Viennese Rock Crystal and Enameled Silver Charger

  • Brilliant rock crystal is encased in an opulent enameled silver gilt frame to form this charger
  • The impressive piece is attributed to the Austrian master craftsman Hermann Ratzersdorfer
  • Large in size, the charger is executed in the elaborate Renaissance Revival style
  • It is exemplary of Austrian mastery over the arts of enamel and rock crystal
  • Get complete item description here
Item No. 31-1522

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Brilliant rock crystal, gilt silver and enamel combine in this monumental Viennese charger attributed to the Austrian master craftsman Hermann Ratzersdorfer. By far one of the largest and most elaborate rock crystal chargers ever made, it displays the remarkable artistry in each and every detail. The rock crystal plaques display all of the best qualities of this coveted mineral, and each has been engraved with an intricate Berainesque-style motif. The plaques are encased by a serpentine silver gilt rim, which is further adorned by vibrant enamel. It is a stunning example of the Renaissance Revival style for which Ratzerdorfer was renowned.

Based in Vienna, Ratzerdorfer rose to fame thanks to his truly exceptional enamelwork, as well as his silver, gold and rock crystal creations. In fact, he was the only artisan of his age to resurrect the centuries-old art of cutting and polishing rock crystal to such a degree of perfection. His work earned him the rank of master craftsman, a remarkably difficult achievement in Vienna during his lifetime. 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. Today, his rock crystal ewers, plates and chargers such as this are among his most coveted works.

Rock crystal has been among the most highly coveted minerals since the Renaissance, beloved for its natural beauty and its ability to refract light. When cut and polished, the internal striations of the crystal create a reflection of light far more brilliant than manmade crystal or glass. The scarcity of this crystallized quartz, however, limited its use to only the most important objects and commissions. 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 Rock Crystal and Enameled Silver Charger
Period: 19th Century
Origin: Austria
Type: Rock Crystal
Depth: 1.5 Inches
Width: 19.5 Inches
Height: 19.5 Inches

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