Silver and Decorative Cast Iron
The SPSG’s collection of handcrafted metalwork comprises some 4,500 objects. It includes examples of gold and silversmith artisanry from the late 17th to early 20th century, works of Prussian decorative cast iron, and wrought iron objects, as well as various furnishings and items of daily use made of bronze, brass, copper and tin. This inventory is supplemented by numerous permanent loans.
The exhibits are mainly on display in the Crown Treasure and Silver Vault at Charlottenburg Palace and the Silver Chamber at Oranienburg Palace.
Ornate objects and table silver from the era of the Great Elector, Frederick III/I, and Frederick William I produced by leading goldsmiths in Berlin and Augsburg are displayed at these locations. The Silver Vault at Charlottenburg Palace also includes pieces of the silver table service made by Johann Christian Lieberkühn the Younger for Frederick II. Silver objects from Frederick William II are exhibited, as well as the table centerpieces and tableware designed by Karl Friedrich Schinkel for Frederick William III and Prince William (with many loans from the Stichting Huis Doorn, the Ehrhardt-Stiftung, and the Freunde der Preußischen Schlösser und Gärten e.V.). In addition, visitors can view the gilded service used as court silver on particularly important ceremonial occasions beginning with William II’s ascension to the throne in 1888. The service and a magnificent large tankard illustrate the quality of silversmithing in Berlin during the late 19th century. The several-hundred-piece silver service made for Crown Prince William and his wife Cecilie in the early 20th century represented the last royal acquisition of a major silver service (on loan from the federal state of Berlin).
The Charlottenburg Treasury brings together the remaining objects of the Prussian crown jewels, including the crowns and imperial insignias, and Frederick the Great’s collection of opulent snuff boxes (on loan from the House of Hohenzollern).
What was left of the copper cookware from the royal kitchens in Berlin and Potsdam now supplements the exhibition in the Palace Kitchen in Sanssouci Palace.
Around 1800 decorative cast iron began to be used in areas previously reserved for precious metals and porcelain, whether in the production of medals and jewelry or of household utensils. Support from Frederick William III led to establishment of the Königliche Eisengießerei, the royal iron foundry, in Berlin. Artists such as Karl Friedrich Schinkel, Christian Daniel Rauch and Leonhard Posch crafted the models and helped make Prussian decorative cast iron known far beyond the kingdom’s borders. The SPSG inventory of some 850 objects of Prussian decorative cast iron is one of the largest state collections of its kind. Individual pieces are displayed in the New Pavilion as well as in Charlottenburg and Charlottenhof Palaces.
Dipl. phil Claudia Meckel