Prussian Collection of Precious Stones

Probably after a design of Karl Friedrich Schinkel

Prussia, probably Berlin, circa 1810-1820

Giltbronze, marble, precious stones

Height: 48 cm (18.9 inch)
Width: 28 cm (11 inch) Ref No: 2060

A very unusual and rare early 19th century German Empire screen with a variety of stone specimens (semi precious stones, marble, granite, etc.). A gilt bronze eagle with outstretched wings on a marble column is supporting an ormolu octagonal screen with a grey German granite slab decorated with eleven different stones samples surmounted by the bronze ornament of a Greek anthemion enclosing a small cameo with an engraved eagle.

The design of this unique and very decorative object is most likely based on a design by the famous Prussian architect Karl Friedrich Schinkel (13 March 1781 – 9 October 1841). He was not only an architect, city planner and painter but also designed stage sets, furniture and decorative arts. Schinkel is one of the most prominent and influential architects of Germany during the Neoclassical and Gothic revival period.

The (Prussian) eagle of this object, was also casted by the Prussian Royal Ironworks for other objects (paperweights and lithophane holders). Either this collection of framed stones samples relates to a Grand Tour trip by the person who commissioned this magnificent object, or it has a more symbolic character, where the meaning of the various stones is telling a (yet unidentified) story. This would probably lead to the order of the Rosicrucian, which became a very powerful secret society in Prussia and Berlin during the second half of the 18th century, when even the King Frederick William II became a member.