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NMM 13000. Signal hunting horn by Wolf Wilhelm Haas, Imperial City of Nürnberg, 1754-1759. Single-coiled, one-piece, solid-silver body with gold-plated, fixed mouthpiece, garland, and bell interior. This notable signal horn, the sole survivor of its size, may well have been used to call the dogs and guide the hunters at one of the many courts in the German-speaking territories in the 18th century. Hunting, under the influence of French royal fashion, was a very popular sport of the aristocracy during the baroque era. Ex coll.: Barons von Rothschild, Vienna. Joe R. and Joella F. Utley Collection, 2006.
Engraved on bell garland with the signature I. W. HAAS, Nürnberg and the master’s mark, a rabbit running to the left, looking backwards at the initials IWH. This master’s mark refers to Wolf Wilhelm Haas (1681-1760) who was admitted as a master in 1706. This specific shape of the hallmark, N (the first letter of Nürnberg), was in use between 1754 and 1759 (see Thomas Eser, et al, Nürnberger Goldschmiedekunst 1541-1868, Teil I.: Meister, Werke, Marken. Nürnberg: 2007).
Cast hunting figures in shapes of a horseman, a dog, and a fox are applied to the garland, which is engraved with cross hatching and trees reflecting the original context of use—a fox hunt in the woods. The castings are extremely carefully finished with filing and chasing, showing the faces and even the animals' fir. The scallop shells decorating the edge of the garland are stamped from the front and worked in repoussé from the back with delicately filed prongs. The bell-rim wire, presumably impressed in a wire mill, has the same pattern as on NMM 7212, a trumpet by Johann Wilhelm Haas.
Hunter on NMM 3488
Fox on NMM 7459
Similar castings are found on two brass horns by Wolf Wilhelm Haas (NMM 3488, left) and Johann Carl Kodisch (NMM 7459, right), but they are not as well preserved and are less carefully finished.
Two rings for the attachment of a carrying strap are held by a cast lion's head and by a loop made from the bell-rim wire.
The most remarkable feature of Wolf Wilhelm Haas' silver horn is the original mouthpiece which survives with it—a very rare occurence. An integral part of the instrument, the mouthpiece is put over, rather than into, the end of the horn, a design shared with a very early Nürnberg horn by Michael Nagel (1647), now in Graz. The turned cup features a sharp edge between the cup and throat—like a baroque trumpet mouthpiece—and there is no refined "backbore." Rather, the mouthpiece is constructed with a step on the interior, after the throat, a feature reminiscent of 17th-century English trumpet mouthpiece design.
Sounding length: 767 mm; coil diameter: ca. 145 mm; external diameter after mouthpiece ferrule: 5.8 mm; bell diameter: 107 mm.
Willi Wörthmüller, "Die Instrumente der Nürnberger Trompeten- u. Posaunenmacher," Mitteilungen des Vereins für Geschichte der Stadt Nürnberg, Vol. 46 (1955), p. 437.
Christie's South Kensington, Musical Instruments from the von Rothschild Collection, London, June 16, 1999, lot #49, p. 76.
Sotheby's Catalog, Important Silver, Gold Boxes & Objects of Vertu, London, November 29, 2006, lot #119, p. 96.
Sabine Klaus, "Splendid 18th-Century Nürnberg Silver Horn from the Rothschild Collection Finds a Home at the NMM," National Music Museum Newsletter 34, No. 2 (May 2007), pp. 3-4.
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