A Dutch silver wedding basket
Johannes Le(a) Blanc(k)
496 grams, 20 cm wide, 19.5 cm high
The oval sweetmeat wedding basket is pierced with vertical pales between borders with an openworked and engraved wavy motif. Applied on both sides with an oval medallion with classical vase, raised on a pierced gallery. At the top, the basket is bordered by a beaded rim. The two moulded openwork handles on either side consist of ovals with a bow motif and laurel foliage. The central column is tapered and applied with swags, floral rosettes and beaded swags, surmounted by a spherical knob. The column is placed on a four-compartment division that is pierced with latticework. The central part part is attached to the base plate by means of a screw connection. Fully marked on the reverse of the base.
The serving of sweetmeat at engagements and weddings began as early as the seventeenth century. Marzipan and sugared almonds soaked in rose water were among the so-called wedding sweetmeats. The specially made baskets date from the last quarter of the 18th century. These are characterized by the division into two or four compartments in order to be able to separate the various wedding sweetmeats. The central ornament ranged from a floral branch or birds to a decorated column. The central part is removable, so that the basket does not only have to be used for weddings. At the end of the 18th century up to the early nineteenth century wedding sweetmeat baskets were very popular.
Le Blanc may have copied the design of this basket from his fellow silversmith from Rotterdam, Rudolph Sondag. A similar wedding sweetmeat basket applied with masks on either side was made by Sondag in 1780. Le Blanc’s basket is applied with classical vases. That there must have been a collaboration between the two is also evident from the fact that the two moulded openwork handles with ovals also appear on Sondag’s baskets.
Johannes le(a) Blanc(k) was born in Venlo around 1740, the son of Augustus Johannes Philippus Andries Le Blanc and Maria Colent. On 17 October 1784 Johannes married Johanna Schut, alias Schutte, ‘young daughter of Rotterdam’. She was baptized on 17 February 1759 as the daughter of Frans Schut and Barbera Graet. Johannes and Johanna had several children. Johannes worked as a silversmith in Rotterdam from 1784, the year in which his maker’s mark LB was probably struck on the inculpation plate of the silversmiths’ guild. In 1793 Johannes is recorded as a silversmith, when his daughter was buried. At the time, he lived with his family in the Magere Varkesteegabove a distillery. Johanna died in 1809 and was buried on 10 May. Johannes wasburied on January 7, 1813. The death certificate states:”having been a minister at burials”.
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