Johann Jakob Handmann lI, Basle, ca. 1790
Silver, cast, embossed, chased, punched, engraved
height 34 cm
On New Year's day 1790 Hans Rudolf Gessler, formerly Lieutenant Colonel of the royal French infantry, offered 25 gold pieces to his guild, the Zunft zu Spinnwettern (building trade workers' guild), for the manufacture of a silver guild cup. The result of his gift was an unconventional covered cup in the severe style of the transition from Louis XVI to Directoire. According to the hallmarks, it was made by Johann Jakob Handmann 11 (1758-1793) of Basle; the design, however, is undoubtedly by a contemporary French designer. The round foot has a garland of acanthus leaves and it carries a stem composed of four flat strips ending in volutes decorated with scales and hanging festoons. The tall cupa is decorated with lanceolate leaves that cup the bowl and cover the lid. An engraved inscription by Johann Ulrich Samson refers to both the donor and the recipient, whose coats of arms are engraved on the foot of the cup.