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A german parcel-gilt silver drinking cup in the form of the sixty-six
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Realistically cast and chased, the head detachable, collared with foil-backed table cut diamonds forming the inscription FRIDERICUS III C(URFURST) Z(U) B(RANDENBURG), on a simulated forest floor, with applied oak leaves and  detachable foot embossed and chased with acanthus, the latter inscribed and dated 1696, with a gilt jesso base, late 19th century\nUnlike the majority of animal drinking cups of the 17th century, this stag represents a real creature. It was an extraordinary specimen with 66 points to its antlers and shot by Friedrich III Elector of Brandenburg (1657-1713), on September 18th 1696, near the village of Sauen, in the district of Briesen, just to the west of Frankfurt-an-der-Oder.\nBecause of the animals size, its antlers, and because it was shot by the elector himself, the event caught the imagination; the site was marked at the time with a stone monument which still exists, it was mentioned in chronicles, and paintings and prints of the animal were made.\nAn example of the latter was executed by the Brandenburg court artist Johann Georg Wolfgang (1662-1744) (see detail). Wolfgang recorded important court events including the anointing of Friedrich III, at his coronation as Friedrich I, King in Prussia in 1701, and the successful casting of a massive cannon. In the latter engraving (see detail) the caster, Johannes Jacobi (1661-1726) is shown leaning on the cannon and pointing to the equestrian statue of Friedrich IIIs father, The Great Elector, which he cast and which was modelled by Andreas Schlüter (1661-1714)\nIt is thought that Andreas Schlüter (1664-1714), sculptor, architect and master of works to the electoral and royal court of Brandenburg/Prussia 'provided a design or modello of the Resting Deer for the Goldsmith.1 Schlüters hand in the making of the stag seems very likely given his employment as court sculptor from 1694 and the great importance of the animal to his employer the elector. It also occurred when his energies as a sculptor were not distracted by other duties, which in 1698 'were extended to include those of head architect on the Berlin Arsenal and shortly thereafter on the Electoral and subsequently Royal Stadtschloss renovation project as Ober-Baudirektor for palace contruction'; Additionally, the stone monument in Biegen erected to locate and remember the event of 18th September 1696, is also ascribed to Schlüter and bears an identical inscription to the one on the base of the stag.\nThe silver model is struck with the mark of Daniel Männlich (1625-1701) elder of the Berlin Goldsmiths guild from 1671 and official goldsmith to the electoral court from around 1676. Born in Troppau, Silesia he came from an important family of goldsmiths which included a number of Augsburg masters. He was apprenticed to his uncle after his fathers early death and completed his studies as a journeyman in Krakow, Breslau and Dresden, before moving to Berlin. It is thought that the professional relationship between Daniel Männlich and Andreas Schlüter may have begun with their collaboration over the electors stag. It culminated with the portal to the Männlich family burial vault of 1700. Modelled by Schlüter, it is considered one of his greatest achievements and is the `only known commission the sculptor executed for a Berlin middle-class patron.2\nThe inscription under the foot of the cup is reputed to be the words dictated by the Elector in his tent, on the day the deer was shot and recorded in an eye-witness account published in the local chronicle of Briesen in the Amt Odervorland.3\n''Andere Fürstenhauser warden mich beneiden und Brandenburg erfährt Anerkennung und Friedrich stand auf und rief seinen Schreiber. Dann diktierte er folgenden Text (``Other princely houses will envy me and give recognition to Brandenburg. Friedrich stood and dictated the following text)\nDiesen Hirsch hat in der Brunfft Zeit, mit Eigener Hand geschoßen der Durchlauchtigste Gross Mächtigste Fürst und Herr HERR FRIDERICH der DRITTE, Marg Graff und Chur-Fürst zu Bran:denburg: Im Ambte Biegen auff der Jacobsdorff Heÿde, Den 18 Septembr. Ao:1696. Hatgewogen 5 Centn: 35 lb Nachdem er Schon 3Wochengeschrÿen.4\nThe vivid account by Bartholmäus Fritsch, a local woodsman, records the excitement when the Elector and his court descended on the Jacobsdorfer Heide, to find the stag whose reputation had reached Berlin. It undoubtedly had extraordinary antlers but in the eyes of the people who made their living in the sacred forests, the animal was also supernatural; it was accompanied by a white lady or forest fairy on a white horse, and only the Elector was sufficiently noble to kill such a beast.\nThe deer was shot on 18th September after two days of stalking, and Andreas Siebenbürger, the stalker who carried the electors gun received a farm in thanks. A contemporary engraved plate from the gun, formerly in Hohenzollern Museum at Schloss Monbijou, shows the animal lying down as it is modelled in the silver-gilt cup.5 The antlers are now at Schloss Moritzburg in Saxony. They were given by the elector Friedrichs son Friedrich Wilhelm I (1688-1740), to Augustus II the Strong, Elector of Saxony and King of Poland, on his visit to Brandenburg in 1728. As part of the celebrations for the visit, a hunt was organised in the Jungfern Heide near Charlotteburg on 11 June, and at the dinner afterwards, the official welcome toast to Augustus the Strong was drunk from this cup;6 it had become the hunt welcome cup and is recorded two years later passing from the deceased head huntmaster Oberjägermeister Samuel von Hertefeld to Oberjägermeister Georg Christoph Graf von Schlieben (1676-1748).\nPrints and other contemporary references consistently mention two things about the stag; that it was shot by the elector and that it had 66-points, an extraordinary number for a red deer. There is no doubt that the antlers were considered to be highly valuable, not least by Augustus himself. A note by the Prussian Vize-Oberjägermeister, von Meyrink in 1746 recorded that Friedrich Wilhelm exchanged the antlers with Augustus for a company of tall Grenadiers.7 Friedrich Wilhelms obsession for tall soldiers is well recorded and a precedent for such gift-giving existed when 151 Chinese lidded vases against 600 dragoons were exchanged by the two monarchs in 1717.8\nAfter 1730, when the cup is recorded passing between officers of the royal hunt, no mention of it is found until 1902, when it was acquired by Wilhelm II, The German Emperor and descendent of Friedrich I and Friedrich Wilhelm.9 There is no published record of the details of this acquisition or why it was no longer a family possession, although it has been suggested that the cup somehow disappeared from its presumed then location in the department of the Royal hunt around 1822, at the dissolution of the Oberjägermeisteramtes.10\nThe stag cup was located in vitrine no. 8 of the Emperors Emfangzimmer of the Berlin Stadtschloss, the former Audienzzimmer of Freidrich II (Frederick the Great) and is recorded in a document of 18th August 1914, being moved perhaps to a safer location, soon after the outbreak of the Great War. Around 1926, the cup was moved from Berlin to Huis Doorn, in the Netherlands, a house the emperor had bought in 1919 for his Residence in exile. It was located in a `Vitrinenschrank im Rauchzimmer am gelben Salon and had been sent or brought by `Geheimer Hofrat Nitz. In 1964 it was brought from Doorn to Hohenzollern castle in Hechingen, the familys ancestral seat.11\nFootnotes\n1 Kandt, op. cit., p. 83.\n2 Kandt, op. cit., p. 83.\n3 www.amt-odervorland.de\n4 The German inscription reads in translation:\nHis Most Serene Most Powerful Prince and Lord, Lord Friedrich the Third, Margrave and Prince Elector of Brandenburg shot this stag: in Biegen on the Jacobsdorff moor, on the 18th September Anno 1696. The stag was shot during the rutting season after he had roared for 3 weeks and weighed 5 centiner and 35 pounds (A centner or Zentner weighed approximately 50kg).\n5 Seidel, op. cit., p. 157.\n6 Seidel, op. cit., p. 163.\n7 Hartmann, op. cit., p. 107.\n8 Macgregor, op. cit. pp. 319 and 320.\n9 Seidel, op. cit., p. 157.\n10 Hobusch, Unsere Jagd, 1/2001.\n11 Family papers.
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condition

Brackets under oval base have been removed, some minor denting to neck mount, head slightly wobbly on body, small amount of gilding losses to neck of head and foot rim, very small cracks at one ear, light overall wear. Marked on base and base plate, marks good and clear, general condition excellent, inscription still very crisp but minor scratching marks where holding nuts have been done and undone "In response to your inquiry, we are pleased to provide you with a general report of the condition of the property described above. Since we are not professional conservators or restorers, we urge you to consult with a restorer or conservator of your choice who will be better able to provide a detailed, professional report. Prospective buyers should inspect each lot to satisfy themselves as to condition and must understand that any statement made by Sotheby's is merely a subjective, qualified opinion. Prospective buyers should also refer to any Important Notices regarding this sale, which are printed in the Sale Catalogue. NOTWITHSTANDING THIS REPORT OR ANY DISCUSSIONS CONCERNING A LOT, ALL LOTS ARE OFFERED AND SOLD AS IS" IN ACCORDANCE WITH THE CONDITIONS OF BUSINESS PRINTED IN THE SALE CATALOGUE."

dimensions

29cm. 11 1/4in high

exhibition

From circa 1964, Schlossmuseum, Hohenzollern Castle, Hechingen.  Permanent exhibition Preußen 1701 Eine europäische Geschichte, Deutsche Historisches Museum, Stiftung Peußische Schlösser Gärten Berlin-Brandenburg in the Große Orangerie of Charlottenburg palace, 6 May to 5 August, 2001, VIII.1031 Jörg Rasmussen, Barockplastik in Norddeutschland, Museum für Kunst und Gewerbe Hamburg,  Mainz, 1977, pp. 467-469 1 It was suggested in this exhibition that the stag cup was a present to Friedrich III, at his coronation although this seems unlikely given the diamond lettering around the cup’s collar refers to Friedrich as elector only

literature

Kevin E. Kandt, Schlutteriana III: Studies in the Art, Life and Milieu of Andreas Schlüter, 2014, p. 83; Hans-Ulrich Kessler et al. , Andreas Schlüter and das Barocke Berlin, Staatliche Museen zu Berlin, 4 April 2014 to 13 July 2014, pp. 341-42; Wilfred Rogasch, Schatzhäuser Deutschlands kunst in adlingem Privatbesitz, 2004, p. 210; Hobusch Goldener Trinkpokal, “Liegender Hirsch” ‘, Unsere Jagd 1/2001; Hans-Günther Hartmann, Moritzburg, Weimar, 1989, pp. 107-109; Paul Seidel, “Der von Kufürst Friedrich III. (König Friedrich I.) erlegte Sechsundsechzigenender Hirsch”, in Hohenzollern-Jahrbuch: Forschungen und Abbildungen zur Geschichte der Hohenzollern in Brandenburg-Preußen. Siebenter Jahrgang 1903 , Berlin/Leipzig, 1903, pp. 157-163. Related Literature: Neil Macgregor, Germany Memoirs of a Nation, London, 2014.

provenance

Friedrich III, Elector of Brandenburg, from 1701 Friedrich I, King in Prussia By descent in the Royal House of Prussia Whereabouts unknown probably after closure of the Prussian Oberjägermeisteramtes circa 1822 Acquired back, circa 1902 by the German Emperor and King of Prussia, Wilhelm II by descent in the emperor’s family Hohenzollern Castle museum (Burg Hohenzollern)

consignmentDesignation

The Elector of Brandenburg's 66-point Stag


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