Ethnographic Arms & Armour
 

Go Back   Ethnographic Arms & Armour > Discussion Forums > Ethnographic Miscellania
User Name
Password
FAQ Members List Calendar Search Today's Posts Mark Forums Read


Reply
 
Thread Tools Search this Thread Display Modes
Old 15th December 2014, 09:24 PM   #1
dana_w
Member
 
dana_w's Avatar
 
Join Date: Nov 2012
Location: Southeast Florida, USA
Posts: 429
Default Antique Bronze Relief Sculpture Question

Antique Bronze Relief Sculpture

This decorative bronze plaque depicts a man seated on stool and playing what appears to be a zither. Nearby two women and a dachshund are listening attentively. The scene is set in a kitchen and one of the women is perched on the hearth with her feet resting on a log. A pot and spoons hang on the left wall near a lamp. On the opposite wall towels hang from a rod next to a flintlock rifle and hunting bag which are hanging from a nail. The roof, upper portion of walls, and well worn floor appear to be made of knotted wood. The lower portions on the walls appear to be cover with plaster.

The plaque measures 8 5/16 x 6 1/8 x 1/4, and weighs 8 oz.

I would speculate that the plaque is German, and that it dates from the mid 19th century.

Have you seen a antique bronze relief sculpture / plaque like this one? Can you tell me more about it? What do you think the item depicted between the towels and flintlock is?

This photo is copyright (c) 2008 by Dana K. Williams. All Rights Are Reserved
Attached Images
 
dana_w is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 15th December 2014, 09:36 PM   #2
fernando
Lead Moderator European Armoury
 
fernando's Avatar
 
Join Date: Dec 2004
Location: Portugal
Posts: 7,609
Default

Quote:
Originally Posted by dana_w
... What do you think the item depicted between the towels and flintlock is? ...

Flintlock ? Doesn't it look like a percussion lock ?
fernando is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 15th December 2014, 09:45 PM   #3
dana_w
Member
 
dana_w's Avatar
 
Join Date: Nov 2012
Location: Southeast Florida, USA
Posts: 429
Default

You could be right fernando.
dana_w is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 15th December 2014, 10:03 PM   #4
Shakethetrees
Member
 
Shakethetrees's Avatar
 
Join Date: Apr 2014
Location: Louisiana
Posts: 364
Default

As a professional metals restorer at work for over thirty years, I've seen a number of these reliefs.

Most of them are BRONZE FINISH, not solid bronze.

Basically a casting is lightly finished and then plated in the manner that baby shoes used to be done. A relatively thick layer of copper is electroplated on to the zinc base. It is then scratched brushed, oxidized, and scratch brushed again to relieve the finish.

They are common.
Shakethetrees is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 15th December 2014, 10:16 PM   #5
dana_w
Member
 
dana_w's Avatar
 
Join Date: Nov 2012
Location: Southeast Florida, USA
Posts: 429
Default

You maybe right Shakethetrees. I'll photograph the back and upload it tomorrow. Maybe you'll be able to see more from the unfinished side.
dana_w is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 15th December 2014, 10:31 PM   #6
Rick
Member
 
Rick's Avatar
 
Join Date: Nov 2004
Posts: 5,770
Default

Also a popular form of decoration on snuff boxes .
Attached Images
 
Rick is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 15th December 2014, 11:33 PM   #7
David
Keris forum moderator
 
David's Avatar
 
Join Date: Aug 2006
Location: The Great Midwest
Posts: 5,895
Default

Quote:
Originally Posted by Shakethetrees
They are common.

Common or not, bronze or not, it is a beautiful object with exquisite detail. Can't say i can answer any of your questions, but German seems a good guess based upon the dress. An attractive item.
David is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 16th December 2014, 12:05 AM   #8
dana_w
Member
 
dana_w's Avatar
 
Join Date: Nov 2012
Location: Southeast Florida, USA
Posts: 429
Default

Thanks David. I'm glad that someone likes it. These relief plaques may be common in Europe, but they are most uncommon here in South Florida.
dana_w is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 16th December 2014, 02:03 AM   #9
Shakethetrees
Member
 
Shakethetrees's Avatar
 
Join Date: Apr 2014
Location: Louisiana
Posts: 364
Default

It could be European, it also could be American as well.

During the third and fourth quarter of the 19th century, German motifs were used with a lot of decorative objects, a holdover from the mid 19th century's Renaissance Revival.
Shakethetrees is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 16th December 2014, 02:37 AM   #10
dana_w
Member
 
dana_w's Avatar
 
Join Date: Nov 2012
Location: Southeast Florida, USA
Posts: 429
Default

Quote:
Originally Posted by Shakethetrees
It could be European, it also could be American as well.

During the third and fourth quarter of the 19th century, German motifs were used with a lot of decorative objects, a holdover from the mid 19th century's Renaissance Revival.


That may well be Shakethetrees, and we certainly had a lot of Germans in the North East of the United States especially in and around Pennsylvania and Maryland. But, I've seldom seen anything like this at antique shops or shows on this side of the pond.
dana_w is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 16th December 2014, 02:47 PM   #11
Kmaddock
Member
 
Kmaddock's Avatar
 
Join Date: May 2014
Location: Ireland
Posts: 302
Default

Hi
Nice item
I would put the object as being
1) a window
2) a sled
3) two shelves

regards
Ken
Kmaddock is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 16th December 2014, 03:18 PM   #12
dana_w
Member
 
dana_w's Avatar
 
Join Date: Nov 2012
Location: Southeast Florida, USA
Posts: 429
Default

Quote:
Originally Posted by Shakethetrees
As a professional metals restorer at work for over thirty years, I've seen a number of these reliefs.

Most of them are BRONZE FINISH, not solid bronze.

Basically a casting is lightly finished and then plated in the manner that baby shoes used to be done. A relatively thick layer of copper is electroplated on to the zinc base. It is then scratched brushed, oxidized, and scratch brushed again to relieve the finish.

They are common.


Here is a look at the back of the plaque. A close look at scratched and (oxidized?) areas leads me to believe that Shakethetrees is right and the plaque is plated. Maybe you can tell if it is "electroplated on to the zinc base" from the photo Shakethetrees.
Attached Images
 
dana_w is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 16th December 2014, 04:42 PM   #13
fernando
Lead Moderator European Armoury
 
fernando's Avatar
 
Join Date: Dec 2004
Location: Portugal
Posts: 7,609
Default Another plaque

I never knew what mine is. It has the dimensions of a belt buckle (9X5 cms), but not necessarily that.
Made of copper. The back has some signs of having been hooked to something, i wonder what.
The characters depicted are obviously non European ... and neither is the scene.


.
Attached Images
    
fernando is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 16th December 2014, 05:48 PM   #14
dana_w
Member
 
dana_w's Avatar
 
Join Date: Nov 2012
Location: Southeast Florida, USA
Posts: 429
Default

Neat fernando!

Maybe Berber / North African, or Ottoman?
dana_w is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 16th December 2014, 05:58 PM   #15
Rick
Member
 
Rick's Avatar
 
Join Date: Nov 2004
Posts: 5,770
Default

Or European done in the Oriental style which was quite popular .
Rick is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 17th December 2014, 05:16 AM   #16
Shakethetrees
Member
 
Shakethetrees's Avatar
 
Join Date: Apr 2014
Location: Louisiana
Posts: 364
Default

Quote:
Originally Posted by dana_w
Maybe you can tell if it is "electroplated on to the zinc base" from the photo Shakethetrees.



Yes, that is exactly what the reverse of the ones that I've seen look like.

It would have to be electroplated.

Simple plating by the electroless immersion process produces a coating that is called a "strike". It is so thin that it is used only as a prep for the electroplating process. The electroless strike is immeasurably thin, maybe 1/250,000 of an inch thick or less.

Before the mid 19th century, decorative objects were rarely made of zinc alloy as it just isn't attractive in its natural state.

When electroplating was refined into a commercially viable process in the 1840's, it was a gamechanger. Zinc objects are best manufactured by casting as it takes exquisite detail with much less care and trouble than other more durable metals. The marriage of electroplating and the ability to easily make detailed duplicates brought fancy goods within reach of the masses.

Silver, copper, bronze and gold plated wares were produced by the boatload, for sale inexpensively compared to hand wrought, one off pieces. The busy style of the Renaissance as interpreted by Germans and Dutch both lent itself to the new mass production AND appealed to the early Victorian romanticism of the day.

Your plaque falls squarely into this period.

Last edited by Shakethetrees : 17th December 2014 at 05:27 AM.
Shakethetrees is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 17th December 2014, 05:34 AM   #17
Shakethetrees
Member
 
Shakethetrees's Avatar
 
Join Date: Apr 2014
Location: Louisiana
Posts: 364
Default

Quote:
Originally Posted by fernando
I never knew what mine is. It has the dimensions of a belt buckle (9X5 cms), but not necessarily that.
Made of copper. The back has some signs of having been hooked to something, i wonder what.
The characters depicted are obviously non European ... and neither is the scene.


.



Fernando, I believe your plaque is either a box lid mount or a mount for some other unknown type of utilitarian object.

Stylistically the "Orientalism" (meaning anything from the Eastern Mediterranean to the Pacific Ocean) was popular from the third quarter of the 19th century until the 1920's.

The manufacture appears to be done by a process that in the day was called "galvanoplasty", today known as electroforming.

In it a mold is prepared to a finished state and painted with an electrically conductive coating (such as graphite or very finely divided copper or silver powder) in a binder. Electrical current (DC) is run through the surface while it is immersed in a copper rich solution. As the copper is deposited, certain areas are masked off by varnish to slow the deposition, as the current is not running through the whole piece equally. This is how an even thickness is maintained. Periodically it is removed from the solution and scratch brushed. This consolidates the surface and contributes to the structural integrity of the finished piece. Every so often the polarity is reversed, rendering the anode into the cathode and vice versa as this also contributes to the adhesion as the metal is built up.

The reason I believe this is an electroformed piece is that there are always minuscule beads remaining in the details that are a hallmark of this technique. If there none of these beads, then it was struck from steel dies from thin sheet.

Either way, once it is trimmed to shape it was filled with 50/50 solder to preserve its shape and give it some durability.

Both techniques were available at the above mentioned period, but I believe the likelihood is that it was electroformed.

A lot of "museum copies" of high style Renaissance armor were made by electroforming in the 19th century. If a great piece of armor becomes available for a too good to be true price and it is copper, this is what it is - a 19th century museum copy, nothing more.

I think this plaque dates from the earlier end of this period.

Last edited by Shakethetrees : 17th December 2014 at 05:56 AM.
Shakethetrees is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 17th December 2014, 09:45 PM   #18
dana_w
Member
 
dana_w's Avatar
 
Join Date: Nov 2012
Location: Southeast Florida, USA
Posts: 429
Default

Quote:
Originally Posted by Shakethetrees
Yes, that is exactly what the reverse of the ones that I've seen look like.

It would have to be electroplated.

Simple plating by the electroless immersion process produces a coating that is called a "strike". It is so thin that it is used only as a prep for the electroplating process. The electroless strike is immeasurably thin, maybe 1/250,000 of an inch thick or less.

Before the mid 19th century, decorative objects were rarely made of zinc alloy as it just isn't attractive in its natural state.

When electroplating was refined into a commercially viable process in the 1840's, it was a gamechanger. Zinc objects are best manufactured by casting as it takes exquisite detail with much less care and trouble than other more durable metals. The marriage of electroplating and the ability to easily make detailed duplicates brought fancy goods within reach of the masses.

Silver, copper, bronze and gold plated wares were produced by the boatload, for sale inexpensively compared to hand wrought, one off pieces. The busy style of the Renaissance as interpreted by Germans and Dutch both lent itself to the new mass production AND appealed to the early Victorian romanticism of the day.

Your plaque falls squarely into this period.



Thanks for the education Shakethetrees.
dana_w is offline   Reply With Quote
Reply


Thread Tools Search this Thread
Search this Thread:

Advanced Search
Display Modes

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

vB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Forum Jump



All times are GMT. The time now is 02:58 PM.


Powered by: vBulletin Version 3.0.3
Copyright ©2000 - 2019, Jelsoft Enterprises Ltd.
Posts are regarded as being copyrighted by their authors and the act of posting material is deemed to be a granting of an irrevocable nonexclusive license for display here.