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Article

Stephen K. Scher

(fl 1574–92).

Italian medallist. Although he worked in the papal mint from 1580 to 1592, virtually nothing is known about his life and career, which may say something about the relative unimportance of a die-engraver, a job that he is documented as having in 1591 (‘incisore della Zecca Romana’). He seems to have moved with his brother, Emilio de’ Bonis, from Venice to Rome and signed a medal in 1574 for the inauguration of the Collegio Germanico in Rome. Thereafter, virtually all of his medals were produced for his papal employers. According to Forrer, he struck medals for Gregory XIII (1572–85), Sixtus V (1585–90; five variants), Gregory XIV (1590–91; eight variants), Innocent IX (1591; seven variants) and Clement VIII (1592–1605; four variants). As was usually the case with papal commemorative medals, an official portrait of the pontiff was established, coupled with a series of reverses devoted to significant acts or events that occurred during that particular papacy. Such medals were invariably struck and were relatively monotonous and dry in technique and style. Nonetheless, the medals of de’ Bonis do possess certain distinctive qualities. The portraits of Sixtus V, for example, are quite vigorous and capture the gruff features of this former peasant. The medal struck to commemorate the building of the Ponte Felice over the Tiber in the Borghetto section of Rome (...

Article

Franco Panvini Rosati

[Federigo Parmense]

(b Parma, 1508; d after 1586).

Italian medallist and goldsmith. His first signed medal was made in 1549 for Pope Paul III. Bonzagna is documented in 1554 working in the papal mint in Rome with his brother Gian Giacomo Bonzagna (1507–65) and Alessandro Cesati. He worked for the papal mint until 1575, when he prepared a medal for Pope Gregory XIII. He also worked in the mint at Parma, where he engraved the dies for medals of Pier Luigi Farnese, 1st Duke of Parma and Piacenza, Cardinal Alessandro Farnese and Ottavio Farnese, 2nd Duke of Parma and Piacenza. Bonzagna also executed medals for Cardinal Federico Cesi and, in 1560, Gian Battista di Collalto. In 1561 Bonzagna worked as a goldsmith with Cesati and Gian Alberto de’ Rossi on a silver-gilt pax for Milan Cathedral. Bonzagna was one of the most prolific medallists of the 16th century. Because many of his medals were unsigned, it is difficult to distinguish his dies from those of Cesati. In some medals the obverse is by Bonzagna and the reverse by another artist. These were produced when several medals were restruck by Mazio in the 19th century. Bonzagna’s work is varied and shows considerable technical accomplishment, but his style is cold and academic....

Article

Geneviève Bresc-Bautier

[Bourdon, Francisque]

(b Florence, 1580; d Paris, Feb 15, 1654).

Italian sculptor and bronze-founder, active in France. He was the pupil and later the son-in-law of Pietro Francavilla and accompanied his master to Paris c. 1600–04. He was appointed sculptor to the King in 1606 and was active in the royal works at the Tuileries and at Fontainebleau, where in 1604 he cast two bronze vases (Paris, Louvre) for the Perseus fountain (destr.) and made ornaments for the Tiber Fountain (fragments, Paris, Louvre). He was naturalized in 1611, the year he married Francavilla’s eldest daughter. From 1614 he assisted his father-in-law with the installation for the Pont Neuf, Paris, of the bronze equestrian statue of Henry IV (destr. 1792), begun by Giambologna and completed by Pietro Tacca. On Francavilla’s death in 1615 Bordoni inherited his royal salary and lodgings in the Tuileries. In 1618 he cast the four superb bronze slaves (Paris, Louvre) modelled by his father-in-law for the base of the Pont Neuf statue. He gave further proof of his outstanding skill as a bronze-founder when he cast Francavilla’s three bas-reliefs for the base (destr.)....

Article

Mark Jones

French family of medallists. Valentin Maurice Borrel (b Montataire, Oise, 24 July 1804; d Chevilly-Larue, Val-de-Marne, 29 March 1882) learnt his craft in the workshop of Jean-Jacques Barre (1793–1855). His first medal, of the dramatist Louis-Benôit Picard, was well received, and he pursued a successful and prolific career recording the main events of Louis-Philippe’s reign, the Second Republic and the Second Empire. His son Alfred Borrel (b Paris, 18 Aug 1836; d 1927) trained under François Jouffroy at the Ecole des Beaux-Arts. Like his father, he exhibited regularly at the Salon, where his portrait medals and his allegorical figure compositions, notably that for the Centenary of the Foundation of the School of Living Oriental Languages (1895; Paris, Bib. N.), were admired. In 1906 he became a Chevalier of the Légion d’honneur.

Bellier de la Chavignerie–AuvrayF. Mazerolle: ‘V.-M. Borrel’, Gazette numismatique française (1904), pp. 1–38...

Article

S. Kontha

[Nicolas]

(b Nagyszeben [now Sibiu, Romania], Aug 13, 1906; d Budapest, Jan 27, 1990).

Hungarian sculptor, medallist, draughtsman, engraver and painter. In 1922 he moved from Transylvania to Győr, Hungary, where, while preparing to become a painter, he learnt the craft of goldsmithing and engraving from his father. He studied at the Academy of Fine Arts, Budapest, in 1928–9. He also spent considerable time during these years in Italy and southern France. His taste was influenced mainly by Classical work. The drawings and paintings from this period can be regarded as preparation for his career as a sculptor, although it was not until the early 1930s that he took up full-time sculpting. At first he produced copper embossings. In 1938 a trip to Transylvania inspired him to create larger copper reliefs, such as Women Hired to Mourn (1939; Pécs, Pannonius Mus.). His first stone statue Mother (Győr, Xantus János Mus.) was sculpted in 1933. Partly because of the nature of the material, and also because of his deep knowledge of ancient Egyptian and Greek sculpture, his figure sculptures are built from basic, essential forms. His success as a sculptor enabled him in ...

Article

[Mehmed-i Bosna]

(fl Istanbul, 1588–1605).

Ottoman Turkish goldsmith. As one of the craftsmen attached to the Ottoman court, he produced a number of elaborate pieces that are either signed by him or can be attributed to him on stylistic grounds. The latter group includes the crown presented by Sultan Ahmed I to his vassal Stephen Bocskay of Transylvania in ...

Article

Erich G. Ranfft

(b Perleberg-Brandenburg, June 29, 1871; d Berlin, Jan 2, 1938).

German medallist, sculptor and writer. He trained in medal arts and sculpture at the Kunstgewerbeschule in Frankfurt am Main (1891–7) and in Paris (1897–9) at the Académie Julian. He dedicated himself to making medals and assimilated the naturalistic and Impressionist styles current in French art, as in his baptismal medal Let the Child Come to Me (1898–9; Frankfurt am Main, Mus. Ksthandwk). In 1899 Bosselt began to gain considerable public recognition in Germany for his medals, which after 1901 became more stylized and decorative. By 1905 he had produced a large body of work, including medals and several plaques of, mainly commissioned, portraits and exhibition notices. In addition, he promoted the revival of medal arts in Germany through his published writings. He was also widely known as a gifted Jugendstil craftsman as a result of his stay from 1899 to 1903 at the Künstler-Kolonie in Darmstadt, where he developed a close friendship with fellow worker Peter Behrens. Bosselt’s output in Darmstadt consisted of jewellery and domestic items of decorative metalwork, which feature sculpted bronze figurines (e.g. table lamp, ...

Article

Angela Catello

Italian family of gold- and silversmiths. Andrea Boucheron (b Turin, c. 1692; d Turin, 1761) was apprenticed in Paris to Thomas Germain. He was called back to Turin by Victor-Amadeus II of Savoy (reg 1720–30), where he opened two workshops and became goldsmith to the court of Charles Emanuel III (reg 1730–73) in 1737. Almost all of his works have been lost; all that remains is the bronze and silver tabernacle of the Sacro Pilone in the church at Vicoforte near Mondovì, produced between 1750 and 1752 in collaboration with François Ladatte. Andrea’s son Giovan Battista Boucheron (b Turin, 1742; d Turin, 1815), after being taught by his father, went to Rome in 1760. There he completed his training by studying sculpture in the Collini brothers’ workshop. He was active in Paris and Rome and from 1763 succeeded his father as court goldsmith. In ...

Article

Bouge  

Gordon Campbell

Article

Richard Riddell

(b Birmingham, Sept 14, 1728; d Birmingham, Aug 17, 1809).

English manufacturer and engineer. At the age of 17 he entered his father’s silver stamping and piercing business at Snow Hill, Birmingham, which he inherited in 1759. His marriage in 1756 brought a considerable dowry, providing capital for the establishment in 1762 of his factory in Soho, Birmingham, in partnership with John Fothergill (d 1782). Boulton progressed from the production of ‘toys’ in tortoiseshell, stone, glass, enamel and cut steel to that of tableware in Sheffield plate, on which he obtained a monopoly, and later ormolu (e.g. two pairs of candelabra, c. 1770; Brit. Royal Col.; London, V&A) and silver, and enjoyed a reputation for fine craftsmanship. By 1770 his firm, known as Boulton & Fothergill, had nearly 800 employees and had mercantile contacts in virtually every town in Europe. His social, political and trade connections facilitated the establishment of assay offices in Birmingham and Sheffield in 1773...

Article

Hilary Pyle

(b Dublin, Nov 27, 1936).

Irish painter, sculptor and printmaker. He studied at the National College of Art in Dublin and St Martin’s School of Art and Goldsmith’s College in London. His early paintings, which included landscapes such as Winter (c. 1966; Dublin, Allied Irish Bank) and life-size nude self-portraits, were indebted to German Expressionism and to the work of Alberto Giacometti in their warm-toned colours and loose application of paint or pastel. These were followed by painted and sculpted portraits of his wife and friends in bronze or fibreglass, such as Head of L.T. (1971; Dublin, Dawson Gal.). From 1971 he concentrated on a recurring image of a small, primitive sculpture as a sign for himself, reduced in mocking fashion to a formalized bust or head. He related this fascination with identity to the character of Don Quixote, for example in the painted wood sculpture Don Quixote (1980–81; Dublin, Allied Irish Bank); sometimes he conceived of this image as two selves, as in the etching ...

Article

Gordon Campbell

(b 1761; d 1833).

French gunsmith. He worked in the service of Louis XVI (reg 1774–92) as Directeur-artiste of the Manufacture d’Armes de Versailles and at the Revolution became technical director of the state arms factory. While working as a manager he also made decorated swords and luxury firearms, some for Napoleon (...

Article

Mark Jones

(b London, 1864; d London, Dec 6, 1938).

British medallist and sculptor. He studied in London at the National Art Training School, under Edward Onslow Ford; and in Paris, where he was influenced by the work of Jules-Clément Chaplain and Oscar Roty. In 1886 he produced a medallic portrait of the Khedive of Egypt and in the following year was commissioned by the Royal Mint to produce designs for the Egyptian coinage. The 1890s saw an increasing number of commissions for medals: from the City of London for the Visit of the King and Queen of Denmark, the Opening of Tower Bridge and the Diamond Jubilee; from the Geological Society for the Joseph Prestwich medal; and from the Royal College of Science for the Thomas Huxley memorial medal (all London, B.M.). In 1903, following the death of George William de Saulles, Bowcher stepped in to finish the great seal of Edward VII. He was a founder-member of the Royal Society of British Sculptors and until the 1930s exhibited regularly at the Royal Academy. In the early 1920s he produced, under the direction of M. H. Spielmann (...

Article

A. Kenneth Snowman

Box made to contain snuff, powder etc, to be displayed or carried on the person. A history of gold boxes should properly begin with a reference to pomanders, scentballs, muskballs or boîtes-de-senteurs, as they were variously described. By the 17th century these objects were extremely fashionable and were to be found on nearly every dressing-table and in every pocket. They took the form of globular receptacles used to contain perfume or aromatic disinfectants and were often divided into hinged cells or loculi. They were an essential item for public appearances at a time of less than sanitary conditions and poor personal hygiene.

By the 18th century boxes were designed to hold a variety of contents. The first snuff-boxes as such seem to have taken the form of a pear and were known as poires-à-poudre, with an opening in the top to allow a small amount of the fine powder to be poured on to the back of the hand before being inhaled in each nostril. Later examples are usually rectangular or oval in form (...

Article

Charles Robertson

[Suardi, Bartolomeo]

(b ?Milan, c. 1465; d Milan, 1530).

Italian painter and architect. He was one of the leading artists in Milan in the early 16th century. His early training as a goldsmith may indicate a relatively late start to his activity as a painter, and none of his work may be dated before 1490. The style of his early work parallels that of such followers of Vincenzo Foppa as Bernardino Butinone, Bernardo Zenale and Giovanni Donato da Montorfano. He assumed the name Bramantino very early in his career, indicating that he was in close contact with Donato Bramante, whose influence is uppermost in his early work.

Bramantino’s earliest surviving painting is probably the Virgin and Child (Boston, MA, Mus. F.A.). It is an adaptation of a type of half-length Virgin with standing Christ Child well known in Milan. The linear emphasis and the dramatic treatment of light are aspects derived from Bramante’s work. Bramantino stressed graphic quality in this picture, and throughout his early work he was considerably influenced by Andrea Mantegna and by the visual aspects of prints. His ...

Article

(b Chemnitz, Oct 1, 1893; d Kirchberg, June 18, 1983).

German metalworker and designer. One of the best-known of the Bauhaus metalworkers, she studied painting and sculpture at the Kunstakademie in Weimar (1911–14). Around 1923 she went to study at the Bauhaus in Weimar and on the advice of László Moholy-Nagy joined the metal workshop there. The development of her work parallels the philosophical developments at the Bauhaus, from the craft orientation of the Weimar period (1919–25) to the interest in technology and industrial design of the Dessau period (1925–33). Her early designs, for example the hand-crafted nickel-silver teapot (1924; see fig.) and brass and ebony tea-essence pot (1924; Berlin, Bauhaus-Archv), are based on pure geometrical forms—cylinders, spheres and hemispheres. Functional considerations are secondary to aesthetic concerns. Her later designs, particularly those for lighting fixtures, reflect the influence of Moholy-Nagy. Under his direction the metal workshop concentrated on producing prototypes for mass production (...

Article

[Reinier; Reijnier]

(b Wesel, Gelderland, 1702; d Amsterdam, 1788).

Dutch silversmith. In his youth he moved to Amsterdam, where he was active from c. 1734; a silversmith with the initials R.B. received the citizenship of Amsterdam that year. He specialized in delicate bread- and cake-baskets in the Rococo style, all of which have the same basic form: a graceful ogee-shape with an openwork body and curving sides tapering into handles at either end. They are decorated with openwork patterns of trellis or foliage. The rims and bases are trimmed with linked volutes or fillets and groups of flowers and fruits, and Rococo scrolls form the feet (e.g. basket, 1770; Amsterdam, Rijksmus.). In the later 18th century, with increasing mechanization, some components of his baskets were machine-made. Though chiefly known for these elaborately decorated objects Brandt also produced relatively plain ones, for example an inkstand of 1735 (Amsterdam, Rijksmus.), which is undecorated except for a small pierced lid, and a large tureen and salver (...

Article

Brass  

P. T. Craddock

revised by Francesca Bewer

The alloy of copper and zinc. The alloy of copper and tin is bronze, while alloys with both zinc and tin are known as gunmetals. Many of the alloys that are described as bronze are in fact brass; for a discussion of the origins and usage of these terms see Bronze.

E. R. Caley: Orichalcum and Related Ancient Alloys, American Numismatic Society Publication, no. 151 (New York, 1964) P. T. Craddock, ed.: 2000 Years of Zinc and Brass, British Museum Occasional Papers, no. 50 (London, 1990, rev. New Castle, DE, and London, 3/1998)

P. T. Craddock, revised by Francesca Bewer

The properties depend very much on the zinc content, which gives a wide range of alloys. The properties of certain alloys will be considered here in order of ascending zinc content. For further technical information the reader should consult the publications of the Copper Development Association in Britain or of the corresponding group elsewhere....

Article

Malcolm W. Norris

A term used to describe any inscription, figure, shield of arms, or other device engraved for a commemorative purpose in flat sheet brass. It is found as early as 1486 in the will of William Norreys of Ash-next-Sandwich, Kent. Such memorials became established in 13th-century Europe as a very satisfactory form of inlay for a grave slab. They recorded the death and status of the deceased and, particularly important, attracted prayers for the soul in Purgatory. Monumental brasses are therefore usually found in churches.

Brasses were manufactured almost exclusively in north-western and central Europe, although they were exported as far south as Madeira. This form of monument was, as with tomb effigies, initially patronized by the higher clergy, although very occasionally royalty chose to be so represented. Examples are the brasses of Philip and John (destr.), sons of Louis VIII of France, formerly at Notre-Dame, Poissy, of Queen Margaret (...

Article

Elisabeth Gurock

(b Lyon, 1642; d Frankfurt am Main, Aug 13, 1713).

German medallist and wax-modeller. She was the daughter of Georg Pfründt, wax-modeller, medallist and engraver. In 1659 she married the medallist Johann Bartholomäus Braun (fl 1636–74; d 1684); thus before 1659 her works are signed a.m.p., and after that year, a.m.b. Braun first worked in Nuremberg, and later in Frankfurt am Main, becoming particularly recognized as a portraitist. In the style of Alessandro Abondio she produced wax portrait reliefs of numerous members of the princely houses of the Netherlands, Germany and other countries; on two occasions she was summoned to the Viennese court. An example of her work is a portrait of Ludwig William, Margrave of Baden (Brunswick, Herzog Anton Ulrich-Mus.). Braun also modelled free-standing wax figures, such as the signed statuette of Count Karl in armour (Kassel, Hess. Landesmus.). She did not, however, limit herself to portraits, but also executed mythological scenes, such as the signed sculpture of the ...