TWO FINE SILVER-GILT MODELS OF AN ELEPHANT AND RHINOCEROS WITH EXOTIC RIDERS
PROBABLY CONTINENTAL 18TH CENTURY AND LATER
the elephant as a perfume burner, modelled with a seated oriental Empress, wearing a headdress and bird, flower and leaf robes, sitting cross-legged on a leaf and flower decorated pillow and a tasselled saddle cloth decorated with scrolls, accompanied by a 'mahoot' driver sitting on the animal's head holding an axe and arrows, the rhinoceros with his armour plated body based on the famous woodcut by Albrecht Durer, has an almost identical seated dignitary and 'mahoot' and a similar pillow, each raised on a later onyx plinth, both unmarked (2)
the elephant: 35.5cm high, 28.5cm long, 151oz (approx)
the rhinoceros: 36.2cm high, 28.5cm long, 165oz (approx)
Alfred de Rothschild (1842-1918)
Lionel de Rothschild (1882-1942)
Edmund de Rothschild (1916-2009)
The Trustees of Exbury House
Edward Alfred Jones, The Gold and Silver of Windsor Castle,1911, pp.226-227, pl.XL, no.1 for an almost identical elephant group with a male figure, described as 'Elephant, Silver-gilt, The Elephant is driven by a figure holding arrows and an axe, and is surmounted by a large Indian god. Weight, 185 1/4oz. Height, 14in. No marks. English, eighteenth century'.
In the 17th and 18th centuries the fashion for all things oriental and exotic ensured models of elephants and rhinoceros to be imported in various styles and media, including porcelain. In the 18th century, Meissen began to produce similar models based on eastern prototypes and the present lot owes much to elephant and rhinoceros groups modelled by J. J. Kandler and P. Reinicke in the 1740s.