Micro-ivory pastoral idyll
This delicately carved ivory relief is a tour de force of virtuoso ivory carving on a minute scale. The technique, known as micro-carving, was popular in the late eighteenth century and pieces were often incorporated into jewellery or snuff boxes. This micro-ivory carving is of a pastoral idyll, set to a gold brooch and under crystal, circa 1790. It a depicts a shepherd tending his flock under a tree enwreathed in ivy. I am attributing this fine carving to Stephany and Dresch as the composition, tree and figures are identical to one of their micro-ivory carvings illustrated on page 125 of Elfenbein Kunst. Stephany and Dresch were described as ‘the most eminent sculptors in ivory in Europe . . . who will execute any design for Rings, Bracelets, Lockets, or for Cabinet pieces’. Their work was ‘so fine that a glass is necessary to discover its beauties’. This brooch measures 1 and 1/4 inches by 3/4 of an inch. An incredibly fine carving in microscopic detail, unable ever to be replicated.
Similar Stephany and Dresch carving in Elfenbein Kunst.