German Silver Gilt Minaudière Louis Kuppenheim


Humorous Repousse Monkey

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    Ivorine Notepad & Original Pencil

    From our Silver collection, we are delighted to offer this German Silver Gilt Minaudiere attributed to Louis Kuppenheim. The minaudière of rectangular form with curved corners features a repousse monkey which humorously goes through the case with the front side of the monkey on the cover and the rear side of the monkey on the back. The exterior of the case is gilded Silver with cabochon Sapphires and a top carry loop. To the left of the top a second loop contains the original pencil which pulls out for taking notes upon the ivorine notepad within. The interior of the case features several compartments which open via the Sapphire tabs, the left side contains two smaller compartments while the right side features a bevel edged mirror with an ivorine notepad to the reverse and a spring loaded tab to the compartment. The case is hallmarked in several locations with the London ‘omega’ import mark (1906-1998), the import Silversmiths mark Gresham Barber & Co and is dated 1907. Although the minaudière does not bear the original makers hallmark we firmly attribute the case to Louis Kuppenheim a renowned German Silversmith who made designs matching this minaudière.

    Louis Kuppenheim (1824-1889)was founded in 1854 together with Heinrich Witzemann they were located in Pforzheim, southwestern Germany and is known as the gateway to the Black Forest. In 1857 Kuppenheim moved forward as a solo business without his partner and moved to Durlacher Straße 1, Old Town street in Pforzheim. Upon the death of Louis Kuppenheim in 1889 3 of his 6 children (Albert, Hugo and Moritz) took over running the company and in 1900 at the Universal Exhibition in Paris the firm won a gold medal for a paper knife. In the same year the company opened the first store in the Rue de Richelieu 67 in Paris.

    In the 1900s Hans Christiansen designed some silver parts and pieces of jewellery, which were made by the Manufacture Kuppenheim. Christiansen was an important Art Nouveau painter and a member of the Darmstadt artists’ colony. In 1906 Albert, Hugo and Moritz convert the inherited jewellery factory into a modern gold and silverware fabrication and one year later relocated to 69 Durocher Street. Over the next 30 years the company expanded their business with mechanical workshops for gold and silver along with more machinery along with the death of Albert Kuppenheim and Ludwig (another son of Louis) taking over the company. After the war broke out in 1939 the company went into liquidation ending its 82 year history. During the heyday of the company over 200 people were employed by Louis Kuppenheim making it one of the most important employers in the jewellery city of Pforzheim.

    In the more than eighty years of production some 100,000 pieces left the company. Kuppenheim made many items in small series, for example boxes and minaudières (women’s fashion accessory, generally considered a jewellery piece, intended to substitute for an evening bag. A case with compartments, it allows storage for several items in a small space, such as a makeup compact, lipstick, watch, reading glasses, or keys) and compacts and cigarette cases were made in different sizes and shapes. Many hundreds of different styles and a unique variety of shapes are evidence of the creative mind of this designer.

    The silverware were usually cut by machine, engraved and soldered together by hand. An elaborately crafted vanity case consists of up to twenty items. Many fashion pieces at that time were decorated accordingly, engine turned with enamels. The Kuppenheimer enamel, because of the high quality obtained worldwide fame. Products were exported to England, France, the United States and to South America.

    Silver Gilt is silver which has been covered with an exterior coating of gold.

    Ivorine is an artificial product resembling ivory in colour or texture.

    Measurements 11cm High x 6.5cm Wide x 2cm Deep (4.33 x 2.56 x 0.79 Inches)

    Condition Very Good, usage and wear marks consistent with age.

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