A ‘Signed’ Brass Candlestick

A ‘Signed’ Brass Candlestick

Finely made and very well preserved, this handsome table candlestick is clearly inspired by a model spread in Germany since the second half of the 16th century: a bell-shaped base – cast in one piece together with an upper drip tray – and a shaft, screwed into the base, with one predominant knob of lidded goblet form, running into a small discoid knob and ending in a large socket with a fine disc moulding at the bottom and a large rim at the top. The base is richly pierced and engraved with leafy scrolls and flowers; the drip tray and the goblet’s lid are engraved with garlands and vegetal motifs. A very similar decorative treatment can be found in a ‘Pair of brass table candlesticks’ belonging to the Victoria and Albert Museum collections (V&A Museum nr. 2074-1855).

Stephan Schirmer, TABLE CANDLESTICK, Engraved and pierced brass, Germany - Nuremberg, 1600 circa Works of Art, antiques, candlestick, brass, engraved, Stephan Schirmer, Nuremberg, baroque

The piece is absolutely unique and rare, not only because of the fine piercing of the base but also because of the presence on the base rim of an identified maker’s mark corresponding to the name of a certain Stephan Schirmer, a Nuremberg brass-maker, who became Master in 1593 (H.P.Lockner, Die Merkzeichen der Nürnberger Rotschmiede, Deutscher Kunstverlag, 1981, n°405, pag. 68).
As far as we know, in only one European city – Nuremberg – between the late Middle Ages and the 18th century, was such an important and established guild of brassware makers born and developed – the so-called Nürnberger Rotschmiede – so important and authoritative that members were obliged to ‘sign’ each piece made in their single workshop, with a personal maker’s mark, as a proof of the quality and authenticity of the product, which was often destined for exportation.
As known, during the 16th and 17th century – after a deeply-rooted medieval tradition – many hundreds of workshops were active in Nuremberg, highly specialized in different craft activities: arms and armour, prints and books, religious and civil jewellery, musical instruments, ironwork, scientific instruments, clocks, brassware and many other articles.
This elegant table candlestick can therefore be considered a remarkable example of that important brassworking Nuremberg tradition – well-documented between the 16th and the 18th century through the archives related to the Nürnberger Rotschmiede – for which the city was most highly prized all over the Europe.

Stephan Schirmer
Engraved and pierced brass
Germany (Nuremberg)
1600 circa
H. cm 24; diameter cm 16,5

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