Elias I Drentwett
Augsburg, c. 1618/1619
Silver, gilded, enamel
H. 28.6 cm (ewer), w. 58.8 cm (basin)
Acquired from art trade in 1955. Restored with support of the Bauer'sche Barockstiftung
Inv. No. 55/136, 55/137
Baroque and Rococo
The hand-washing ceremony with jug and basin was a privilege of the highest-ranking person at the princely table. In keeping with the importance of this ceremonial act, lavabo sets were particularly elaborately designed. The highly subtle depictions on this ensemble are dedicated to the theme of water: the scene on the basin shows Neptune, the god of water and the sea, abducting a young woman; Nereids adorn the jug and a boy with a trident on a dolphin crowns the lid. The coat of arms and inscription on the basin indicate that the set was commissioned by the Grandmaster of the Teutonic Order, Archduke Charles of Austria, the brother of Emperor Ferdinand II.