberg.

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Writing case of Carl Philipp of Greiffenclau

Probably Mainz, around 1725

On this double-locking, walnut-veneered cassette with an inner lid, the lush brass fittings are most eye-catching. Their engravings are filled with red and green composition, prefiguring an elaborate enameling. The plaque with the handle in the center of the lid shows the coat of arms of Carl Philipp Baron of Greiffenclau zu Vollrads (1690-1754), later Prince-Bishop (1749-1754) of Würzburg, and is inscribed: “CARL PHILIPP FREYHERR VON GREIFFENKLAU ZU VOLLRATZ”, and the lock bears the inscription: “Gemacht in G[...] Wolteræcken.” It has not yet been possible to find out more about the cabinetmaker.

Carl Philipp's parents were Johann Erwein of Greiffenclau and his first wife Anna Lioba of Sickingen. His uncle was Johann Philipp of Greiffenclau, who was Prince-Bishop of Würzburg from 1699 to 1719. He had already been a domicellar in Würzburg since 1705, then he studied in Mainz and was ordained priest in 1715. Although, he had been a member of the cathedral chapter in Würzburg since 1728, he continued to maintain ties with the archdiocese of Mainz, where he served as rector of the university from 1739-1749.

He introduced the general hymnal for the entire High Diocese of Würzburg and reformed the pharmacy and medical profession.

Carl Philipp of Greiffenclau continued Schönborn's patronage in Würzburg and, immediately after taking office, advised Balthasar Neumann again as chief building director of the Würzburg Residence.

He earned lasting renown as the commissioner of Giovanni Battista Tiepolo for the world-famous frescoes of the staircase of the Würzburg Residence. 

Height: 15.5 cm, width: 39 cm, depth: 26 cm







Monumental Brunswick Baroque cabinet from Langenstein Castle

Coniferous wood, walnut, ivory, and pewter

Brunswick, around 1730

The female allegories of the virtues patience and bravery inlaid in ivory may be considered a characteristic of richly executed Brunswick cabinets of the early 18th century. On this cabinet, they are combined with other finely executed ornamental details in engraved ivory and pewter; equally remarkable are the floral carvings engraved in the center of the pilasters. These sculptural ornaments create an aesthetic connection between the capitals of the pilasters and the wide-spreading feet carved as double lion claws. The base of the furniture with the lion claws is unique and gives the cabinet its individual, impressive identity.

The inventory 'Langenstein' has been preserved on the back of the cabinet.

Langenstein manor and castle belonged to Prince Heinrich of Prussia, brother of Frederick the Great. Prince Heinrich sold the estate and the inventory to Maria Antoinette Baroness of Branconi in 1776.

Baroness Branconi was the mistress of Hereditary Prince Karl Wilhelm of Brunswick-Wolfenbüttel.

She was considered a great and remarkable personality and was called the most beautiful woman in Germany. She had a close friendship with Johann Wolfgang von Goethe, Baroness Branconi led an open, social life in Langenstein until her death.

Later, the furniture came to the Rimpau Collection in the Gleimhaus Halberstadt, where it survived all the turmoil of war.

The cabinet is published by Andrea Schneider,

“Braunschweiger Möbel des 18. Jahrhunderts”, Brunswick 2021, page 56-56, no. K 6.

Provenance: Prince Henry of Prussia ; Maria Antoinetta Baroness of Branconi ; Rimpau Collection in the Gleimhaus Museum, Halberstadt.

Height: 240 cm, width: 245 cm, depth: 95 cm

Pomp cabinet with painted scenes from Ovid's Metamorphoses

Antwerp around 1650

Padouk veneered with ebony, red underlaid tortoise shell, inlaid with composition and fittings of gilded copper

The two-door cabinet stands on its original stand with six richly turned ebonized legs and a tortoiseshell veneered frame hiding a large shelf.

Opening the central doors, the rich pictorial program surprises with painted scenes on 16 copper plates, mostly from Ovid's Metamorphoses.

The scenes are executed in a style influenced by Peter Paul Rubens - the city's most famous artist. Antwerp became the most important European center for the production of pomp cabinets in the 17th century. It took over the role of Augsburg, which had been a leader for such luxury furniture until the 30-year war.

As usual, the two large scenes in the door are the most carefully painted, the left door depicts Fama taking Hersilia to heaven, the right door depicts Apollo/Mercury spying Aglauros, Pandrosos, and Herse, the daughters of Kekrops. Both scenes can be interpreted as allegories of peace and probably refer to the end of the 80-year war in the Netherlands in 1648.

On the drawers and the middle doors are depicted popular metamorphoses such as Pan and Syrinx, Jupiter and Callisto, Procris and Cephalus, Meleager and Atalante, and Vertumnus and Pomona.

For the most valuable cabinets, the combination of ebony veneer, wavy moldings and tortoise shell, backed with red foil to better show off the tortoise shell, is quite typical. In addition, there are small ebony panels inlaid with artful motifs in an artificial, shimmering mass that imitates colored marble or stone. This technique, which was also used elaborately in the interior, made the Antwerp cabinets particularly precious.

The small doors in the middle of the display front are decorated on the inside in the same technique as on the outside. These small doors close a so-called perspective, a small room with mirrored walls and a very refined patterned floor in bone and tortoise shell, on which a small valuable piece of art or goldsmith's work could be placed; such perspectives distinguish Antwerp art cabinets.

Art cabinets of this type spread the fame of the city of Scheldt as an art center and were the most sought-after luxury goods throughout Europe. Very few pieces of this quality have been preserved and the cabinet presented here is a particularly precious example.

It is a great pleasure that it has been preserved in this condition in private ownership.

Height: 195 cm, width: 127 cm, depth: 54 cm