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tline3open  creamer with unknown marks

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Author Topic:   creamer with unknown marks
akgdc

Posts: 289
Registered: Sep 2001

iconnumber posted 03-27-2005 08:42 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for akgdc     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Here is a creamer that apparently dates to the middle of the 19th century. It's of hand-raised construction with applied die-rolled banding.

The marks should be easy ones -- nice and crisp and official-looking -- but they've got me stumped. The form is also somewhat unusual and hard for me to place.

The Mercury head mark is repeated just below the lip of the pitcher.

The style of the delicately executed monogram is unusual, too ... it seems to suggest that we are not in Germany, anyway.



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blakstone

Posts: 493
Registered: Jul 2004

iconnumber posted 03-28-2005 12:05 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for blakstone     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
This is only idle (but not, I'd like to think, uninformed) speculation, but the "crowned F" I have seen at least once before on a piece that was unquestionably mid-19th century Swiss: Bern, to be exact. (Not the same maker, though.)

Mid-19th century Swiss marks I confess to be my bête noir - between Napoléon and the French-style marks introduced in 1883 there is an absolute dearth of information. (Even correspondence with the Swiss Assay Office has resulted in the response that each Canton was on its own and so are you, bub.)

But I agree with you and feel confident that the piece isn't German. And you can pretty much rule out every other European country, . . . well, because I'm familiar enough with their marks to do so. (Though pride goeth before, etc.)

The one exception might be Faro, Portugal, whose city mark was a crowned F. The mark here, however, does not resemble any known Portuguese mark with which I am familiar. Stylistically, too, I doubt that this item can be Portuguese.

One last point: is the maker's mark "AuC"? If so, this could be "A und C", in keeping with the Swiss theory. (Probably then, two surnames, not "& Co." - which would be "Firma" in German - but in neither case the French "et Cie.")

Hmmm . . .

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swarter
Moderator

Posts: 2920
Registered: May 2003

iconnumber posted 03-28-2005 12:27 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for swarter     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
You should be able to rule out the non-German speaking Cantons, should you not?

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Arg(um)entum

Posts: 304
Registered: Apr 2002

iconnumber posted 03-28-2005 02:10 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Arg(um)entum     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Berne it is!

Darn it, the fellow on the right looked familiar but I couldn't think where I had seen him. Now that you jogged my memory: there it is, or at least a piece of the answer. Five weeks ago, being short of time and frustrated, I bought a book that turned out a bit disappointing such that I put it away. It deals with some church silver and more pewter than I realized (and care for).

So, the fellow on the right appears on a plate attributed to Georg Adam Rehfuss, 1st Half 19C. The marks for the piece are given as drawings and include besides that fellow also a second head, this one facing left plus a crowned 'F' in a similar shape as the one on the creamer; the crown is of a different design though.

There is a second piece illustrated, a very nice ewer. It has the crowned 'F' matching the one on the creamer, the left facing head of the plate, doesn't have the fellow on your creamer, but it shows a 'R&C' in a rectangle similar to the creamer. This ewer is attributed to Rehfuss & Cie, Berne, 1838.

The ewer also shares some design elements with the creamer: the soaring handle (though more elaborate), a slight similarity of the decoration on the foot and a vertically oriented decorative band towards the top.


Very nice acquisition - congratulations!.

[This message has been edited by Arg(um)entum (edited 03-28-2005).]

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blakstone

Posts: 493
Registered: Jul 2004

iconnumber posted 03-28-2005 02:53 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for blakstone     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Of course: "R&C" for Rehfues & Cie. Once I made the Berne connection, I should have seen that right off. They were one of the largest Swiss manufacturers in the 19th C. Thanks, Arg(um)entum, for taking the ball and running with it!

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Arg(um)entum

Posts: 304
Registered: Apr 2002

iconnumber posted 03-28-2005 03:24 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Arg(um)entum     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Interesting that you spell the name 'Rehfues' which is the way I thought I had always seen it in auction listings. Yet this book (in french) spells it 'Rehfuss' which from a german language angle makes sense. I wonder if there was a name change somewhere along the line. Does your inexhaustible library shed any light on this?
TIA!

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akgdc

Posts: 289
Registered: Sep 2001

iconnumber posted 03-28-2005 11:46 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for akgdc     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Wow, now I have seen it all. First, you guys slashed through the impenetrable thickets of Hamburg assayers' marks, and now you delve into the even more terrifying heart of darkness that is 19th-century Swiss silver.

Bravo. There are certainly some amazing people in these Forums.

Blakstone, I hope you are planning (seriously) to publish a book one of these days that will supplant Tardy.

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