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Deckelhumpen (Tankard with Lid), ca. 1855-1860

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Bohemian Art Glass4858 of 5102An assortment of vases by Franz Wagner, Ulrichsthala puzzle....??
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Posted 6 years ago


(480 items)

The first thing you may notice about this striking vessel is that despite my title, it has no lid. An April Fool's joke? I'll come back to that in a minute.

In researching this piece, I had to make extensive use of Google translate, because any literature covering this type of glass is written in German. With good reason, too - as the piece is almost certainly German (Munich), dating to the early third quarter of the 19th century.

This glass is about 7.5" tall (about 19 cm), clear, matte finish, with cobalt blue overlay, hand engraved to form the image and surrounding scrolls. The image itself is curious - to me, it appears to be the Russian Tsar Alexander II wearing the uniform of a Cossack? If anyone has any further insights into the image, I welcome them. Beautifully executed wheel cutting, including on the base, where there is a perfectly ground and polished pontil.

All is not perfectly well with this piece, though. As I alluded to earlier, this "humpen" (tankard) is missing its "Deckel" (lid). With good reason, too, for on the side you don't see, there are a couple of nasty scars where the henkel (handle) was broken off. The (metal) lid would have been attached to the top of the handle with a hinge that allowed the lid to open and close perfectly flat on the surface of the glass. Intact examples in Das Boehmisches Glas, Band III show that the handle most likely would have been made of clear glass with a ribbon of cobalt blue inside. The good news is that this piece only cost me about the price of a nice lunch. I see this as a rescue operation - why let such an important piece languish in the jewelry case of a country antiques store?

As to the question of who made it - there are a couple of possibilities. A lot of this type of work was done by Franz de Paula Zach in Munich, although his works seem to be mostly signed, and this piece is not. However, this piece is stylistically similar to his work. Another possibility is Ludwig Schmitzberger, Grafenau. PMC III shows a pair of glass portraits engraved in the same way as this piece, and the portraits are of... Tsar Alexander II and and his wife, Maria Alexandrovna.

Again, google translate has been my friend, but it is not a perfect one. If anyone else has any observations or insights about this piece, I would be most grateful if you share them here.


  1. magdalenagirl magdalenagirl, 6 years ago
    Warren, I think you have your terminology confused. A deckel is a lid. And a Humpen is a mug. Great piece! Good luck with the restoration.

  2. bohemianglassandmore bohemianglassandmore, 6 years ago
    Thanks - I'll fix that. Told you that google translate can be tricky :)
  3. IVAN49 IVAN49, 6 years ago
    Handle or no handle – this is a museum piece and museums DO NOT restore items. Besides, we do not know what the handle looked like and what was the lid (Deckel). Partial glass restoration, and still no lid? Silver or pewter? Even if the handle is made, and it CAN be done, how to attach it to the body? Will hot glass handle adhere to it? We will search for further data; the saber, the uniform, the hat.
  4. bohemianglassandmore bohemianglassandmore, 6 years ago
    Ok, Ivan ... No handle it is :)
  5. Hornet Hornet, 6 years ago
    Very Nice pieces .
  6. bohemianglassandmore bohemianglassandmore, 6 years ago
    I sure will, Ernest - thanks!

  7. flyingfree, 5 years ago
    Have you investigated Karl Pfohl as a possibility?
    I'm currently trying to research a piece that is double overlay with cameo vines and grapes on it,that is relief cut in the same way as your piece but a different design. I've not come across anything the same as yours but there are a few pieces that have figural decoration attributed to Karl Pfohl. One is a double overlay cameo pokal in the Corning.
    There is a thread on the Glass Message Board with my piece on although it may not have anything new to add to what you have found.
    Kind regards
  8. bohemianglassandmore bohemianglassandmore, 5 years ago
    Thanks, m - stylistically, I don't think it's Pfohl, but I did see the Pfohl pieces in the Passau collection. I think he (Pfohl) took the refining to another level.


  9. flyingfree, 5 years ago
    I see what you mean about the refining. Were the pieces (the cameo pieces, not the engraved to clear) in the Passau signed Warren? I've had a hard time finding signed versions of these apart from the odd one. Even the large double overlay and the smaller pokal in the Corning are just attributed as 'Karl Pfohl - probably'. The only definitive pieces I've found are two by Zach. I'm cautious as to the other attributions of pieces. I've just ordered one of the books by Walter Spiegl so I'm hoping that may have some more information in it.
    May I ask why you think the person depicted is the Tsar particularly please?
    Kind regards
  10. flyingfree, 5 years ago
    p.s. have you seen this article?
  11. flyingfree, 5 years ago
    I've searched many of these items and this one has the most similarities in the way the leaves are engraved/cut, with yours.
    It has no definite id and isn't signed but I think they are most likely by the same hand.
  12. dejanborkic, 2 years ago
    On the Tankard is presented serbian national hero from revolution 1848/1849. Stevan Kni?anin (1807-1855).

  13. dejanborkic, 2 years ago
    Here is a link from wikipedia:
  14. Celiene Celiene, 2 years ago
    Google translate can be totally hilarious, too! NICE piece! Cool, Dejanborkic solved who it is, anyway!!

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