SOLD - The Apotheosis Cup of Homer: A Victorian Electrotype
The Birmingham firm Elkington & Co. was among the earliest manufacturers to seek applications for electricity in the production of new forms and materials. Pioneers in electrotyping, Elkington would eventually fabricate vast numbers of copies of famous historic objects, making it possible for private citizens to own convincing reproductions of some of the most iconic and ambitious works of decorative art.
To create an electrotype a wax mold is made of an original model and then covered with metallic powder to make it electrically conductive. It is then very heavily electroplated. The mold is then removed, leaving behind a perfectly formed object.
This cup, modeled after Greek forms, was created and signed by the great Danish designer Benjamin Schlick (1796-1872). The scene is the apotheosis of Homer, surely inspired by the Ingres painting of the same subject (now at the Louvre). Interestingly, a nearly identical cup is in the collection of the Minneapolis Museum of Art. Theirs appears to be made in one piece--typical electroplate fashion--while ours is part electroplate, part machined, and assembled from several separate pieces. Theirs is also unsigned, while ours bears Schlick's signature (in Greek). It's possible that our cup was a prototype and the one at Minneapolis represents the final product. In any case, this is one of the earliest examples of electrotyping.
Schlick had studied architecture and archaeology in Copenhagen and Paris, and counted among his patrons Frederick VI of Denmark, Charles X of France, Leopold, Grand Duke of Baden, Prince Torlonia in Rome, and Prince Nicolai of Russia.
|Size||Height: 4.88 in. (12.4 cm.) Diameter: 5.63 in.|