Tuesday, January 29, 2013

The Abduction of Ganymede

A very special pipe depicting a theme from mythology: the abduction of Ganymede. 

The Trojan prince Ganymede (Greek: Γανυμήδης, Ganymēdēs) was held to be outstandingly beautiful. 

Jupiter fell violently in love with him and desired him as a cup-bearer at the banquet of the gods. 

Transforming himself into an eagle he carried off the youth to Olympus, where Ganymede took over the office of cup-bearer from Hebe, the goddess of youth and daughter of Juno. 

In this carver's interpretation, rather than the traditional eagle, a vulture is the abductor.

8" l., ca. 1880. (In a private collection)

Following Homer, Plato and Virgil, the myth of Ganymede inspired many famous sculptors, painters and poets over the centuries.

Rilievo romano con Ratto di Ganimede, del I secolo d.C., conservato a Firenze.

The Abduction of Ganymede by Pieter Pauwel Rubens, 1611-12. Location: Schwarzenberg Palace, Vienna.

Ganymed in den Fängen des Adlers, The Abduction of Ganymede by Rembrandt Harmenszoon van Rijn, 1635, Gemäldegalerie Alte Meister,
Dresden, Germany

Ganymede, by
Henry Oliver Walker ( 1843 - 1929 ) American painter and muralist.
Library of Congress Jefferson Building

Sunday, January 20, 2013

Battle of Sadowa (Königgrätz)

This streamlined, 14" long, intricately detailed, cheroot holder exhibits the deft hand of a true craftsman!

The frenetic battle scene depicts the Battle of Sadowa between Prussian and Austrian forces in northern Bohemia during the "Seven Years" War.

The Battle of Sadowa/Königgrätz, July 3, 1866, lithograph by Christian Sell (1831–1883)

On the side of Austria and Emperor Franz Joseph,

stood the southern German states (including Bavaria and Württemberg), some central German states (including Saxony), and Hanover in the north.

On the side of Prussia and Kaizer Wilhelm I,


were Italy, most northern German states, and some smaller central German states.

Prussian Cavalry charging against Austrian Cavalrymen,1866, by Alexander Ritter von Bensa (1820-1902), Heeresgeschichtliches Museum Wien

Eventually, the better-armed Prussian troops won the crucial victory at the battle of Königgrätz under Helmuth von Moltke the Elder, now regarded as one of the great strategists of the latter 19th century.

Generalfeldmarschall Helmuth Karl Bernhard von Moltke, Albumin,
Kunstverlag der Photographischen Gesellschaft Berlin

Thus Austria lost the decades-long struggle with Prussia for dominance of Germany. 

The pipe depicts the Austrian cavalry standard by a Prussian officer and three dragoons. It has been preserved with loving care and has survived the ravages of time. According to company records, Alfred Dunhill purchased this pipe in 1920, 

Store front on Duke Street, St. Jame's London, 1907

and it was sold by Christie's, South Kensington, London, in 2006, when the Dunhill Museum antique pipe collection was dispersed. This is, unquestionably, a prized centerpiece in a very lucky private owner's collection!

This holder is prominently illustrated on the dust jacket of the book, "Collecting Antique Meerschaums. Miniature to Majestic Sculpture: 1850-1925."