A Very Fine Viennese Enamel Casket
A Very Fine Viennese Enamel Casket
A Very Fine Viennese Enamel Casket

A Very Fine Viennese Enamel Casket

c. 1890 Austria

Offered by Adrian Alan

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A Very Fine Ormolu Mounted Ebonised Viennese Enamel Casket Decorated With Scenes from Classical Mythology. The base of the cabinet, with a central drawer to the front and inset with fine enamel cartouches to each side. The central section of the cabinet has two doors inset with gilt bronze cartouches containing Enamel porcelain plaques depicting scenes from classical mythology including Helen of Troy and Mercury. The sides and the back of the cabinet are similarly embellished with porcelain plaques; the large plaque to the back of the cabinet depicting the sacrifice of Iphigenia by Agamemnon. Each Viennese porcelain plaque is intricately painted and of very high quality.

The central section of the cabinet is framed by finely enamelled columns in the round, headed by Corinthian capitals supporting a moulded upper section with 'cup and cover' terminals to the corners. The upper section is centred by a gilt bronze applied cresting which is framed by further porcelain plaques depicting classical scenes and arabesque. The cabinet is surmounted by a finely cast gilt bronze urn finial.

The interior of the cabinet opens to reveal five fitted drawers; the drawer fronts containing porcelain plaques enamelled with arabesque decoration.

The story of Agamemnon sacrificing Iphigenia, depicted in the large plaque on the rear of the cabinet, is recounted in the plays Phigenia at Aulis, and Iphigenia at Tauris by Euripides and in the play The Libation Bearers by Aeschylus.

Agamemnon, with his brother Menelaos, were chosen as leaders of the Achaeans after Paris carried Helen, the wife of Menelaos, back to Troy. A storm raised by the wrath of Artemis kept the Achaeans in Aulis: it is said because, when out hunting a deer, Agamemnon had arrogantly disparaged Artemis. When he consulted the priests, Calchas told Agamemnon that this could only be expiated if he sacrificed his daughter Iphigenia.

Odysseus persuaded him to change his mind; Odysseus, with Diomedes, was sent to fetch Iphigenia. When he met her mother, Clytemnestra, Odysseus pretended that Iphigenia would be given in marriage to Achilles. They returned to Aulis with her. When her father was about to sacrifice her, Artemis took pity on the young girl, and, interposing a mist, substituted a deer in her place. The deer bore Iphigenia through the clouds to the land of the Taurians and made her a priestess in her temple in Tauris.
Dimensions
Height 59.00 cm (23.23 inches)
Width 33.00 cm (12.99 inches)
Depth 29.00 cm (11.42 inches)
Stock Code
B65841
Adrian Alan

Adrian Alan
66/67 South Audley Street
London
W1K 2QX
England

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