Bröllmannowie – złotnicy toruńscy przełomu XVII i XVIII wieku. Addenda i corrigenda

Anna Frąckowska, Jacek Tylicki



The paper constitutes an annex to the text by Jacek Tylicki, published in this journal in two parts (1992 and 1994). It completes biographical data on the Brollmanns, revises some former attributions and presents recently discovered objects made in their workshops. Newer archival research disclosed that the second wife of Niklaus and mother of both Johann Christian and Samuel was Anna Chodowiecka, related to the somewhat younger renowned draughtsman and engraver from Gdańsk, Daniel Chodowiecki. Exact life dates of her both sons are now known; it is also possible to pinpoint the dwellings of all the members of the family on the town map. Niklaus and Johann Christian have been members of the town’s authorities (within the ‘Third Order’), and the latter also held the elder’s post in the local Calvinist religious commune. Johann Christian was married to Elisabeth Hemling, and had two sons with her, none of which continued, however, their father’s profession. The younger son of Niklaus, Samuel, probably did not erect his own workshop, collaborating with his brother. Eighteen further objects have now been found, which originated with certainty from the workshops of both silversmiths. Among them, Niklaus produced two chalices, one paten and an altar lamp typical in form and decoration; furthermore, interesting and scarce lay objects by this master have surfaced: a beaker, a tazza with floral decoration, another sizeable tazza inset with coins as well as a coin tankard and a doctoral thesis. All of them confirm the known abilities of the craftsman, displaying high technical and artistic quality, as well as his knowledge of most up-to-date stylistic trends, visible in decoration. The newly identified part of Johann Christian’s oeuvre comprises a chalice, a devotional painting application in form of a crown, a pair of candlesticks, three beakers and a spoon – objects typical both for formerly known production of the master, and of the Toruń milieu in general. There appeared, however, also two others, much more worthwhile: an imposing tankard decorated with personifications of virtues in high quality repousse technique, and a tea box (unique in Toruń silversmith) with regence ornament. In its diversity, Johann Christian’s work shows similarity to the production of such celebrated local masters as Johann Christian Bierpfaff, Jakob Sachs, or Stephan Petersen, and in singular cases his products resemble the ones from their ateliers. As it has already been pointed out before, however, it represents – in contrast to the aforementioned masters – a very uneven level of craftsmanship both in technical and purely artistic terms: while the craftsman was rather at ease executing the repousse parts, he apparently could not adequately cope with the engravings. The recently found objects by both masters are especially worth attention as far as those of lay character are concerned, since such items are relatively rare in Toruń silverware production. Equally important is that in numerous cases their history and persons of commissioners are well known.

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