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Marine landscapes and ships

The marine pictures of the 18 th century are part of the Conoisseur Collection, a collection of 29 sculptures made out of ivory. They present an extraordinary technique which was never produced later on.
Only 100 similar works of sculptures are known in the world. These are found in the biggest museums in the world such as for example the British Museum, the Ermitage St. Petersburg, the Victoria Albert Museum, the Kunsthistorisches Museum in Vienna or the Herzog Anton Ulrich Museum in Braunschweig, Germany. Due to the microsize of these objects they are not anymore called miniatures but micropictures. It is still a mystery how such small objects were produced.

The "Frigate on the High Seas" (Picture 6) is the smallest micropicture of the frigate (3,1 x 2,1cm). At the left side of the picture, right beside the waves on the Bristol Glass there can be seen the initials „G.ST.”.

The "Maria-Theresa Brooch" (Picture 1) is the most famous micropicture. This brooch consisting of 3 parts represents river landscapes with boats. This brooch was made in 1773-1775 by S.H. in Vienna. Although of its small format the 3 micropictures represent people, trees, sea landscapes and boats in such a detail. The left part of the Maria Theresien brooch represents 2 boats, the one which is not bigger than 1 milimetre.

Another interesting masterwork of the artist is the "Frigate on the High Seas" (Picture 7), an oval picture with a boat made out of ivory on a dark blue Bristol Glass. The surface of the water consits of tiny ivory stripes. Between the waves there can be found the signature of the sculptor.

Black glass has been used as the background of the other oval picture(14,5 x 12,0)called "A Seaport View" (Picture 8) by Stephany und J. Dresch. The harbour wall and a domed building with columns, which is only partly visible, form the right-hand edge of this ivory picture, while the far distance reveals the periphery of an oriental city. At the leftside of the picture a frigate can be seen with sailors which leaves the port. The wounds and the rail situated on the top of the cabins are very impressing.

"Harbor View" (Picture 12) was produced in 1790. It is typical of Adolphe Brodbecks work because of the use of rectangular forms and moreover the use of dark blue glass for the background and the nacre for the water surface. On the right side of the picture 6,5 x 5,7cm a KAIMAUER wall can be seen, right beside a decaying builiding infront of which a sailingboat anchores. In the middle is a rowboat with two people standing and on the left a landscape with trees, buildings and other people. In only hundreds of millimeters are represented wounds of the sailing boat as well as trees and bushes.

Another micropicture (9,0 x 8,0cm) called "Frigate on the High Seas" (Picture 9) shows very exactly the wounds. There are tiny carvings of the cabins and laterns on the stern behind a dark blue background. This model is a good example for the repetition of the motifs he used to make. Again between the waves one can notice the signature „Stephany & Dresch“.

The "Castle by the Sea" (Picture 15), a micropicture under glass (2,4x1,9cm), is the masterpiece of Nikolaus Klammer. This work is very impressive since it represents such a big amount of images in such a small piece of work. The smalles figures are measure only 1 millimeter.

Only a few hundredth of millimeters is the distance between the branches of the "Coastal Landscape" (Picture 16) produced by Nikolaus Klammer. The picture which measures 5,5x4,0 cm made out of ivory with a blue background is dominated by a bay, houses and a fortress similar building. Pictures of coastal landscapes, in which sailing vessels and goods loaded or unloaded from ships are seen, were very popular in the 18/19. century due to their association with sea voyages, adventure and distant shores.

C. Haager is the creator of the work "Coastal Landscape" (Picture 20). The size of the carving is 3,2 x 2,8cm. In the oval microcarving with a dark background there can be seen a boat with a sail and 3 people. Right of the picture is represented a decayed antique column builiding and statues on pedestals, as well as small groups of people, trees and shrubs.

More information about this collection can be read in the book Mikrobilder – Miracles of Sculpture. You can auction these marvelous works on the 5 th December 2002 (Dr. Nagel in Stuttgart, Germany).

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