Viennese Agate and Enamel Covered Urn

  • Beautiful carved agate forms the body of this beautiful Viennese covered urn
  • Silver mounts adorned in vivid enamel illustrate superior Viennese artisanship
  • This urn is a fabulous example of 19th-century Viennese craftsmanship
  • Get complete item description here
Item No. 30-6258

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This impressive 19th-century Viennese covered urn is hand-carved from agate. The urn's silver mounts feature enameling of exceptional quality, with a pair of figural handles in the form of sensuous maidens and a bouquet of flowers forming the final. Combining hardstone workmanship, enameling and silversmithing, this objet d'art is a rare and desirable example of Viennese artistry.

Vienna emerged as a major center for producing fine enamel works around the middle of the 19th century, due in part to the formation of the Austro-Hungarian Empire, which in 1866 gave Vienna access to Bohemian and Transylvanian silver and gold. Add to that the availability of a willing workforce and Vienna was producing a lion’s share of enamel works during the 19th century. The Renaissance, heroic tableaux and the romantic paintings of Watteau provided inspiration for the Viennese artisans. The forte of the Viennese enamelers was their success in following the trend set by the interior decorators of mansions and great public buildings with regard to color schemes and pictorial themes from classical mythology. Considering the highly skilled craftsmanship of the Viennese artisans, this ornamental work often surpassed the original Renaissance and Rococo designs it emulated, making Vienna one of the most important European centers for decorative arts. World War I eventually put an end to the successful enameling industry in Vienna.

Enameling is one of the oldest forms of decorative art with examples dating back almost 3,000 years to Mycenaean Greece, and despite advances made in all areas of decorative art, it seems that the methods used for enameling have changed little in that time. Enamel is actually glass colored with metallic pigments which are fused to metal by firing. Because of different colors fire at different temperatures, it was essential that the artist paints the colors that required the highest heat first, adding the others in descending order of their firing temperature.

 Circa 1850

5" wide x 3 1/4" deep x 8" high
Viennese Agate and Enamel Covered Urn
Period: 19th Century
Origin: Austria
Type: Vases/Vessels
Depth: 3.25 Inches
Width: 5.0 Inches
Height: 8.0 Inches
Style: Neoclassical

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