(Danzig 1682-1745 Kassel)

Two statuettes


ca. 1720/30

Historical personalities, one in Renaissance costume, the other in Roman dress, probably from the "Protestant heroes" series

each monogrammed on the plinth: "JD fz" and "JD"

Height: 22.5 cm



Two comparable pieces with similar monograms as both of these ivory figures are in the Victoria and Albert Museum in London. They are of the same height and character, lastly described as Louis II Duke of Bourbon, "Le Grand Condé" (1621-1686) and (1620-88) and Henry IV of France (1553-1610), who is considered to be the patron of Protestantism, whilst the great Condé regarded as opponent of Louis XIV's claim to absolutism.
The Winkler collection contains the statuette of Jean-François Paul de Gondi, Cardinal de Retz (1613-1679), also an opponent of the King of France. Another figure in the collection – identified as Prince William I of Orange – takes its place in this series because he is considered to be the founder of the Netherlands' independence from the power of the Hapsburgs. Two other ivory figures, also monogrammed are in a british collection of Syon Park = total 8 figures.

The Princess of Orange at the time of Dobbermann’s employment at the court of Hesse-Kassel was none other than Marie Louise Hesse-Kassel, sister of the Landgrave. Dobbermann's patron could possibly have been a Huguenot at the Kassel court or was commissioned by the Landgrave himself or his sister.

Jacob Dobbermann was born the son of a Danzig amber carver. Following apprenticeship years amongst others in London he entered service in 1716 as court artist for the protestant landgrave Charles of Hesse-Kassel (1654-1730), and his stay there is documented until 1729. Besides the above mentioned works further ivory and amber carvings are in the possession of the Grünes Gewölbe Dresden, the Museum für Kunst und Gewerbe Hamburg, and especially of the Staatliche Kunstsammlungen Kassel.


  • Claudia Nickel, Der Bernstein- und Elfenbeinschnitzer Jacob Dobbermann (1682-1745), Göttingen 1985, S. 63-65, Kat. Nr. 8, 9
  • Jörg Rassmussen, cat. Barockplastik in Norddeutschland, Mainz 1977,  S. 512-514, cat. no. 203 and 204
  • Christian Theuerkauff, Cat. Elfenbein, Reiner Winkler collection, vol. II, Munich 1984, cat. no. 9
  • Christian Theuerkauff, Unrecognized Ivory Carvings by Jacob Dobbermann, in: Burlington Magazine, February 1966, pp.72-78.