A German ‘Bandwurm’ Glass, decorated with a view of Breslau

A German ‘Bandwurm’ Glass, decorated with a view of Breslau

Decorated in Nuremberg

Mid 18th century

24.0 cm high

Painted in schwarzlot with a view of Breslau (now Wroclaw)) by Friedrich Bernhard Werner (1690-1776) published by Martin Engelbrecht (1684-1756) in 1736 in Topographia Seu Compendium Silesiae.

Friedrich Bernhard Werner was a Silesian-born artist who devoted almost his entire life to capturing views of cities, as well as individual buildings, such as churches and palaces. Many of his works are of Breslau, where he lived, worked and died.

“Topographia Seu Compendium Silesiae”

Cityscapes were popular amongst Nuremberg hausmaler and are generally attributed to earlier artists such as Johann Schaper, Ludwig Faber or Hermann Benckert although they are mostly unsigned. Our glass must be later as it includes the distinctive facade of the University of Breslau, the long building by the river to the right of the centre of the engraving, construction of which began in 1728 and was completed in 1737.

Breslau in Silesia had been under Austrian Hapsburg rule until annexed by Prussia under Frederick the Great during the War of the Austrian Succession, it was ceded to Prussia in the Treaty of Breslau in 1742. It was on one of the main routes between Dresden and Warsaw and was frequently visited by Augustus the Strong and his son Augustus III, Kings of Poland. It became a centre of German baroque literature. In February 1945, under the terms of the Potsdam Agreement, it became part of Poland.

Another almost identical example with a different cityscape is in in the Chicago Art Institute, (Julius and Augusta N. Rosenwald Fund in 1945.182), the painting is there attributed to Hermann Benckert. This is the only closely comparable piece that we have found.

It is very unusual to find schwarzlot decoration on formglas, which was made across Germany throughout the seventeenth century rather than the more refined Nuremberg glass on which it is usually found on. A schwarzlot scene, probably from Augsburg or Munich, on a related passglas with a triumphal procession of 1662 in the British Museum is illustrated by Hugh Tait, 5000 Years of Glass, 2012 edition, p. 177, fig.227.

A schwarzlot view of Breslau also appears on the foot of an armorial glass decorated by Ignaz Preissler in the collection of Rudolf von Strasser (von Strasser 2002, p.174, no. 100).

Thank you to Mr Stephan Boll, Munich for helping us identify the view of Breslau and we are grateful to Stanisław Ledóchowski for help with identifying the source for this view and for correcting our earlier mistake.

A shallow 1 cm loss to the band around the glass, and two smaller chips to the band

Helmut Bosch, Die Nürnberger Hausmaler: Emailfarbenderkor auf Gläsern und Fayencen der Barockzeit, Munich, 1984
Hugh Tait, 5000 Years of Glass, The British Museum Press, 2012 edition, p. 177, fig. 227
Rudolf von Strasser, Licht und Farbe, Kunsthistorisches Museum Wien, 2002, p. 174, no. 100

Price: £22,000