[Copenhagen], ?the Private Press of Christian VI [1731; title dated 1732].
4to. [ii], p.
Late 19th-century green cloth-backed boards (small stains), gilt-lettered title label on the front board.
Danneskiold-Samsøe, Christian, greve. 1702-1728.
Verzeichnüs Derer Sachen, welche sich in denen Schrancken des…Christian Dannesckiolds. Copenhagen, the Private Press of Christian VI 1731. 4to. [i], p.
Ad I-II: Only Editions, THE SALE CATALOGS OF THE NOBLE’S FINE ART COLLECTION AND CURIOSITY CABINET. The French catalog was aimed at the international market to the west and south and the German at northern and eastern European buyers. The auction took place in early January 1732.
Divided into four sections, the contents of the two editions are the same — things preceding images. The first roughly four hundred lots describe his Wunderkammer, here organized in two parts. Naturalia and artificialia figure in both, and, apparently, they are listed according to the spaces in which they were displayed: the first group numbered one to one hundred eighty-one and then “Rarities in Another Room” with fresh numeration (one to two hundred). The materials include textiles, gems, minerals, metals, shells, coral, exotic woods, crystal, ceramics, pottery, enamel, lacquer, ivory, glass…. Of ancient and modern manufacture, the objects come from Greenland, Russia, Turkey, the Americas, Africa, the Far East and right around the corner.
Clearly, fascination with the strange and magnificent propelled the count’s acquisitions. Weapons, ancient marble sculpture, pagan charms, ivory carvings, gem encrusted goblets, an assaying touchstone, rings (some with Arabic inscriptions), palm manuscripts, mosaics, carved wax (battles to saints), paintings on glass and wood and copper, a human fetus, nesting drinking vessels, a set of six grave diggers. You get the picture. And, yes, the obligatory unicorn horns (four), flying fish, whale penis, exotic insects, runes, ostrich egg. Enough with the fun!
His three hundred sixty-seven paintings (so numbered) were described by the court painter, Hendrik Krock, and the keeper of the Holstein gallery, Georg Saleman. These works are of two types and are handled differently. The two hundred larger, more important pieces, nearly all signed, have their dimensions given, while the smaller, more frequently anonymous pictures, are treated more summarily. In keeping with his time, Danneskiold emphasized Dutch Golden Age canvasses by Van Dyck, Rubens, Ruisdael, Rembrandt, et al., but, atypical for a northern collector, he also bought Italian painters of the 15th to 18th centuries (and their northern imitators). Among these are Titian, Bassano, Palma, Cignani, Sebastiano Bombelli, Niccolò Cassana and Johann Carl Loth. In the final section, I note two or three Dürers, a couple of portraits of Erasmus and a few sculptures.
Before being bound up together, these two catalogs had independent lives, as evidenced by their different stab hole positions. Two libraries seem to hold both editions (Copenhagen KB, Paris BnF), and one only the German (Getty). Neither was known to Murray, Balsiger or UCBA. Both booklets are in good condition.
¶Ad I: Lugt, Répertoire des catalogues des ventes I: 418 (uncharacteristically inaccurate); Loh, Internationale Bibliographie der Antiquariats-, Auktions- und Kunstkataloge. Sonderband 7: 206 (I read all of the first seven volumes).
Ad II: Bruun, Bibliotheca danica I: 1109.