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Old 18th December 2014, 10:18 AM   #1
Matchlock
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Default Finest 16th to 18th Century German Powder Flasks - a Unique Collection!

All these came from a private collection and were sold through Hermann Historica, Munich, in 2013.
Among them are some of the finest quality the author has ever come across.
Enjoy.
The atts. show a horn associated with hunting, ca. 1730-5
o; both the style and the quality of the engraving bear witness of an artisan that must have ranged among the very best of his profession.
The horn bears owner's initials C.B. and an inscription in Old German, meaning:
"As long as I will lead this coat of arms, a true friend shall always feel my true heart."


Best,
Michael Trömner

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Last edited by Matchlock : 18th December 2014 at 12:37 PM.
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Old 18th December 2014, 12:38 PM   #2
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From the November 2013 auction by the same sales house:

A very fine Saxon flask for a caliverman officer of the Trabanten-Leibgarde (bodyguard) of the Electors of Saxony, either Christian I or Christian II, ca. 1585-1600, the cowhorn body partially encased with pierced and engraved fire-gilt copper plates.

The experts did not recognize the fine Saxon provenance which is proved by the style of engraving of the horseman; the very same figure is found on the silvered or gilt mounts of contemporary Saxon patrons/cartridge boxes, like the one pictured on a 1975 GDR b/w photo (2 bottom attachments).

Best,
Michael
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Last edited by Matchlock : 18th December 2014 at 07:29 PM.
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Old 18th December 2014, 12:59 PM   #3
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A very fine caliverman's combined flask and ball holder for a high-ranking officer of the bodyguard of a nobleman, most probably Augsburg, ca. 1580-1600, the wooden body covered with green velvet and cast and fire-gilt copper mounts; the style of decoration is characteristic of Augsburg workshops.
The round recess on the top mount is NOT, as the description states, a provision for quick refills - in that case the top mount had to be removed as usual; in fact, it is a ball compartment.

There very few high quality flasks known to have been combined with a ball holder; this is usually integral of the basal mount und will not take more than two or three balls.

In The Michael Trömner Collection are two flasks with ball compartments: a forkerd staghorn flask to go with a matchlock or wheellock petronel, Nuremberg, dated 1565, and a finely wrought military caliverman's flask, most probably for a guardsman, Nuremberg, c. 1570-80:
see bottom atts.



Please note that the hook at the reverse is NOT a belt hook but actually a frog hook, for attaching the flask to the caliverman's typical leather frog - which, in this case, most certainly was also covered with green velvet.
This specimen is preserved in optimum, near mint condition throughout, with the nozzle and spring loaded horizontal cut-off lever retaining their original blackened surface.
This flask even retained its original tassels consisting of
raw silk and wool.

Please cf. author's threads:
http://www.vikingsword.com/vb/showt...rman%27s+flasks
http://www.vikingsword.com/vb/showt...rman%27s+flasks

The photos at bottom copyrighted by the author.


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Last edited by Matchlock : 19th December 2014 at 12:48 AM.
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Old 18th December 2014, 02:52 PM   #4
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This powder flask literally beats everything - made by Caspar Spät, who chiseled and gilt the iron, and the gun stockmaker Hieronymus Borstorffer; both artisans lived in Munich and worked together, especially between ca. 1630 and 1637, when Borstorffer is no longer recorded.

The form of this flask exactly corresponds to the butt stock of a wheellock musket and other accouterments all decorated en suite, which it was part of originally.
That gun and some of its original accouterments still exist. The author will add more on them soon.

Although retaining the characteristic North Italian shape of butt stocks evolved in ca. 1570, and copied in Germany from ca. 1590 to 1600, this fine flask and the gun it belonged cannot have been made before ca. 1630. As is often the case with highly decorated arms for the nobility, they were ordered, and made, in an obsolete style of military weapons typical of a period 20-40 years ago.

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Last edited by Matchlock : 18th December 2014 at 07:26 PM.
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Old 18th December 2014, 03:11 PM   #5
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Although retaining the characteristic North Italian shape of butt stocks evolved in ca. 1570, and copied in Germany from ca. 1590 to 1600, this fine flask - and the gun it belonged to - cannot have been made before ca. 1630. As is often the case with highly decorated arms for the nobility, they were ordered, and made, in an obsolete style of military weapons that was typical of a period some 20-40 years earlier.

In The Michael Trömner Collection is a very fine Augsburg made sniper's wheellock musket from ca. 1590-1600, its barrel smoothbore but 137 cm long! - the musket measures 1.66 m all over - , the butt stock of which basically corresponds to the shape of this flask.
The tunnel back sight enables special vertical adjustment by means of a turnscrew on top of the tunnel housing.
See top atts., then there are more views of that flask.

The photos on top copyrighted by the author.

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Last edited by Matchlock : 18th December 2014 at 07:35 PM.
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Old 18th December 2014, 04:05 PM   #6
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The bottom atts. depict other fine guns and artworks created by the cooperation of Spät and Borstorffer in their characteristic style in the 1630's; they are in the British Museum London and the Bayerisches Nationalmuseum München (BNM).

Best,
Michael Trömner
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Last edited by Matchlock : 18th December 2014 at 06:39 PM.
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Old 18th December 2014, 04:54 PM   #7
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On top a fine forked staghorn flask, the etching and fire gilding both typical of the Augsburg style but the body engraved with characteristic Nuremberg foliage, ca. 1580.
Again, this highly decorated piece of artwork carries on the basic style of earlier and plainer Landsknecht's antler flasks that are known from dating specimens and sources of contemporary period works of illustration, with dates ranging from 1532 to ca. 1580. The latest dated samples seem to be a series of flasks, their obverse all engraved with Nuremberg style foliage and a stylized coat of arms resembling those of the Princes of Hohenzollern; some of them bear the date 1572.
Again, the religious scene of the carving is very usual in the 1560's, also known from etched armor and stone epitaphs, and was definitely outdated by ca. 1580.
Especially remarkable is the fact that the reverse of the body is deocrated as well, not carved but engraved. On more than 90 per cent of even profusely ornamented flasks of this type, the reverse side of the body is left showing its natural rough surface.

The horizontal cutoff lever for dosing the gun powder is missing from the base plate of the top mount, and so is the reverse belt hook, with only its upper remains retained.


For close comparison, attached next is a 19th century Historismus/Victorian period copy of the mid 16th century style of ornamentation, datable to ca. 1860-80. The reverse, unlike most original 16th c. flasks, is engraved and the spurious date "1591" added, but the style of the cyphers, especially the shape of the numeral "1", is definitely not correct enough to mislead an expert eye.
The obverse is carved with Abel slaying Cain his Brother.
Sadly, the description does not provide a hint at its actual period of manufacture.
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Last edited by Matchlock : 19th December 2014 at 12:51 AM.
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Old 18th December 2014, 06:09 PM   #8
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One more detail of the 19th c. Historismus period flask, and for contrast another, similar flask but carved in the characteristic manner of the 1830's to 1840's, and carried out at a Thuringian workshop.
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Last edited by Matchlock : 18th December 2014 at 08:15 PM.
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Old 18th December 2014, 07:56 PM   #9
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Another very special flask is this circular specimen carved by the famous artisan Michael Maucher in Schwäbisch Gmünd, and decorated with engraved and fire-gilt strips of copper; ca. 1680.
Maucher also adorned gun stocks employing his unparalleld characteristic gift of craftsmanship.
This receptacle for gunpowder is wrought bipartite horizontally, and its diameter is only 11 cm.


Best,
Michael
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Last edited by Matchlock : 18th December 2014 at 09:08 PM.
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Old 25th December 2014, 08:21 PM   #10
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These are truly magnificent pieces... simply amazing, Michael.
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Old 26th December 2014, 09:50 AM   #11
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Thank you, Barry,

Yes, they doubtlessly are; those seem to be some of the ideal moments when arts actually met crafts ...
I also feel that the tiny little details of those splendid and profusely decorated small items of accouterment are worth all the toil it took me to both detect and detract those close-ups.
They now allow ideal studies; you can view and search them for minutes or even hours - and still make out spots not noticed yet ...

Best,
Michael
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Old 26th December 2014, 03:24 PM   #12
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Two fine and rare Nürnberg made flasks.

The first of hemispheric shape and often associated with those used by the Trabanten-Leibgarde of the Electors of Saxony, ca. 1590-1600, and the embossed and gilt lion leads charcateristic of the Saxon style.
The second of very rare type and highly unususal in its flat, symmetrically figured form, also often termed "Saxon, ca. 1600". This specimen, dated 1570, proves the author's thesis that those powder containers shaped like leather frogs for caliverman's flasks actually are older than most experts used to think.

For comparison, photos of two very rare leather frogs in The Michael Trömner Collection and another, together with a Saxon caliverman's flask, are added.

Best,
Michael

The images of the flasks from Pinterest, the photos of the leather frogs copyrighted by the author.
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Old 26th December 2014, 03:44 PM   #13
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Another gilt flask, also Nürnberg, and dated 1568.

m
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Old 3rd January 2015, 03:26 PM   #14
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[QUOTE=Matchlock]Although retaining the characteristic North Italian shape of butt stocks evolved in ca. 1570, and copied in Germany from ca. 1590 to 1600, this fine flask - and the gun it belonged to - cannot have been made before ca. 1630. As is often the case with highly decorated arms for the nobility, they were ordered, and made, in an obsolete style of military weapons that was typical of a period some 20-40 years earlier.

In The Michael Trömner Collection is a very fine Augsburg made sniper's wheellock musket from ca. 1590-1600, its barrel smoothbore but 137 cm long! - the musket measures 1.66 m all over - , the butt stock of which basically corresponds to the shape of this flask.

Close-up of another wheellock musket with the same highly figured butt stock; this onne not only adopted the typical Italian style but was made in Northern Italy, probably in the Brescian area, ca. 1590.

Photo saved from the web, with no further information given.

m


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Old 10th January 2015, 09:05 PM   #15
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The artwork on the "flasks" is incredibly fine, in detail, and I am entranced with the fantastic state of preservation of the leather "frogs". It's hard to imagine that leather of that period is still supple and retains its structure. Great care must have been taken, over many centuries, to keep these items in such a beautiful state. Wonderful, Michael. Thank you.
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