Morton & Eden Ltd
Auction 123  20 Jul 2023
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Lot 547

Starting price: 3600 GBP
Price realized: 3600 GBP
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Germany, Hans Jamnitzer workshop (c. 1570), Mercury sending Argos to Sleep and The Decapitation of Argos, a pair of lead plaques, the former with Mercury descending to Earth from Jupiter and in the foreground playing his flute to Argos who falls asleep, his dog at his feet; Io as a heifer amidst other cattle on the right, 182mm (Weber 287.1; Frederiks I, 60B, this piece; Jamnitzer [1995], 564), pierced, dark patina, an extremely fine contemporary cast; the latter with Mercury holding up the head of Argos whose corpse lies on the ground; Juno stands on the left with a peacock and appears again in the sky riding her chariot drawn by a pair of peacocks, 182mm (Weber 287.2; Frederiks I, 61C, this piece), three piercings, dark patina, a very fine contemporary cast; the pair uniformly set in red velvet mounts within gilt frames for displaying (frames 280mm square) (2) Ex Morton & Eden, 18 April 2002, lot 609. Both these plaquettes are illustrated in J.W. Frederik's Dutch Silver (1952) where they were attributed to Paulus van Vianen. The scenes involve the unfaithfulness of Jupiter who had fallen in love with Io. Jupiter's wife Juno upon hearing this turned Io into a white heifer and placed the animal under the guard of the giant Argos (another version of the story has it that Zeus himself turned Io into a heifer to hide her from Juno). Jupiter sent Mercury to kill Argos by lulling him to sleep and cutting off his head.

Estimate: 4000 - 6000 GBP
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