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19 septembre 2015

A new, permanent display of Michael Wellby's 2012 bequest, is now open at the Ashmolean

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Lapis lazuli bowl with gold mounts, Prague, c. 1608. Carving by the Miseroni workshop, mounts by Paulus van Vianen. Height: 17 cm. Bequeathed by Michael Wellby, 2012 © Ashmolean Museum, University of Oxford.

OXFORD.- Michael Wellby bequeathed his extraordinary collection of Renaissance silver and exotica to the Ashmolean in 2012. Comprising over 500 pieces, it consists primarily of spectacular goldsmiths’ work made in Continental Europe in the 16th and 17th centuries. 

The collection was inspired by the spectacular accumulations of virtuoso craftsmanship in precious and exotic materials assembled by princes on the Continent. Some of these materials, such as coconut shell and agate, were believed to have magical properties, including protecting against poison. 

Many of these objects could be used at table: the silver-gilt animals, for instance, have heads that can be removed and used as cups. However, the prime purpose of commissioning such fantastical objects was for display on a buffet, for the admiration and amusement of guests at a banquet. 

Michael Wellby’s collecting echoed such great royal accumulations as the Imperial Habsburg “Kunstkammer” (Art Cabinet) in Vienna or the one assembled by the Electors of Saxony, which is shown in the “Green Vault” in Dresden. This taste had been revived in the nineteenth century by wealthy private individuals such as the Rothschilds. 

His vision was of a “Little Green Vault in Oxford” and the eighteenth-century display in Dresden has been the inspiration for the present gallery. 

The Wellby Gallery has been made possible by generous grants from the DCMS Wolfson Fund, Arts Council England’s Designation Development Fund, the Worshipful Company of Goldsmiths, the Silver Society, and the Schroder Charity Trust.

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Lapis lazuli cup with jewelled and enamelled silver gilt mounts. Stone from Milan, c.1560. Mounts French, Paris, c.1640. Height: 14 cm. Bequeathed by Michael Wellby, 2012 © Ashmolean Museum, University of Oxford.

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Serpentine ewer and basin with silver gilt mounts. German, possibly from Dresden, c.1580 . Height: 30 cm; Diameter: 38 cm. Bequeathed by Michael Wellby, 2012 © Ashmolean Museum, University of Oxford.

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A group of German silver gilt cups of a stag by Elias Zorer (c.1605-10), Augsburg, an owl (c.1570), a ship model (c. 1620), a Dutch musketeer by Adriaen de Grebbe (c. 1600) and a bear (c. 1605-10). Bequeathed by Michael Wellby, 2012 © Ashmolean Museum, University of Oxford

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A closer look at the deck of the ship© Ashmolean Museum, University of Oxford

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From left: Ulrich Munt, Nautilus shell with silver gilt cagework mounts (circa 1620-1625); David Stechmesser, Nautilus shell with silver gilt mounts formed as a crane (1600); Nautilus shell with silver gilt mounts (circa 1580). Bequeathed by Michael Wellby, 2012 © Ashmolean Museum, University of Oxford

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Mounted nautilus shell, Ulrich Munt, probably (1610 - 1634), Augsburg, 1620 - 1625, nautilus-shell, parcel-gilt silver cagework mounts. Height 36.5 cm. Bequeathed by Michael Wellby, 2012 © Ashmolean Museum, University of Oxford

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Mounted nautilus shell, David Stechmesser (active 1571 - 1619), Nuremberg, c. 1580, nautilus-shell, silver-gilt mounts. Height to top of Neptune's head 30.5 cm. Bequeathed by Michael Wellby, 2012 © Ashmolean Museum, University of Oxford

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Mounted nautilus shellc. 1580, nautilus-shell, silver-gilt mounts; painted. Height 32.8 cm. Bequeathed by Michael Wellby, 2012 © Ashmolean Museum, University of Oxford

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Ostrich egg cup with silver gilt mounts. German, possibly from Nuremberg, made for the Prince of Transylvania, 1576. Height: 45.5 cm. Bequeathed by Michael Wellby, 2012 © Ashmolean Museum, University of Oxford

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Three silver gilt cups from Germany, possibly Nuremberg (circa 1490). Bequeathed by Michael Wellby, 2012 © Ashmolean Museum, University of Oxford

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Silver gilt ewer with enamelled royal arms of Portugal. Portuguese, possibly from Lisbon, c.1510-15. Height: 47 cm. Bequeathed by Michael Wellby, 2012 © Ashmolean Museum, University of Oxford

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Coconut cup and cover, Northern Netherlands, c. 1540 - 1560, coconut, eagle-claw, silver-gilt. Height 27 cm. Bequeathed by Michael Wellby, 2012 © Ashmolean Museum, University of Oxford

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Cup and cover, Frans Arentsz Born, the Hague, 1574 - 1575, silver-gilt, enamel. Height 30 cm. Bequeathed by Michael Wellby, 2012 © Ashmolean Museum, University of Oxford

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Tankard, Abraham Lotter (1562 - 1613), Augsburg (silver), Hall-in-Tyrol (glass), c. 1565 - 1580, glass, silver-gilt; filigree. Height 20.5 cm. Bequeathed by Michael Wellby, 2012 © Ashmolean Museum, University of Oxford

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Cup and cover, Jerg Hainlin, probably (active 1602 - 1630), Augsburg, mounts, but also possible for the mother-of-pearl, 1610 - 1615, silver-gilt, mother-of-pearl. Height 18.5 cm. Bequeathed by Michael Wellby, 2012 © Ashmolean Museum, University of Oxford

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Pottery jugTurkish, Iznik, 1607 - 1608 silver mounts; 1607 pottery, silver, pottery. Height: 25.5 cm. Bequeathed by Michael Wellby, 2012 © Ashmolean Museum, University of Oxford

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FlagonJohannes Lenker (1570 - 1637), Augsburg, c. 1608 - 1615, parcel-gilt silver. Height: 44.5 cm. Bequeathed by Michael Wellby, 2012 © Ashmolean Museum, University of Oxford

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Ewer,  Adam van Vianen, possibly (1568/9 - 1627),  Christian van Vianen, possibly (1600/05 - 1667), Utrecht, c. 1620 - 1630,  silver. Height: 23.7 cmBequeathed by Michael Wellby, 2012 © Ashmolean Museum, University of Oxford

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Virgin and Child, Maria Faydherbe (1587 - 1643), Malines, c. 1630 - 1640, boxwood, silver-gilt; carved. Height including base 16 cm. Bequeathed by Michael Wellby, 2012 © Ashmolean Museum, University of Oxford

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Figure of a naked young woman, Georg Petel, formerly attributed to (1601/02 - 1634), c. 1600 - 1630, boxwood, wood; carved. Height including base 17.4 cm. Bequeathed by Michael Wellby, 2012 © Ashmolean Museum, University of Oxford

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Cup, Johann Jacob Wolrab, parcel-gilt silver, Nuremberg, 1662 - 1664. Height 26.1 cm. Bequeathed by Michael Wellby, 2012© Ashmolean Museum, University of Oxford

 

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Tankard, Andreas Berckmann (1651 - 1688), Nuremberg, c.1685, silver-gilt, ruby-glass. Height 20.3 cm. Bequeathed by Michael Wellby, 2012© Ashmolean Museum, University of Oxford

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SleeveMatthias Loth, possibly (Weilheim 1675 - 1738 Munich),  Southern Germany, c. 1700, elephant-ivory; carved. Height  18.5 cm. Bequeathed by Michael Wellby, 2012© Ashmolean Museum, University of Oxford

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CasterDavid Willaume I (Metz 1658 - 1741), London, 1700 - 1701. Height 22.2 cm. Bequeathed by Michael Wellby, 2012 © Ashmolean Museum, University of Oxford

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Beaker and cover, Johann Heinrich Köhler, possibly, mounts (b. 1669), Dresden, c. 1720; elephant-ivory, silver-gilt, diamonds; carved. Height 24 cm. Bequeathed by Michael Wellby, 2012 © Ashmolean Museum, University of Oxford

The Wellby Gallery and Objects from the Wellby Collection

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