Smith & Singer
33
PROPERTY FROM THE ESTATE OF THE LATE DR JAN ALTMANN, MELBOURNE

The 1886 South Australian Coursing Club Waterloo Cup, by Henry Steiner 1835-1914 Adelaide, circa 1882-1883

Estimate $15,000 – $20,000

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PROPERTY FROM THE ESTATE OF THE LATE DR JAN ALTMANN, MELBOURNE

of volute krater form, on a circular stepped bell form base, the body supported on a waisted stem surmounted by a finely chased acanthus leaf collar, the body inscribed 'SOUTH AUSTRALIAN COURSING CLUB / WATERLOO CUP, 1886 / A Gift of the President Mr. R. Barr Smith / WON BY / MR. [HORACE] HANDEL ALLEN'S NS. R.W.B. VIOLET / BY KING OF THE HILLS - FLY' gadrooned to the shoulder from which emanate two gadrooned volute handles centred by rosettes, flanking a waisted neck
stamped 'H. STEINER', 'ADELAIDE', with crown, queen's head and lion passant to base
35 cm high

Provenance

August Brunkhorst 1846-1919 Adelaide (retailer)
The John and Jan Altmann Collection, Melbourne

Exhibited

Australian Silver 1800-1900, Lindesay", Darling Point, Sydney, 1973, no. 97
The J. & J. Altmann Collection of Australian Silver, National Gallery of Victoria, Melbourne, 2 September - 1 November 1981, no. 33 (illustrated)
Australian Decorative Arts 1788-1900, Australian National Gallery, Canberra, 5 November 1988 - 5 February 1989"

Literature

South Australian Coursing Club', The South Australian Advertiser, Adelaide, 20 January 1886, p. 7
The South Australian Weekly Chronicle, Adelaide, 1 May 1886, p. 14
'South Australian Coursing Club: Buckland Park Meet - May 19, 20 and 21, 1886', The South Australian Register, Adelaide, 22 May 1886, p. 7
'Sporting', The South Australian Register, Adelaide, 2 June 1886, p. 7
John Hawkins, Australian Silver 1800 - 1900, National Trust of Australia (New South Wales) Women's Committee, Sydney, 1973, pp. 72, 84

Show Catalogue Notes

Catalogue Notes

This handsome greyhound coursing cup is a rarity amidst the decorative trophies and characteristic of late 19th century presentation silver, with their complex ensembles of Aborigines, tree ferns, kangaroos, and emu eggs. In contrast to such elaborate Victorian confections, the cup displays a simpler taste, taking the form of a classical Greek volute-krater. (1) Weighing a full 45 oz., it was described in a contemporary newspaper as 'massive though of chaste proportions'; (2) it is in fact an enlarged version of a similar gold cup presented by Robert Barr Smith to the Adelaide Hunt Club in 1885.

Barr Smith, who also donated this trophy, was a leading figure in the colony's pastoral, mining, shipping and finance industries, a philanthropist and a sportsman. In addition to various equine enthusiasms, he was also a 'lover of the leash' (3), and was President of the South Australian Coursing Club, (though in the 1886 Waterloo Cup his own dog, Valentine Vox, was defeated in the first tie).

From its stamps, it seems the cup was designed and manufactured by Henry Steiner (1835-1914), but it was retailed by August Ludwig Brunkhorst (1846-1919), another well-known Adelaide German silversmith, who took over Steiner's business and stock-in-trade when the latter sold up in 1884. (4) It was formerly owned by the late John and Jan Altmann, much of whose collection of Australian silver was presented to the National Gallery of Victoria through the 1970s, 1980s and 1990s.

We gratefully acknowledge the kind assistance of John McPhee in cataloguing this work.

Dr David Hansen

(1) The adoption of a neoclassical manner amongst South Australia's German silversmiths in this period may be a response to Heinrich Schliemann's excavations at Troy, Mycenae and Tyrins, which were published (in German) through the 1870s. Steiner's Adelaide Hunt Club Cup (1878, Art Gallery of South Australia, Adelaide) was described in one contemporary newspaper as 'of antique shape, similar to a cup found by Mr Schlieman [sic] on the supposed site of Troy.' ('Adelaide Hunt Club Steeplechases', The South Australian Advertiser, Adelaide, 25 September 1882, p. 6).

(2) The South Australian Weekly Chronicle, Adelaide, 1 May 1886, p. 14

(3) 'South Australian Coursing Club', The South Australian Advertiser, Adelaide, 20 January 1886, p. 7

(4) Alternatively, it may have been made by Brunkhorst, but stamped by Steiner as retailer (or by Brunkhorst, using Steiner's marks). John Hawkins notes that 'it is unclear whether Brunkhorst worked for Steiner before 1884 but the products of Steiner's former business, when in the hands of Brunkhorst, are more classical in design.' (John Hawkins, Nineteenth Century Australian Silver, Antique Collectors' Club, Woodbridge, U.K., 1990, p. 175)

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Fine Asian, Australian & European Arts & Design

AU0789  |  29 Jul 2014  |  Melbourne
6 PM


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