Viennese Enameled Silver Rock Crystal Charger

  • This monumental Viennese charger is crafted of gilded silver, enamel and rock crystal
  • The impressive piece is attributed to the Austrian master craftsman Hermann Ratzersdorfer
  • Vibrant enameling adorns the opulent silver gilt frame, while the rock crystal is intricately etched
  • It is exemplary of late-19th-century Austrian artistry
  • Get complete item description here
Item No. 31-1521

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This monumental Viennese rock crystal charger is attributed to the Austrian master craftsman Hermann Ratzersdorfer. This elaborate decorative charger reveals the famed artisan's gifts as a silversmith, enamelist, jeweler and sculptor in its stunning silver gilt frame. Vibrant enamel figural motifs and semi-precious stones adorn that elaborately formed frame, which is beautifully sculpted with putti and scrolling decoration. Set within the silver frame are panels of radiant rock crystal, each engraved to perfection with a motif of foliage and scrolls. The overall effect is luxurious opulence that evokes the grandeur of the Renaissance age.

Ratzerdorfer was renowned for his silver, enamel and rock crystal objects executed in the then-popular neo-Renaissance style. He was one of the very few artisans in Vienna who earned the rank of master craftsman, and he was the only one to resurrect the art of cutting and polishing rock crystal to such absolute perfection. He exhibited regularly in Vienna, London and Paris, winning a second-class medal at the Paris Exhibition of 1855 and being presented with a diploma of honor at the 1873 Exhibition in Vienna. He gained considerable acclaim not only for his rock crystal objets d’art, but also his jewelry and silver work.

Since the Renaissance through the 19th century, rock crystal was considered one of the most highly valued of minerals, beloved for its inherent beauty and its natural ability to refract light. When cut and polished, the inherent striations of the crystal create a reflection of light far more brilliant than man-made crystal or glass. The scarcity of this crystallized quartz, however, limited its use and for thousands of years, and glass makers have sought to imitate its natural brilliance. It was particularly prized during the 18th and 19th centuries when it was one of the most precious and expensive materials used in the decorative arts. It is used to beautiful effect in the present piece, especially paired with luxurious gilded silver. This charger truly represents the heights of the art form.

Circa 1880 

19 1/2" diameter
Viennese Enameled Silver Rock Crystal Charger
Period: 19th Century
Origin: Austria
Type: Rock Crystal
Depth: 8.5 Inches
Width: 19.5 Inches
Height: 22.25 Inches

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