This richly decorated silver serving tray with repousse work is from Germany’s Gründerzeit period, circa 1850. The exquisite repoussage depicts an unknown military skirmish of soldiers with spears and swords on horseback. The chaotic action of the scene is offset by the whimsical décor on the raised platter’s edge, which consists of mascarons, fruits, flowers, and animalia with a crimped edge.
Gründerzeit, or “Founder’s Period”, was an economic period during the 19th century in Germany and Austria. After the Franco-Prussian War, the confederated German Empire princedoms received war reparations, causing an economic boom that allowed Germany to become unified. The period is marked by economic changes and an increase in industrialization and cultural development.
Repousse is the process of crafting a low relief design by hammering the back side of metal. The technique has been in use since around the 3rd century BC. The Gundestrup cauldron is a famous example of an ancient repousse piece. The silver vessel was made in Denmark in the 2nd century BC and is the largest known example of silver work from the Iron Age, which was the last of the pre-history time periods.
The tray seen here is an excellent example of quality 19th century silver repousse work. The figures, militaria, horses, etc are all beautifully worked, down to the smallest of details. The silver retains a bright sheen, and is ready to be placed in a display cabinet or resting in a stand on a sideboard.
The tray weight 27.2 ounces.
CONDITION: Excellent condition with only slight surface buildup