Vienna Circa 1780 An Imperial Silver Service Rediscovered Wolfram Koeppe

Metropolitan Museum of Art
Publication date:
13 Apr 2010
120 pages: 279 x 216 x 18mm
150 colour illustrations

The Sachsen-Teschen Silver Service was made for Duke Albert Casimir (1738-1822) and his consort, Archduchess Maria Christina of Austria (1742-1798), sister of Queen Marie-Antoinette and daughter of Empress Maria Theresa. The Imperial court goldsmith Ignaz Josef Wurth created a spectacular table setting that comprises of hundreds of items, including several wine coolers, tureens, cloches, sauceboats, candelabra, candlesticks - most with fanciful sculptural decorations - in addition to twenty-four dozen silver plates and porcelain-mounted cutlery as well as other serving objects. The ensemble represents the splendour of princely dining during the ancient regime at its best. The book places this unknown imperial silver service, an embodiment of Viennese neo-classicism and a rare survivor not melted down for its precious metal, in the context of contemporary silver from other European cities and introduces Vienna as a major centre of neoclassical goldsmithing.

Wolfram Koeppe is curator, Department of European Sculpture and Decorative Arts, The Metropolitan Museum of Art.