The J. Paul Getty Museum

Ewer and Basin

Object Details

Title:

Ewer and Basin

Artist/Maker:

Abraham Pfleger I (German, died 1605, active from 1558)

Culture:

German

Date:

1583

Medium:

Partially gilt silver with enameled plaques and engraving

Object Number:

85.DG.33

Dimensions:

25.1 cm (9 7/8 in.)

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Object Description

Before the late 1500s when forks came into common use, people ate with their fingers and therefore had to be able to wash their hands at the dining table. Between courses, guests were offered scented water from ewers such as this one to wash their hands, which they held out over shallow basins.

Ewers and basins in precious metal were produced mainly for use on important occasions and would at other times be displayed on a buffet at the side of the room. This set was commissioned to commemorate a wedding between the Fuggers, the most illustrious of all German banking families, and the Palffy von Erdöds, a famous Hungarian family. Documents in the court archive in Vienna show that the silversmith Abraham Pfleger, one of the most gifted German silversmiths of the late 1500s, produced two sets of ewers and basins on the occasion of the marriage of Maria Fugger to Duke Nikolaus Palffy von Erdöd in 1583. This set, dated 1583 on the enameled plaques, is one of those two sets.

Provenance
Provenance
1583 -

Nikolaus Pálffy ab Erdöd, 1552 - 1600 and Maria Magdalena Fugger, 1560 - 1646 (Augsburg, Germany), on the occasion of their marriage, 1583.

- 1984

Private Collection [sold, Fine Russian Works of Art [...] Objects of Vertu [...] and Silver, Christie's, Geneva, November 15, 1984, lot 606, to David Incorporated]

1984 - 1985

David Incorporated (Vaduz, Liechenstein), sold to the J. Paul Getty Museum, 1985.

Bibliography
Bibliography

"Acquisitions/1985." The J. Paul Getty Museum Journal 14 (1986), pp. 177, 254, no. 220.

The J. Paul Getty Museum Handbook of the Collections. 3rd ed. (Malibu: J. Paul Getty Museum, 1991), p. 208.

Bremer-David, Charissa, et al. Decorative Arts: An Illustrated Summary Catalogue of the Collections of the J. Paul Getty Museum (Malibu: J. Paul Getty Museum, 1993), p. 234-35, no. 407.

The J. Paul Getty Museum Handbook of the Collections. 4th ed. (Los Angeles: J. Paul Getty Museum, 1997), p. 245, ill.

Bremer-David, Charissa, et al. Masterpieces of the J. Paul Getty Museum: Decorative Arts (Los Angeles: J. Paul Getty Museum, 1997), p. 26, no. 17.

The J. Paul Getty Museum Handbook of the Collections. 6th ed. (Los Angeles: J. Paul Getty Museum, 2001), p. 245, ill.

Wilson, Gillian, and Catherine Hess. Summary Catalogue of European Decorative Arts in the J. Paul Getty Museum (Los Angeles: J. Paul Getty Museum, 2001), pp. 246-47, no. 511.