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CNG Feature Auction 117

Lot nuber 1102

WORLD. Germany. Embossed parade shield signed by by German armorer George Sigman; electrotype replica. Original made 1552; replica 1855-1860.


CNG Feature Auction 117
Lot: 1102.

Closing Date: May 20 2021 11:00 ET

Antiquities

Estimate: $ 5 000

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WORLD. Germany. Embossed parade shield signed by by German armorer George Sigman; electrotype replica. Original made 1552; replica 1855-1860. The original is on display at the Victoria and Albert Museum, London, UK (object #3660-1855). The original is composed of thin wrought iron embossed in high relief with scenes from Roman history; the electrotype is made from cuprite metal with the front surface silvered and partially gilt. Size: 61 cm (24”) in diameter, convex surface with a depth of 10 cm (4”). The highly ornamented obverse has decoration in two concentric circles around a central facing head of Medusa. The outer band is a continuous frieze of male and female figures, including figures from military history, gods and goddesses, symbolizing the foundation of Rome and its martial history; the inner band displays the seven crowns and wreaths awarded for military valor or civic service and so labeled: CIVICA, TRVMPALIS; OVALIS; MVRALIS; OBSIDIONALIS; NAVALIS; VALLARIS. A gilded inner band carries the maker’s Latin signature: GEORGIVS SICMAN AVRIFEX AVGVSTAE HOC OPVS PERFECITY ANNO DOMINI MDLII MENSE AVGVST DIE XXVII. A detailed description of the original can be found on the Victoria & Albert website: https://collections.vam.ac.uk/item/O97494/parade-shield-sigman-jorg/. This specimen displays a dark oxide silver patina and a few minor scrapes, including a scuff to Medusa’s nose, but presents beautifully.

From the Collection of a Connoisseur; acquired at a fine arts fair Sorrento, Italy, late 1990s; said to be from a collection in the United Kingdom.

George Sigman (1527-1601) was a goldsmith in Augsburg whose works of highly decorated parade armor were sought after by the crowned heads of Europe, including his enthusiastic patron, the Spanish king and Holy Roman Emperor Philip II, for whom the shield was possibly intended. The original was acquired by the Victorian and Albert Museum in 1855 and was immediately recognized as one of its most prized pieces of decorative armor. The V&A commissioned electrotype replicas to be be made by Giovanni Franchi, an Italian-born specialist in casts and electrotypes who established a firm in Clerkenwell in the mid-1800s; it was later acquired by Elkington & Co. in 1874. Franchi was particularly successful in reproducing original works of art in deeply undercut relief, a highly difficult endeavor even today, and his body of work included exact replicas of the famed Ghiberti Gates from the Baptistry of Florence. The few true electrotypes of the Sigman shield are rightly regarded as museum pieces themselves (one is currently on exhibit at the Worcester Art Museum in Worcester, MA). Note: Special thanks to Angus Patterson, Senior Curator, Department of Sculpture, Metalwork, Ceramics & Glass at the Victoria and Albert Museum, London for his help in cataloguing this piece.

The final winners of all CNG Feature Auction 117 lots will be determined during the live online sale that will be held on 19-20 May 2021. This lot is in Session 4, which begins 20 May 2021 at 2 PM ET.

Winning bids are subject to a 20% buyer's fee for bids placed on this website and 22.50% for all others.

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