An exceptional pair of antique German silver table ornaments in the form of large model knights in armour, each astride a galloping horse. These are particularly nice examples in terms of size and also the quality of workmanship. The knights have bakelite faces and helmets with hinged visors which can be opened and closed; in the right hand they each hold a jousting pole, or lance, and in the left they clasp the horse’s reins. The models are very intricate with many separate pieces assembled together such as the sword, jousting pole, sword, stirrups and horse bridal. The bases have a naturalist finish representing a grassy field with frogs and lizards and around the bottom edge there is a pierced silver panel with trailing foliage.
Although similar in size and stance, these models are significantly different in the decoration of the war horse armour and head embellishments.
Weight 1490 and 1507 grams, total weight 2997 grams, 96.3 troy ounces. Height 30 cms. Spread 37.5 cms including the lance. Base 20.5 x 10 cms. Marked on top of the base with German silver marks crown and moon, and Germany. Makers mark “n” for Neresheimer. Circa 1900.
Biography – B. Neresheimer & Sohne, Hanau, Germany are probably the best well known of the Hanoi silversmith firms operating around the turn of the 19th century. The antique silver industry of Hanau specialised in excellent copies of old master silversmiths’ work, particularly Nuremberg pieces, double lady cups, old goblets, snuff boxes and so on. These copies were marked with fantasy marks, somewhat resembling old marks, which also harmonized with the style of the piece. For example, French rococo style reproductions are marked with French looking marks, German seventeenth century-inspired pieces got German-looking marks, and so on. These marks were usually in a style reminiscent of seventeenth and eighteenth century maker’s marks.
Signed – Germany. Makers mark “n” for Neresheimer. Circa 1900.