A Nymphenburg Group of a Bull Attacked by Three Mastiffs

A Nymphenburg Group of a Bull Attacked by Three Mastiffs

Circa 1760
Impressed Bavarian shield mark to the base.

This group captures three mastiffs, tearing at the hide of a bull as he makes a final struggle for his life. It is one of a series representing the three stages of the hunt: the chase, the hunt and the kill.

A number of related hunting groups were produced by Nymphenburg, and have varyingly been attributed to Dominikus Auliczek and Bustelli. The very high quality and dynamic nature suggests this was modelled by Bustelli.

The extremely sharp detailing with extensive hand modelling of hair as well as the smoothness of the paste suggests an early example nearer to 1760.

Two closely related, but rather more stiffly-modelled groups, in the Bayerisches Nationalmuseum are illustrated in Bustelli: Nymphenburger Porzellanfiguren des Rokoko. One is attributed to Bustelli and one to Bustelli or Dominikus Auliczek.

The mastiffs in this model have sometimes been described, in the literature, as panthers.

We are grateful to Alfred Ziffer for his views on the attribution of this model.

Height: 11.5 cm
Width: 21.7 cm

Condition – The base has some warping from firing. Losses to tips of bull’s horns and one ear, tail and ear of one dog, small chips to other ears. No restoration.

Literature – Bustelli: Nymphenburger Porzellanfiguren des Rokoko by Katharina Hantschmann, Alfred Ziffer and others, figs. 227 and 228, on pages 378-9, described on p. 514-5.

Nymphenburger Porzellan Die Sammlung Bauml by Alfred Ziffer, p. 71

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