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Bringing the wider world to a princely court

Attributed to Johann Gottfried Frisch (active 1689-1716)

Cup and cover c.1700 with later additions

Ivory, silver gilt, emeralds, rubies, turquoises | 49.8 x 16.6 x 20.2 cm | RCIN 50554

Lantern Lobby, Windsor Castle

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detail of ivory cup


This superb example of virtuoso ivory carving suggests a princely patron. The artist has paid close attention to the musculature of the Hercules figure, the variations in fur, leaf and skin, and the minutest details of the plants and animals. The ivory carver is not known but he may have worked in the court of Vienna. The original chased silver-gilt mounts were evidently too plain for George IV's increasingly flamboyant tastes and in 1824 Rundell's added 'a new silver chased rim […] set with coloured stones to raise the cover', and extended the foot. The latter may have been a practical consideration to increase the stability of a top-heavy object, but no opportunity was lost by Rundell's to add jewelled mounts to the piece.